Saturday, November 26 2022

By Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist

The best word to describe Aaron Rodgers – and it has been this way for a long while now – is “interesting.”

“Interesting” is a wonderful catch-all for the Green Bay Packers quarterback, because it doesn’t require anything other than the admission that Rodgers never fails to give you something to talk about, argue about, and probably get puzzled about.

You don’t have to be a Packers fan, and you don’t have to agree with everything (or even anything) he says, to find Rodgers interesting. You don’t have to keep track of the ins and outs of his love life or try to read the meaning of his new tattoo.

You don’t have to sign up for his views on vaccinations or government, and you definitely don’t have to copy his habit of undergoing cleanses that make you vomit or taking potions that make you hallucinate. In fact, we’d honestly rather you didn’t.

Related: Aaron Rodgers talks Packers expectations, ayahuasca on FOX NFL Sunday

Aaron Rodgers talks life without Davante Adams and Packers’ expectations

Aaron Rodgers sits down with Erin Andrews to talk about life without Davante Adams and the Packers’ expectations going into the 2022 NFL season. 

But because there is so much out there about Rodgers, so much of his personal thinking offered for open view, there is always something about him that’s going to pique a casual observer enough to notice. Which is why, of course, he is one of the most talked-about athletes in America.

Yet after a summer where the reigning league MVP spoke a lot, to a lot of people, about all types of things, it turns out that the most fascinating part of his current narrative comes from a simple and familiar source.

Football.

Even with Rodgers discussing California Governor Gavin Newsom, detailing his ayahuasca trip and having broken off his engagement to actress Shailene Woodley, the greatest level of intrigue right now is about how things are going to go down for him on the field this season.

An opening weekend defeat to the Minnesota Vikings isn’t the greatest cause for concern. Remember last season, when the New Orleans Saints delivered a 38-3 drubbing in early September before the Packers came right back with seven straight victories on the way to a 13-4 record?

However, Rodgers is now dealing with a situation where there is a limit to what he can control, and with a receiving unit far less accomplished and drastically less experienced than what he is accustomed to.

While the Packers were losing to Minnesota, Rodgers’ former favorite target Davante Adams was racking up 10 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown in his first game for the Las Vegas Raiders. Meanwhile, Packers receivers combined for 120 yards on 10 catches and failed to put up any points.

Second-round draft pick Christian Watson dropped what should have been a 75-yard score on the first offensive play and Rodgers did not look for him again until the fourth quarter. Fellow rookie wideout Romeo Doubs was unspectacular. Making frequent use of his running backs and tight ends, Rodgers threw for 195 yards and no TDs.

“[Aaron] Rodgers got his work cut out for him, their wide receivers had no separation,” FS1’s Shannon Sharpe said on “Undisputed.” “But … we’ve seen this last year and he went on to win MVP.”

Aaron Rodgers, Packers offense struggle as Vikings win Week 1 clash

Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe determine how much trouble Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are in.

The interest comes in the weeks that follow in terms of how he is going to adapt, who he is going to strike a rapport with, and what effect it has on the Packers in the early running.

It also comes in just watching the body language. Rodgers, when irked, is monumental entertainment.

There are the frosty stares that chill the bones when watching on TV, let alone if you’re the direct recipient. Grimaces of discontent. Smiles of irony. Rants on the sideline.

At one point, Rodgers was so frustrated that he went shoulder-to-shoulder with his former teammate Za’Darius Smith – now a Vikings linebacker weighing in at 275 pounds – which is never a particularly good idea.

Aaron Rodgers’ inability to deal with frustration is a concern for Packers

Aaron Rodgers’ first game without Davante Adams ended in a disappointing 23-7 loss to the Vikings. Nick Wright evaluates both teams, then explains what concern lies ahead for Green Bay.

The pressing question is whether this is 2021, when a rocky beginning gave way to a glorious Green Bay run that should, truth be told, have generated a far longer postseason run.

Or is it 2018, when the Packers actually sneaked by the Chicago Bears in the first week, only to fall apart thereafter and slump to a dismal record of 6-9-1.

The first seems likelier – this is Rodgers after all – but things are going to be different for a while. Adams is no longer there to make a big play whenever called upon, as it seemed so often last year.

Rodgers is going to have to show a lot of a certain attribute he’s never had a great fondness for.

“We’ve got to have patience with those guys,” Rodgers said of the receivers. “The patience will get thinner as the season goes on.”

In real terms, the receiving situation and how Rodgers finds a way to make it work will be many things. It is the most important conundrum of the Packers’ season, a chance for Rodgers to boost his reputation as an all-time great even further, a possible source for annoyance and disruption, and a potential weak link for opposing defenses to work with.

It will also be one more thing – interesting – because with Aaron Rodgers, it always is.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and the author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter at @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.


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