As the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL over the last four seasons, Aaron Rodgers is used to seeing pressure coming from all angles.
Now, it’s coming from his former teammates.
On Thursday, Donald Driver was asked about Greg Jennings’ practically nonstop criticism of Rodgers’ leadership style. Rather than defend his former quarterback, Driver piled on a bit.
"We've always said that the quarterback is the one that needs to take the pressure off everyone else," Driver said, via quotes on ESPN.com taken from Driver’s appearance on the “Mike & Mike” program on ESPN Radio. "If a guy runs the wrong route, it's easy for the quarterback to say, 'Hey, I told him to run that route' than for the guy to be like, 'Well, I ran the wrong route.'
"Sometimes you ask Aaron to take the pressure off the guys so we won't look bad, but he didn't want to do that. He felt like if you did something bad, you do it. But I think that's the difference. You want that leadership, and I think sometimes you may not feel like you got it. You have to earn that respect at the end of the day, and I think that's what Greg was probably referring to."
Rodgers has blown off Jennings’ comments when asked by reporters in Green Bay, and he did so again at Sports Illustrated’s new TheMMQB.com.
Coach Mike McCarthy sounded exasperated when asked after Thursday’s practice.
“I didn’t get to read the whole thing,” McCarthy said, “I didn’t understand it and, frankly, I think Aaron manages his job responsibility very well. To answer your question specifically, accountability is throughout your whole football team. The quarterback position, we take a lot of pride in the way it’s coached. That’s the most overly criticized position on our whole team internally. But as far as Donald, I’m very fond of Donald. I know he’s going through a tough period right now with his loss, and my thoughts and prayers are out to him and his family. But I don’t know that to really say about the comments.”
Driver, who noticeably never mentioned Rodgers in his retirement speech, took to Twitter and blamed it on the media. He also said, “I can’t believe people would think I’m talking about Aaron. Aaron is a great person and good friend … The issue is between him and Greg. I love them both. Great friends.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.