GREEN BAY – The Packers are mixing permanent team captains with rotating ones for each game in 2019.
Head Coach Matt LaFleur said on Monday the team voted for one permanent captain in each phase – quarterback Aaron Rodgers on offense, outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith on defense, and kicker Mason Crosby on special teams.
There will also be additional, rotating captains in each phase chosen on a weekly basis. For this past Sunday’s game, they were tight end Jimmy Graham on offense, linebacker Blake Martinez on defense, and punter JK Scott on special teams.
“The one thing I’ll say about this team is I feel like we have a lot of good leaders,” LaFleur said.
Rodgers, Smith and Crosby all had the “C” patch on their jerseys for the first time during the home-opening victory over the Minnesota Vikings. All three were also captains for the Week 1 game at Chicago, but the patches were not on the jerseys yet.
Receiver Davante Adams and safety Adrian Amos were the additional captains against the Bears.
The captains’ patches have gold stars underneath the “C” to signify how many years the player has been a captain. In the past, the Packers elected captains to wear the patches only in the playoffs, which are counting in the tallies for Rodgers and Crosby. They have all four gold stars, plus the “C” is also gold, meaning each has been a captain for five-plus years.
In Rodgers’ case, it’s his ninth selection as captain – all eight playoff appearances from 2009-16, plus this year. For Crosby, it’s his sixth (2010, ’11, ’13, ’15, ’16, ’19).
Smith has one gold star on his patch, as he’s a newcomer to the Packers, signing as a free agent from Baltimore in March. Getting voted a captain right away during his tenure in Green Bay speaks to the high regard his teammates hold for him.
“I think it says a lot about him,” LaFleur said. “I think his teammates respect him. I think he’s about the right stuff. He cares about his teammates. He tries to get them together to do things and he brings it every day in practice. He does a great job.”