Week Five can’t get here soon enough.
Three days after highly-critical comments from Broncos coach Sean Payton to Jarrett Bell of USA Today about former Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett became the biggest story in the NFL and two days after Payton expressed “regret” for his “mistake,” Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers chimed in.
Appearing on NFL+, the league’s struggling in-house streaming service to which more content is now being pushed, Rodgers said that Payton should “keep my coaches’ names out of his mouth.” Rodgers also called Payton’s comments “very surprising, for a coach to do that for another coach.” Rodgers described Payton as “insecure,” and theorized that he’s setting himself up “for some sort of easy fall if it doesn’t go well for that team this year.”
“I thought it was way out of line [and] inappropriate,” Rodgers added.
On the very day Payton’s description of Hackett’s performance as perhaps one of the worst coaching jobs in NFL history made waves, Jets coach Robert Saleh had a surprisingly calm, measured response regarding the shots fired at his new offensive coordinator.
Rodgers has a high degree of loyalty to Hackett. When Hackett took the job in Denver last year, many believed Rodgers would be traded to Denver for 2022.
Now, Rodgers and Hackett are together in New York. Ten weeks from today, they travel to Denver to face Payton and the Broncos.
After Payton said what he said, some in the media suggested that it was all intentional and deliberate by Payton. It wasn’t.
For Rodgers, who had three days to process, ponder, and plan, what he said surely was strategic — especially since the question he was asked (“I’m not gonna ask you about Sean Payton’s comments directly”) specifically tried to avoid a response from Rodgers to Payton.