Aaron Rodgers, a very good quarterback, was once again very good on Sunday. He managed to outduel the mighty Kirk Cousins and put up a large prime number on the scoreboard. Not long after, Liam McKeone, a youngster who works for my company, suggested that the future Hall of Famer may have been fueled by the Packers' selection of Jordan Love and how the decision to piss off the franchise quarterback was a brilliant one.
Sources say he was slightly joking. But he may not admit that after noted football-knower Trent Dilfer suggested on the Ryen Russillo Podcast that this may have been Green Bay's strategy all along.
Knowing how important it is to high-profile podcasters and their guests to be quoted accurately and in proper context, here are the quotes and I would highly encourage every reader to listen to the full episode. It's pretty good as always. Properly rated on iTunes!
Hopefully you've made it past the headline. Or even the full tweet when this is inevitably blasted on social media. I'd make the headline more fulsome with all of the information but we have a character limit on the CMS. Sorry.
Dilfer: "I can guarantee you in those front offices there's some wise people that said 'I'm done with [Rodgers] just being good," Dilfer says. "We need him to be great again. How do we make him great?"
Russillo: "You think they drafted Jordan Love on purpose to piss him off and make him better?"
Dilfer: "Heck yeah, and you get a really talented player that needs two or three years to develop. Yeah, you do. You absolutely do. You're a puppet master if you're running an NFL organization. You're pulling the strings to get the most out of the people you have and sometimes that hurts feelings and sometimes that's not nice."
Dilfer went on to compare the move to the Patriots taking Jimmy Garoppolo to push Tom Brady and Oklahoma continuing to recruit five-star athletes to fill out depth charts. And he's right. Both of those things did and continue to happen. It's tough to know the exact calculus of the Packers when all we have is media reports.
But, my God, that would certainly be something if true. Unlike Garoppolo, who was taken with the final pick in the second round back in 2014, Love was a first-rounder. The Packers even traded up to get him! This despite having Rodgers desperate for offensive weaponry. For above-average pass-catchers for him to zip passes at. That's not a passive-aggressive move. That's just plain aggressive. You know, if that is, in fact, the reason.
One wonders how Rodgers, who is thoughtful and self-reflective, would feel about this. Surely he'd be able to see through the transparency of the whole ordeal. Perhaps such a thinly veiled, shortsighted attempt at motivation would be an insulting to a player who has accomplished so much. Why, perhaps he'd be doubly inspired to show the Packers he didn't need their trickery to go out and win games.
Or maybe the Packers knew he'd try to play better and be extra motivated that he didn't need the extra motivation to play better and therefore knew what they were doing this whole time. And maybe this is all a simulation like The Matrix. Anything is possible.