One of the biggest questions facing the Packers heading into the 2019 season was whether or not Aaron Rodgers would have the power to call audibles this year, and it looks like we now have the answer to that question.
New Packers coach Matt LaFleur revealed on Tuesday that Rodgers will be able to freely call audibles this season, which means the quarterback will have the power to change a play if he feels that something might work better based on how he sees the opponents' defense.
"We've given him all the freedom," LaFleur said, via ESPN.com. "So if he sees something, he's got the green light to do whatever he needs to do to get us into a good play. We're not going to take that from him."
Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, so giving him the power to change plays might seem like the obvious thing to do, especially for a first-year head coach, but LaFleur seemed to be leaning against going that route when he was asked about the possibility earlier this offseason.
At the NFL combine in February, LaFleur didn't rule out the possibility of letting Rodgers call audibles, but he did point out that his offense isn't designed for a quarterback to have that kind of power.
"We traditionally haven't had a whole lot of audibles, per se, in our offense," LaFleur said, via ESPN.com. "Not to say that that's going to be the way we're going forward because, again, we're going to build it our way. We try to give the quarterback as many tools as possible. There's going to be a lot of play-calls where there's two plays called."
At that point, LaFleur, who, still hadn't had a chance to practice with Rodgers, so his comments weren't a huge surprise. He designed an offense and he wants to keep it how it is. However, LaFleur did that he was still undecided on whether or not he was going to let Rodgers call audibles this year.
"Aaron and I have had some good talks, and we're going to have to talk a lot more -- and one thing we have to work through is the audible thing," LaFleur said, via NFL.com. "We're running a system I first picked up while working with Kyle (Shanahan) in Houston a decade ago, and we've never really had a quarterback who's had complete freedom to change plays at the line, because that's not really the way the offense is set up."
Rodgers, who's a two-time NFL MVP, clearly wasn't thrilled with the fact that LaFleur was thinking about neutering his audible power. When he was asked about it in June, Rodgers simply pointed out that it wouldn't make sense not to take advantage of all his experience.
"I don't think you want to ask me to turn off 11 years (of recognizing defenses)," Rodgers said, via NFL.com. "We have a number of check with me's and line-of-scrimmage stuff. It's just the other stuff that really not many people in this league can do."
The fact that this issue is now resolved is especially good news for LaFleur, because he's clearly tired of getting questions about it.
"You guys just will not stop with this audible thing, it's unbelievable," LaFleur said. "What do you guys want me to say?"
The one thing that will be interesting to watch here is what happens if the Packers' offense struggles in 2019. If the Packers can't move the ball with Rodgers calling audibles, LaFleur might feel compelled to take away the quarterback's audible power, which could end up creating some drama in Green Bay. On the other hand, if the Packers look good, everyone will forget the audible thing was ever an issue.