I know what you are thinking. Really, we are going to rehash this again? I think it deserves some analysis in light of Donald Driver’s statements. Obviously, the entire interview was mostly positive about the Green Bay Packers. However, the comments about Aaron Rodgers not accepting the blame for wrong routes definitely deserve some attention especially in regards to Greg Jennings comments.
Let’s just analyze Greg Jenning for a moment. Driver acknowledged that Jennings wanted to stay in Green Bay. In the middle of last season, the Packers tried to work out a deal, but Ted Thompson would not give Jennings as much money as he thought he deserved. Here is the way I envision the rest of it playing out:
Jennings: Listen, I think I am a top ten, top 5 WR in the NFL.
Thompson: OK, that’s fine.
Jennings: What? What is that supposed to mean? So are you gonna pay me more?
Thompson: No. This is all we can do.
Jennings: So you are telling me that you will pay Aaron and Clay, but not me?
Jennings storms out determined to be the highest paid human being in the universe.
Throughout free agency:
Stage 1 Jennings: I know the Packers will eventually see my value and offer me more money. At the very least, I can see what other teams have to offer and use that as a bargaining chip.
Thompson: Hi Greg.
Jennings: Ok, so about that offer that you had on the table during the season. I will definitely sign it!
Thompson: Sorry Greg, but the market determined your value and it’s less than what we first offered. You were hurt almost the whole year last year, and you can see what we have at WR. Here is what we are willing to do now.
Jennings: WHAT?! Come on, I want to be a Packer but you offered more money not even 3 months ago.
Thompson: Listen, this is what we are willing to offer at the time. It’s a business decision.
Jennings: No way am I taking that! Seeya Ted.
Stage 3 Jennings: I will go visit the Vikings, and see what they offer me. But, Chrisian Ponder. That’s barely an upgrade over Tim Tebow. Oh well, with me there he will definitely get a lot better. I would love to shove it in the Packers face.
It probably did not happen exactly like that, but I definitely think that Jennings overvalued himself (a WR overvalueing himself? Shocker, I know) and thought he could drive up the price on the Packers. When he didn’t have the market he thought, I am sure he went to the Packers and said he would take the previous deal. Ted, being the shrewd businessman he is and knowing the market now, would not offer him as much money. Jenning’s pride was definitely hurting before this, but this is the ultimate burn. He probably felt like he had some security in returning to the Packers, and then he felt rejection. So he went to the Vikings, who offered even less money than the Packers, determined to stick it to the Packers. He called Brett Favre, someone familiar with trying to stick it to the Packers, and the media ate it up.
So what to make about his comments? Well, when you get hurt by somebody, what do you normally do? Unless you are very mature, and even mature people get caught doing this, you would say nasty things to make yourself feel better. Enter Aaron Rodgers.
I think the whole Rodgers leadership thing is overblown. He is a bit more reserved and calculated than ol’ number 4. By all accounts, no matter what your other thoughts are about Favre, Brett was an awesome teammate. He would be the guy that would get guys to rally around him, tell the funniest stories, and generally was the coolest dude in the locker room. Rodgers is more reserved, close to the vest, and chill. He’s not as charismatic as Favre. That doesn’t make him any less of a teammate or leader. Rodgers also has a huge chip on his shoulder, and has a Tom Brady-like obsession with winning. I’m not saying Favre didn’t expect teammates to work hard, but I’m guessing Rodgers expects the same amount of effort and dedication as he gives himself. When that doesn’t happen, he doesn’t just let it go.
Rodgers strikes me as a guy that isn’t as immediately likeable as Favre, and it might come off as prideful. I think he definitely has a healthy ego, but I think mainly he is just coming into his own and understanding the leadership position and influence that he has. He also chooses his relationships carefully, and developes deeper friendships (Enter Braun joke here). I think he was definitely good friends with Driver and Jennings, but probably has better relationships with Jones, Nelson, and Cobb hence why he went to bat to bring back Jones and constantly talks up Cobb. I’m sure Driver and Jennings probably missed the ol’ buttslappin, dick sendin, burpin, fartin, gunslingin, carefree Brett Favre as well.
Back to Jennings comments. When Aaron said "Who," it opened up a natural avenue for Jennings bitterness to seep through. You know when you are trying make a harmless comeback, but you are really upset and you end up saying things the wrong way. That’s what happened to Jennings. There might have been some disagreements between Rodgers and Jennings, but they got along in Green Bay. I sincerely believe Jennings was not trying to throw Rodgers under the bus, but basically is bitter towards the Packers. He can’t stop talking about the Packers any more than a guy can stop talking about his ex-girl that broke up with him. I’m sure Greg often wishes he hadn’t left Green Bay, but what do you do when you’ve made a bad decision you can’t go back on? You try and rationalize why the decision was really a good one. Think about it. Jennings took less money and is playing for a considerably worse QB, and is saying stuff like Ponder is as good as Rodgers he just didn’t have weapons (I guess Green Bay isn’t the only place with brainwashing). Jennings is broken hearted, a little bit hurt that Rodgers did not openly say Jennings should stay, and trying to accept the face he made a bad decision.
What about Driver? I feel bad for Donald. He was caught between a rock and a hard place. He is friends with both guys, but probably closer with Jennings. That’s why we got the most confusing statement from Driver. Maybe he is referring to the fact that Favre’s last interception as Packer wasn’t really a horrendous throw, but Driver ran the wrong route and Favre covered for him. I don’t know, but Driver tried to stay mainly neutral and stepped on his own toes. His comments make no sense, but I think it was a tough question and he was trying to keep a foot in both camps. When that happens, you get what we did from Driver’s interview. Confusion. Whatever, I still love Donald Driver.
In conclusion, Jennings, Driver, Rodgers, and whoever else just need to let things go. It’s been fun, but please just stop talking about it. Jennings needs to avoid talking about the Packers because it just makes him look like a pining middle schooler. Rodgers just needs to keep doing what he is doing, and hopefully we’ll come away with two big wins against 15, Ponder, and the rest of the crew in MN.