Though he’ll never be the heart-on-his-sleeve quarterback his predecessor was, Aaron Rodgers isn’t afraid to let you know how he feels, on the field or off. And if he isn’t happy with something in the front office or with the coaches, he’s going to say so.
In an interview with ESPN Thursday, Rodgers hinted he wasn’t thrilled with the decision to move on from quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt in a tumultuous offseason for the Packers.
“I thought that was an interesting change, really without consulting me,” Rodgers said of the decision to let Van Pelt walk. “There’s a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach, and that was an interesting decision.”
For those unfamiliar with Midwestern lingo — which Rodgers has mastered in his time in Green Bay — “interesting” is really code for “I don’t like this, but I know I can’t politely say so.”
Had APC been conducting the interview, the followup question would have been to ask whether Rodgers had spoken directly to Van Pelt following his ouster. After all, head coach Mike McCarthy suggested the decision to move on was mutual given Van Pelt’s contract was up.
“Frankly this decision was made last year,” McCarthy said in January after announcing the change. “I don’t want to speak on Alex’s, his thoughts, but this is a moment he’s prepared himself for.”
This would have been an ideal situation to pin down McCarthy for what felt like obvious spin. If Rodgers had, in fact, spoken to Van Pelt and he didn’t want to leave, it would run counter to the team’s narrative about a mutually agreed upon change. Rodgers has been a vocal supporter of Van Pelt since he came to the staff in 2012, and their relationship cemented since 2014 when Van Pelt became the quarterbacks coach.
There’s a conversation to be had about whether McCarthy owed it to Rodgers to “consult” him on the decision, though it would seem obvious the Packers should have let QB1 know about a change before he has to read about it in the press. (To be clear, we don’t know if that did or didn’t happen, which is another reason to have asked a followup question.)
Either way, Rodgers clearly doesn’t love the idea of his position coach being gone, or how it was handled by the head coach and that’s a sub-optimal position to be in with your franchise quarterback.