Rodgers Looking For Revenge On Jennings
If you believe in what Aaron Rodgers says to the media, Sunday night’s game between his Green Bay Packers and ex-teammate Greg Jennings’ Minnesota Vikings is just another Sunday. He says the numerous jabs taken by Jennings at Rodgers and the Packers since Jennings signed with Minnesota are completely behind him. He’s just anxious to play a division game.
"Well, I'm not going to approach it with any bitterness or any malice towards him," Rodgers said. "I choose to remember the great times that we had together, the great wins, the incredible moments. That's what I like to focus on. Regardless of what he wants to remember, that's the things, the positive things that I focus on. But I think we're definitely past all that stuff, and he's with them, and I'm focused on the guys we got and getting those guys ready to play."
That sounds all good and dandy, but I’m not buying it. Not when Jennings used to be his number one target and the best receiver in Super Bowl XLV. Not when Jennings accepted a deal from Minnesota that pays him $9 million per year after declining Green Bay’s offer early in the 2012 season that would’ve given him $10 million per year. Not when Jennings has referred to Rodgers as "12" and "the guy they have now" instead of by name and publicly questioned his leadership. And not when Rodgers has more chips on his shoulder than just about anyone else.
No, Aaron Rodgers wants revenge on his former receiver. I’m sure he’s already taken great pleasure in watching Jennings struggle with his new team. Jennings is averaging 54.5 receiving yards per game, his lowest total besides his rookie season and last year, when he had to leave multiple games early due to injury. He’s on pace to catch 64 passes and 5.3 touchdowns, both of which would the second-lowest of his career in seasons with at least 13 starts.
Given his lack of production and Minnesota’s 1-5 record, I think Jennings is beginning to realize his mistake.
“It’s been a challenge, but life throws you a lot of challenges, a lot of adversity, a lot of curveballs, and it’s been no different,” Jennings said to Green Bay media. “It’s something that has been a humbling experience.”
But that’s not enough. Rodgers wants to show Jennings first-hand just what he’s missing out on by not being featured in one of the league’s best offenses driven by the league’s best quarterback, and he wants to do it in front of Jennings’ new home crowd. I’m sure he’s had this game circled since the schedule came out.
What would make revenge even sweeter for Rodgers would be being able to put up monster numbers with a cast of no-namers. Of the team’s top four receiving options, Jermichael Finley and Randall Cobb are for sure out, and James Jones sounds like he’s likely to sit out a second straight game. That leaves Jordy Nelson as the only accomplished active receiver. After him, Rodgers will be throwing to Jarrett Boykin, Myles White, Chris Harper (who signed with the team just last Saturday), Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick. Imagine how silly Jennings will feel when those guys are putting up just as good of numbers, if not better, than him.
This game may officially be between the Packers and Vikings, but really it’s much more about Rodgers vs. Jennings. More specifically, this is about Rodgers getting back at the man once called a teammate whose mouth and resentfulness have exponentially grown since leaving town.
This is one of the few games in which the drama way surpasses that of the normal divisional hatred. I can’t wait to watch.