'The larger issue is that Aaron Rodgers stunk': ESPN talkers are critical of QB's performance in Packers' opener
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he had nothing to prove in an interview on the Fox pregame show before the 38-3 debacle Sunday.
Well he does now.
That's what the consensus was on ESPN's "Around the Horn" after the dust settled.
Host Tony Reali asked his panel what they made of the dud.
Let's go around the horn for their takes on the fiasco.
Frank Isola, The Athletic
"Aaron Rodgers called it one bad game and for a guy of his stature who has accomplished everything he has he can get a mulligan. But in theory, this is the first game after an entire offseason telling us you didn't want to be in Green Bay. And guess what? You kind of played like a guy that wasn't engaged. How about that jump pass he threw for an interception? That's something a rookie does. Not Aaron Rodgers. So yes, you're not going to completely panic after one game. But considering he didn't want to be there all offseason, he kind of played like that."
Kevin Blackistone, ESPN contributor
"It almost looked like it was planned...to rub his thumb in the eyes of the fans. I don't really mean that, but it looked like that. If that was Aaron Rodgers' play, let me just say the defense may have been worse. And it was over-looked the other day that the Green Bay Packers hired defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who in two years in Detroit had one of the worst defenses in the league and one stop in Washington had one of the worst defenses in the league. I don't know how that guy got a job and I don't know what kind of defense he put together. But combined with their offensive struggles, it made for a putrid Green Bay Packers start."
Emily Kaplan, ESPN reporter
"What I saw from Rodgers is he looked like a guy who wore a fedora all offseason and played Taylor Swift songs on his ukulele. If he had thrown every single pass into the ground he would have had a better QB rating. He talked the whole offseason about wanting more say and wanting more respect. Well he didn't deserve it the way he played in this game."
Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning News
"Even if he was playing last great American dynasty and he thinks he's part of that in Green Bay, here's the problem: on plays where he had 2½ seconds to throw he was 4 for 15 with two interceptions. That's the worst of his career since that stat has been kept. When you spend your offseason doing what he did, you are open to criticism when you play like that."
Meanwhile, they didn't pull any punches on "Pardon the Interruption."
Co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Micheal Wilbon, both former Washington Post columnists, came out swinging.
Said Wilbon: "I care about only one thing about this game. I care about the Green Bay Packers and the hot soup they appear to be in right now. Maybe it's an aberation. Because whenever Aaron Rodgers says relax, there's another week, he's right. He's right all the time. He has deserved the benefit of the doubt like nobody else except for Tom Brady in pro football. However, you've got to wait and see on this one because the way the offseason played out with the coach, GM and president making trips by private jet out to see Aaron Rodgers and they had bonding sessions. But the drama is visiting the Green Bay Packers for one of the few times in recent history."
Kornheiser piled on with: "The larger issue is Green Bay. The larger issue is that Aaron Rodgers stunk. He threw for 133 yards. I will tell you this. I have wondered all through training camp and I am wondering now if his heart is with this team in Green Bay or is he just counting the days until he can leave. I know he doesn't like the coach. I know he doesn't like the general manager. And what's worse, I wonder if this bleeds over to the rest of the team and they wonder about Aaron Rodgers. Maybe this is an aberration and maybe next week at home Aaron Rodgers will be great. But at the end of the game, to show you what he thinks of Matt LaFleur... Matt LaFleur said after the game it was humbling and an absolute embarassment. You know what Aaron Rodgers said? He said, I'll let him use those words. I'll use it's just one game. They're not on the same page right now at all."