With the Packers' elimination from the playoffs comes this season's final post-game episode of Tuesdays with Aaron, Aaron Rodgers' radio show on ESPN Wisconsin. Jason Wilde questioned Rodgers on a multitude of topics from the Packers' loss to the 49ers, his relationship with Ben McAdoo, and how long the quarterback intends to play.
In case you missed it, reports surfaced today that McAdoo is a candidate for the Browns' head coaching position. When speaking about his position coach, Rodgers' tone was that of excitement and resignation.
I sent Ben a text and said to make sure you use me as a reference. He's a guy I really trust. I've needed a guy who can get me prepared every week. He wants to learn and takes things to heart I say and the things he hears from Tom (Clements). He understands the scheme. He's a very prepared coach. I'm happy he's getting this opportunity.
When asked further about the role the QB coach has on the team, Rodgers responded, "I need someone who can give me what I need in terms of preparation and stay on me about fundamentals." Rodgers expressed similar sentiments when former-quarterbacks coach Tom Clements was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2012.
As the conversation turned to the Packers' playoff loss, Rodgers unsurprisingly accepted the majority of the blame.
The team expects greatness out of me every week and they didn't get it. The performance wasn't good enough to win. We had some opportunities on the last drive to make some plays. We could have put the defense in a better situation if we had put seven on the board.
While that answer may seem standard fare, remember that Rodgers received considerable criticism for a perceived lack of leadership from several former players. While the idea that Rodgers, a Super Bowl champion and MVP, can't inspire his teammates is laughable, it's still something he likely keeps in mind when speaking with the media.
Rodgers then looked back on the season the Packers just completed.
It feels pretty empty right now because we're so close to it. Still something special bout the way it ended in the regular season. This is one of my proudest years. I battled through some injury stuff. I hope my teammates would say I was a good teammate.
Again, this seems to harken back to last offseason's discussion of Rodgers' leadership ability. As is his wont, Rodgers has not forgotten those slights against him.
When asked about his collarbone injury and his overall health, Rodgers sounded considerably more upbeat.
The collarbone feels good. This is an important offseason to come back. I'm going to set some high expectations for physical conditioning. I expect to be in phenomenal shape in August.
Wilde then asked more about the collarbone recovery and the chance for re-injury. Rodgers laid out what he and the team discussed.
It's more like a five-month rehab. There's a lot of complications that could have come. We were handcuffed by weekly scan, which didn't show enough healing. Nobody wanted to be out there more than me.
When asked if he's 100% healed, Rodgers somewhat jokingly, "I was cleared. I don't know what 100% is. I was 100% cleared." While we'll never know what the exact dangers were for Rodgers upon returning, he will be completely healthy by the time mini-camp rolls around this summer.
Finally, Wilde asked Rodgers about the Packers' cavalcade of pending free agents. Rodgers provided his usual diplomatic answer.
I'm not apprehensive (about the number of free agents). I trust our leadership. Lots of good things happened. We found out who were players. There's some guys deserving of contracts. I know Ted and Mike are going to bring back the players that can help us win.
Rodgers poured praise on center Evan Dietrich-Smith in particular.
Very proud of Evan. Challenged him that this was an opportunity to be the long-term guy. Great demeanor. I hope he's around for a long time.
Finally, Rodgers discussed his vision of the team's future.
This is the end of a window and a beginning of a new one. This year can open up a new window for four or five years. It looks bright... I expect to be playing at a high level for all six of those years (remaining on his contract). We have a chance to be great. We all trust the judgment of Ted and Mike. Never hurts to have more guys like that making sure our vets stick around.
That's all from Rodgers. Keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company for the latest Packers news and developments.
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