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Brett Favre: Packers HC Matt LaFleur Needs to Let Aaron Rodgers 'Play His Game'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 23, 2019

Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers during NFL football minicamp practice Wednesday June 12, 2019 in Green Bay, Wis.. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Mike Roemer/Associated Press

NFL Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre had some advice for new head coach Matt LaFleur: Let Aaron Rodgers do his thing.

Favre spoke to reporters during the American Family Insurance Championship golf tournament over the weekend, and the topic of Rodgers and the Packers came up, per James Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"Aaron will be fine. I think that the thing is he needs to remain the same. And I don't have to give him any advice. You know, he'll handle it well. The question is, how will they handle it with him? And obviously, that's very important. I mean, there's more to the team than Aaron but we all have to admit that when he's playing and playing well, which generally when he's playing he is playing well, you don't want to change what's working. There's other factors that you have to work on.

"So I think you let him play his game and not disturb that very much. And it's going to be interesting to see if that happens."

LaFleur, to his credit, seems fully aware of the type of player he has in Rodgers and the need to allow his quarterback some autonomy over the offense.

Last week, he spoke to Michael Silver of NFL.com about working with Rodgers to allow the quarterback to audible within the system

"Aaron and I have had some good talks, and we're going to have to talk a lot more—and one thing we have to work through is the audible thing. We're running a system I first picked up while working with Kyle (Shanahan) in Houston a decade ago, and we've never really had a quarterback who's had complete freedom to change plays at the line, because that's not really the way the offense is set up. But, I mean, this is Aaron Rodgers. He's had a lot of freedom to make those calls, and deservedly so. Now, how do we reconcile that, and get to a place where we put him in the best position to succeed?"

Rodgers has earned that autonomy. The 35-year-old quarterback is a Super Bowl champion, a seven-time Pro Bowler, a two-time MVP and a two-time first-team All-Pro selection. While he didn't have his best season in 2018 for a struggling Packers team, he still threw for 4,442 yards, 25 touchdowns and two interceptions, completing 62.3 percent of his passes.

Rodgers' down years are better than most quarterbacks' best seasons. And his ability to run the offense on his own, when the situation calls for it, is rare, as Rodgers himself spoke about with Silver while talking about his growing relationship with LaFleur and just how much freedom he'll have at the line of scrimmage:

"It's a conversation in progress. I don't think you want to ask me to turn off 11 years (of recognizing defenses). We have a number of check with mes and line-of-scrimmage stuff. It's just the other stuff that really not many people in this league can do.

"That's not like a humblebrag or anything; that's just a fact. There aren't many people that can do at the line of scrimmage what I've done over the years. I mean, obviously, Tommy (Brady) can do it, no doubt. Peyton (Manning) could do it. Drew (Brees) can do it. (Patrick) Mahomes will be able to do it. Ben (Roethlisberger) has called the two-minute for years. There are a few of us who've just done it; it's kind of second nature. And that's just the icing on the cake for what I can do in this offense."

That doesn't necessarily flow seamlessly with LaFleur's system, which is predicated on a lot of pre-snap activity and may naturally restrict some of Rodgers' freedom to change the play at the line. But it sounds like Rodgers and LaFleur are having plenty of dialogue about how it will all work going forward. 

And if a Hall of Famer and former champion in Favre believes LaFleur should give Rodgers some freedom to do what he does best, it's likely that LaFleur will come to the same conclusion.