GREEN BAY, Wis. — Rip them one day, meet with them the next. Those were the last two days in the life of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ quest to get a young group of receivers ready for the fast-approaching start of the regular season.
A day after Rodgers expressed his frustration with the group, they were instructed to report to the quarterback meeting room at 8:45 am on Wednesday. When they arrived, they found all three quarterbacks plus the key members of the offensive coaching staff who work directly on the passing game in the room.
Rodgers did not call the meeting, but he spoke extensively during it, according to several participants.
“It was just really giving us advice,” rookie receiver Samori Toure said. “Basically, letting us know that the Green Bay receiving corps has always been held to a super-high standard. All the legends who have been through here. It’s just about us carrying on that standard and stepping up.”
Toure, a seventh-round pick, proceeded to have perhaps his best practice of camp, not only catching a 50-yard touchdown pass from Jordan Love in a two-minute drill but also snagging the drill-winning 2-point conversion to wrap up two days of joint practices with the New Orleans Saints.
“Aaron spoke to us about what he likes or what not just based on concepts or what he sees,” said rookie receiver Romeo Doubs, who also had a touchdown catch on Wednesday. “He just wants us to see what he sees, so then that way we can be able to react faster, play faster and just be able to dominate and continue to be who we are.”
Tuesday marked the first time Rodgers spoke critically in public of the group trying to help replace All-Pro Davante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in March.
Rodgers called for more consistency and bemoaned “a lot of drops, a lot of bad route decisions, running the wrong route” and saying, “We’ve got to get better in that area.”
“He just wants us to see what he sees,” said Doubs, a fourth-round pick. “So then that way we can be able to react faster, play faster and just be able to dominate and continue to be who we are.”
Veteran receivers Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard also spoke during the meeting.
“Both Randall and Allen have been playing with 12 for quite a long time so certain things that we do, that we may have a mistake on, just from experience they’ve gone through that same stage as well,” Doubs said. “Just them picking up the young guys throughout these dog days of camp has been a tremendous blessing and great piece of advice.”
When asked whether players appreciate Rodgers’ approach, Cobb said: “It doesn’t matter if they appreciate it or not. This is the way that we do things here. It’s either you deal with it or you get out of the room and we ‘ll find somebody else that’s going to get onboard with what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Rodgers was not only upset with mistakes in practice but he also reiterated that the three interceptions Love threw in last week’s preseason opener against the San Francisco 49ers were largely the result of mistakes by the pass-catchers: a dropped ball by tight end Tyler Davis, a weak route and catch by Doubs and a wrong route by second-year receiver Amari Rodgers.
This wasn’t the first time Rodgers and the receivers have shared meeting space. Early in camp, Rodgers came into the receiver room to help explain a concept.
“I’m trying to echo the same message he is just to get everybody on the same page,” Love said. “But yeah, I think it’s a little different coming from Aaron, the way he demands it. They look up to Aaron a little bit different. Obviously he’s got a lot of experience and a lot more knowledge than me. But I think we all demand the same thing. The receivers know what they need to do and everybody is on the same page with it.”