Harlan: Rodgers, LaFleur Found "A Nice Middle Ground"

Turmoil? Angst? Not quite. The Rodgers-LaFleur relationship has been relatively smooth sailing

The DA Show
January 09, 2020 - 11:34 am

Aaron’s Rodgers’ reportedly contentious relationship with Matt LaFleur was a popular storyline in the preseason. Sixteen games later, the Packers finished 13-3 and secured the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Translation? Move along. Nothing to see here.

“I think they’re probably as much on a meeting at a nice middle ground than at any time in the season,” NFL on CBS broadcaster Kevin Harlan said on The DA Show. “We do the preseason games, so I see them all of August, and the big question going into the season was how is Aaron, after 13 years in one system, going to change his thinking, repoint his compass for a coach who’s never been a head coach, a one-time offensive coordinator for a single year, only called plays for a year with Mike Vrabel, the voice is different, the philosophy will be different – where are they going to meet and intersect? I really think it’s not been butting heads or being abrasive toward each other’s thought and how they’re entrenched in what they do. It really has been more of let’s just walk together here on this path and see where we get.”

The Packers started 7-1 and ended the season on a five-game winning streak. Rodgers completed 62.0 percent of his passes for 4,002 yards, 26 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has 51 touchdown passes and six interceptions over the last two seasons.

“They’ve been parallel with each other all year,” Harlan said of Rodgers and LaFleur. “Rodgers has conceded, LaFleur has conceded, and I think they’re probably at the best point of that relationship right now. It’s never been one of turmoil or angst. It’s always been one of let’s share ideas and see where it takes us. That’s where they are right now.”

Interestingly, LaFleur’s youth and inexperience may have become positives as the season progressed. Rodgers, 36, has more in common with LaFleur, 40, than he does with his early-mid 20s teammates.

“Brett Favre had told this to Rodgers,” Harlan said. “He said, ‘The older I got, the less I had in common with my teammates.’ So I think a hidden benefit is that Rodgers has a guy who is more his age than the guys in that locker room. I think that has also brought them together in a way.”

The Packers host the Seahawks on Sunday. Seattle is 11-2 in one-score games this season.

“They’ve done this all season long, and I don’t think it’s luck,” Harlan said. “I think they get the most out of what they’ve got – and it’s not the deepest roster, certainly not the most talented, but it is one that follows good leadership, and they’ve got it with Wilson.”

Kickoff is at 6:40 p.m. ET.