If Aaron Rodgers is seeking validation more than anything else in his standoff with the Packers, it came in waves on Tuesday during Green Bay's first day of minicamp.
With Rodgers gone, teammates were left to answer questions about him. They supplied answers that, while deftly toeing the line between support of the QB and support of the Packers overall, also showed a potential fissure going forward.
Quarterback Jordan Love, the first round pick ostensibly plucked in 2020 as Rodgers eventual (and maybe immediate) replacement, had what was reported as an uneven first day while getting a lot of reps.
As I discussed on Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast, it's only early June and there are three months before the regular season. Rodgers isn't even gone, just absent — but he's already missed.
"I've got his back through everything so he knows that, at the end of the day, if there's ever a wonder if he's lost a teammate or something because of all that's come out, he knows where I stand," wide receiver Davante Adams said Tuesday, adding an expletive finishing the thought that he would "scream on the mountaintop that I've got his back."
Might that be perceived as Adams siding with his QB and not his team? He doesn't think so, but perception and reality don't always meet.
"I think that any GM, any president, any owner, they should want the type of guys that are backing their players, especially a player like that," Adams said. "That's just a good trait to have. It's not like I'm saying, 'Forget the front office,' like I don't respect what they have going on."
ESPN's Rob Demovsky had some great details on the first day, charting Love's performance and noting he completed just 12 of 23 minicamp passes in team drills while stalling during a two-minute offense exercise. Blake Bortles also got some work, in case you were wondering.
The amount of undue pressure on Love right now is massive. Love and Packers head coach are slated to talk with the media on Wednesday, so we will get their thoughts on his Day 2 progress a little later.
For now, we have the eye test and the ear test. Here's what another of Rodgers' close teammates, lineman David Bakhtiari, had to say.
"Whatever he wants to do, whatever the situation that comes out, I will never hold any grudge against him. That is my friend. That is someone that I have appreciated, and he has done a lot for this organization and a lot for me as an individual," he said. "Now, as a teammate I would be idiotic to say that I don't want the MVP back. He's the MVP of the league last year. He's done amazing things as from the quarterback perspective, our quarterback position, but not only for the franchise. So absolutely."
All of this likely appeals to Rodgers' considerable ego. Whether the relationship can be salvaged is another question entirely.