Wetmore: Aaron Rodgers gets the last laugh in spat with Greg Jennings
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MINNEAPOLIS - Aaron Rodgers gets the last laugh. He might still be laughing, actually.
Since Greg Jennings left the Packers and signed with the Vikings, the two players' narratives aren't even close.
Consider Sunday the exclamation mark.
Rodgers carved up the Vikings' depleted secondary, especially on third down. He completed 24 of his 29 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers faced 18 third downs Sunday, and wound up with a first down in 15 of those instances. Rodgers was a huge reason why.
Jennings, meanwhile, was a non-factor.
The Vikings converted just two of their eight third-down opportunities. Jennings caught one pass for nine yards.
The public verbal sparring Jennings conducted through the media this summer seemed silly at the time. Now, it just makes you shake your head.
Since Jennings left Green Bay, the Packers have been dealt series of blows, losing three of their top receivers throughout the season. Receivers Randall Cobb, James Jones and tight end Jermichael Finley have all missed time this season, including Sunday's game.
It hasn't mattered.
Rodgers and the Packers' offense has continued to roll without its top pass-catchers and without Jennings, for that matter. They've finally developed a semblance of balance, too. Since Rodgers took over for the Packers in 2008, it has been a pass-happy offense highly dependent on Rodgers' unique abilities.
In Sunday's convincing win, Green Bay ran the ball 42 times for 182 yards. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy has carried the bulk of the workload.
It's a new offense this season, but it still relies on Rodgers to elevate it from good to great. On several occasions Sunday, a less-than-perfect throw would have resulted in an incompletion, a stalled drive or a turnover. But Rodgers rarely operates in the realm of 'less-than-perfect.'
He carried the Packers again Sunday and Jennings could do little but watch from the sidelines.
Jennings didn't address the media postgame. He sought out Rodgers near midfield after the final seconds expired and embraced his former quarterback.
This week at practice, Jennings backtracked on his catty comments and passive aggressive criticisms directed toward Rodgers. He emphasized all the great relationships he has with current Packers' players.
He had little choice but to soften the landing, because he could have seen Sunday's result coming.
Jennings is getting paid like a number one receiver, but in an offense with a revolving door at quarterback, he's been mostly invisible. Rodgers has a revolving door at wide receiver, and he continues to shine as one of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation.
Jennings, it seems, needed Rodgers.
Rodgers doesn't need Jennings at all.