No, Aaron, this is not clickbait.
But, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was willing to say what his head coach was not last night after their Canadian adventure, the latest in a string of embarrassments for the NFL when they work in non-NFL buildings at home and abroad.
With the team playing on an 80-yard Winnipeg field because no one in the NFL imagined having a hole in the end zone where the CFL goalposts used to be might be a problem, the Packers held out 33 of their players against the Raiders.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden said the field wasn’t a problem for him, but Packers coach Matt LaFleur was perhaps trying to be polite to his Canadian hosts.
“We made the adjustments we felt were in the best interest of our football team, and we moved forward,” LaFleur said, via the team’s official website. “It was a combination of a lot of things I really don’t want to get into right now. It is what it is. They weren’t playing their guys and I just didn’t want to put our guys at risk.”
Rodgers was more direct. Via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, Rodgers said on the team’s television broadcast that his not playing was not related to the back tightness which caused him to be a healthy scratch last week, saying it was “nothing to do with [his sore] back, it’s more the field conditions that we had tonight.”
That means Rodgers will likely go through the preseason without playing a snap, which is better than the alternative they’re considering in Carolina this morning, where Cam Newton was injured in his first preseason game.
“I feel confident in our preparation,” LaFleur said. “Hindsight is 20/20. I know we’re going to get second-guessed every which way, but I’m not too worried about it.
“I’m concerned about how we go about our business and our mindset in that locker room, and I think our guys are confident.”
If only the league could say the same thing, now that Winnipeg has joined Mexico City, Canton, and Dayton, Ohio (where A.J. Green was hurt in a league-arranged Bengals practice on an old college turf) for field-related fiascoes.