The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Learn From Rodgers

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It's no more appropriate for Maurice Jones-Drew to call out the game-planning in the Jacksonville Jaguars' 41-0 loss to the Seahawks, last Sunday, than it was for Seahawks coach Jim Mora to take a public stance against Seattle kicker Olindo Mare after Mare missed two field goals in the Seahawks' Week 3 loss to the Chicago Bears. If Mora had a specific problem he wanted to address publicly, maybe it should have been the offense that stalled so often downfield that Mare actually made four field goals and kept the Seahawks in the game. And perhaps Jones-Drew, one of the most dynamic players in the league, should think about his 34 rushing yards on 12 carries before he throws the guy who called those plays under the bus.

The NFL code of conduct is more simply a code of ethics applicable for any sport, business, relationship -- what have you. People do not generally respond well to public embarrassment. There are exceptions to the rule -- all-time linebacker Lawrence Taylor actually fed off the fact that Bill Parcells would taunt his efforts in the media, but Parcells has always been a master motivator, and he's know the difference between the players who could handle that and the ones who couldn't. When Mora puts it all on the shoulders of one player, he looks desperate and immature -- hardly the impression you want from the head coach of your team. And when Jones-Drew hauls off to the media after a sub-par performance, it simply makes him look like one more diva, which is not what he is. From all accounts, he's one of the more likable and engaging players you'll ever meet.

And while it's completely understandable that people say things they later regret in frustration, there's also a value to keeping your cool under the worst conditions and fostering chemistry and camaraderie.

If you'd like an "Exhibit A", I give you Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. No NFL quarterback has been sacked more than Rodgers this year, and he currently ranks 14th in DYAR despite 20 takedowns. His offensive line is a mess due to injuries, and there's nothing anyone can do about it. So, does Rodgers take it out on the teammates who feel worse about it than anyone? Nope. He says things like this:

"It really doesn't do any good. I trust those guys. I love those guys. They take care of me, I take care of them. That's the way it goes. We have a tight-knit relationship. Nothing gets done when you do something like that publicly.

"We're all pros. We all hold ourselves to a standard of play, and I'd say myself and those guys included would probably all agree that personally, we haven't played up to our potential at all times. We all want to play better. We're going to play better."

Can there be any doubt that the Packers will play their guts out for Rodgers? Not at all. And is there any doubt that several high-profile NFL people could take a few lessons from him? Not in the least. In a time of childish blamescaping, kudos to Aaron Rodgers for reminding us that football is the ultimate team sport.

By Doug Farrar  |  October 16, 2009; 7:49 AM ET  | Category:  Green Bay Packers , Jacksonville Jaguars , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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