Packers Struggles Have ‘Trickled Down’ From Aaron Rodgers Shenanigans, According to ESPN’s Louis Riddick
What’s wrong with the Green Bay Packers? The team that has gone 39-10 the last three seasons and whose quarterback has won the previous two NFL MVP Awards is mired at 3-3 in 2022 and has the 23rd-ranked offense in the league. And, as of now, it looks like you can forget about Aaron Rodgers winning a third-straight MVP. When looking for answers, ESPN analyst and former NFL player and front office executive Louis Riddick says the franchise’s problems start with one person, Aaron Rodgers.
The last two years of Aaron Rodgers’ off-field drama has cost the Packers
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers requested a trade on the eve of the 2021 NFL Draft. When he didn’t get it, the QB then didn’t report to training camp until the 11th hour. This offseason, he again toyed with retirement (although he did decide to come back a little earlier) and then didn’t play in a single preseason game, despite having two rookies and one new free-agent wide receiver.
The results have been rather predictable on the field.
In addition to being in the bottom third of the league in scoring offense, Rodgers hasn’t passed for more than 255 yards or thrown for more than two touchdowns in a game. And through six games, none of his pass-catchers have even hit the 300-yard mark yet. The team’s leading WR, Allen Lazard, is 43rd in the league.
This is what led Dan Patrick to ask Louis Riddick on the Dan Patrick Show how concerned Packers fans should be about the state of the team right now. Riddick responded, “extremely.”
“A lot of the problems that you see crop up during the season, especially the early part of the season, really started in the offseason,” Riddick explained. “I think the uncertainly surrounding Aaron’s situation, how it trickled down to the decision Davante Adams made to leave. Aaron not necessarily being around this offseason, around those young wide receivers.”
The former safety continued by going through how Rodgers’ decision to skip preseason games created a situation where there was “no way” the QB and young WRs could be on the same page when the season started.
Riddick did commend Rodgers for publicly saying he doesn’t expect his young pass-catcher to be where Adams or a guy like Jordy Nelson were at after years of working together. However, he again reiterated that they’d all be better off if Rodgers spent more time around the team in the offseason and preseason.
Can Green Bay turn it around?
There is good news for the Packers a third of the way through the NFL season. And that is that the rest of the NFC also stinks right now.
Heading into Week 7, there are only four teams in the entire conference above .500, and three of them are in the NFC East. The Packers’ NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings are one of them, at 5-1, but the Pack have another head-to-head matchup with them in Week 17.
And that timeline to face the team in front of them is good for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. That’s because only two things are going to fix the Green Bay offense’s problems, and one of them is time.
Since Rodgers elected to boycott the preseason, he is effectively working himself, his pass-catchers, and the offense into shape as the season goes along. Rookie WR Christian Watson might be out for a while, but rookie Romeo Doubs is still in there, and free-agent Sammy Watkins should be returning soon from injury.
The more live-game reps Rodgers gets with this group, the better the team will become, and in a down NFC, that could be enough.
The other thing the Packers can do to get better is to go get Odell Beckham Jr. The All-Pro wideout who tore his ACL in the Super Bowl is poised to make a comeback, and the Packers are a team rumored to be interested.
Beckham is about to turn 30 (November 5) and is coming off a severe injury, so there is no telling how effective he’ll be. Plus, other, more serious contenders like the Kansas City Chiefs are seemingly interested, so he might choose to sign with them.
If the Packers hope to get the offense clicking, though, pulling in a No. 1 WR like Beckham might be one of their only hopes.
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