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Couch: Aaron Rodgers and the Packers proved nothing in rout of the lowly Lions

Op-ed
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Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdown passes to beat Detroit on Monday Night Football, and ESPN's Lisa Salters asked him, "First, are you an I-told-you-so kind of guy?"

She chuckled in a kiss-up kind of way. He deferred credit, and it seemed so humble and selfless until he talked with reporters later and said, "I just think people like to say a lot of bulls**t and it's nice to come back in here after a game like that. ... It's nice to come out, have a good performance, and get the trolls off our back for at least a week."

In other words, yes, Rodgers is an I-told-you-so guy. That comes in contrast to what Tom Brady said a day earlier after throwing five touchdown passes for Tampa Bay. "We can do better," he said.

Brady's first word was "we" and Rodgers' was "I."

The Packers still have a serious Aaron Rodgers problem. Don't let one well-played half against the worst franchise in the NFL fool you. We already knew that Rodgers could make all the throws, even when his feet aren't pointed the right way, as Peyton Manning demonstrated on his ESPN2 alternative telecast.

So this was never about skills. It's about why the most talented quarterback in the NFL has just one Super Bowl. For Rodgers, it's about how he's going to fix that blot on his legacy.

He has chosen to go the prima-donna route, and that means he's going to have to show those "trolls" that he was right all along.

Locker rooms don't forget fast, though. Rodgers still walked off on his team this summer. And he still came out in the season opener last week at a neutral site against New Orleans, played terribly, and looked disinterested.

And sure, it's always fun to hear someone poke at the media or Twitterverse as "trolls." I've never really thought of Bill Cowher as a troll, though. Boomer Esiason? Not him either. Not often, anyway.

"He is a complicated, awkward, brilliant unbelievable football player," Esiason, the former MVP quarterback, said on the CBS pregame show Sunday. "I kind of think he's bored in Green Bay, to be honest with you."

Cowher was rougher.

"He's now made it personal," the Super Bowl champion coach said. "He looks very selfish, almost looks aloof. I always say perception is reality.

"He'll have a great game on Monday Night, but show me you care. Show me it's important to you, that the team is more important than who you are. And right now I haven't seen that."

That's not what Rodgers showed Monday. He showed disinterest in the first half, followed by a willingness to try hard in the second.

It is too neat a story to say that Rodgers fixed things Monday night.

Last week he told Erin Andrews, after whining yet again about the Packers drafting quarterback Jordan Love two years ago, that he has to "100 percent commit to everything that my job entails. And there were many times during the off season that I didn't think I was fully ready to do that."

The problem for Rodgers now is that after a summer of telling everyone that, and of having his agent and friendly media leak out that he'd rather play somewhere else, it's starting to look as if he doesn't have many other places to go.

Quarterbacking has become a young man's game, with stars Kyler Murray (age 24), Patrick Mahomes (26), Lamar Jackson (24). Other teams already seem to have their next-gen guy, such as the Patriots with Mac Jones.

Rodgers will turn 38 this season, and no one will want to build around an old guy long-term. If he plans on threatening to leave the Packers again, that's going to take finding a team that's Super Bowl-ready, minus a quarterback. Maybe that's Denver? But the Mile High City seems pretty happy with Teddy Bridgewater (28) right now.

No, the Packers are the right fit for him, possibly the only fit. But he helped to tear them down with his off-season petulance.

Rodgers burned his own bridge, and a great half against lowly Detroit didn't rebuild much. By fighting Packers management so loudly and openly in the offseason, and playing it so poorly, he tore at his own franchise.

Now he's going to have to not only be "100 percent committed," as he put it, but also to convince his locker room of that.

"I think we maybe tried to show that we cared a little bit more tonight," Rodgers said.

He thinks maybe he tried a little bit? It's going to take more than that to convince the trolls.
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