Rookie Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur sounded thrilled with joint practices held with the Houston Texans this week.
“Absolutely, 100 percent I want to do this again,” LaFleur said Tuesday, according to Packers News. “I’d like to do it multiple times if we could.”
Veteran Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers? Not so much.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Rodgers said. “I wouldn't mind if they didn't do it for another 14 years.”
And so it begins.
Microscope on Rodgers-LaFleur relationship
The Packers fired head coach Mike McCarthy in the midst of his 13th season last year. While McCarthy critics argue that the firing came years too late, his dismissal arrived amid well-documented disputes with Rodgers.
When Green Bay hired LaFleur, a 39-year-old who had just come off a one-year stint as the coordinator of the 25th-ranked offense in the NFL, many questions were raised.
One of those questions was whether Rodgers, a Super Bowl winner and two-time league MVP, would respect the guidance of his new coach.
Green Bay hasn’t played its first game of the preseason, and Rodgers is already publicly questioning LaFleur’s decisions.
Rodgers: Drills not ‘very smart’
Rodgers expressed general displeasure for the joint practice, but saved particularly biting remarks for kickoff drills he deemed unsafe.
Texans rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. made an early exit from practice Monday after his second tackle of a Packers player during designated non-tackle drills came during a special teams drill.
“We bring a team in — I understand the point of it — but I don't think doing live special teams drills are very smart,” Rodgers said. “I think the PA (players association) is going to look at that, for sure. Kickoff, especially, is one of the most dangerous plays in football, and that's why they've tweaked different things over the years.
“To do close to a live kickoff drill, I don't think is the best use of inter-squad practices.”
In one swoop, Rodgers questioned the intelligence of his coach’s decision to run a drill while invoking the players association to take a look. All of this was said while Packers News described Rodgers’ demeanor as “cranky.”
So, yeah. That’s how that went.
What’s the point of joint practices?
Why do teams run joint practice sessions with other teams during the preseason?
LaFleur championed the idea that it’s important for a unit’s development to test itself against units from another team, according to Packers News. He wanted his offense to practice against an opponent’s defense.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien made a similar endorsement of joint practices.
“Yeah, one of the reasons why you do it is you get some really good reps for really all of your players, but you do get some good reps for your first-team players, second-team players against different competition and different schemes and things like that,” O’Brien said.
Rodgers doesn’t appreciate the company
Rodgers is not here for it. He liked things better before the Texans arrived.
“I think before the Texans came, we had some really good practices,” Rodgers said. ”I think we were very efficient, we ran the ball well, we were getting into more of our miscellaneous plays and schemes.”
Rodgers won’t have to worry about the Texans anymore after Thursday’s preseason game. But LaFleur’s not going anywhere.
How the two coexist will play no small factor in the success of Green Bay’s season.
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