David Bakhtiari's return to practice is 'a shot in the arm' for the Green Bay Packers
For the first time since tearing his ACL on Dec. 31, All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari practiced with the Green Bay Packers.For the first time since tearing his ACL on Dec. 31, All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari practiced. Bakhtiari is more than 10 months removed from reconstructive knee surgery, a key hurdle for a player returning from a torn ACL to clear.
Aaron Rodgers' stiff back and his stance on staying in a hotel the night before home games notwithstanding — he's still not a fan of that, by the way — the Green Bay Packers quarterback is in a pretty good frame of mind.
And for the record, you can call him a cold-weather quarterback.
What that all means for 2022, of course, is unknown.
But Rodgers certainly doesn't appear "disgruntled" seven weeks into the NFL season, as it was reported during the offseason, or a player who is still considering retirement, something he said he seriously pondered before reporting for training camp in late July.
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Well, winning, he recognized Tuesday on "The Pat McAfee Show," contributes to his mood. The Packers are on a six-game winning streak since their season-opening blowout loss to New Orleans on Sept. 12.
"Obviously winning cures a lot of that," Rodgers said.
Having your best friend in the league — Randall Cobb — back on the team does as well, Rodgers said. He'll likely rely on Cobb even more with Davante Adams and Allen Lazard both on the COVID-19 list ahead of the Packers' prime-time showdown Thursday with the 7-0 Arizona Cardinals on the road.
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And being around your other buddy and golf cart companion, David Bakhtiari, who could soon be blocking for No. 12 after nearly a year out of action, helps as well, Rodgers acknowledged.
Plus, Rodgers said he has "a great coaching staff that I love" and "I’m still in Green Bay and having the time of my life."
"Life is about perspective and I’m just daily counting the blessings that I have in life and just have so much gratitude for these moments and for the fact that I’m 37, I’m still playing, still playing at a high level and still get to have fun moments each week, including on this show," he said Tuesday to McAfee and co-host A.J. Hawk, a former teammate and close friend of Rodgers'.
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Another quarterback who continues to defy the odds is Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who at 44 years old said he has "softened up" regarding the weather after leaving New England to play in the Sunshine State.
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Brady was a guest on the "Monday Night Football" Manningcast this week and said he's a warm-weather quarterback now.
“I enjoy being a cold-weather quarterback in Green Bay," Rodgers said Tuesday. "When the weather changes and the leaves start coming off the trees, I get a little twinkle in my eye because I know football season is about to really start.”
Given this positivity, McAfee wondered if Rodgers is more happy than ever.
"I love football, I’m invested completely in this season. I am. I know it’s surprising," Rodgers said with a laugh, a dig at those who questioned his commitment to the team early in the season. "Life’s been really good. ... It's been fun to have some new guys in the mix, new teammates, get to know some of the older ones a little bit better, to build those friendships. It's been great to work with the staff. I love the staff. They make things fun. They reinvent themselves every week."
And after that 38-3 loss to New Orleans in Week 1, Rodgers said the team "stuck together" and has improved in all three phases.
"It’s a game. You got to have fun with it," Rodgers said. "You got to enjoy it."
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You seem to be more calm & happy than ever.
"I love football & I'm completely invested in the season.. at the end of the day it's a game & you gotta have fun with it" ~@AaronRodgers12#PatMcAfeeShowLIVEpic.twitter.com/ZdTTPAkjsd
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) October 26, 2021
But what he still doesn't enjoy is the NFL rule that requires players to stay in a hotel the night before a home game, particularly when he's dealing with a back issue and doesn't get to sleep in his own bed.
"The antiquated procedure of staying at a hotel the night before a game, I’ve never been a fan of that," Rodgers said Tuesday, adding to the comments he made in Sunday's post-game news conference. "That makes no sense to me. I don’t know what type of science there is that can justify that.
"Now, look, 20 years ago, maybe before camera phones if you're really worried, you got a team, maybe was a little squirrely and likes to go out and party, maybe you’d be worried about guys going out the night before a game. But I mean, this is 2021, there's a camera phone everywhere. Nobody's going out anywhere. They just want to sleep in their own bed. Nobody's out there (drinking) at the bar, hanging out with A.J. (Hawk), pouring out drinks like he used to back in the day on Friday nights. Nobody's doing that anymore."
What's going on with that back Aaron??
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"I don't wanna blame the hotel at all.. staying at a hotel the night before a game makes no sense to me.. nobody's going out like @OfficialAJHawk anymore" ???????? ~@AaronRodgers12#PatMcAfeeShowLIVEpic.twitter.com/leBmbetSaJ
31. Jets (27): NOW they trade for 2020 QB2 Joe Flacco when they could've just re-signed him to be their Plan B QB, not to mention a steady resource for now-injured rookie Zach Wilson? The faces change here, but the results never seem to.
29. Dolphins (29): Despite what Ja'Marr Chase is doing in Cincy, credit Miami WR Jaylen Waddle, whose 44 receptions are nine more than any other rookie.
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28. Jaguars (28): Trevor Lawrence seems to be quietly figuring out pro game, completing 66.3% of his passes and posting 93.8 QB rating over his past three outings. A date with Seattle's secondary should keep the arrow trending up.
25. Falcons (26): Appears they've figured out how to leverage Kyle Pitts' estimable talents. After exploding for 282 receiving yards over the past two games, he's on pace for 1,335 over the full season -- which would obliterate Hall of Famer Mike Ditka's rookie record for tight ends, 1,076 in 1961.
23. Eagles (24): No defense is getting targeted more through air than this one ... and that's because Philadelphia allows league-worst 74.4% completion rate.
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22. Seahawks (19): They're 2-5 for first time in Russell Wilson era, and injured QB will miss at least one more game. Already five games out of NFC West lead, midnight might've already struck in Seattle.
21. Patriots (23): Before you get overly excited about their 41-point shellacking of the Jets, understand New England is the first team in the Super Bowl era to notch its first three wins against rookie QBs. If the pattern holds, the Pats' next victory will come in Week 17 against Trevor Lawrence's Jags.
19. Bears (16): QB Justin Fields coughed the ball up five times Sunday, the first five-turnover game in the league in two years and first time a Chicago QB has been guilty of such shenanigans since the immortal Matt Barkley in 2016. It's getting ugly in the Windy City.
17. Colts (22): QB Carson Wentz has one INT after hoisting league-high 15 in 2020, and he's also sporting career-best 102.8 passer rating. This whole Frank Reich reunion apparently is just what the doctor ordered.
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16. Steelers (18): Save OLB T.J. Watt, who has seven sacks, no one else on Pittsburgh's previously vaunted defense has more than two. That's gotta improve for Steelers to avoid missing postseason for third time in four seasons.
13. Chiefs (10): Going back to Super Bowl 55, they've been torched for 29.3 points per game while averaging 24.6 and are -12 in turnover differential during that eight-game stretch. Time to get back to fundamentals, fellas.
12. Saints (11): Wasn't pretty, but RB Alvin Kamara and Co. might just be a playoff team without retired QB Drew Brees. Kamara is the fastest player (66 games) to record 3,000 yards both rushing and receiving.
11. Raiders (17): They're humming post-Gruden, all the way to the top of the AFC West, averaging 33.5 points and 434 yards past two weeks. And with six players already exceeding 300 yards from scrimmage, this crew's on track to be best Las Vegas team in NFL history.
9. Ravens (5): Bye would be good time to reset a defense that's permitted at least 33 points and at least 490 yards three times. No such tinkering required for QB Lamar Jackson, who's besting his career average through the air by more than 100 yards per game.
8. Bengals (13): All the chatter about Cincinnati's (current) No. 1 seed and rookie WR Ja'Marr Chase's record-setting start is warranted. But props to TE C.J. Uzomah, who's rebounded from last year's torn Achilles and has already hauled in a career-best five TD grabs.
7. Bills (8): A bitter loss and the bye in the rear view, Buffalo returns to a three-week murdered row against Miami, Jacksonville and the Jets, who are a combined 3-16 (.158). Great opportunity for Buffalo to create breathing room on AFC pack.
6. Titans (7): All-Pro RB Derrick Henry is leading the NFL in rushing yards (869) and TDs (10). Yawn. He's a legit MVP candidate because he's also tops in touches (209) and yards from scrimmage (1,023) and already has 18 receptions -- one off his career high. And now he's throwing TDs? This could get epic.
5. Packers (6): The first team to win six straight after losing the opener by at least 35 points, they head to desert for enticing matchup with Arizona -- which will mark the highest combined winning percentage (.929) of opponents in a post-September Thursday night game during Super Bowl era (since 1966). But pandemic is already putting a damper on showdown, All-Pro WR Davante Adams going to the COVID/reserve list Monday.
3. Buccaneers (3): Seems Tom Brady, uh, overcame his fourth-down issues from 2020 against Chicago. Next up, he tries to solve New Orleans in regular season after getting decisively swept last year ... before the playoffs.
1. Cardinals (1): Don't believe in the league's only unbeaten team? Arizona also boasts the NFL's largest point differential (+111), is the toughest team to score on (16.3 points allowed per game), is getting defensive reinforcements off the COVID-19 list -- including OLB Chandler Jones -- and is already effectively integrating new TE Zach Ertz, the first player to catch a TD pass in successive weeks ... for different teams. Oh yeah ... and Kyler Murray.
This article originally appeared on Packers News: Aaron Rodgers: I'm 'having the time of my life' with Green Bay Packers
Opinion: Aaron Rodgers isn't a victim of 'woke mob.' He's dangerously, and willfully, misinformed. .
Packers' Aaron Rodgers hit almost every anti-vax talking point there is Friday in trying to justify why he isn’t vaccinated and why he lied about it. Rodgers went to the safe space that is the Pat McAfee Show, and in a rambling 45-minute diatribe claimed to have an allergy to one of the ingredients in the mRNA vaccines. Said he was worried about Johnson & Johnson because of the possibility of blood clots – which have only occurred in women, and a miniscule amount, at that. Expressed fears about the impact on his ability to have children, despite actual science showing it’s being unvaccinated that poses the risk.