But let’s add another more interesting voice to that mix: former Green Bay and Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings.
Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Jennings — who enjoyed the best years of his career with Rodgers as his QB, topping 1,000 yards every season from 2008-2010 and winning a Super Bowl as well — had some pretty frank words about his former QB in a recent appearance on FS1′s shouty talking heads show “Undisputed.”
In addition to bringing some serious turtleneck game to the show with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe, Jennings had this to say about the Packers and Rodgers:
*Jennings started with a well-reasoned point about how teams are defending Rodgers differently — namely, trying to contain him in the pocket instead of letting him freelance outside the pocket, where he is so dangerous. This is in large part the Vikings’ game plan that has succeeded and been copied. Jennings concludes that in the pocket, “he’s great but he’s not as efficient.”
*After Sharpe rambled for a while about how Rodgers must have been drunk against the Cowboys, the talk turned to how Rodgers is unaccustomed to taking blame — in part because it always seems like his receivers get it instead of him.
“When we were playing together and I was on that Green Bay team, we felt like that,” Jennings said of the notion that, in general, the receivers always got the blame while Rodgers did not. “It wasn’t solely him. The media (spun) it to where everything was always great with his play but there was always something wrong with the receiving end of the play if there was an issue.”
*From there, Jennings tried to go deeper and maybe hit a pretty good nerve when it comes to what’s going on with Rodgers now that he is getting blamed for some of the Packers’ problems.
“It has handicapped him to where he has never really had to self-assess and never really had to self-reflect,” Jennings said. “Everyone’s always projected it somewhere else. Now the focus is on him. They will not win if he does not play better. … Every team walking into Lambeau now believes they can win. Why? Because they see Aaron Rodgers not playing the way they’ve seen him play in the past. … No one has ever wanted to or has done what we’re hearing them do now which is talk about his flaws. … Everyone is in shock because nobody has ever seen him play that way before.”
We should always take anything a former player has to say with a requisite grain of salt. Still, what Jennings has to say doesn’t seem far-fetched. And it certainly will be interesting to see how Rodgers handles the criticism going forward.