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Favre: Let Aaron Rodgers 'play his game'

-- Take it from one of the best to ever lace up a pair of cleats: Aaron Rodgers just needs to be Aaron Rodgers.

Of course, that's easier said than done in the midst of mastering Matt LaFleur's offense. But Brett Favre, Rodgers' predecessor as the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, knows what the team has in the 35-year-old.

This will mark the first time in Rodgers' starting career that he's undergoing an offensive overhaul, i.e., a new head coach, a new staff, a new system. He's been paired with Mike McCarthy since the 2006 season, which was Favre's penultimate campaign with the Packers.

But for all of the talk regarding this new offense and the accommodations Rodgers will need to make to his playing his style in order to adapt to these new concepts, it could be a tall task expecting him to change drastically -- if at all.

"Aaron will be fine," Favre said on Saturday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I think that the thing is he needs to remain the same. And I don't have to give him any advice. You know, he'll handle it well.

"The question is, how will they handle him? And obviously, that's very important."

Just last week,'s Mike Silver spoke in-depth with LaFleur on the balancing act with Rodgers and finding the line in the sand in terms of pre-snap freedom. In the past, Rodgers was given extensive freedom to change the play based off of what the opposition is showing him. That includes checking out of various run calls and altering the initial play call to the Packers' benefit.

For the last 11 seasons, Rodgers has made a living off of that freedom. In LaFleur's offense, there is expected to be less reliance on Rodgers' pre-snap savvy, however, that doesn't mean stripping him of that privilege entirely.

"Aaron and I have had some good talks, and we're going to have to talk a lot more -- and one thing we have to work through is the audible thing," LaFleur told Silver. "We're running a system that I first picked up while working with Kyle [Shanahan] in Houston a decade ago, and we've never really had a quarterback who's had complete freedom to change plays at the line, because that's not really the way the offense is set up.

"But, I mean, this is Aaron Rodgers. He's had a lot of freedom to make those calls, and deservedly so. Now, how do we reconcile that, and get to a place where we put him in the best position to succeed?"

There's a heavy emphasis on the run game in LaFleur's offense, and like Rodgers' aforementioned tendency to check out of run calls, there's still obvious negotiations that must be had between quarterback and head coach. LaFleur has made it clear that he and Rodgers are searching for that "happy medium" where both sides can prosper.

Both sides prospering means the team as a whole prospers. This ties into the relationship between LaFleur and Rodgers that has been well-documented throughout the offseason; the meshing of these ideas is a significant stepping stone for the future.

Rodgers is entering a season -- his 15th -- in which he'll turn the same age that Favre was when the Packers first drafted Rodgers in 2005. After spending three seasons together -- Favre as the grizzled veteran and Rodgers as the face of the future -- the relationship between the two has been on an ascension ever since.

Both former Packers quarterbacks recently attended a private memorial service in Alabama for Bart Starr, who passed away last month. While in attendance, they were able to discuss the upcoming season.

"I mean, there's more to the team than Aaron but we all have to admit that when he's playing and playing well, which generally when he's playing he is playing well, you don't want to change what's working," Favre said. "There's other factors that you have to work on.

"So I think you let him play his game and not disturb that very much. And it's going to be interesting to see if that happens."


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Cubbygold's picture

Young WRs and RBs make a system even more necessary. If this was 2011 with Driver, Jennings and Nelson helping to coach up a young Finley and Cobb, then freelancing more would make sense. This group of receivers and RBs are learning their second system in two years, they're going to need more structure than normal. Hopefully they gel and 12 can do more by year end/playoffs.

Samson's picture

AR will refine his game to better fit into MLF's system & team needs.... MLF will refine his system to better fit the abilities of the best QB he's ever coached. -- The whole thing will be a quick work in progress during TC & the preseason.
Remember this, GB has more talent & depth than at anytime in the last 5 years or more. --- AR doesn't have to carry the Pack any longer.

jannes bjornson's picture

It's an offense already designed to get the ball out quickly by moving the defense based on the motions. It will be a faster version of the Walsh offense. Hitting the RBs and Fullback will keep the LBs honest.

fastmoving's picture

Nobody knows how this "more system vs more freedom thing" will pan out. But it will be interesting and Im looking forward to it.
One way or another, we have a good chance to win a lot of games the upcoming season.

Dont now if AR did a lot of carrying lately and like I said time after time, we should expect him to do a little bit more, since there is a reason he is 20% of the payroll.

If you ask me (and I know nobody does) it could be a good thing if he playes the system a little bit more and gets the ball out faster than normal. You can hesitate too much and overthink stuff. Even to consider other reason factor in as well, so I know with all his freedom at the line he was not lights out by any means the last couple of seasons.

sam1's picture

Don't hold your breath on that thought!

NMPF's picture

Old News!!!! NEXT

Lare's picture

First of all, we don't know for a fact that Rodgers was switching away from running calls. We know he was switching out of plays that McCarthy called because McCarthy wasn't in team meetings where the offensive game plan was set.

We just need to relax and see how the new offense plays out. LaFleur and Rodgers are pretty bright guys, it's in both their best interests to make this offense work. And I think it will.

flackcatcher's picture

It was the big story in the first half of the 2014 season. The Rodgers-McCarthy blow up that was seen live on national TV was about checking out of run in the 2 quarter of the Bengal game. (Irony abounds, both RB went down early over concussions, and third string a rookie had the game of his life, got injured, and was force to retire. The last back standing was John Kuhn, so Rodgers got to chuck away because McCarthy had no choice.)

Qoojo's picture

A lot of drama over MLF basically saying that his offense never had a QB good enough to audible so has to figure it out, and Rodgers saying you probably want to take advantage of one his strengths in his ability to recognize defenses and changes plays.

They are both in agreement, but the 24 hours news cycle's sole purpose is to generate clicks and views, which means produce as much drama as possible.

sonomaca's picture

We’re dealing with a situation where Rodgers is going to know whether a play will work or not. If it’s not going to work, everyone should agree that it should be changed. Why is that controversial?

fastmoving's picture

not much drama here. just interesting talk about an imortant topic. What else do you want to talk here? If someone writes something about the bottom of the roster moves its not right either.
And even when TC starts its all about who thinks who is looking good and why. It was always about opinions and gosip. There were not so much hard facts even 100 years before. But maybe the fans becoming a little bit dramatic as well, since they only got the stories they read. And there would not be a 24/7 news cycle if there was no high demand of it, of course.

Since '61's picture

I think it’s reasonable to expect that in the MLF offense the Packers will utilize motion to identify what the defense is doing.

Based on Rodger’s read off the motion he will have a few audibles he can call including a different running play or a few different pass plays agreed upon during the weekly game planning meetings.

Remember in the MLF system multiple plays can be run from the same formation. Over the course of the season Rodgers will receive more flexibility to audible into any play that can be run out of the current formation.

As MLF and AR work together during game planning and in game situations they will iron out the methodology for calling audibles. This issue exists with every HC change but teams work it out.

For now, “It’s a mystery, but it will work out in the end.” Thanks, Since ‘61

Old School's picture

Let Aaron be Aaron. The only way to succeed in a team sport is for players to ignore the coach and do their own thing.

IceBowl's picture

Let's summarize.

MLF wants to win. ARod wants to win. Very good reasons for both of them.

To even suggest they would rather win a power struggle than win games is just funny.

Yes, I understand the time of year.

Old School's picture

I wonder what McCarthy's opinion on that would be.

My experience is that some people like to be in charge. The businesses may vary, the people are different, but you'll always have some people that want to have more say than they do. I've seen many people get fired over power struggles. Good people, good at their job, but they were perceived as being "in the way" and so they were pushed out.

Football coaches definitely like to be in charge. So do most quarterbacks. I don't think it's a coincidence that Rodgers started taking more shots at McCarthy after he got the big contract extension. McCarthy is gone now. We have a rookie HC. I'd find it difficult to believe that Rodgers will just submit to him.

jannes bjornson's picture

McCarthy also got his 9 M deal and was extended in 2010, 2014, 2018. No need to see who made who. We know the story.

IceBowl's picture

Old School,

All I have to say is where do coaches make their "bones."

They are nothing without WINS!!!!

D Ernie's picture

Who knows, this could be a cluster f for all we know when egos versus power control.
My sense says the new coach has a system he is comfortable with and its his ass on the line if it doesn't work not Rodgers. Thus, he may give him some leeway but Rodgers won't get the reins he is hoping for.
Their can only be one captain of the ship.

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