GREEN BAY, Wis. — It’s not often that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers publicly berates a teammate. It was relatively easy to avoid lashing out last season when Rodgers had 45 touchdown passes and just six interceptions, a year that concluded with his winning the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.
But with Green Bay’s offense struggling by comparison so far this season, Rodgers became very upset and animated with wide receiver James Jones during the Packers’ 23-10 win over the Chicago Bears in Week 2. In the second half of that game, Rodgers threw an interception on a pass intended for Jones and was visibly frustrated as the two approached the sideline.
On Tuesday, Jones met with the media and said Rodgers has since talked with him about what happened on the field following the interception.
“He apologized, said he’s sorry for showing his emotions,” Jones said of Rodgers. “But I was like, ‘Ain’t no need to apologize.’ We’re trying to win. I messed up. Frustration happens. It’s all good. No love lost. We’re teammates. We’re family in here.
“I love that dude. That (incident) ain’t going to change nothing.”
On the play, Jones ran a route along the right sideline but did not cut in front of Bears cornerback Tim Jennings as Rodgers expected him to. With Jones out of position, Rodgers’ pass was intercepted by Jennings and gave Chicago very good field position. Four plays later, the Bears capitalized with a touchdown and cut the Packers’ lead to 13 points.
With Jones admitting the mistake was on him, he insisted that Rodgers’ actions were not out of line.
“Me and A-Rod are way closer than that, to let something like that come in between us,” Jones said. “We’re out there trying to win the ballgame. It was my fault. I gave him mixed signals. We’re all emotional out there. It’s common. We do a lot of head gestures and stuff like that, the camera may not just be on us.
“Me and him, we’re both competitive, we’re trying to win. It was my fault. We don’t ever want to turn the ball over. I’m not mad at him. Shoot, we’re trying to win. Get on me. I messed up.”
Jones likened the situation to having to discipline a child after they do something that they shouldn’t.
“Your kids do something wrong, you yell at them every once and a while,” Jones said. “You tell them, ‘You can’t do that. Don’t go back by that outlet. You do it again, (and) Daddy gonna pop you.’ That’s all it is. We’re a family out there. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes that stuff is going to happen.”
The day after the game, Packers coach Mike McCarthy seemed OK with Rodgers’ post-interception interaction with Jones.
“There’s a line between playing with a lot of emotion and being disrespectful, and sometimes it looks the same,” McCarthy said. “I think that’s the reality of that particular situation. He’s not trying to disrespect James Jones by no means. He’s competing, he’s extremely competitive and they talked about it immediately on the sidelines. I think that’s the case.”
While Rodgers and Jones have made nice since their on-field confrontation, the same cannot be said for the fallout after what took place along the Bears sideline in the same game. Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler screamed at his offensive line on several occasions and even shoved left tackle J’Marcus Webb at one point.
That did not go over very well in the Bears locker room, with defensive back D.J. Moore saying it was “just wrong” for Cutler to physically go after Webb. But, according to reports out of Chicago on Tuesday, Cutler blamed the media for making the situation “bigger than all of us expected.”
Cutler, who threw four interceptions and was sacked seven times against the Packers, also insisted that his emotions were firmly under control during the game.
“Oh, I think I had my composure,” Cutler said in a radio interview on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. “I think I had my composure the whole game. … Obviously some mistakes on my part and other guys derailed us at times. Penalties, interceptions, stuff like that. But I had my composure. I knew what I was doing. We were calling the plays and everything was going smoothly.”