On Sunday night, following the Green Bay Packers' stunning blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints, head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters that he didn't believe the team's offseason-long drama with Aaron Rodgers factored into their dismal performance. They were simply humbled and outplayed.
But the Packers' all-time rushing leader senses that Rodgers' standoff with the franchise did in fact serve as a distraction and influence their remarkably sluggish start to the regular season.
"I figured that [their season] might start a little slow because of the activities that went on in the offseason between Aaron and the team," Ahman Green told The Zach Gelb Show on Tuesday. "Because a lot of that was mental and physical. When you look at him not being there and saying he wanted out of Green Bay, that also took away from him working with his wide receivers, his teammates, his running backs.
"So, that timing was off, mechanically. But then also as a teammate, as a leader, he wasn't there. You could see how that time missed affected the team... It's just Week 1, too. Everybody wants to harp heavy on this one game. But you've got 17 weeks left to play. Aaron already mentioned he's going to look at this film, hard on himself, to get better for next week."
Rodgers, from start to finish, looked overwhelmed by New Orleans' defense. He threw for just 133 yards with two interceptions, and his 36.8 passer rating was the fourth-lowest mark of his career. He also threw multiple interceptions without a touchdown in a single game for just the third time, and became the fifth reigning league MVP to throw zero touchdowns and multiple picks in a season opener.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Rodgers was benched for second-year backup Jordan Love. Although this decision had more to do with preserving his health than punishing poor play, the scene wasn't any less of a shock to fans across the country.
Green Bay (0-1) will host the Detroit Lions (0-1) in a Week 2 matchup on Monday, Sept. 20. According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the Packers currently have a 54-percent chance to reach the playoffs and a 47-percent chance to win the NFC North.
The entire conversation between Green and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.