New offense a ‘fun challenge’ for Aaron Rodgers

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers is keeping his goals modest.

The Packers quarterback said Tuesday he wants to reach a comfort level with Matt LaFleur’s offense by the time OTAs and the mid-June minicamp wrap up, and he expressed no doubts he will.

But it makes for a different offseason for the two-time MVP QB, because – jokes about not golfing as much aside – it isn’t as simple as memorizing a bunch of plays and being ready when they’re called.

There’s a process involving the classroom, the on-field work, and his own personal time that brings all the X’s and O’s together, and it won’t succeed if he rushes it.

“I don’t know the whole offense yet,” Rodgers said after Tuesday’s workout, the Packers’ second OTA of the spring. “I’ve been studying it, but there’s a difference between understanding it on paper and actually getting reps in it.”

LaFleur’s offense is not completely new to Rodgers, but with the carryover parts, he’s translating what he knows into a new language as quickly as he can so he can stay on top of the terminology as he recites the play calls and learns the checks and adjustments.

Right now, LaFleur is in all of the offensive installation meetings and in all the quarterback meetings to help lay the foundation. At the same time Rodgers, while he isn’t cramming everything wholesale, is working to stay ahead so from a leadership standpoint he can help move the transition along both in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage.

“I’d like to think I might be a half step ahead with my ability to recall things and learn things quickly, but I can’t say I’m an expert in this offense at this point,” Rodgers said. “It’s going to be a work in progress throughout the OTAs and minicamp. But it’s been a fun challenge to study more in the offseason.

“I’m spending time watching my iPad, studying my iPad at night, studying my notes and trying to come in here prepared every day. Because it’s important that I can lead from an aptitude standpoint with the offense, even if I still don’t understand the intricacies of certain reads or concepts. Getting guys lined up in the right spot is an important part of my job.”

No one put a number of hours on it, but it’s clear LaFleur and Rodgers have been spending a fair amount of time together.

The Packers were on the practice field Tuesday afternoon for Phase 3 of the offseason program.

Rodgers made it clear he believes in the offense, having seen it succeed everywhere LaFleur has been. He even mentioned being impressed with it last year in Green Bay’s game against San Francisco, where LaFleur’s former offensive coordinator in Atlanta, Kyle Shanahan, is the head coach.

For his part, LaFleur has enjoyed working through this process with Rodgers, and the communication has been constant.

“I think it’s going great. He’s fun to be around,” LaFleur said. “You can see how much fun he has out on that field. We’ve had a lot of good conversations, and I think we’re growing together. The more time we spend together, we’ll get a better feel for each other.”

Rodgers expressed no worries about the relationship, either, saying it’ll “naturally get to where it needs to go.” He seems to feel the same way about the offense in general.

Yes, there’s plenty of change, but by the end of the next four weeks when offseason workouts conclude, Rodgers plans to understand the offense on a deeper level. From there, stay tuned.

“It’s going to be different. It’s going to look different, formationally and with motions,” he said. “I think it’s an offense that I can infuse creativity in and put my stamp on it.”

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