Motivation, the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. On Google, this is what comes up for the definition of motivation. But really, it should just show a picture of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Throughout his 15 year NFL career Rodgers has used obstacles to motivate his play. For the 2020-2021 season, Aaron Rodgers won’t have to look far to find his motivation.
Aaron Rodgers Won’t be Lacking Motivation in 2020
A lot has been written about that famous “chip” that sits on Aaron Rodgers’s shoulder. It’s the chip that has helped propel him to two NFL MVPs, lead the Packers to a 2010 Super Bowl victory, and help him become one of the best quarterbacks ever to play in the NFL.
Even before he became the Aaron Rodgers we all know, he has used obstacles to fuel his competitive streak. From starting off at Butte Community College, to sliding down the first round of the 2005 NFL draft, and of course, having many doubt him when he took over as the Packers starting quarterback from legendary quarterback Brett Favre. No matter the obstacle, he has used it to motivate himself in becoming the best.
But now, Rodgers might be facing the most difficult obstacles of his career. If dealing with Father Time (Rodgers is currently 36 years old) wasn’t enough, he is now facing other obstacles to overcome. Obstacles that are coming within the Packers organization.
Motivation From Lack of Receiving Help
Last season, under first time (ever) head coach Matt LaFleur, Aaron Rodgers did his part to lead the Packers. He threw for over 4,000 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only threw four interceptions. His play helped propel the Packers to an NFC championship. It was the fourth NFC championship that Rodgers had led the Packers to as their starting quarterback.
Many believed that this off-season that the Packers would acquire the weapons Rodgers would need to help them get them over the hump. But Packers top personnel man Brian Gutekunst had other thoughts.
While Gutekunst talked about “emphasizing the wide receiver position” this off-season, his actions showed otherwise. First, in free agency, his only wide receiver signing was Devin Funchess. An average wide receiver who is coming off a season where he only played in one game due to injury. Then last week in the NFL draft, a draft that experts had said was the deepest at wide receiver in recent history, Gutekunst chose not to select one wide receiver.
With only one proven wide receiver on the Packers roster, that being Davante Adams, it appears Rodgers will be motivated to show he can do more with less. This isn’t anything new for Rodgers. Gutekunst hasn’t given him much to work with since taking over as the Packers top personnel man.
Jordan Love Selection a Major Motivating Factor
Then, of course, the selection of quarterback Jordan Love with the Packers first pick. Yes, Aaron Rodgers is 36 years old and the Packers need to eventually find and groom his replacement, but after a year that they were one game away from a Super Bowl…it didn’t appear the time was now. Jordan Love might turn out to be an excellent quarterback, but to compare what Gutekunst did with what former Packers general manager Ted Thompson did when he selected Rodgers in 2005 is very shortsighted.
Heading into the 2005 NFL draft, Rodgers was in the discussion to go first overall. Nobody, not even Thompson, would have predicted that he would slide to where the Packers were selecting. With Love, it was a whole different story. Love wasn’t in the discussion to go number one overall. In fact, Mel Kiper of ESPN.com had Love rated as the fourth quarterback prospect. While Thompson took advantage of the slide, Gutekunst didn’t just let his board dictate the pick as he has claimed. If his board had indicated that, he wouldn’t have had to trade a fourth-round pick to move up to select Love. He can spin it any way he wants, Love was his target and unlike what Thompson did, Gutekunst made maneuvers to ensure that he got him.
Since the selection, Gutekunst has tried to smooth over what he did. But you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. He has given Rodgers motivation, not only for next season but for the remainder of his contract. While we believe Gutekunst shouldn’t get any credit for it, he might have handed Rodgers the biggest motivation for this coming season.
A Desire to Prove the Second Year Head Coach Wrong
Nobody knows what the future will bring when it comes to the relationship between Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers. At this point, it is all speculation. But what we do know, it appears that the Packers are making a shift in offensive philosophy.
The days of spreading out the field and letting Rodgers control the game with his arm seem to be over. Instead, from the picks made by Gutekunst, it appears the Packers will have a more run-oriented offense. LaFleur is a product of the Mike Shanahan coaching tree. Shanahan ran the same type of offense that LaFleur hopes to now run in Green Bay. But remember, the only time Mike Shanahan won a Super Bowl is when he had an aging veteran quarterback. That quarterback being John Elway. The run game helped, but when the game was on the line, it was Elway that helped propel the Denver Broncos to victory.
Only Rodgers and LaFleur will truly know what their relationship will be moving forward. But don’t believe for a second that Rodgers isn’t going to be motivated by the shift for the offense. While Rodgers might not be 30 years old anymore, he, and many Packers fans know, the Packers go as far as he can take them. LaFleur and his early 90’s running attack might be what he wants, but when the game is on the line, it will be Rodgers, like with Elway, who will determine if the Packers win or not. 36 years old or not, Rodgers still has the drive to win games. He also now has the motivation to prove his second-year head coach wrong.
Bet Against Him, I Dare You
It still comes back to the fact that Aaron Rodgers can still play the game at a high level. While they might not have meant to do so, all Gutekunst and even LaFleur have done is motivate him. They might take credit for it when all is said and done. But it is doubtful that they meant to do so. All of their actions this off-season point to the future, not the present.
Rodgers has four years left on his contract. If history has proven anything, he isn’t going to go out quietly. So if you are betting against him for not being one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, you might want to wager low. A motivated Aaron Rodgers is a very dangerous man. His history points to proving people wrong.