Amari Rodgers has had one of the worst NFL careers in recent memory. In 23 NFL games, the 3rd round Clemson product has produced seven catches for 73 yards and fumbled six times. On Sunday, Rodger’s two catches couldn’t offset his two fumbles, the first handing the Washington Commanders an easy three points. Tellingly the Packers lost Sunday by a two-point margin. As fans, it’s easy to sit back and play Monday morning quarterback to Matt LaFleur’s uncanny faith in Amari Rodgers. After a disastrous audition returning punts in 2021, new special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia was tasked with fixing Amari. He’s urged him to be more aggressive. That hasn’t resulted in favorable yields. In seven games, Amari has muffled three punts.
Amari appears to have lost his confidence.
At Clemson, He was a steadfast piece of Dabo Sweeney’s special teams early in his career. Amari led the ACC in punt returns as a first- and second-year player. As a senior, he caught an ACC-leading 77 passes and was the focal point in a pro-style passing offense for Trevor Lawrence. The Packers would trade up to get Amari in 2021. He raised his draft stock by having an impressive senior bowl with plays like this one:
The American Team gets on the board!@arodgers_3 hauls in the tough catch for SIX 💪
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) January 30, 2021
LaFleur was excited to utilize Amari’s skills in his offense. Early this season, LaFleur praised Amari’s football intelligence and versatile ability. But after Sunday’s matchup against the Washington Commanders, Matt LaFleur appears to be leaning towards a special teams change. When the topic of punt duties came up, Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Gazette reported LaFleur saying’
“We’re talking about it. In terms of what we want to do in that regard. Certainly, I think we do have a lot of confidence in Amari and his ability to field the ball, but you can’t put the ball on the ground. He knows that, and he feels awful about it. But it is what it is, and we’ve got to get better. No doubt about it.”
It’s hard to forget what the other Rodgers said early in the season. The hall of fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers tore into Amari Rodgers after the week one matchup against the Vikings. In comparison, he offered praises for Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.
“These are good kids. They really are. They want to please, they want to do the right thing, they care about it. I’m going to figure out a way to continue to get on the same frequency with them”
His following comment about Amari was flat.
“Yeah. He’s returning for us now. That’s all I got on it.”
For a player with the talent that Amari processes, it’s difficult to watch him mentally self-destruct. He’s beating himself, and he’s been a focal point of trade discussions for two weeks. Maybe it’s time for a change of scenery for the talented sophomore. It could mutually benefit the Packers and Amari.