Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has gone against Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli plenty of times over the years. And Rodgers has nothing but respect for the fiery Marinelli.
He joked on a conference call with Cowboys reporters this week about Marinelli sometimes yelling at him on the field during games.
“I like his fire, man,” Rodgers said. “He’s a competitive S.O.B. I enjoy it. I have a lot of respect for him and enjoy watching his teams play.”
Rodgers got the best of Marinelli and the Cowboys in the 2014 divisional playoffs, and Marinelli and the Cowboys got the best of Rodgers earlier this season. Rodgers threw one of his only seven interceptions of the season in the Oct. 16 contest, a game the Cowboys won 30-16.
But the respect goes both ways.
Marinelli called Rodgers a “first-ballot Hall of Famer” and praised his ability to evade the rush and extend plays.
“You’ve got to be in great shape, great condition, great discipline to play a guy like him because every play – every play – you cannot let up on a play,” Marinelli said. “This guy is so special. You’re all looking at a first-ballot Hall of Famer. We know what’s in store for us.
“Now we’ve just got to concern ourselves with us.”
Marinelli and Rodgers have been going at it since Marinelli was in his last year as the Detroit Lions’ head coach in 2008. Marinelli then went to another NFC North team, the Chicago Bears, as an assistant from 2009-12 where he faced Rodgers a couple times each season.
Marinelli chuckled when asked what sorts of things he might have yelled at Rodgers in the past, saying he “blanked out” on specifics.
“I love the guy,” Marinelli said. “He’s such a competitor, man. He has rare talent, but there’s a lot of people who have great talent but doesn’t have that will, that fight. It’s every down. You’ve seen it. That makes it really exciting to play.”
C’mon, coach. You really “blank out?”
“I’m just telling you guys I blank out,” Marinelli said, grinning.