Packers: Aaron Rodgers seeking refinement in Year 3 under Matt LaFleur
By Parker Moes
Ever since Matt LaFleur has taken over as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, the team has done a 180 in terms of overall success.
In just two years at the helm, he’s guided Green Bay to back-to-back division titles (11-1 overall against it), along with back-to-back NFC championship game appearances. One person that’s especially benefitted from his tenure thus far has been quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
In year one (2019), he had what many would consider a middle-of-the-road type of season offensively — especially from Rodgers’ perspective. He was 353/569 (62 percent) for 4,002 yards, 26 touchdowns, four interceptions, and a 95.4 passer rating.
Year two under LaFleur saw his numbers skyrocket: 372/526 (70.7 percent) for 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns, five interceptions, and a 121.5 passer rating. Those marks brought him his third MVP award. Two of those statistics (touchdowns, completion percentage), both reset the record books in Green Bay quarterback history — coincidentally both held by Rodgers in 2011 — a season in which he won his first NFL MVP award.
Year three looks to be more of a refinement period for Rodgers and the offense as a whole. He spoke about it after the team’s joint practice with the New York Jets on Wednesday.
"“I think it’s just more of whittling down”, said Rodgers.“In the offseason that first year, we just kind of threw it all up on the wall and said ‘what worked and what didn’t work?’, ‘what fits the scheme and what doesn’t fit the scheme?’, ‘do we have the players to run these certain routes? If not, let’s get it out’. Year two, you saw a real good focus on exactly what we have — the personnel, what plays we can run with those guys.”“This year, [it’s] just an even greater focus on that. An expansion in certain concepts, where there’s latitude to adjust routes or concepts, and obviously we always make room for creativity, whether it’s myself, or [Nathaniel] Hackett, or Matt [LaFleur].”"
Rodgers knows this season is one he will cherish and it’s one that will challenge himself both mentally and physically. This time around though, he knows it’s not about revenge, but more so about a ‘reckoning’ as he so eloquently pointed out in that same post-practice presser.
He’s seen firsthand the shortcomings year in and year out from this team and realizes these days will only last so long. It’s time to turn back the clock, not look back, and propel the Packers over the hump, out of the NFC championship game, and into the Super Bowl.
With the success 2021 has shown thus far to Wisconsin sports teams (Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers), now is the time to do so, and this Packers team certainly has the will to as well.