Not late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s embarrassing 38-3 loss to New Orleans, not when he addressed reporters about a 1/2 hour after the game and not when he made his regular Tuesday appearance on The Pat McAfee Show. While much of the football world was freaking out about the egg the Green Bay Packers laid in the opener, the quarterback gave off a ho-hum-shrug-your-shoulders vibe when speaking about what was the most-lopsided loss of his starting career.
Rodgers acknowledged the team did not play well and he played bad, but he was not going to make any sweeping statements about what the season would hold after 60 minutes of football, even if it was as ugly as what happened in Jacksonville. This is the man, after all, that made “R-E-L-A-X” and “Run the Table” famous among Packers fans.
Though he did not offer up any kind of sayings that will be remembered a decade from now when he met with the local media Thursday in advance of the team’s game against the Detroit Lions, Rodgers made clear that he does not see what all the fuss is about.
“I’m not going to make it bigger than it was. I’ll let you guys in the outside world do that,” Rodgers said. “But we’ve won a lot of games around here. We’ve lost a few but you move on. It doesn’t matter if you play incredible and put up fifty or you get blown out, you move on to the next opponent. There shouldn’t be some big drastic change and alteration the way that we do things, the way we practice, the way we prepare. If it’s good enough to get you to this point, then it’s good enough from this point forward. I haven’t changed any stuff that I’ve been doing. Obviously, we got to play better. But if we’re starting to freak out after one week, we’re in big trouble.”
Rodgers admitted that when he takes the podium to speak to the media, much of what he says is also directed at those in the locker room. His sayings from 2014 (Relax) and 2016 (Run the table) were meant to give fans hope but also the guys within the organization that look at him as a leader. The same goes for his post-game attitude.
“I was trying to put the loss in the context where it deserves to be put, and that is it’s not acceptable, but it’s just one game,” Rodgers said. “We’re not going to be held prisoner mentally by that poor performance. And like I said, we’re not going to change a ton of things. I don’t think there needs to be wholesale preparation changes, schematic changes. We had to clunker, and we got to play better. I expect that we will on both sides of the ball.”
Under coach Matt LaFleur, the Packers have not lost back-to-back games in a single season. Rodgers was asked the reason for it and pointed to the obvious fact that they have been a good team the last two years and have not lost a lot of games overall. LaFleur, though, said it is a mentality.
“If you’re looking back and kind of smiling on your past accomplishments, you’re going to get hit in the mouth,” the third-year coach said. “So, you can never do that, not for one second. It is whether you win or lose, it’s on to the next game period. There’s a period of time there where right after the game that you can either reflect on both wins and losses. But as soon as that next day comes, it’s how do we get better for this week. And that, I think, is the mindset our guys have taken.”
Rodgers has been especially good at putting a loss or a poor game behind him. Last season, on his way to earning his third NFL MVP award, Rodgers threw four touchdowns and zero interceptions in the three games after losses. That included against Houston the week after he posted a 35.4 passer rating in a humbling 38-10 loss to Tampa Bay, which is just slightly worse than his 36.8 rating he put up against the Saints last week.
“(I’ve) been pretty damn good for a while,” Rodgers said when asked why he plays so well after a poor performance. “So, you have a shitty game like that, usually bounce back to average things out.”