Aaron Rodgers calls relationship with GM Brian Gutekunst 'a work in progress'
GREEN BAY – If this ends in divorce, the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers are at least trying to reconcile their differences in marital counseling first.
Rodgers and general manager Brian Gutekunst have not been on the coziest terms, but they are at least talking. The quarterback was seen chatting with his GM on the practice field Tuesday, the team’s first day in pads.
“I think it’s a work in progress for sure,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers has defined his relationship with Gutekunst as merely “professional.” Gutekunst has said it’s important to build a personal relationship, but it requires effort from both parties.
The quarterback agreed with his GM.
“I think relationships aren’t formed in a matter of a couple days,” Rodgers said. “There’s time where the respect grows, and the communication follows. I think the greatest relationships you have with your friends and loved ones involved conversations that flow. You can not talk to close friends for a few months and pick up right where you left off. There’s no break in communication, there’s no forced conversations, or you’ve got to hit this person up because it’s on your to-do list that day. It’s all about wanting to have those conversations and wanting to be in conversation like that.
“We’ve had a couple conversations, and they’ve been positive conversations.”
Rookie Myers impressing vets
A 6-foot-5 center is an anomaly. So when David Bakhtiari first met second-round rookie Josh Myers last spring, it’s understandable why the All-Pro left tackle was a bit confused.
“He's a big man,” Bakhtiari said. “I remember early on when he first walked in. I was like, ‘What's your deal? You're either a terrible athlete, or a bad football player. Because why are you playing center being 6-foot-5? And he kind of proved me wrong on both.”
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Myers has taken first-team reps at center throughout the offseason and, at this early stage of camp, has impressed his veteran teammates. Coach Matt LaFleur has already said the expectation is for Myers to be the team’s starting center Week 1 at New Orleans, a foregone conclusion considering his practice reps.
It wasn’t a perfect beginning to Myers’ center-quarterback relationship with Rodgers. His first snap was fumbled, an issue Myers said was his fault. Myers, perhaps understandably a bit antsy, was too early with his first snap.
However, Rodgers said he has been impressed with his rookie teammate.
“He's definitely been a pleasant surprise,” Rodgers said. “Not a surprise for most people who have been around for OTAs, because they saw his aptitude and the way he bends and moves. Luckily, he's not standing straight up every play, so I can probably still see around him or over him at times. He has good bend, a knee bend.
“I will say I learned from working with Corey (Linsley). I think, you know, if Josh talked to Corey, and Corey was like, ‘Hey, what's 12 like? Is he gonna rip in your ass, and getting on you a little bit?’ Josh would maybe describe me as a kinder, gentler quarterback at this stage. So, apologies to Corey, although there's nobody I enjoy teasing and riding more than Corey Linsley, because he is such a smart, sarcastic, witty human being.”
Scrimmage on Family Night
Matt LaFleur indicated the Packers will have live tackling at Family Night for the second straight time.
The Packers had live reps in camp last year, but that was because their preseason was cancelled due to COVID-19. Live reps on Family Night have been a rarity since former Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga tore his ACL in 2013.
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LaFleur closed practice Wednesday for the first time in camp. The Packers had only a light walkthrough, LaFleur said.
“There’s no conspiracy going on,” LaFleur joked. “It was more or less I thought it might be a little boring for you guys (the media) to watch us walk through. I don’t think the fans are going to get into it that much. So it’s just I want to keep these guys fresh, and we’re going to have three hard practices this week. I don’t think since I’ve been here we’ve ever gone six days in a row. So that’s just going to be the way it is today, and same with on Friday before we ramp it up for Family Night.”