Some Detroit Lions players have spoken about their distaste for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, but it cannot become a distraction on the field Sunday night.
For some, and most certainly for fans of the other teams in the NFC North, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has what might be called a “punchable face.” Calculated, arrogant, other adjectives that aren’t safe to be written on a somewhat family-friendly internet page……Rodgers is eminently hatable for those who want to hate him.
Rodgers showed some disrespect to the Lions earlier this season when he said the Packers “can’t lose a game like that to that team” after Detroit’s 15-9 win in Week 9. As someone on Twitter wrote in a subtweet of a video showing his comments–“can, and did.”
He doubled down after Green Bay’s Week 15 Monday night win over the Los Angeles Rams. When ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters said the Packers’ three remaining games were all against teams above .500, Rodgers was sure to correct her slight error.
"Well, one of them is at .500 right now."
The Lions were 7-7 then, and of course they are 8-8 now. It never feels like just innocent smack talk when Rodgers says something like that, and the way he said it reflected everything people hate about him.
Detroit Lions players expressing distaste for Aaron Rodgers have to channel it properly
Left tackle Taylor Decker’s comments about the Packers/Rodgers weren’t too harsh. He simply expressed wanting the season finale to be on Sunday night, which it was later indeed scheduled to be.
But cornerback Amani Oruwariye, then safety DeShon Elliott, took a different tone.
First up is Oruwariye, via SI.com:
"There’s other things on the line as far as having a winning season, beating a division opponent that I feel like really doesn’t respect us as much as, respect us that much at all,” Oruwariye expressed. “So, there’s a lot of other motivating factors other than just, obviously, the playoff implications.”"
On Friday Elliott, who seems likely to play this week after missing two games with a shoulder injury, went all the way in on Rodgers.
Via Kyle Meinke of MLive:
"Asked what specifically bothered him about Rodgers, the safety said: “Shoot, whatever. The way he carries himself, I don’t like none of that (expletive). So, we got to go out there and show what we can do, and show who the big dog (is), back up all the talking we do. We’re going to go out there and do that.”"
Being motivated by disrespect from Rodgers or any other Packer, or not liking how Rodgers carries himself (get in line on that last one, Mr. Elliott), is one thing. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with players speaking to that, or carrying that chip on their shoulders. But there’s a line where that rage, distaste, etc. can become something negative, in terms of negative energy leading to mistakes on the field.
If there’s a coaching staff that will understand the psyche of players in a wide range of respects, including when they feel disrespected, it’s the Lions’ coaching staff–filled with former NFL players.
So Elliott, Oruwariye or anyone else who wants to put Rodgers in his place will have that energy tapped into in a positive way all week long. It’s just a matter of channeling that energy in a positive way when it’s time to take the field Sunday night.