|The lack of lockout workouts didn't seem to slow down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense. (AP)|
GREEN BAY -- There are times when Aaron Rodgers gets that look. The look. It's a precursor to the smartass about to follow.
This isn't a negative thing. The look, the smartass, it's one of several reasons Rodgers is one of my favorite players to cover, and the look is a symptom of his confidence, a confidence that has made him maybe the best quarterback in football.
Some of you missed this and it's a perfect example of what I mean: Rodgers had tired of the lockout narrative about the Packers not participating in organized workouts. They were snidely chided by some in the media who hinted that the Packers were fat, dumb and happy after their Super Bowl win.
Privately, the Packers steamed at this portrayal. They felt it was disrespectful and, to them, showed a lack of understanding of just exactly who the Packers are. The team had proven by winning all of its playoffs games on the road that it was mentally tough and wouldn't be prone to bouts of laziness. They thought: How could the national media not see this?
Then came Thursday night against New Orleans and Rodgers annihilating the Saints defense, which last season was one of the best in the NFC.
After the game, when meeting with the media, there was the Rodgers look. He was waiting for us. Ready to pounce.
Rodgers was asked about the Packers' fast start that produced touchdowns on the first three drives.
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"It was a good start for us," he said. "I've got to ask myself, 'What would have happened if we had offseason workouts? Could we have started any faster and scored more points tonight?'"
You knew Rodgers had been waiting to use that line.
But wait. He wasn't done.
Rodgers was next asked about the spectacular kick return for a score by rookie Randall Cobb, who also had a receiving touchdown.
"Randall did a great job," Rodgers said. "It's exciting watching him with the ball in his hands. The kickoff return was incredible. The catch and run, he actually ran the wrong route but I was able to read, surprisingly. We didn't have offseason workouts but surprisingly I was able to read his body language there and he made a nice catch and run for a touchdown."
Now, I thought that was funny, and we in the media deserved it. Rodgers had proved many of us wrong. In a big way. In a really big way. The Packers were right all along.
But some in the media weren't happy. They portrayed Rodgers as whiny and arrogant. Some of us need to lighten the hell up.
In the locker room after his press conference, Rodgers was still making cracks and I still thought it was funny.
This is Rodgers. This is who he is and it's hard not to like because Rodgers backs up his attitude with spectacular action. He isn't a ring-less Terrell Owens mouthing off.
Is Rodgers arrogant? Sure. He had better be. All quarterbacks -- in fact, all NFL players -- need to have some degree of arrogance to survive in the sport. The great ones like Rodgers have an excessive amount.
Rodgers isn't the kind of arrogant that's a problem. He's not nasty arrogant or un-coachable. He's just the right amount of arrogant.
I've always gotten the feeling Rodgers doesn't take himself as seriously as some people think he does. I think Rodgers enjoys toying with writers and that doesn't bother me one bit.
We're going to see more of this from Rodgers. There are some who will worry he's getting too cocky. Not me. I think Rodgers has just the perfect amount of confidence and arrogance. So we're going to see more of The Look.