Packers will make their statement on the field

Aaron Rodgers had an opinion again, this time disagreeing with his head coach’s interest in joint practices. Naturally, this means Rodgers is a garbage person that can’t get along with anyone, or so numerous media members would have you believe.

Ruthless criticism of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers is the new offseason fashion, and hating on Green and Gold is the new black.

The Joint Practice Disagreement is just another new track on the Billboard anti-Packers Top 40, with other hits like Rodgers Can’t Be Coached, Ty Dunne’s Hit Piece, and The Audible Issue. I’m not here to break down the latest difference of opinion or reopen any of the original hits; that’s what the trolls want. The gremlins that create the hot takes know that dissension breeds engagement. Even many respectable analysts have come around to the “Aaron Rodgers is overrated” train of thought. That’s fine; everyone is allowed to have an opinion.

Instead, like the Packers, I’m focusing on what matters: actual football. The Packers will make their statement on the field.

Green Bay Packer football returns tonight with the first exhibition game. Whether or not Aaron Rodgers plays (unknown as of this writing, but unlikely), fans will see players get valuable live snaps against real opponents, as well as see the new offensive scheme come together.

I’m excited to see how Danny Vitale is used in this offense. How Za’Darius Smith completely changes the face of this defensive front. How Rashan Gary adapts to the NFL after dominating in practice. How Jake Kumerow and Trevor Davis can provide for offensive power. How the young secondary can compete against NFL receivers. The offseason is finally over and there are so many better focal points than meaningless disagreements.

Matt LaFleur is making this team his own. Throughout training camp, he’s shown who he is as a coach. He’s kept practice in the rain to simulate real football, he’s set expectations for effort and tempo, he’s criticized the team for lack of effort while refusing complacency, he’s shown he will not tolerate fighting, and he’s stuck up for his guys in joint practices.

Many questioned LaFleur’s personality when hired, but thus far LaFleur has been a strong leader. The same man who maligned mild-manned Marcus Mariota in practice is marshaling the Packers. Regardless of the past, this is LaFleur’s team now, ready to carve its identity on the field of battle.

Despite being clad in the same, familiar colors, this is a brand new Packers team. The young general manager, head coach, and coordinators are leading a revamped roster, helmed by a future Hall of Fame quarterback. Let doubt fill the minds of the critics; this team is hungry and looking to feed on the doubters. If the wins come, the critics stop talking.

During the Hall of Fame game, Chris Collinsworth said, “I’ve got a feeling about the Packers this year.” I think he’s right, and it’s going to be fun to see.

Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.
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