Packers CEO Mark Murphy: “The situation we face with Aaron Rodgers has divided our fan base”
Packers CEO Mark Murphy does a periodic question-and-answer column on the team’s official website. In his latest entry, Murphy addresses the Aaron Rodgers impasse in response to a question that: (1) isn’t really a question; and (2) doesn’t even ask about Rodgers.
A fan named Ken writes to Murphy: “You have done a great job. Don’t let the bastards drag you down. Washington needs a name. I suggest the Generals.”
Here’s the non-sequitur from Murphy. (Unless, of course, Murphy regards Rodgers as one of the “bastards” who may be dragging Murphy down.)
“Thanks, Ken,” Murphy writes. “The situation we face with Aaron Rodgers has divided our fan base. The emails and letters that I’ve received reflect this fact. As I wrote here last month, we remain committed to resolving things with Aaron and want him to be our quarterback in 2021 and beyond. We are working to resolve the situation and realize that the less both sides say publicly, the better. With regard to the Washington Football Team, it looks like they will be the WFT for at least one more year. I like the Washington Generals name, but it is already taken. Have you ever seen a Harlem Globetrotters game? Also, the Washington Generals don’t have a very good record (1 win, 16,000 losses).”
So, in the same response that Murphy speaks to the wisdom of saying as little as possible about the controversy with the team’s franchise quarterback, Murphy points out that the Rodgers situation has “divided our fan base.”
There’s a separate question of whether it truly has divided the fan base. Although some fans were becoming a little wobbly regarding Rodgers in the days after his power play became obvious, the situation doesn’t seem to be nearly as polarizing as the run-of-the-mill red state/blue state political issue. Instead, most fans simply don’t want to hear about it. Where they line up if/when Rodgers doesn’t report for mandatory minicamp and/or training camp remains to be seen.
The same column separately contains praise for G.M. Brian Gutekunst, the man Rodgers reportedly wants fired.
“While I appreciate your persistence and passion,” Murphy says in response to a question urging Murphy to "[g]et that jerk Gutekunst to get off his butt” and make a play for Julio Jones, “I must tell you that I have tremendous confidence in Brian Gutekunst. In his relatively short tenure as our G.M., he has completely turned around the fortunes of our team. He has put together a talented team (last year we had the most players voted to the Pro Bowl) that has a 28-8 record over the last two years, after consecutive losing seasons in 2017 and 2018, and has played in back-to-back NFC Championship games. Moreover, he has a great working relationship with Head Coach Matt LaFleur. He and EVP/director of football operations Russ Ball have managed our salary cap smartly and have us well positioned for the future.” (The answer makes no reference to the possibility of trading for Jones.)
Likewise, the column contains a question, and an answer, regarding the development of Jordan Love, the man who would replace Rodgers.
“It was a shame for Jordan that the pandemic impacted so much of his rookie year,” Murphy writes. “Although it wasn’t a completely wasted year, he had no in-person practices in the offseason program and no preseason game experience. Although it is hard to tell a lot in the offseason practices, both Matt LaFleur and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett have said they like what they’ve seen from Jordan this offseason. Hackett said that the biggest difference this year is his confidence in the system, and that his decision-making, timing and accuracy have all improved. It’s obviously helped him to get reps with the first-team offense this offseason. The preseason games this year will be crucial in his development.”
There’s still a chance those preseason games will feature Love as the starter, if Rodgers doesn’t show up. The next clue comes this week, when Rodgers does -- or doesn’t -- report for mandatory minicamp.