“Back in college we had a saying if we had more than seven signals for a play we put it on the wristband,” Rodgers said last month. “There’d be a lot of wristband calls in this offense.”
Rodgers’s performance in the NFL season opener against the Chicago Bears was hardly vintage Rodgers. He was sacked five times by the Bears and the team came away with a desire to speed up the tempo.
“It gets [the play] out of my mouth a lot faster, I’ll tell you that much,” LaFleur said Friday (per ESPN). “So yeah, maybe it helps me get him the play a little bit quicker.”
It worked well when the game against the Vikings began, with the Packers driving for touchdowns on their first two possessions. Rodgers, 35, is in a new offense for the first time since he became the starter in 2008 and didn’t play during preseason games, another reason the offense was slow to get going in the opener. Rodgers said during the offseason that learning LaFleur’s offense was like learning a new language.
“We do have some long calls in the plan — that’s just the way the offense is,” Rodgers told reporters last week. “There’s a number of checks for different plays. It’s getting that call in and repeating it and going out there and trying to execute as quickly as possible. The great thing about this offense and the communication is we had a great debrief Monday and Tuesday about everything. We made some subtle changes to hopefully help with some of that tempo.”
One Hall of Famer predicted that Rodgers wasn’t going to be happy with the wristband. “I began wearing a wristband my 10th season and I hated it,” Troy Aikman, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, said on Fox’s pregame show, “and the reason is you start reading the play as opposed to hearing the in play your head and when you hearing it in your head, you’re walking to the line, you’re visualizing everything that’s going to happen — the blitzes, where are my hots [hot reads], where am I going with the football. The wristband, you just read it and you don’t even start thinking about the play until you get underneath the center. I didn’t like it; I’m not sure Aaron Rodgers likes it, either.”
For the Packers, with five of the next six games at Lambeau Field starting Sunday, this is the time to work out the kinks and give something new a try.
“I don’t know, we’re just trying something new,” LaFleur said. “We’ll figure out where we are going with that.”