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Matt LaFleur addresses Aaron Rodgers’ criticism of joint practices

Peter King sat down with new Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur to discuss what it's like leading one of the marquee NFL franchises, as well as his evolving relationship with Aaron Rodgers.

In the not-so-subtle disagreement between Packers coach Matt LaFleur and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers regarding joint practices, Rodgers is the winner. As expected.

After Thursday’s preseason game against the Texans, LaFleur was asked to address Rodgers’ pointed criticism of joint practices generally and, specifically, the inclusion of close-to-live kickoff drills.

After joking that he and Rodgers aren’t on speaking terms after Rodgers spoke publicly about something that should have been handled privately, LaFleur told reporters, “You know what? There’s a lot of things that a lot of players don’t like about training camp.”

And then LaFleur basically conceded that Rodgers has a point.

“From his perspective, I can understand where he’s coming from in some regard because it’s not like they’re playing, they run about four different coverages, so it’s not overly complicated,” LaFleur said. “It’s not like [Packers defensive coordinator Mike] Pettine throwing everything at you. So, I get it from his perspective. But at the same time, there’s 10 other guys on the field with him on each play, and it was great for us, especially when you talk about our run game getting some different looks to go against. I always respect his opinion, just like I do all our players. But I still think it was beneficial for us.”

And then LaFleur basically conceded that, as to the strong criticism of kickoff drills during the joint practice, Rodgers was dead-on balls accurate.

“The one thing that I will comment on that I thought that he was dead right on was when you look at the kickoff, they ramped up their intensity level and we didn’t match it,” LaFleur said. “It looked a little, we got it taken to us a little bit. That’s something moving forward I probably wouldn’t do again is those full covered kickoff drills.”

All that said, LaFleur should have had to say none of that publicly. Because Rodgers shouldn’t have publicly criticized the coach’s decision to conduct joint practices or the manner in which the joint practices were conducted.

It may be hard, given the intensely tribal nature of sports, for some fans to process this observation as anything but an attack on Aaron Rodgers, but it’s criticism that is warranted and deserved. If Rodgers or any other quarterback has a concern about any decision(s) that his coach has made, the best way to handle it is to handle it privately. Any coach of any team at any level would agree with that.

Really, any manager of any business of any kind in any location would agree with that. Concerns about decisions made by the manager shouldn’t be aired out publicly, and any manager who gets called out publicly by one of the employees he manages will, if being candid, admit to being frustrated.