(EDITOR’S NOTE: To access the Pete Dougherty interview, click on the following attachment: Ep 49: Discussing Aaron Rodgers With Pete Dougherty | Spreaker)
On the surface, the Aaron Rodgers saga seems to be all about what happened last year, not what happened last month. And what happened last year is that the Packers traded up in the NFL draft to choose Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round.
That didn’t sit well with Rodgers then, and it really doesn’t sit well with him now – so much so that Rodgers’ predecessor, Brett Favre, believes Rodgers is finished with the club and would rather retire than return.
OK, fine. But why is all this happening now instead of a year ago when Love was picked? For an answer we turned to Packers’ insider, Hall-of-Fame voter Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, on the latest “Eye Test for Two” podcast.
So, why now, Pete?
“I think because he had to go out and play and have a good year,” he said. “That’s the main reason. It had time to fester with him.
“I can’t say for sure that’s the reason. Because he had broken his collarbone and not had a very good season in ’18 where he was disgruntled with (former head coach Mike) McCarthy’s offense. He hated that offense. They went 6-9-1, and McCarthy got fired. And then (Matt) LaFleur came in, and his first year was ’19 when they went 13-3 and went to the championship game.
“I think he felt he had something to prove to actually have the leverage to have any say in this, and this was his chance to stick it to the Packers. And he’s doing it. He was just really upset that they took Love.”
But who actually has the leverage here? The Packers want Rodgers back, and they need him to be a Super Bowl threat. But they have his successor in Love, right? And he’s had a year to watch. So if Rodgers sticks to his threat of not playing in Green Bay again, the Packers can move on and roll out the quarterback they took in the first round of the 2020 draft … right?
Not so fast, said Dougherty.
“Love was viewed as a huge project,” he said. “A lot of arm talent but more of a project than most first-rounders are. And then last year … the pandemic season … no offseason program … abbreviated training camp … no preseason games. He was the No. 3 last year, so he’s not even getting very many scout team snaps in practices, and he’s getting zero with the first team. So I think the guy’s got a long way to go.
“Let’s just say it plays out where they end up trading (Rodgers). I would think they would want a veteran quarterback who could at least start the season as the starter if they needed to or wanted to. I would think that would have to be part of the deal.”
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So how does this story end? Like Brett Favre in 2008, where he was traded by Green Bay to the Jets? Or like Carson Palmer in 2011, where he sat out training camp and the first half of the season before the Bengals dealt him to the Raiders?
“Your guess is as good as mine,” said Dougherty. ”Who knows? It’s going to be a roller coaster and a bumpy ride and all sorts of leaks and national stories. And it could end up getting pretty ugly, too.”
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