Aaron Rodgers Thinks This Receiver Will Have a Breakout Year
“Dear Mom, I have had such fun at summer camp this year. Please don’t let it ever end.” Love, Aaron Rodgers
Sorry Aaron, summer camp is over until next year.
Aaron Rodgers, now 35, has been with Green Bay for all 14 of his NFL professional years, and he says he’ll be there for 10 more. But, he’s playing for a new head coach, Matt LaFleur, who is only four-years his senior. At least, for now, they are having “fun,” according to LaFleur in a CBS Sports interview. That was during summer camp and before the season started.
The Packers open in Chicago against the Bears. The two teams have the oldest rivalry in the NFL. A rivalry in which Rodgers has most often prevailed. If his offseason comments mean anything, he’ll be looking to incorporate a new weapon in this years’ rivalry game.
Aaron Rodgers in review
According to the Packers website, “With Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback, Green Bay is 17-5 (including playoffs) against the Bears, with one loss coming in 2013 after Rodgers left the game with an injury after the first series.”
Entering his 15th year with the team, the star quarterback has quite a bit of say in what goes on, on the field.
“If you watched the other day, he’s got a lot of freedom,” LaFleur told CBS.
“He’s earned it. I think what we’re trying to do was to make sure he understood why we are calling certain things. And now he has a great grasp of it. He’s made some checks out there, some really smart checks. He’s a great player. He’s really smart. It’s like having a coach on the field.”
Yes, he has earned it. During his career, Aaron Rodgers has been named Super Bowl XLV Most Valuable Player, earned NFL Most Valuable Player twice, has played in seven Pro Bowls, twice on the First Team, and was named AP Athlete of the Year and won the Bert Bell Award, both in 2011. He owns six NFL records including Career and Seasonal (2011) Passer Ratings.
But, there are other stars starting to shine in Green Bay.
Big things to come for Marquez Valdes-Scantling
There are a lot of people high on wide-receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling including LaFleur and Rodgers. Going into his second year, many predict this will be a breakout year for him.
NFL Network’s, Brian Baldinger, compares him with other Packers’ “elite” players such as Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson.
Green Bay has been without a “true deep wide receiver since Jordy Nelson was in his prime,” according to the NFL Spin Zone. Nelson suffered a torn ACL back in 2015, and while he came back to play in 2017, for the Raiders, he opted to retire with no-more injuries.
Aaron Rodgers has indicated he has a growing respect for Valdes-Scantling’s tenacity and assurance.
“He’s a smart guy. He listens, cares about it. Puts in the time. We have great conversations and communication about different things,” Rodgers told Packers Wire. “I love his approach. . . He’s obviously going to be a starter for us.”
Last year, Valdes-Scantling’s rookie year, he caught eight passes from Rodgers for more than 20 yards. Two notables were the 40-yard touchdown against the Rams and 51-yard catch against the Patriots. In total, he nabbed 38 receptions for 581 yards.
Coach LaFleur concurs with Rodgers. “He’s confident. He can run. He has really good hands. He’s tough. He’s extremely intelligent,” LaFleur said. “I am really excited about what he’s going to bring to the table.”
Playing until 45?
Time will tell if Green Bay can make it to Miami for Super Bowl LIV. Rodgers last led the Packers to a 35-24 Super Bowl win over the Steelers in 2010. That was Super Bowl XLV.
Rodgers has said he has many remaining years to offer to football, and to the Packers.
“Yeah, win the Super Bowl when I’m 45 and ride off into the sunset,” according to NFL.com, which attributed the quote to a Rodgers appearance on The Rich Eisen Show.
When pressed by Eisen whether he indeed plans to play another decade, Rodgers said it depends how his body holds up.
“‘We’ll see,” Rodgers said, via the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “I envision playing as long as my body feels good and I have the love for the game that I do right now that still fuels me and is still a passion. And I still love the daily grind and the practice and the preparation. If I can give everything to a team in that manner and my body feels good, I’m going to keep rolling.”