Aaron Rodgers believes the Packers are a contender, despite a challenging schedule.
Rodgers Q&A: ‘It’s really fun right now’
By JASON WILDE
GREEN BAY – The first words out of his mouth are either a threat or a warning. It’s hard to tell.
“I’m going to go into really boring mode,” Aaron Rodgers says as he Nestea plunges back into a leather chair.
The offseason program is almost over, and the Green Bay Packers quarterback, having done the media rounds during organized team activities and minicamp, has heard enough Qs and delivered enough As. California beckons, and he’s one day away from getting on – as former Packers wide receiver Antonio Freeman once so eloquently put it – the first thing smokin’ home.
But he’s got one more interview to do, and in it, he will talk about three recent newsmakers (who also happen to be friends of his, to varying degrees), life as the NFL’s highest-paid player (and the expectations that come with it), being the longest-tenured player in the Packers locker room (at the ripe old age of 29), the talent that surrounds him on offense (from the reconfigured line to what’s left of his receiving corps), his current motivation (which goes way beyond the infamous chip on his shoulder) and even his current favorite TV show (and the danger of Tweeting a season finale spoiler to 969,000 people).
Rodgers spent 40 minutes in the green room adjacent to the Lambeau Field media auditorium last week talking about those topics and others. An edited transcript of that conversation follows.
You were unwavering in your support of your friend Ryan Braun amid reports of his alleged performance-enhancing drug use a few years ago. What did you think when ESPN’s Outside The Lines recently reported that baseball is looking to suspend him 100 games for his link to Biogenesis?
Rodgers: Ryan’s a good friend and I care about him a lot as a person. He’s a great person, and I stand with my friend.
Q: Have you reached out to him after this last story broke?
Rodgers: Yeah. We talk all the time. We’re good friends, and obviously we have our restaurant together, and get to spend some time together during the year – whether he’s coming up here to a game, which doesn’t happen a whole lot, or I’m going down there. We see each other at various events, and we definitely keep in touch all year and speak regularly.
Greg Jennings, your former teammate who’s now in Minnesota, recently referred to you in an interview as “the guy they have there now.” At the Wisconsin Sports Awards, you joked “Who?” when his name came up. Is there some animosity there? How did you take what he said?
Rodgers: I think sometimes, as I’ve found out, humor doesn’t always come through a text message or a Tweet or an interview at times. I think it’s hard, unless somebody puts a note in there about it being said in a joking way, it’s hard to have humor come through a story. I have a lot of respect for Greg, and we had a lot of great times together, made a lot of plays. He had three really huge catches in the Super Bowl and a lot of wins here. So I know there’s a lot of mutual respect and I don’t take an umbrage from anything he said.
Brett Favre has made a lot of news lately, and you’ve talked a lot about it. Why did you decide to get involved in this? What was your thought process in not only doing the NFL Honors presentation but now continuing to be somewhat at the forefront, or being the catalyst, of this reconciliation?
Rodgers: Well first, I don’t want to be at the forefront of this. I really don’t think that’s my place. It’s the organization and Brett and retiring his number, bringing him back into the family … I just felt like I had the opportunity to bury anything that people thought had been between Brett and I. And it was an opportunity to see Brett, to talk, to reconnect beforehand and then to do something very public that was kind of making light of the situation in an atmosphere where many people, when we were announced together, probably were very surprised that one, we were on stage together, and two, that we both agreed to do it. So that was good, I think. The joke, it was almost an inside joke between Brett and I. The awkward comment was off the top of my head; it wasn’t contrived. But I think it was making light of the fact that getting to talk to him, we had patched things up, if anything needed to be patched up. I think it could and can set the tone and set things in motion for the organization and the fans – and Brett – being able to move forward. I think as the face of the franchise, it was important for me to show that I was ready to move on, and hopefully everyone else can as well.
You were the one caught in the middle, though, during the summer of 2008. And we have to be careful about revisionist history here, in terms of your relationship with him when you were his backup. Did you need to hear something from him – “I’m sorry that I put you through that, that wasn’t fair to you,” something to that effect? And did you get it?
Rodgers: Well, the stuff that we talked about I’m going to keep between Brett and I. But I think that we’ve all just moved past it. We’re 4 1/2 years on the other side of that. A lot has changed around here, obviously. We’ve been able to have success as a team, I’ve been able to have some success individually. I’m very, very secure with the stuff we’ve accomplished here. And proud of it. And I’m able to give the respect that Brett deserves for the many years that he played at a high level here and what he accomplished here. This league is a league that doesn’t wait around for people. It’s a tough league; guys are here one day and gone the next. I’ve seen a lot of friends go on to different teams or go on to a different profession. And change is a constant in our business. We made a change four years ago, five years ago, but Brett had an incredible career here. It’s time to bring him back and retire his number here before he goes into Canton.
Let’s talk about your contract. What does $110 million mean, exactly? We throw these numbers around with professional athletes’ contracts, but for normal people trying to pay their mortgage and put their kids through college, that kind of money unfathomable. Does it blow you away?
Rodgers: Yes, it’s humbling and silly at times to think about it. But money doesn’t change people, I don’t think. I think it highlights characteristics in your personality that maybe weren’t so visible when you didn’t have as much. So I’ve tried to remember that and stay true to who I am as a person and as a teammate. The guys have been great. There’s jokes every now and then, but I’m trying to be the same person in the locker room that I was when I was a backup and working on the scout team. It gives you an extra responsibility that you take care of the people that are important to you and realize that you have an opportunity to make an even bigger difference in your community and in your world.
So you’re saying that money can bring out the worst in people?
Rodgers: Yes. It highlights those things that, if you’re a stingy person or kind of a jerk but you couldn’t be when you didn’t have a lot and you were trying to work your way up the ladder of success as defined by our culture, when you get near the top of the ladder, then you have the opportunity to be that jerk if you want. And that’s why I try to keep people around me who aren’t just yes-men and yes-women. They’re going to tell me how it is all the time, and I rely on them to keep me in line.
So is your greater concern then not how it might change you, but that the money might change how you’re perceived by others?
Rodgers: No, I’m not too worried about that. It’s for sure going to do that. But that’s something that’s out of my control, and I learned many years ago that there’s going to be so many things that are out of your control that you can go crazy worrying about them. I feel like I’ve worked really hard to be where I’m at. It feels weird to say I worked hard for that money, because I definitely don’t feel that way. But I’ve worked hard to be a good player in this league and the other stuff that comes with it, I’m not going to worry about too much because that’s really out of my control.
Are you bothered by the suggestion that this team is going to have trouble surrounding you with the requisite talent because of how much it’s costing them to keep you? Everyone points to the advantage San Francisco and Seattle have by having young, good quarterbacks who are working for peanuts compared to your contract and the contracts of other elite QBs.
Rodgers: Again, those are opinions that I’m not going to give a whole lot of weight to. I feel like – and I know the organization does or they wouldn’t have done that contract and we wouldn’t have signed that contract – they feel like we can field a successful team. I think the salary-cap numbers alone, especially with the new TV deal coming and the overall salary-cap jump, we’re going to have the opportunity to be successful. This is a contract that I think is rare in professional football these days, where you sign a contract that’s seven years, basically, with the five-year add-on, and I could play all seven without having re-do the deal at all because the cap numbers don’t go astronomically high in Years 3, 4, 5 like some of the other deals signed by some of the top guys who got new deals.
In any way is the contract a burden? Do you worry about justifying the contract?
Rodgers: No, I don’t think it’s a burden. You know, I’ve felt like I’ve had to justify myself every year, so this is nothing different. I wouldn’t look at it as a burden. When they drafted me, I wanted to prove I was worthy of being a first-round draft pick. When they named me the starter, I felt like I had to prove that I was worthy of being a starter. When we went 6-10 the first year, I felt like I had to prove that I belonged in this league and we could get to the playoffs. When we didn’t win in the playoffs (in 2009), I had to prove that I could help this team win a playoff game. When we won a Super Bowl, I had to prove that it wasn’t a fluke, that we could have another good season. There’s always going to be critics and doubters out there, and it’s about finding your inner motivation, because that’s what successful people can do.
Q: So the world-famous chip on Aaron Rodgers’ shoulder hasn’t gone anywhere? You haven’t made it?
Rodgers: I’m very self-motivated. We’ve talked enough about the chip.
Let’s talk about longevity. You’ve mentioned that this is basically a seven-year deal, through 2019. Careers seldom – as you were witness to with Brett Favre – end the way you draw them up. But if you were given the chance to draw it up, how would it play out?
Rodgers: Playing 15, 16, 17 years in one uniform; going out and being remembered as being a great teammate and a guy who performed well on Sunday; a guy his teammates could rely on every game day but also somebody who made practice a lot of fun and the locker room a lot of fun; someone who really cared about the game and hopefully did it all in one uniform. You realize in this game that it’s very rare that you can stay with a team your entire career. I look at that as a challenge. And I love challenges. I love it when people think things can’t be done, and trying to prove to them and myself that I can do them. And it is a challenge, to stay in one uniform for that long. And the way to do that is to play at a high level and keep yourself in incredible shape for that long. And if I can do that, then I think I can be a Green Bay Packer for life.
Q: And that could mean playing beyond this contract? I know you take it one day at a time, but …
Rodgers: Yes – if I play well enough.
People who’ve been married a long time always say that the key to a long, successful marriage is that both people work at making the relationship grow, even after years together. This is now your eighth year with Mike McCarthy. That’s a long time. How do you view your relationship, and how do you grow it and strengthen it? Because there’s been some ups and downs.
Rodgers: Well, I think it has grown. I think one thing that did a lot for us was starting to meet once a week back in 2010, and spending time talking together – about football, about life. I think when you really understand a person off the field, you can better get along with them on the field. I think that’s done a lot for us. You know, he leads by example – in the way he sets up the schedule and practice, a game plan. That’s how he gets the respect from the guys. And he gets more respect from me when he shows me he trusts me by allowing me to have a bigger input on plays at the line of scrimmage or have a bigger voice in the meeting room. And I think that does a lot for the relationship. I think trust goes both ways. We’ve played a lot of football together, been around each other for a long time – me around him as a young head coach, and him around me as a young player. And now, we’re old, grizzled veterans and it’s been fun to see how both of our lives have changed on and off the field, and I think there’s nothing but good things ahead.
He’s said before that he believes conflict is good because it leads to growth. Did you two see your relationship grow after you screamed at him for throwing that challenge flag in Minnesota? I don’t know how you view how you reacted to that, but it was a very emotional reaction.
Rodgers: Yeah, it was. That was definitely a conflict and we grew from it. And now, I think we can both laugh about it. Well, I laugh now. He’ll be able to laugh about it in the future, I think.
Let’s talk about who isn’t on this team: Charles Woodson. Greg Jennings. Donald Driver. Tom Crabtree. Erik Walden. Desmond Bishop. How has the locker room dynamic changed? You always talk about how it’s a new team each year, but this year, it’s really
a new team.
Rodgers: Yeah, that’s part of our league. There’s going to be a lot of that. It’s really fun right now. We miss those guys and their personalities, but it’s fun having a young team that has enough veterans in the right spots but with young leaders starting to emerge. I think it’s a cycle. You have a young team and the young guys start to grow up and be leaders, and they become the older guys. And some of them lead, and it’s a circle. Now you’re seeing younger guys like T.J Lang, Josh Sitton, Randall Cobb, Morgan Burnett, Brad Jones, stepping up into a leadership role, and that’s fun to see. Because that’s the character of your team starting to show through. This is an exciting time in the season – this time, training camp, the preseason games – because you kind of get to see your team take shape. I enjoy being one of the older guys on the team, the “longest-tenured Packer” because I’ve seen a lot of guys come through, and you can start to see what guys are doing the right things to put themselves in position to make the team, and you can see guys making the most of their leadership opportunities, which just adds to the character of this team.
You used the phrase – longest-tenured Packer. Now, Ryan Pickett is older than you, John Kuhn is older than you and Tramon Williams is older than you. I think that’s it. The quarterback position demands leadership, doesn’t it? If you’re going to be a good team, your quarterback has to be a good leader, right? But how does this change for you, being the longest-tenured player and seeing all these changes?
Rodgers: Well, I’m more – especially in this type of setting, the learning environment of OTAs and training camp – I’ll be more like kind of an assistant coach. Because I’ve been in this offense for, this will be my ninth season – all eight with Mike McCarthy, and one with Mike Sherman. And it’s been very similar terminology and so I have a ton of reps in this offense. I know it inside and out, and I can really help out the young guys. And I look for those opportunities. It’s fun when you bring in guys who are really eager to learn. And (general manager) Ted (Thompson) and his personnel staff have a track record of bringing in some very talented late-round draft picks and free-agent guys. And it’s fun to see those guys come in with a hunger to learn and get better, and it’s fun to see some of those guys really start to make those jumps in OTAs and training camp to where they put themselves in position to make an NFL roster. And my role in that is to be that voice in their head, helping them out, giving them the encouragement they need, getting on them when they need to be gotten on and kind of demanding a high level of preparation and play. And I look for those opportunities.
McCarthy said at the end of OTAs that this team “has a different edge to it,” that there’s a greater “sense of urgency.” Do you feel that, and what do you think is causing that?
Rodgers: I think the coaches in general are demanding more, and I think that’s a good thing. Mike always talks about the roles of coaches and players. Coaches are to demand and teach and communicate, and players are to prepare, perform and communicate. The players are doing a better job of preparing; we performed better in the OTAs. The coaches are doing a better job of demanding more. There’s a higher level of getting on guys and making sure guys are doing the right things. There was guys flying around at the OTAs a lot more, and I think the teaching level – we have an incredible staff – has gone up noticeably as well. But the biggest thing that may have changed to get this thing going the way we want it to go is the communication. I think Mike really laid out how he wanted this thing to go from Day 1 of the offseason and Day 1 of OTAs. And the guys have bought into it. There hasn’t been any complaining or dissenting opinions during OTAs. It’s been very refreshing seeing guys get on board and be leaders. Especially guys like T.J. and Josh and Evan Dietrich-Smith and Bryan (Bulaga) and Marshall (Newhouse). When your offensive line is leading by example in practice and in the meeting rooms and on the field, the rest of your team is going to follow. I believe that, and I know Mike does as well. And those guys have done a good job of that.
We’ll get back to those offensive linemen in a second, but Jordy Nelson talked the other day about teams having “a window.” Do you still feel that this team’s window is wide open? And you said on the radio show after the San Francisco game that you didn’t feel there was the same appreciation last year as guys had in 2010, or the same hunger last year as 2010. Do you see those both being better as well?
Rodgers: I do. And I see the window staying open. I really do. I see some important guys making that jump mentally and physically. Some guys have been here, and I see these young guys coming in and pushing guys. I look at a guy like Datone Jones. I mean, he’s a man out there. And having guys like that and Johnny Jolly, bringing Johnny back, those are two guys who bring an energy to that defensive line that needs it. Personality-wise, those guys are the funniest guys on the team, but every now and then they need a little kick in the pants, and sometimes it comes from bringing in a couple guys like that who can really raise the level of play of guys. You bring in a guy like Johnathan Franklin or Eddie Lacy, that raises the running back room. When you continually add guys to the mix that can compete right away from Day 1, everybody else has to pick up their game because you start worrying about your own job. When they’re cutting guys like Charles Woodson, and not bringing back Greg, who’s played a long time here, guys who had big roles for us, it has to be a wake-up call to some of our guys that this is about, “What have you done for me lately?” and “What can you do for me?” That’s the type of league that we’re in. That’s how our team looks at us. So you better perform, or you’re going to be looking for a job elsewhere.
What was your initial reaction to the offensive line shuffle, and how do you feel now? Have your thoughts changed at all?
Rodgers: You know what? That was Mike and Coach (James) Campen’s decision. I didn’t see that coming initially, but again, those guys did a good job of rolling with it. I think once we got into the IPWs and OTAs, they realized, ‘This is the way it’s going to be, I’ve got to make the most of it. There’s nothing to be gained from complaining about this or griping about it. Let’s get used to these positions and these stances and being on the other side, and let’s get to work.’ More than anything, having a center like Evan who brings some crazy energy to practice every day and brings a wealth of knowledge and intelligence, that really helps. Because when he can be in the middle and have two incredibly intelligent guards next to him, you can do a lot of things. And those guys have really settled into their roles, and I see that line as improving. I think they’re going to be a tough force for us this year.
And I’ll tell you, I think Marshall has really responded to the challenge. I give Marshall a lot of credit. I think he has played a tough position in a tough division, and he’s played well. Now he’s moving to the right side, which is a little foreign to him although he has played a little bit on that side for us, and I think he’s done a good job. I think it’s going to be evident when you put the pads on this summer, when he’s going against Clay (Matthews) and Nick Perry and Mike Neal and Datone when he’s out wide in their three-down front, this is going to be a good test for him. but I think it’s going to be good. It’s going to be good for Bryan, going against Clay every day, too.
What have you seen from the young running backs, and is this a potential game-changer for your offense? You’re still going to throw the ball, but will this change the way defenses look at you?
Rodgers: I love what we’re doing on offense. We’re tough to stop. And if we can have a balanced attack running the football, just the threat of running the football, it can do nothing but help us. We saw a lot of very soft coverage last year and a lot of four-man rushes. If we can run the ball more effectively, it can only help us when we’re trying to get those one-on-one matchups outside. We have game-breakers outside, and it’d be nice to have some consistent game-breakers inside.
What are your impressions of Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin? And you’re also a fan of, as you affectionately call him, “the used car salesman,” DuJuan Harris, who was in fact selling cars when you guys put him on the practice squad.
Rodgers: I love the used car salesman. I think he’s a special player. I think DuJuan Harris is an incredible combination of strength and agility for a man of his size, and I’m excited about seeing what he can do as a featured back. It’s been good having Johnathan and Eddie here. I think you’re seen Alex Green and James Starks do some really good things this spring. It’s going to be a tough competition for however many guys they keep at that spot. But both Johnathan and Eddie bring some different things to the table. Johnathan’s a quick, athletic, loose-hipped guy who can make guys miss in the open field regularly, and Eddie is a power back who also has some agility. You saw him on some power runs, especially this spring, where he’s been able to read his blocks and make guys miss. He’s a very patient runner, which we haven’t had here in awhile. I think you saw some of that with Cedric but really since Ahman (Green) was in his heyday, we haven’t seen anyone be as patient back there. I think this training camp will be really important for him, to go from a high pick to a guy who can really be a difference-maker for us in the backfield. I think when he figures out the mental part of this, which I think he’s getting closer, I think he could be a very talented back for us.
Q: Philosophically, you’re OK with running the ball more? Nobody loves to throw it more than you – except maybe the play-caller.
Rodgers: (smiles) As long as we’re winning.
You have a pretty good track record of picking out guys early that you liked. Who’s made an impression on you? Are there some guys that have caught your eye?
Rodgers: I think two guys who have benefitted maybe the most from this spring are (undrafted rookie wide receivers) Myles White and Tyrone Walker. I think both those guys have made a lot of plays for us. And with our two seventh-round picks at wide receiver (Kevin Dorsey and Charles Johnson) missing most of the OTAs, those guys have stepped up and done some great things. Tyrone reminds me of Antonio Chatman, who not many people know I actually played with. But Deuce had very similar size and agility but he was a good route runner, very good in and out of his breaks. And I see that with Walker. I think he has very good hands, he’s a good route runner and I think he has a chance to be a good player in this league. Myles is very shifty, he has very good releases, and mentally, he’s getting closer. He has a strong hunger to be good in this league and he’s very self-motivated, and that’s very important. Those guys benefit from an incredible position coach in Edgar Bennett, who harps on them about fundamentals and details and he’s got three of the best examples of what it looks like every day in that room in Cobby, Jones and Nelson. I tell those young guys all the time, “Watch the older guy in your group and see how he does things. That’s what I did when I was a young player. Watch the older guy in your group, and pick out the things that he does well that you don’t do yet and try to incorporate those in your game. And look at the things that maybe you don’t like or you don’t understand and question those and figure out why they’re doing them. And then either incorporate that in your game or do it a little differently.” But when you’ve got really good examples like Myles and Tyrone do in their room, there’s no reason they shouldn’t make big leaps this fall and have a chance to make the team.
Do you like those unheralded wide receivers? You’ve got some guys with draft pedigrees in Jordy, who’s a second-round pick, Randall, who’s a second-round pick, and James, who’s a third-round pick. But you’ve always liked these young guys – Chastin West, Diondre Borel, Jarrett Boykin, now White and Walker. You like Boykin, you like Jeremy Ross.
Rodgers: Don’t forget Ruvell (Martin).
Is there something about those guys that you like?
Rodgers: All those guys you mentioned loved football and really wanted to get better. And that’s what it takes in this league. You have to be self-motivated and have a strong desire to improve, and you have to love what you’re doing. Because this is our job. It’s a full-time job if you want to be a great player. And Ruvell was incredibly motivated and desperately wanted to see the game through the quarterback’s eyes and improve and know how he could run his routes better and get the ball. And he had some great production for us here. Jeremy Ross and Jarrett Boykin, both game in last year – Jarrett was obviously with us earlier than Jeremy – and really wanted to get better. They wanted to know what I was thinking, wanted to know why I did this or why I threw that route or wanted a guy to run it this way or that way. You can’t have enough guys like that. It’s impressive when you see guys who really care about it enough to spend the time on it, because what else are you going to do right now in the offseason? If you want to make this team and you’re a free-agent guy and you have to make it, you have to show up. And those guys have so far and put themselves in a position to make a run in training camp.
One last thing on the passing game. Greg Jennings is in Minnesota, Donald Driver has been turned into a statue by the Titletown Brewing Co. How do you feel about the weapons you have left – Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley – and what they can do?
Rodgers: I love ‘em. I love our weapons. We have a lot of guys who can do a lot of different things for you. We have two of the top outside receivers in the league in Jordy and James. Look at the catches James made last year – incredible. Look at the production Jordy’s had here for us, his ability to make second-reaction plays, his ability to go up and get the ball, his ability to hardly ever – other than last year in Minnesota – get caught from behind. Those are talented, talented football players. And then Randall in the slot, I think he’s really refined his craft and become a very good slot receiver, and I think the best is yet to come with him. And Jermichael last year made some big strides for us down the stretch. You look at the year he put up last year, when he was at the top of a lot of statistical categories for Green Bay tight ends, and I think the best is still yet to come from him. I think he can do even more. And he feels that way. For him, it’s always been about making the plays your own and doing it with confidence. And I think he gained a lot of confidence last year, how he finished the season. I’m excited and I know he’s excited about what this year could hold for him.
What is your life like now, from the end of OTAs until training camp starts? I know you care about playing well in the American Century Golf Championship in July in Lake Tahoe, but what else goes on in your life? And how important is it to get away from football for the next 40-some days?
Rodgers: Yeah, that’s important. Less important than the first part of the offseason, though. This time for me is all about training my body for training camp and training my golf swing for Tahoe. It’ll be a lot of double-days in the workouts and trying to get myself in the best position to be ready to start training camp fast and start the season fresh as well. I tell you, this is really the first year where I’ve felt like I had to do a little bit more to get myself into the same I wanted to get in. And that’s because it’s not only my ninth season, but I know the most important thing for me to be able to play to the end of this contract is going to be to make sure my legs stay strong and I’m able to do the things I like to do on the field: Be athletic out of the pocket, make some plays with my feet, and be able to have that balance to throw in the pocket with my legs underneath me. So it’s going to be all about getting myself in the best, tip-top physical shape I can, and getting ready to have a good season.
Do you need to take fewer sacks?
Rodgers: I don’t look at it that way.
Q: How do you look at it?
Rodgers: We need to decrease our number of sacks.
Q: So how do you do that while not changing who you are? No one wants to see you get hurt, and your offensive coordinator, your pal Tom Clements, said that you put yourself at risk at times.
Rodgers: Yeah, I don’t want to get hurt. We just need to avoid a few of them and I think we will. We all have a part in that, from myself to the line to the backs to the tight ends to the scheme. We’ve got to find the right mix and try to cut that number in half.
Any other HBO series you’re going to ruin the season finale of this offseason? Your Game of Thrones
Tweet didn’t go over so well.
Rodgers: I took some heat, yeah. It’s the 24-hour rule though. You’ve got 24 hours not to get spoilered. It was way more than 24 hours after the episode aired. I gave them 24 hours for the whole world to see it, if they wanted to. If you’re a true fan, then you don’t wait 24 hours to see it. I was back from a flight real late and watched it at 12 when I had to be back in the next morning at 7.
Q: Why are you such a big fan of this show, Mr. Princess Bride?
Rodgers: Because it’s fantasy, it’s a fantasy world with magic and dragons and good looking women and all different types of people. You’ve got the white walkers, you’ve got the zombies … dragons, battles, killing … it’s pretty incredible.
If you say so. Let’s finish here: What are your expectations for 2013? You’ll be asked this again in training camp, but with what San Francisco and Seattle have done, do you feel like your team goes in as a contender, but an under-the-radar one? Because that’s when you think your team is at its best, no?
Rodgers: I love it. I love being under the radar. For sure, we’re a contender. For sure. I mean, we’re going to put ourselves in position to win a lot of games. Our goal is to win our division and get to the playoffs. And anything can happen. And then hopefully we can take care of business like we did in 2010 when we get back there. The NFL didn’t do us any favors with the schedule, but we don’t need them to.
Listen to Jason Wilde every weekday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Green & Gold Today” on 540 ESPN, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonjwilde.