The relationship between Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and only his second head coach entering Year 12 as the starter, Matt LaFleur, has been one of the NFL’s bigger storylines this summer.
Basically no one except Rodgers, LaFleur and their colleagues inside the Packers building truly knows a ton about it — harmonious or otherwise — but clearly that hasn’t stopped the hot takes from coming in fast and furious.
Rodgers won’t adapt under a rookie boss only three years his senior whose offense doesn’t generally afford its quarterback the pre-snap flexibility that’s helped make the Packers quarterback a surefire future first ballot Hall of Famer.
Rodgers will adapt because LaFleur will stimulate his football IQ, something Mike McCarthy hadn’t done in years.
LaFleur shouldn’t bend because it’ll be a sign of weakness and he must earn the respect of the entire locker room, not only the diva quarterback.
LaFleur should adjust his offense because that’s what coaches worth their salt do — tailor their scheme around their existing personnel.
By contrast, there’s no reading between the lines required when it comes to the relationship between Rodgers and Bears head coach Matt Nagy. After their respective teams split the regular-season series a year ago, when Rodgers stunned Nagy's Bears with an epic fourth-quarter comeback (even by No.12 standards) in Nagy's first-ever game in charge and Chicago returned the favor by clinching the division on an Eddie Jackson interception of Rodgers, the two men again crossed paths at the American Century Championship pro-am golf tournament last month in Lake Tahoe — and it was clearly malicious.
“There was one major [interaction]. They were going ahead and introducing the celebrities at that golf tournament at the start," Nagy recalled Thursday with a big grin. "It was like a Wednesday night. We’re all in there and I’m scrambling in the back to stand up, and there’s about a hundred guys sitting in the back row, and as I’m walking, all of the sudden, I trip.
“I kind of catch my knee. Somebody’s sitting down, and I look back and someone stuck their knee out to trip me. I look back and he’s just sitting there and he’s staring at me, laughing, with this grin. I just looked at him and all I thought about was, ‘This is gonna be fun.’ That was the interaction we had, and I think it was a mutual respect.”
Mutual respect, eh? Funny way of showing it, we’d say. But if that were the case, surely the two men interacted more than that quick exchange following Rodgers’ cruel joke?
“No, we’re busy out there. We’re trying to win that thing. We’re competitors. I’ve got to do better, and I think he played pretty well," he said. "That was the short interaction that we had, but it was fun.”
Although we know how Nagy approaches exhibitions, we’re sure he’d want us to report that Rodgers finished the tournament 21st overall, while Nagy was 49th.
And because we feel like finishing this silly piece on a more serious note, we’re sure Rodgers would prefer we didn’t remind everyone of the only finish that matters — Bears 24, Packers 17 in Week 15, when Nagy and Co. celebrated their NFC North title in front of their oldest rival.