LaFleur: Rodgers still 'one of the most talented' in NFL
When Matt LaFleur took over as the newest coach of the Green Bay Packers, the most prevailing storyline was just how he would coexist with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
An NFC North crown and a trip to the conference title game later, things seemed to have gone pretty well.
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With an offseason of change now on the horizon and the 36-year-old Rodgers looking forward to his 16th season, LaFleur commended his quarterback’s ability to deal with change this past campaign and was steadfast in his belief that the Packers QB is still one of the NFL’s elite.
"I think he’s still one of the most talented players out there," LaFleur said Wednesday in his season-ending presser.
Though the Packers went 13-3 in the regular season and advanced to the NFC Championship Game, Rodgers’ numbers didn’t always satiate his critics.
When asked in what areas Rodgers could improve, LaFleur’s sentiments seemed to lean toward further understanding of the offense. Still, he was grateful for how the future Hall of Fame signal-caller took to the task of embracing the first-year coach’s scheme.
"I think just with anything, just being comfortable with some of the uncomfortable things we’ve asked him to do," LaFleur said. "I do think he was open-minded and I appreciate that. Because certainly we asked him to play under center more than he has, especially in the more recent years. I thought he executed for the most part at a pretty high level."
Rodgers threw for 4,002 yards, 26 touchdowns to just four interceptions and put forth a 95.4 QB rating. While they might not be "Aaron Rodgers numbers," the touchdowns tied him for eighth in the NFL and his yards were 11th.
"I know the numbers weren’t what you guys say were up to the standard or whatever. But I do think there was some really good play in there and I’m excited about moving forward into the future, really getting another offseason with him," LaFleur said. "And not only him, but all our players. Too many times, especially with that position, quarterback gets too much credit when it’s going really, really good and too much blame when it’s not going as well. It’s the nature of the position. It’ll be fun to get everyone on the same page again. I think everybody’s got a much better understanding of what we’re trying to do and why we’re trying to do it."
In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s season-ending loss to the 49ers, Rodgers, downtrodden as he clearly was, still offered promise for the future, stating the window was open for Packers success in the coming autumns.
Nonetheless, the question has to be asked and was on Wednesday as to just how long the window will remain open for Rodgers to lead the Packers.
"I think it totally depends on how long his body holds up," LaFleur said. "He seemed energized all season long. His mind is sharp as they come. You know, it’s just, his body holding up and I think he does an excellent job. He’s a true professional, he knows his body and he does a great job taking care of his body."
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