Aaron Rodgers is Finally Having Fun Again

The Green Bay Packers had a lot of problems last season and one of them was Aaron Rodgers.

It's not that Rodgers necessarily played bad. It was more that he was going through the motions. He just didn't seem like himself.

He certainly could have played better and let down in some key moments, but for the most part, he seemed disinterested and he didn't seem to be having any fun.

When I watched Rodgers jog onto the field most Sunday's, he looked like a guy working a normal 9 to 5, who can't wait to get home at the end of another long day.

You could almost imagine Rodgers hitting the snooze button on his alarm clock in the morning, dreading another day of working in the same-old offense.

Whether it was his differences with McCarthy, his impatience with the defense or boredom, Rodgers wasn't himself last season. He wasn't having fun and if you don't enjoy what you are doing, it's hard to be good at it.

This season, that's not an issue.

Rodgers is having fun again and while winning probably has something to do with it, his attitude has been different from day one.

In the first week, against Chicago, he had that playful shove of defense coordinator Mike Pettine. He also seems to have a good relationship with Matt LaFleuer, even if they are still a work in progress.

At the very least, this new offense has challenged Rodgers to be better and be involved again and with the way he has played the past two weeks, it seems to be working.

Rodgers is playing within the system, but still finding ways to be extraordinary.

His movement skills in Dallas were stellar and some of the throws he made were special too, which explains how he was so successful, even without Davante Adams.

Following the win in Dallas, Rodgers talked about how much he likes this team and for good reason. 

He doesn't have to carry the entire thing on his back anymore. He has a defense and he also has a running game. 

On top of that, he has a head coach he believes in or at least this team seems to believe in LaFleur, who is pushing all the right buttons so far.

It's been fun to watch this team through five weeks and the best part of it all, is watching Rodgers come alive again. 

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Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Comments (26)

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Faust14's picture

October 10, 2019 at 10:40 am

Cannot wait for the next week, every week. Win or lose, this is a fun team to watch. I agree the last two seasons seemed dreary and dreadful even when Aaron was on the field. Hooray and go Pack go!

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Bearmeat's picture

October 10, 2019 at 10:41 am

Yeah. This reset was needed. When you think about it, the corollaries to BLF's career renaissance with MM after Sherman are scary. I only hope that we win one in our 2007 before ARod retires. That, and he'd better not pull a Favregate. lol.

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Since'61's picture

October 10, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Chris - I think a factor in Rodgers not having fun last season was that he played through injuries the entire season. We also need to consider that he was sacked 49 times and endured over 100 QB hits. It’s difficult to enjoy yourself while playing in pain and being smacked around at the same time. Not to mention trying to work with MMs stale scheme and the no tackling allowed defense.

Al as an FYI I tried to connect with my laptop earlier today and received the message that the user Since ‘61 is not allowed. Yet just now I had no problem making this post on my cell phone. Hopefully your team can check this out especially if some of your users only have a laptop for access. I think that Nick Perry had a similar problem earlier this week. Thanks, Since ‘61

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Favreisgod's picture

October 10, 2019 at 12:24 pm

I'm not sold on the notion that he's having fun.....yet! I think that will change when the intermediate and deep routes open up because of the running and screen game. Remember Rodgers in the early 2010's on play action? His deep ball percentage was astounding when he got outside of the pocket and I think we're going to see a repeat of that after the bye

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jannes bjornson's picture

October 10, 2019 at 08:48 pm

When they trade for a legitimate # 2 WR , if that's what you are inferring. He has lost a bit off his deep ball. Collarbone
breaks will do that to a guy. Brady has the knee and Farve a broken thumb he should not have played through. Eleven more games to watch the Evolution of this Team. This is a reload. Now let the chemistry develop on an ascending curve to the playoffs.

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Favreisgod's picture

October 10, 2019 at 10:07 pm

The only thing I'm inferring is that the offense hasn't gelled yet. It will by the end of the year and we'll see Rodgers hitting intermediate & long passes and he'll be having a blast.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

October 10, 2019 at 12:25 pm

I think there are a few things going on with AR and the team as a whole that are contributing to this team resurgence in positive chemistry.

1. Change in offensive philosophy. MMs approach to offense towards the end reminded me of the scene in That 70's Show where Red is trying to force the kids and Kitty to run the Packers Sweep. MM had his idea of what he wanted the offense to be, and rather than tailor his offense to the personnel he had, he decided to die on the hill of "this is the game plan we are running, and if the players can't execute, I can't help that", which leads to #2...

2. Better players. There are still some question marks, but by and large, there have been significant upgrades at pretty much every position, as well as a coach and OC that seem to have more player-specific roles to maximize the strengths they have. Pettine did well with what he had last year, but 2 years in, it seems like he finally has the players to execute well, and it also seems like he is trying different looks and stunts based on the guys he has. MLF has largely the same group MM had, bit has been creative in finding ways to maximize what we have and get players in position to make plays.

3. Player buy-in. This goes hand in hand with #1 and #2, but it seems like everyone is all in. Players are holding themselves and each other accountable, and outside of some of the shenanigans we saw in Dallas, are doing a much better job staying disciplined and doing what is expected of them.

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Packer Fan's picture

October 10, 2019 at 01:13 pm

I agree. There are multiple ways things are better this year and they all combine to a better team and atmosphere. I am excited for the rest of the year

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Tundraboy's picture

October 10, 2019 at 01:03 pm

And so are we. Great to be able to look forward to each game with more positives and excitement. They are building something here again.

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wildbill's picture

October 10, 2019 at 01:19 pm

I think the fire and enthusiasm the team has on the field is contagious. I’ve read numerous reports about the players really being one group which is great to watch. Walsh said something about ten years being the length a coaches voice is effective. Thank MM and TT for their service but it was time to move on. Go Pack Go!

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Freezn's picture

October 10, 2019 at 01:37 pm

Our Defense is constant attacking machine with the Smith bros leading the way. Its also fun watching the defensive rookies following along. This defense also gives the ball back to Aron quite a bit and the offense is really starting to grow. Thanks to a very smart GM

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Lare's picture

October 10, 2019 at 01:48 pm

I think the majority of the new attitude has to do with Gutekunst, LaFleur and the new coaches. The last GM & coaching staff was coasting and getting stale which carried over to the play on the field. When your leaders are working hard and giving 100% the players will too.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

October 10, 2019 at 03:14 pm

I don't buy the idea of either MM or TT coasting. They were victims of their own success, and there were definitely things going on behind the scenes between MM and TT that we aren't privy to.

I do believe MM was frustrated with the team's seeming inability to get a stronger roster, which was a result of years of low draft order + TT being fanatical about a clean cap.

And, to his benefit, while I've criticized the MM "guys just need to win their 1 on 1s" statements, he was absolutely right. MMs offense was all execution, with receivers expected to be able to make decisions basically on the fly based on the defense. It's like being able to just play base defense with tight man coverage. With a talented WR corps and a RB capable of pounding the ball between tackles, his offense was damn near unstoppable. But the years were few and far between that MM had both receivers adapt enough to make presnap reads and physically talented enough to gain separation, and a good enough ground game to keep defenses honest. When things worked, they worked great. But towards the end of was functional chaos, and whether he was largely unable or unwilling to make the changes needed to right the ship, the wheels came off for good when AR went down in 2017 and things never recovered.

As great as this year has been so far, the FA spending + the Rodgers extension has put GB into a position TT was always trying to avoid - we are going to soon hit the spot where GB is unable to retain the players they want to retain, and it is going to put a lot of pressure on Gute to keep restocking the shelf, without a lot of cap space to do so.

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murf7777's picture

October 11, 2019 at 11:20 am

Matt, well stated!

I learn from many knowledgeable fans on here. Nice to see another fan with very good logic and knowledge of the past and how SC restrains the ability to have top level players at all positions. My belief is if MM had this defense, and a healthy Arod in the past couple of years he would be doing just fine and would still be our coach. TT for all the good he has done for the Packers, his conservatism and decision making (possible triggered by illness) in the last few years caught up to him and the Packers.

That being said, you cannot spend like a "drunken sailor" and think it won't catch up to you. Especially, when one player makes up over 30 million on your team. I was a bit skeptical on Gutey spending this past year and I felt he had to hit on 3 out of 4 FA signings to make it work. We'll, he took the risk and it seems like he achieved that, so more power to him. Many GM's cannot say the same thing with FA's. I really like how Gutey looks at all avenues to improve the team.

With Martinez, Bulaga and Clark needing to be signed, the cap will be stretched to it's limit and as normal, we won't be able to sign everyone and will have to let some good players go. Maybe Bulaga due to age and injury history will be first to go.

We are so fortunate as fans having what I think are back to back to back very good GM's! Winning starts at the top, so a great GM cannot be overstated enough. Kudo's goes to Murphy as well for selecting him.

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flackcatcher's picture

October 11, 2019 at 03:55 pm

Small correction here. Murphy did not select Gute. In fact his stalling on selecting a new GM forced the Executive Committee (or Board of Directors in 'Murphy Speak') to override him and directly hire Gute. He is not Murphy's man. If fact, the EC had to intervene to make sure Murphy did not undercut Gute as GM. I suspect the whole story will come out when Murphy's contract ends, and a new Packer President is selected.

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murf7777's picture

October 11, 2019 at 04:22 pm

Hey he has a great last name....what can I say!

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x24's picture

October 10, 2019 at 01:54 pm

Rodgers with a smile on his face is a dangerous man... Let's hope we see a lot more of it

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flackcatcher's picture

October 10, 2019 at 02:14 pm

More than any one factor, having few major injuries has improved this team tenfold. This Packer team has gone thru Injury Hell for the past three years, so they were due a break. Rodgers reflects the veterans attitude of just being happy to play the game they love. It's nice for once to watch a Packers team grow, and beam their happiness to their fans.....

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Samson's picture

October 10, 2019 at 02:20 pm

New regime, new approach, new & better talent and the Pack is 4-1 heading to possibly 5-1 or 6-1.... How can AR not be happier? --- However, the 2nd half of the season may be a bit more challenging.... Six of the last nine games are on the road.... Opponents will have more film & better able to scheme against GB's offense & defense....Injuries (hate to even mention this).

IMO, AR (if mostly healthy) will have to carry the team again after GB hits the last nine.... My Columbus Day wish is that Gute, somehow, someway, finds a WR2 via trade by the end of October... Turf toe may very well make that potential WR2 a WR1 into the playoffs.

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Turophile's picture

October 10, 2019 at 02:59 pm

Part of what is happening to Rodgers is what happened to Favre. As you hit the mid 30's, most of the guys who were around you are now gone. The new guys are young, think young, talk young. It can easily be alienating , not to mention a bit wearing on an older player. The best remedy is a good environment and winning - it cures many ills.

Some players seem to be able to be 'eternally young', Rodgers has never struck me as that guy, he's too thoughtful and controlled. I'm not saying that's bad, it just seems to be his personality, he DOES do enough (it seems to me) to keep his young team onside with him.

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Matt Gonzales's picture

October 10, 2019 at 04:21 pm

Absolutely agree with this. To borrow from Vic, free agency has created a graduating class within NFL teams, and this puts a tremendous amount of mental strain on the coach and QB to reinvent.

Spiff (or Hod? I forget) just published am awesome story about Lucas Patrick, which includes a great tidbit of AR going out of his way to talk to Patrick's mom. These are the kind of intangible things that totally get lost when looking at AR as a player and leader. I think he is finally embracing his role as not just the leader, but "Elder Statesman" who is actually invested in making the back half of his career as fruitful as possible.

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4thand1's picture

October 10, 2019 at 03:58 pm

The last few years was insanity and AR knew it. TT and MM doing the same thing over and over hoping AR would save their asses once again. This team needed saving and it was out with the old and in with the new. You could see the change in training camp. If AR is smiling Packer nation will be smiling too. GOPACKGO

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mnbadger's picture

October 10, 2019 at 05:56 pm

I'm glad that AR is having fun, but more importantly, I'M having fun!

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murf7777's picture

October 11, 2019 at 09:00 am

My thought is winning cures all. If we were 1-4 I think attitudes would be very different and we would be talking about Arod and MLF lack of or adverse relationship. The media would be glorifying that point to the highest level. There is one reality in the NFL and that is “not for long”. Keep on winning and a smile will remain on Rodgers face. In addition, the wolves (media) will be kept at bay.

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LambeauPlain's picture

October 11, 2019 at 10:17 am

This week Rogers answer a question about how he felt having a good, not great day in Dallas, and no touchdown passes. He answered “look, I have accomplished a lot in this league but now I just want to win.

That says a lot.

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murf7777's picture

October 11, 2019 at 10:48 am

Just win baby!

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