Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams appeared on Clubhouse Live
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard co-hosted Monday's Clubhouse Live, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin’s live weekly football show. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams were Lazard’s guests.
Among the topics they touched on were team bonding during a pandemic, providing an escape for fans, playing through COVID, putting together a record-breaking season and proving the critics wrong. The show can be seen live on any of our USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Facebook pages or websites, including clubhouselive.com. It can also be seen on our YouTube channel.
Here are select and edited answers from the interview:
Q: The team chemistry seems fantastic this season. How were able to build that closeness despite all the restrictions that are in place because of COVID-19?
Rodgers: Yeah, it has been really strange. Especially with the things they've done in the locker room, putting dividers between every locker. Yeah, it has been a stretch for all of us this year. But we already had a good framework hanging out and good relationships. I do definitely miss the opportunities to eat together on the road or get together during the week. Friday night hangouts or whatever it might be. Just where you can kind of see the guys outside of a work environment where you kind of relax a little bit more and enjoy each other's company and blow off some steam from whatever happened that week. That has taken away some of the fun, I think, of the season. But we're pros. We've just gotten our work done and worked on those relationships and the chemistry during the weeks.
Q: Aaron acknowledged after Sunday's game against the Bears that these have been difficult days for many as we all deal with this pandemic. How does it feel knowing that what you've been doing this season - individually and as a team, and with the playoffs now approaching - has been a source of escape and relief for so many who just want some sort of positive distraction from what has been going on in the world?
Adams: It means a lot. It would mean more if we had them present at the games. I think we as players would feel it a little bit more. But obviously an escape for them during a time like this, it makes us feel good to know that we can do it. We obviously have a great time going out there and doing it. And just kind of having COVID, being what it has been, since before OTAs and not being able to have that period, I think that coming back out here during camp and throughout the season has kind of pushed us a little bit more to connect through meetings, or just being at the stadium because we missed out on some time. So we kind of had to make up for that lost time. We just enjoy connecting with each other, going out and playing ball. And it's also an escape for us. So if it helps our fans in the meantime, then that's even better.
Q: Have you had some time to reflect on where you guys are now as a team given the backdrop of this pandemic? There were a lot of unknowns and uncertainties that this season could even be played. So are you amazed in any way that you've not only been able to get through the regular season, but you've done so in historic fashion and at a high level despite all the outside distractions?
Rodgers: I didn't necessarily envision being here based on what we were told. Because even with the testing - I thought the testing, with the percentages being down, would start to wane a little bit. We wouldn't have to test every single day. We'd start to get fans back in the stadium by midseason. I remember when they announced there weren't going to be any fans for the first two games. I think everybody was thinking by the time we get to like Week 6 or whatever it was when we got back home, there would be fans. And so, it has been strange to be here and still not play in front of any fans at home this season yet. Just because I didn't feel like in March when this thing started to heat up, I just felt like we were kind of quarantining ourselves to kind of flatten the curve or whatever. After that happened, it has kind of stayed the same - same rules throughout the summer and fall, as well.
Q: What did it mean to you to have Aaron tell you after Sunday's win that you had the greatest season by a receiver in Packers history? Have you had time to reflect on your accomplishments and accolades?
Adams: It means a lot, obviously. It's nothing that I really - I don't like to take too many steps back during the season. ... It's good to reflect every now and then and look at what you've done as a team and what you've done individually and just kind of feel good about yourself. Obviously, we've done a lot collectively to feel good about. But one of the things, and I think Aaron knows it obviously and Allen knows it - he has been around for a little quick minute now - but I feel like we play our best ball, Aaron and I, when it comes to these January playoff games. So it's good to feel good about those, but now that all the regular season stuff is out the way, we don't have to try to crunch in to get any records and all that stuff, which none of it was stressed, so that's the good thing. It all came real natural within the flow of the game as Aaron likes to say. But coming into these games now, these are the ones that we've really got to get after and make sure we go finish. We measure our success short-term. We don't like to look at just how the season has gone because if you're having confidence issues or something like that, it's good to look back and see what you've done and kind of feel good about yourself. But right now, we've got a full head of steam and doing a lot of good stuff. So we just want to keep that going and finish this season right.
Q: The narrative going into the season was that you needed more weapons. And yet, your offense finished atop the league in points scored and fifth in average yards per game. Did that chatter motivate you and the other offensive guys?
Lazard: Yeah, I think all of us took that narrative that was kind of circling around April and lingered around the summer personally. I know I did for sure. Them talking a lot about not drafting a receiver or getting skill players. I think the success that we've had has been a lot of credit to obviously guys like Davante and Aaron. An outstanding O-line. They say I'm the unsung hero, but I think the O-line - what those guys have done this year with guys getting injured, going down throughout the games and the adjustments they've made. And to be able to maintain the success that they've had. We're not able to have the success on the outside on the perimeter without those guys being able to hold up guys like 96 (Bears defensive tackle Akien Hicks) and 52 (Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack) to allow Aaron to get the ball out of his hands to us down the field. I think a lot of it is just our team charisma and that we all care about each other. We're all having fun out there. And ultimately, we're all on the same page because we're going for the same goals. I think a lot of it is just a credit to - as a team and as individuals - of coming together and making sacrifices. And the coaches putting the work in on the front end and preparing us for each and every game.