If you love sports, chances are you love speculation. Who’s signing where? Who’s getting traded? Who’s my team going to draft? It can all be a ton of fun. But speculation has an ugly side and we’ve seen it these last few years with Aaron Rodgers. From rumors of trade requests and attempting to get a general manager fired to anger with draft picks and poor relationships with young players, speculation about what goes on in the Green Bay Packers locker room has been wild. That’s why it’s so nice when someone who actually lives it can go on the record and speak to the reality of the situation.
Today on the Rich Eisen Show Green Bay stand out Christian Watson did just that. Appearing on one of football’s most popular programs, in the middle of the Rodgers trade drama, Watson brought transparency to several topics.
First on Rodgers and the relationship the two shared. Eisen asked about their first meeting and although the narrative has been painted of Rodgers as the grizzly senior bully ready to ignore and demean incoming freshman, Watson painted a fun picture more in line with Rodgers’ carefree personality.
“I think the first time I saw him he had come through it was right before the mandatory mini camps he came in and he just walked by me and said (jovially) ‘what’s good North Dakota State?’” Continuing on, Watson brushed aside the idea that there was any negativity and credits Rodgers’ openness and confidence as factors in his development and strong second half of the season.“I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to play with him my rookie season and be able to pick his brain. My number one goal going into last year was just to pick the veterans mind as much as possible. You never know when those guys are going to be done or when they’re gonna be gone so I just tried to learn as much as possible from him…Whenever I had a question whenever I had something in my mind even if it seemed like a dumb question he was always open to answering that for me and giving me his mindset on that. I think he helped me develop a lot. I think he helped me gain that confidence that I gained later in the year with his confidence in me.”
And that openness hasn’t stopped. When pressed about the last time he spoke to 12, Watson gave a surprising answer. “Probably a week or two ago just kind of talking to him about off-season stuff.” Watson said. “What can I do to get better and what did you see for me last year that I need to do to improve and stuff like that.”
That’s right, despite the idea that Rodgers is holed up somewhere waiting for a trade away from a place he grew to resent, the truth is he’s out here communicating with people in Green Bay and even helping them out.
And if there are people worried about chemistry in Green Bay heading into next season without the future first ballot Hal of Famer, Watson certainly isn’t one of them. “Obviously 12 being the starting quarterback last year it would seem like we wouldn’t have got a lot of time with Jordan, but I spent a lot of time with Jordan Love actually. Whether it was meetings outside of practice to get that playbook down…us younger guys had meetings with Jordan Love weekly going into the later weeks of the season and we had quite a bit of younger guy developmental stuff that we did early in the season so we got reps in with him. I think that relationship and that connection is strong already.”
Watson alongside Keisean Nixon were two of the bright spots that catapulted the Packers into a second half run last season and despite the quarterback change it’ll be nice to see Watson take everything he’s learned from Rodgers and continue to grow with Love.