Packers head coach Matt LaFleur played the ultimate diplomat in addressing Aaron Rodgers’ criticism of Green Bay’s joint practices with Houston this week.
The two teams held joint practices in Green Bay on Monday and Tuesday, and Rodgers was clearly not pleased, telling reporters, “I wouldn’t mind if they didn’t do it for another 14 years,” and “it’s out of my control.”
Rodgers also criticized certain drills, saying “I don’t think doing live special teams drills is very smart.”
The remarks were quickly construed by some NFL observers and Packers fans as an early warning sign in the relationship between the franchise quarterback and the first-year head coach. But anyone looking for LaFleur to add to the drama by poking back at Rodgers will be disappointed. After the Packers’ 28-26 win over the Texans on Thursday, LaFleur joked that he and Rodgers were not on speaking terms.
Then he directly addressed Rodgers’ criticism.
“You know what? There’s a lot of things that a lot of players don’t like about training camp,” LaFleur told reporters. “From his perspective, I can understand where he’s coming from in some regard because it’s not like they’re playing, they run about four different coverages, so it’s not overly complicated.
“It’s not like [Packers defensive coordinator Mike] Pettine throwing everything at you. So, I get it from his perspective. But at the same time, there’s 10 other guys on the field with him on each play, and it was great for us, especially when you talk about our run game getting some different looks to go against.
“I always respect his opinion, just like I do all our players. But I still think it was beneficial for us.”
LaFleur did admit that the live kickoff drills were not a great idea.
“The one thing that I will comment on that I thought that he was dead right on was when you look at the kickoff, they ramped up their intensity level and we didn’t match it,” LaFleur said. “It looked a little, we got it taken to us a little bit. That’s something moving forward I probably wouldn’t do again is those full covered kickoff drills.”