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Several ex-Packers question Rodgers' coachability

Aaron Rodgers during red carpet arrivals for the NFL Honors show Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Fox Theatre. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Field Level Media

Several ex-Packers have painted an unflattering picture of Aaron Rodgers, questioning whether the Green Bay quarterback's coachability and personality will mesh with new head coach Matt LaFleur.

Forbes.com interviewed former players, and among them, tight end Jermichael Finley said "it's hard to tell Aaron what to do," pass rusher Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila said Rodgers was "more on the arrogant side" than Brett Favre, and receiver Greg Jennings said Rodgers "believes he knows just about everything."

The criticism surfaced during the aftermath of Green Bay's decision to replace longtime head coach Mike McCarthy with the 39-year-old LaFleur.

In a nutshell, the players seemed to suggest that if McCarthy butted heads with Rodgers, LaFleur might be facing an uphill battle working with the two-time league MVP.

"He's coachable to a point," said Finley, who played in Green Bay from 2008-13. "Once you try to overcoach him, that's when he's going to do his own thing. With McCarthy, McCarthy used to call a play and Aaron would look at him and it's a whole different play. ... And we just ran the play No. 12 called. Sorry. And I think it's going to be a lot worse with a young guy and with where Aaron's at in his career."

Gbaja-Biamila, who played for the Packers from 2000-08, said Rodgers' personality changed when he developed into one of the NFL's top-tier stars.

"When Aaron became 'The Man,' he was 'The Man,' especially in his own eyes," said Gbaja-Biamila, who went on to compare Rodgers to his Packers predecessor, the Hall of Famer Favre.

"It's hard for me to say this without causing drama. ... But I will say that between Brett and Aaron — and I'm just being honest here so do what you want with this — with everything that Brett accomplished, you would think he'd be a little more arrogant, but he was actually more humble. And I felt that Aaron was a little bit more on the arrogant side."

Jennings, a Green Bay receiver from 2006-12, said LaFleur could have a hard time getting on the same page as Rodgers.

"We all saw what Mike McCarthy was unable to do, which was get the best out of Aaron Rodgers that he possibly could," Jennings said. "You're going to be coming in, starting from scratch (with) a guy who has one of the highest IQs in football, who believes he knows just about everything, if not all of everything.

"Can you be thick-skinned enough, strong willed and strong minded enough to butt heads with that at times and tell him, ‘No. This is how we're going to do it. This is what you need to know and this is how I can help you grow.' That's going to be the challenge for the Green Bay Packers."

Forbes did not include any response or reaction in its report from Rodgers, 35, who has compiled a 100-57-1 regular-season record and 10-7 postseason record with one Super Bowl championship since Green Bay drafted him in the first round in 2005.

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