Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers Catches Grief From Former Receivers


Packer Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

It has been an interesting training camp for Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

On the field it seems he is well on his way to another Pro Bowl-caliber season and playoff run. Off the field he is dodging barbs tossed his way from two of his former favorite targets, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.

Jennings comments have been more pointed, where Driver’s remarks were stated in a manner that was candid, however friendly, but still had a bit of sting to them.

Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver Greg Jennings

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Greg Jennings is upset because the Packers would not shower him in cash for what he thought was an illustrious career with the green and gold.

NFL wide receivers as a whole have long had a reputation for possessing a diva personality. I think it’s safe to say Jennings is the poster child for this stereotype. He feels rejected by the Green Bay Packers and he is acting out accordingly.

Driver, on the other hand, seems to empathize with Jennings. On the August 15 Jim Rome show, Driver told Kyle Brandt, who was filling Jim Rome’s chair while he was on vacation, “It’s one of those relationships, like a marriage, when you split up, you have a bad divorce, that’s what Greg and the Packers are going through right now.”

He went on to say that Greg Jennings is always a Green Bay Packer and eluded to Jennings one day retiring as a Packer.

Driver was busy; he also went on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike.”  On that show he spoke a bit about how he perceived the personality of Aaron Rodgers and if the Packers quarterback is a “Me Guy.”

Former Packer Wide Receiver Donald Driver

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“We’ve always been in the room and we’ve always said that the quarterback is the one who needs to take the pressure off of everyone else. If a guy runs the wrong route, it’s easy for the quarterback to say, ‘Hey, I told him to run that route,’ than the guy to say, ‘Hey, I ran the wrong route.’ Sometimes you ask Aaron to take the pressure off those guys so we don’t look bad. He didn’t want to do that. He felt like if you did something bad, you do it. That’s the difference. You want that leadership. I think sometimes you may not feel like you got it. You have to earn that respect at the end of the day. I think that’s probably what Greg is referring to.”

It seems Driver and assumingly Jennings wanted Rodgers to cover their backsides when they made mistakes. From the outside looking in, Rodgers appears to be someone who demands responsibility for one’s actions. I presume it is part of his character, and in my mind definitely a leadership quality – he demands accountability.

Driver also discussed another one of Jennings favorite subjects, the comparison between Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre. On the Jim Rome show Kyle Brandt fished for answers like he was a host of the World Fishing Network. He asked Driver three questions, all of which Driver answered with Brett Favre.

First he asked Driver, “From the wide receiver standpoint, who was the easier quarterback to play with?” His follow up question was “Fourth Quarter, two minute drill, you need six, you gotta go 80 yards – Do you want 4 or 12?” Brandt’s last question was intriguing, “You gotta drive cross-country it’s an eight day trip – convertible – who do you want sitting shot gun this whole ride, Rodgers or Favre?”

Jennings earlier this summer also made statements in which he professed he believed Favre was a better quarterback than Rodgers. Jennings made it clear that Favre is the quarterback he would prefer to go into battle with. In doing so he made a point to not mention Rodgers by name. Instead he referred to Rodgers as that other guy or 12.

Aaron Rodgers, to his credit, has been relatively quiet on the issue. On July 26 Tom Silverstein and Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel relayed Rodgers’ comments on Jennings’ remarks at the time.

“I’ve got a great responsibility to the guys in this locker room and the fans, and at this point, I don’t have a whole lot of time or energy to spend worrying about things that are said outside the building,” Rodgers said. “I know those are stories for you guys (reporters), but personally, I’m focused on this team.

“Obviously, you hear about them, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time or energy on them.”

In April 2013, as we know, Aaron Rodgers signed a robust $110 million contract, a reported $62.5 million of that deal guaranteed. Rodgers made that money throwing the football to the open receiver. The Packers basic offensive system, dating back to the 1990s, is predicated around throwing to the open receiver. The quarterback is throwing to a green and gold jersey, not a particular person. If the receiver is open they get ball.

Jennings and Driver’s vindictive comments regarding Rodgers are one part ego, one part pride, and one part jealousy. Both Jennings and Driver believe when they step on the field they are the best wide receiver in the game, they have to. But as they learned, Rodgers doesn’t necessarily need the best receivers in the NFL to be successful. He needs receiver to get open and catch the ball when it is delivered to them. And over the past five years he has become the best quarterback in the game doing so.

Both of these two former Packers receivers are jealous of Rodgers jaw-dropping contract. Unfortunately for Jennings and Driver the economics of the NFL are stride for stride with life outside the lines. Basic demand theory, there is only one quarterback, but as many as five receivers on every offensive play. Because of this the quarterback is going to get paid.  Receivers are expendable, their skills are more abundant and in less demand than the quarterback.

Jennings believes Rodgers cost him money and his career with the Packers because Rodgers didn’t favor him, he threw to the open green and gold jersey. Driver feels the same way. If Rodgers would have “given” him a few more opportunities each game, maybe insisted he stick around rather than retire, Driver would still be on the field.

Former NFL and Green Bay Packer Quarterback Brett Favre

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As for the Brett Favre comparisons, this also falls under the jealousy umbrella. What better way to hit a supposed over-sensitive character like Rodgers than state that Brett Favre, his predecessor, is better than him. Jennings and Driver believe good ol’ boy Brett Favre would have played favorites with them and allowed them to be showcased in the offense in turn making them more money and keeping them on the field. We all have “what ifs” in our lives and superstar NFL players are apparently no different.

Aaron Rodgers

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In my mind, the departure of both Jennings and Driver are a positive for the 2013 Green Bay Packers.  Jennings with his contract concerns and “gimme the ball” attitude and Driver with his impending retirement were a distraction to the 2012 Packers.

Now Rodgers and the Packers offense can look to utilize all their components without the squeak and squeal from these older parts.

This should make for a fine-tuned Green Bay Packers offense.

Tags: Aaron Rodgers Donald Driver Featured Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings Popular

  • Loren Baldwin

    Patrick, I sure hope you’re right. Looking at Drivers’ comments, on one hand he wants Rodgers to take heat off of somebody who isn’t doing they’re job correctly, but then be a leader. Being accountable for your own mistakes is one thing but covering for someone else’s screw-ups is different. To me, he is a leader to a bunch of me first prima donnas. A receiver runs the wrong route and Rodgers is suppose to take the blame? C’mon DD, maybe you should stick to dancing!

    • ricdram

      I agree with you 100% Loren.The
      commentary by those 2 former
      Packers is bush league.Too bad.
      I don’t play Fantasy Football, but
      if I did, I would pick Rogers as my QB over Favre. I’ve yet to see
      Rogers thow the U N T I M E L Y
      interseptions Favre threw !

  • A. Hamilton

    I love it. When these guys (Driver, Jennings, Favre) are wearing green and gold and winning games you smoke their poles and gush about how they are such great, humble guys. Then they retire or play for another team and you can’t handle it, so you throw them under the bus. Talk about jealousy, huh??? It’s probably worth noting that the opinion of people who have actually played with Rodgers and KNOW HIM PERSONALLY that think he’s a douche bag holds infinitely more water than some no-life fan crying “B-b-but Aaron is a great person, he’s the greatest of all time. Waaaahh!” You can’t handle it so you turn on two guys simply because they don’t play for you anymore, even though you couldn’t stop talking about what wonderful people they were when they played for you. Keep this stuff coming. It all looks so pathetic it’s amusing. Keep it coming!

    • ricdram

      Nobody turned on Driver or Jennings you IDIOT. If you
      read closely you will see that
      the former receivers are the
      ones without loyalty or class
      regarding a former teamate.
      You are obviously a hater.

    • woodencarcarver

      Hamilton,

      You talk about fans turning on players that are no longer with the Packers because of retirement or trade. What about the player themselves aren’t they doing same thing. While their on the team, Rogers is the greatest, but as soon as their off the team, Rogers did this wrong and that wrong. Rogers this! Roger that! If all this is true Why do we not hear about it until after they off the team. I can see Jennings doing it because he didn’t get what he wanted sounds like he was following Favre example. As for DD he surprise me and disappointed me with his remarks about the whole Jennings barbs toward Rogers thing. DD always seem like such class act. This seem out of character for him. While this may be brothering Rogers, he seems to be handling it quite well, or at least he trying to stay focus on what’s most importance that being ready for the coming season. Instead of giving Jennings and Viking billboard material. I hope that when the day comes for Roger to retire or be traded he continues to take the high road. I once had the same hope for Favre. It’s hardest to remain a class act, or a person of high character when things are not going your way. While I still like these people even those they are no longer on the team. I hate some of the stuff they have said and done since being off the team. These words and Action only serve to a tarnish their reputations

  • NFL Madness

    What a freaking baby. I think Jennings messed up and Aaron called him on it instead of covering for him. I think that’s got Jennings panties in a bunch. Woodson has his back though!