The number of football fans supporting Jay Cutler is dwindling, but he still has a backer in Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers said he empathized with Cutler following the incident involving Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, who criticized his quarterback to an NFL Network reporter as an unnamed source.
Kromer then delivered a tearful apology to the offense for doing so.
Cutler took the high road, at least publicly, and said there were no hard feelings.
Rodgers can’t imagine that being the case.
“I would have a major problem if somebody said something like that,” Rodgers told NFL.com on Tuesday. “I think anybody that plays the position, you can’t help but empathize with Jay for that situation. You talk all the time about being connected, being a unit, believing in each other. But if you have unnamed sources, people out there cutting you down, and then you find out it’s the person calling the plays — that would be really hard to deal with, to look at him the same way.”
Here’s more from Rodgers via NFL.com:
“I felt for Jay that he was having to deal with that,” Rodgers said. “And I was surprised that the coach came out and admitted that it was him. I think, in general, unnamed sources are pretty gutless. But then he comes out and admits it was him. I don’t think he deserves any credit for that, but it was interesting that he did.”
While Rodgers, a leading candidate to win his second MVP award, has the Packers (10-4) tied with Detroit atop the NFC North, Cutler has thrown an NFL-high 18 interceptions for the 5-9 Bears. Rodgers, however, has had rough patches in the past and does not view himself as immune to criticism.
Yet in Rodgers’ eyes, there is a key difference between his and Cutler’s work environments. Asked how he would react to being ripped anonymously by one of his coaches, Rodgers drew a distinction between the Packers’ locker room and that of their NFC North rivals, crediting coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson for creating an atmosphere devoid of such behavior.
“I would have a major problem with that, if (Packers offensive coordinator) Tom Clements was saying stuff like that about me — which he never would, cause Tom and I are so close, and I think we have good communication,” Rodgers said. “I think there’s a way of doing things when you have issues, and it’s keeping it in-house.