GREEN BAY – Close to three weeks ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Aaron Rodgers was planning on skipping voluntary workouts and Matt LaFleur backed up his quarterback’s plan.

The issue with that is the fact that Rodgers will be playing with a new batch of receivers in 2022 and he needs to get as familiar with them as quickly as possible. Davante Adams, whom everyone knows had the strongest of relationships with Rodgers, is now in Las Vegas.

Rodgers has familiarity with Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb, but he’s starting a brand new relationship with Sammy Watkins, Rico Gafford, and the three receivers the Packers selected in the draft. It’s imperative he builds those relationships as quickly as possible.

That’s because the Packers’ Super Bowl window with Rodgers is closing. They can’t waste any time. Especially since they are paying him $50 million per year.

However, these days, it appears as if Rodgers is rethinking his strategy. He alluded to as much during a draft night appearance on the Pat McAfee Show.

“We got a lot to play for, a lot of exciting things,” Rodgers said. “… Whoever we bring in tomorrow and the rest of this draft, I’m going to put in the time to make it work with those guys. And we’re going to find a way in Matt [LaFleur’s] offense to be successful like we always have. And it’s not going to be any different this year.”

That’s great news if Rodgers is in fact planning on attending voluntary workouts in May. Any extra time will go a long way toward building his relationship with the receiver corps. Tom Brady showed as much during his first year in Tampa Bay when he hosted private workouts at local high school. The Bucs offense was one of the league’s best that year and they won the Super Bowl.

It all started there.

LaFleur knows there are a lot of new pieces involved in the Packers 2022 season and it’s all about seeing everyone in action in order to figure out how to put them in the best situation possible.

“It’s just matter of we need to get everyone in here [and] see what these guys can do,” LaFleur told reporters after the draft. “Try to put those guys in situations to really accentuate their strengths… We’re going to have a lot of new faces.

“It was interesting having our first team meeting, when you look in the crowd, there’s a lot of new guys and a lot of new coaches. So, you gotta bring it all together. And that is a process, it takes time. So, we’ll find out over the next couple of months and into training camp and adjust accordingly.”

It’s something that has to be done on a yearly basis, but this year isn’t like years past. Going into last year, Rodgers had well over 300 combined game reps spread among Adams, Cobb, Lazard, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Marques Valdes-Scantling.

This year, he has nowhere near that amount. It’s close to around 135, or so. And around 100 of them belong to Cobb, alone.

There’s only one way to make up those reps: in-person work. And a ton of it. Turnover/change is something NFL teams deal with on a regular basis, but Rodgers is going to see a ton of it in 2022 when it comes to who he’s throwing the ball to.

“Just like I mentioned, there’s a lot of new faces so, the more that these guys can get around one another [the better],” LaFleur said. “That’s one of the challenges, I think, each and every year is how do you recreate that team chemistry, that camaraderie?

“And the only way you can do that is if you’re around one another. Certainly, not only the chemistry on the field, but off the field, is so important.”

Based off what LaFleur says, the team responds well to Rodgers, which makes sense. But that bodes well in developing chemistry and could help expedite the process. In turn, helping the Packers offense find continuity at a quicker pace.

“Any time he comes in, I think it just brings a natural energy with that, it’s very organic,” LaFleur said. “And I think the guys get excited to see him.”

But LaFleur -in an indirect fashion- hammered home the point of why Rodgers needs to attend minicamp this year. Without Rodgers, the offense has no identity. And that makes him so crucial in a year with so much change at the position tied directly to his production.

“Ultimately it’s trying to find the best way to put the guys we have in the best position to have success,” LaFleur said. “Especially when we get Aaron back in the building -and I’m talking from an offensive standpoint- that’s when a lot of these discussion take place in terms of what do we want to look like moving forward. Because he’s got a big part in this thing, obviously.”

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