What the heck was that?
Effort wasn’t there. The body language looked dreadful. And the Saints destroyed the Packers 38-3 in a game that could’ve been much worse than that.
“We played bad,” said Aaron Rodgers, whose 36.8 rating was the second-worst quarterback rating of his career. “I played bad. Offensively we didn’t execute very well. One game. We’ve got 16 to go.”
You cannot sugar coat that, especially during Rodgers’ arm punt on third-and-eight. He overthrew Marquez Valdes-Scantling by a mile — it’s a good thing that Elgton Jenkins decided to bring his effort because it isn’t often that you see an offensive lineman make a tackle.
Effort is contagious. As soon as Rodgers was coming back this season, I guarantee you that most of the players thought they could just roll the balls on the field and expect to win.
Only problem is, you’re forgetting about that tiny word effort. So many people want to compare Rodgers to Tom Brady, but both aren’t even close. During COVID-19 last year, Brady was throwing to teammates at a Tampa park, while Rodgers in Hawaii with his fiance.
The reason Rodgers’ performance was so bad was because he had all offseason to prepare for this one game. I know there are philosophical differences in playing and sitting players in the preseason, but the Packers sat nearly 30 players each preseason game. I don’t care how competitive your practices are, if your first taste of real live game action is the season opener, that’s too late. And to make matters worse, every single one of those guys thought they could just put on the pads and bring home a win.
It doesn’t work like that. There are no shortcuts for effort. In an offseason where Rodgers did the bare minimum for an offseason program, the rest of the Packers followed suit right along with Rodgers. Remember, Rodgers is the team leader and the team mouthpiece. People put their trust in Rodgers because this is his 14th season as a starter. He’s a three-time MVP and a Super Bowl champ.
Rodgers is easy to trust.
Granted, an offensive line with two starting rookies makes things a little bit more questionable, but Rodgers looked like he was playing in the second preseason game — not the season opener.
“We came out here and dominated like we knew we could, like we knew we should,” said Saints safety Marcus Williams, who picked off Rodgers once.
Remember the sigh of relief and party atmosphere when Rodgers came back? Maybe the team kind of lost its way and this team forgot how to put the work in. Just because your name is Aaron Rodgers doesn’t mean that you don’t have to prepare and you don’t have to work.
The Packers know that they have a solid team. They were a final four team last year and came within a few yards of a Super Bowl berth. Just because you advanced that far doesn’t mean the work stops. On the other hand, the preparation only intensifies because you don’t just want to advance as far as last year, but get even deeper.
Maybe Rodgers won’t be here next year. But that has nothing to do with 2021. He needs to give his best effort each and every snap.
He shouldn’t do that just because he’s the quarterback. He should do that because he’s the leader. And effort is often imitated.
Tough start to the season for Aaron Rodgers
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 12, 2021
Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on “Clubhouse Live” and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn