Super Bowl winning coach Sean Payton has hit out at Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers over his criticism of the team’s young group of wide receivers.
The Packers traded Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders during the off-season, with the 29-year-old becoming the highest-paid receiver in the NFL in a blockbuster deal. Marquez Valdes-Scantling also left the Packers to join the Kansas City Chiefs.
During preseason, Rodgers was critical of the team’s remaining receivers. “The young guys, especially young receivers, we’ve got to be way more consistent,” he said.
“A lot of drops, a lot of bad route decisions, running the wrong route. We’ve got to get better in that area.”
With Allen Lazard out injured for their season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers were forced to rely on rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. And Watson made a disappointing error in the first quarter when he dropped a potential touchdown.
“There’s going to be growing pains,” Rodgers said after the game, highlighting Watson’s drop. “This is real football, it counts.
“It’s different, there’s nerves. … We’ve got to make those plays. I don’t like to play the what-if game, but games usually come down to a few plays here and there.”
However, Payton has criticised Rodgers’ comments in an appearance on the ‘NFL Rhodes Show’, saying: “It drives me crazy. Here’s the thing, I didn’t think he played well. I didn’t think Aaron played well.
“After the game we go to the interview in the locker room and the very first question posed to Aaron was about bouncing back and he referenced the first play of the game, the dropped pass from a rookie.
“And I thought, ‘Come on.’ I like Aaron Rodgers, but I didn’t like what I saw.”