Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre are very different quarterbacks. One has avoided turnovers at a historic rate, while the other led the NFL in interceptions in three different seasons. One is considered to be one of the smartest, most cerebral quarterbacks in the league, while the other didn’t know what a nickel defense was in his third season.
But what both legendary Green Bay Packers have in common is an ability to make something out of nothing — to make unbelievable plays outside the script of an offense. And it seems from recent comments that Favre is worried about whether Rodgers will be allowed to do so under a new head coach.
At the heart of the discussion is a recent narrative that Rodgers and new coach Matt LaFleur are at odds, or at least unsure about their partnership, when it comes to audibles. Under Mike McCarthy, Rodgers had complete freedom to change a playcall in the huddle or at the line of scrimmage. LaFleur’s scheme does not allow for that, leading to comments from both men suggesting that they need to figure out how best to work together to each other’s strengths.
But while the two men’s public comments are positive and suggest a fully collaborative attitude on both sides, the media is going through plenty of hand-wringing over a push-and-pull between the two. This weekend while speaking at the American Family Insurance Championship golf tournament, Favre weighed in, expressing a bit of concern about the idea that Rodgers could be limited in the new scheme. Here is the quote, from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
Aaron will be fine. I think that the thing is he needs to remain the same. And I don’t have to give him any advice. You know, he’ll handle it well. The question is, how will they handle it with him, and obviously that’s very important. I mean, there’s more to the team than Aaron but we all have to admit that when he’s playing and playing well, which generally when he’s playing he is playing well, you don’t want to change what’s working. There’s other factors that you have to work on. So I think you let him play his game and not disturb that very much. And it’s going to be interesting to see if that happens.
The tone of Favre’s comments — saying things like “you don’t want to change what’s working” implies a resistance to change and a bit of a defensive posture when it comes to his former protege. That he would approach the situation this way suggests that he believes there is reason to be concerned about LaFleur keeping Rodgers too much in check.
Still, as far back as April, LaFleur was already talking about wanting Rodgers to still have some freedom at the line. This comment from an interview with The MMQB illustrates his approach and willingness to let his quarterback make changes when necessary: “Certainly, if there’s a play that’s not gonna be good, yeah, please save us. That’d be great.”
This was just one piece of Favre’s interview, as he spoke about a variety of topics. He gushed about the late Bart Starr — “A perfectionist. What a gentleman” — and addressed the recent post on his Instagram account saying he was planning a comeback (“I got hacked, absolutely”). But when it comes to his former teammate in Rodgers, it sounds like Favre thinks there’s nothing that needs to change about the way he plays quarterback — and that he’s expecting LaFleur to try to do just that, despite comments to the contrary.