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3 Takeaways from Packers' Week 3 Win

Mike Roemer/Associated Press

Like Rodgers, the Packers defense struggled in Week 1. It allowed the Jameis Winston and Co. to rack up 322 yards of offense and five touchdown passes. For two quarters against the Lions last week, the defense again underwhelmed.

However, new defensive coordinator Joe Barry is starting to get his unit together. While San Francisco produced 353 yards of offense on Sunday night, it struggled to deal with Green Bay's pass rush. Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Oren Burks, Jonathan Garvin and Tedarrell Slaton all got pieces of Jimmy Garoppolo, who was sacked four times and was constantly under pressure.

San Francisco's first four possessions ended with three punts and an interception.

While the Packers defense is not a shutdown unit just yet—it ranks 24th in points allowed—it is trending in the right direction. If and when pass-rusher Za'Darius Smith is able to return, it should be even better. Smith was recently placed on injured reserve with a back injury.

"Why not try to get him as healthy as possible so we can have him more readily available, hopefully?" head coach Matt LaFleur said, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky.

If the Packers can consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks, they're going to be a tough team to deal with down the stretch. Rodgers and Co. are going to produce points, the onus to keep up will be on the opposition.


Aaron Rodgers Never Intended to 'Slam' Packers Organization, Fanbase in Offseason

AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

On the verge of starting his 17th season with the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers has provided more insight about the drama involving himself and the organization during the offseason. 

Appearing on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers explained his motivation "was never to slam the organization or the fanbase or anybody specifically."

Rodgers went on to say that his entire position was "just wanting to have a bigger impact in decisions that directly affect my job."

The biggest story of the offseason was Rodgers' strife with the Packers. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported in April the reigning NFL MVP told some people within the Green Bay organization he didn't want to return to the club. 

Per Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, Rodgers was "willing to weigh hardline options" including refusing to show up for offseason activities or retirement if the Packers didn't fire general manager Brian Gutekunst. 

Upon arriving at Packers camp in July, Rodgers told reporters he didn't like feeling like a lame duck with Jordan Love—the team's first-round draft pick in 2020—and that his opinions on potential roster moves were being ignored. 

"So, for me, I had to assess the situation. Not necessarily wanting to be a lame duck quarterback, especially after an MVP season, as I think you can understand. And then, the other part, in February was wanting to be a part of conversations involving free agents which has never happened in my career. ... I've tried to pass along information, hasn't really been used, shall we say? So, I wanted to offer my services as a recruiter."

Green Bay ultimately retained Gutekunst and reworked Rodgers' deal to remove one year off his contract, potentially making him a free agent after the 2022 season instead of after 2023.   

Despite their offseason turmoil, the Packers and Rodgers seem poised for big things this season. They brought back 20 of their 22 starters from last year's team that went 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship Game. 

Rodgers put together arguably the best season of his career in 2020. The 37-year-old threw for 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns, five interceptions and completed 70.7 percent of his pass attempts.    

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Aaron Rodgers Reveals Advice He Gave Joe Burrow After Packers vs. Bengals

AP Photo/Zach Bolinger

After Cincinnati Bengals star Joe Burrow took a huge hit in his game against the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers advised him afterward to slide more:

Rodgers also told the Pat McAfee Show that he enjoyed watching Burrow play at LSU.

Burrow and Rodgers battled Sunday in a back-and-forth game that ended with a 25-22 overtime win for Green Bay. The quarterbacks combined for 625 passing yards and four touchdowns in a matchup of two teams that entered with a 3-1 record.

Burrow did have a scary moment during the game when he was hit hard while scrambling. The quarterback remained in the game but was taken to a hospital afterwards to check for a possible throat contusion before being released.

That's what Rodgers offered him advice about when the two spoke after the game (h/t Andrew Joseph of For The Win):

"I will tell you the thing that I told him, which I’ve told other quarterbacks from time to time: Slide. Slide. I said, ‘You’re too damn talented, you got so much in front of you to accomplish in this league. Just sometimes you gotta slide. I would’ve said the same thing to Andrew (Luck). You know, Andrew initially got hurt in Indy being Superman and running guys over and stuff."

Burrow also suffered a torn ACL last year that ended his rookie season after 10 games.

The Bengals can only hope their franchise quarterback heeds this advice moving forward.  

Aaron Rodgers, Packers in Control of Chaotic NFC North Playoff Train - Gridiron Heights S5E13

3 Players the Packers Should Consider to Cover the Jaire Alexander Injury

Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

If Alexander can't make it back to the field in 2021, the Packers should consider swinging big on the trade market. 

Xavien Howard is one of two cornerbacks on the Miami Dolphins roster who the Packers could go after in a trade. 

Howard is being paid a bit less than Byron Jones, and he may welcome the idea of playing for a contender if the Dolphins continue to struggle. 

Howard is under contract through the 2024 season, per Spotrac, so the Packers would have to give up some decent draft capital to get this potential deal done. 

However, it could be exactly what the Packers need to challenge the best teams in the NFC. The team's secondary was exploited throughout the NFC Championship Game loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Howard had 20 passes defended and 10 interceptions in 2020, and he has long been one of the league's best corners. 

If Green Bay is serious about its Super Bowl potential, it should at least reach out to Miami to see how it could swing a Howard trade. 

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference.


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Aaron Rodgers Rumors: Packers Won't Release QB in 2022 After Reworking Contract

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If Aaron Rodgers intends to leave the Green Bay Packers after this season, it doesn't appear as if he will be free to choose his next destination as a free agent. 

In his latest Football Morning in America column, Peter King of NBC Sports reported the Packers would not release the three-time NFL MVP in 2022 after the two sides reworked his contract earlier this offseason. 

After an offseason full of drama, Rodgers and the Packers came together before the start of training camp to reach an understanding. 

Rodgers arrived at training camp on July 26 after NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the nine-time Pro Bowler told people close to him that he intended to play for the Packers in 2021. 

Upon Rodgers showing up, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported his new deal voided the 2023 year on his current contract and prevented the Packers from going after prorated portions of the star quarterback's signing bonus.

Rodgers remains under contract with the Packers through the 2022 season, though it seems unlikely that he will stay in Green Bay past this year with his current deal. 

As it stands, Over the Cap projects the Packers to be $50.8 million over the salary cap in 2022, with Rodgers having a $46.1 million cap hit next season. 

Barring a collapse in production in 2021, Rodgers figures to be incredibly valuable for the foreseeable future. If the Packers do end up trading him, they should be able to get multiple draft picks and/or players in return that could help them maintain a high level of performance. 

Rodgers is entering his 17th season with the Packers. The 37-year-old led the NFL with a 70.7 completion percentage and 48 touchdown passes in 2020. He also finished seventh in the league with 4,299 passing yards.    

Packers Daily: Oct. 15

3 Packers Players Who Need to Step Up in October

Mike Roemer/Associated Press

If Jaire Alexander ends up missing significant time, the Packers could be in some trouble with their secondary. The Pro Bowl cornerback suffered a right shoulder injury this past Sunday, and head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters that the team didn't expect any more updates until Wednesday.

King has been out for Green Bay's past two games—one because of illness and the other because of a concussion, which has his Week 5 status in doubt. He'll need to clear the concussion protocol before he can get back into action.

Once King returns, he'll need to help fill the likely void caused by Alexander's absence. Rookie cornerback Eric Stokes has played well this season, but it takes more than one player to have a successful secondary. And King, who is in his fifth year in the NFL, is another important part of the Packers' defense.

King had five interceptions in 2019, but he didn't have any in 11 games last season or in his first two games of 2021. However, he's capable of providing strong coverage, so even if he isn't forcing turnovers, Green Bay will need him to do that when he gets back in the lineup, which it has to hope is sooner rather than later.


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Aaron Rodgers Says Rumors About Him Not Returning to Packers Were 'An Exaggeration'

AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton

Despite plenty of drama throughout the offseason, Aaron Rodgers said on The Rich Eisen Show he never ruled out returning to the Green Bay Packers this year.

"No, I think that's definitely an exaggeration," Rodgers said on rumors he was done with Green Bay. "I think there were many things I was hoping were gonna adjust moving forward, but I never closed the door on returning completely, just like I didn't close the door on retiring. I wanted to leave all options open."

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the night of the 2021 NFL draft that Rodgers told the organization he did not want to return to the team. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports added the quarterback would be willing to hold out or retire instead of playing for the Packers.

As Rodgers later explained, the Packers refused to commit to him beyond the 2021 season:

The team used its 2020 first-round draft pick on Jordan Love, who will presumably become the quarterback of the future in Green Bay. It meant Rodgers' days were numbered with the organization, even after winning his third MVP award in 2020.

After missing organized team activities in May and the mandatory minicamp in June, speculation grew that Rodgers truly would not return to the Packers.

The two sides were finally able to work out a deal in July, creating a restructured contract that could allow him to hit free agency in 2022. 

"I just woke up one day and said, 'I think I'm going to play ball,'" he told Laura Schreffler of Haute Living.

It will give the Packers at least one more chance to contend with the current core after losing in the NFC Championship Game in each of the past two years, although a 38-3 Week 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints wasn't a great start.   


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