The position-by-position season review is a common newspaper tradition in big football towns. I love reading them to catch up on anything I missed during the season.
When I dove into Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Packers quarterback review on Wednesday, I expected a breakdown of Aaron Rodgers' bumpy, but mostly excellent season. Instead, I found a not-so-subtle takedown of Rodgers' leadership skills.
The piece starts with Rodgers skipping out on talking to the media the day after the season ended, choosing instead to crack jokes during linebacker Desmond Bishop's interview. Seems like a harmless-enough anecdote, but it sets a tone. The article goes on to ask if there is a disconnect between Rodgers and his teammates.
The evidence is pretty flimsy on paper. There were controversial Twitter comments from Jermichael Finley's agent and Greg Jennings' sister about Rodgers. There was some criticism from Shannon Sharpe and Rodgers' sharp jabs about the Packers' rookie defensive players. It doesn't seem to add up to much, but the paper wouldn't have run this story unless it believed there was a real issue here.
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"A little more than a decade ago, Brett Favre was in the process of becoming larger than the Packers organization," Rob Reischel wrote. "Green Bay must now do all it can to ensure that never happens with Rodgers.
"One reason Rodgers may have slipped to the 24th overall selection in the 2005 draft is he was perceived as a know-it-all by many scouts and executives. Rodgers did not display that early in his Packers' career, trying to prove that he was the anti-Favre."
The implication: Rodgers is becoming that guy. This is a rather personal and serious article to drop on a guy. The Journal Sentinel could say it is just rounding up other criticism, but it speaks volumes that the paper decided to run an article questioning Rodgers' leadership instead of discussing his play on the field.
I'm not in a position to say whether the paper's questioning of Rodgers' leadership has merit. Knowing how Rodgers takes perceived slights, it's a safe bet that the article will get his attention.
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.