NFC North Reporter
“Look, I’d love to finish the season out, but I understand this is a business and there’s a lot of us kind of older guys who play a decent amount, and they might want to see some younger guys play. Hopefully, we don’t have to have that conversation, but if that conversation comes up, I’ll approach it with an open mind without any bitterness or resentment. Obviously, like I said, I want to win out, and then we don’t have to have those conversations. But I understand if we don’t that it’s a possibility to have that conversation.”
That was Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers only one week in the past. Inexperienced Bay was coming off a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night time Soccer and have been sitting at 3-9 on the season, driving an eight-game shedding streak and possessed a 3% probability of constructing the playoffs.
Rodgers had additionally sustained a rib damage within the recreation on prime of coping with a damaged thumb on his throwing hand. Morale was, predictably, low.
Nick Wright explains it was unhealthy for the Packers to win in opposition to the Bears as a result of the phantasm of constructing the postseason continues to be alive when Inexperienced Bay must be specializing in enjoying Jordan Like to determine on selecting up his fifth-year choice.
However I am reminded of one thing Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles mentioned to me forward of the Packers’ Week 3 matchup with Tampa Bay: the factor about Aaron Rodgers is, you possibly can by no means, ever rely him out.
“He’s probably one of the smartest quarterbacks I’ve ever played against,” Bowles mentioned in September. “I have a respect for him because with him, they’re always in every ball game and you can’t say that about everybody in the league.”
Positive sufficient, final week the Packers then marched into Chicago and Rodgers engineered one more fourth-quarter comeback to win his eighth straight over Inexperienced Bay’s division rivals and odds are, the Packers are beginning to rethink issues.
“We were certainly expected to be competing for a championship and we are still in it,” mentioned Packers normal supervisor Brian Gutekunst on Monday. “If we’re able to dig our way back into this thing, we still kinda feel like we have the ability to do that.”
Inexperienced Bay now has a 4% probability to make the playoffs now.
The Packers have an opportunity to reset in Week 14. They’ve their long-awaited bye week, and it will give Rodgers an opportunity to get nearer to wholesome, which appears possible after what the veteran quarterback mentioned following Sunday’s win.
“I think my thumb is close to being a non-issue,” Rodgers mentioned. “I’m able to go back to taking a snap the old way, which has been really nice, and the ribs will be close, probably.”
Yeah, Rodgers has needed to take snaps utterly in another way since injuring his thumb in Week 5. And now that he is rounding the nook with Inexperienced Bay nonetheless mathematically in it, the place does that go away backup quarterback Jordan Love?
The workforce has to decide of whether or not to choose up his fifth-year choice this offseason. Rodgers’ future with the Packers and within the league typically — as quickly as subsequent season — is in query, particularly given among the drama already this yr. No, the Packers aren’t mathematically eradicated, however their shot of constructing an precise run at a championship, one thing Gutekunst mentioned himself was the expectation this yr, is subsequent to nothing. It is time to begin excited about subsequent season and the way forward for the franchise. That begins with determining if maybe sitting Rodgers in favor of evaluating Love at some point of the season is the perfect plan of action in the long run.
Jordan Love got here in aid of Aaron Rodgers in opposition to the Eagles and instantly led the Packers on a scoring drive. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe focus on the Packers QB scenario.
Love got here in aid of Rodgers when he received damage in opposition to the Eagles in Week 12. The previous first-round choose accomplished 6 of 9 cross makes an attempt for 113 yards and a landing for a passer score of 146.8 — darn close to excellent. It is a small pattern measurement, although. Love has solely tried 18 passes this season, finishing 12 of them. He performed in six video games in his rookie season, finishing 36 of 62 throws for 411 yards and two touchdowns. That is hardly confidence-inducing for a participant you traded up within the first spherical to get.
“We’ve obviously seen him for three years in practice, and there was a stretch while Aaron was banged up, where he’s had a lot of reps with the ones,” Gutekunst mentioned. “I think that was great for him, it was great for us to see, but it was also just really good experience for him game planning each week. Again, I think quarterbacks have to get into this league and play a bunch of games before they learn how to win, but I do think we feel very confident that Love can move the ball, score points and do the things that we ask of our quarterbacks.”
The conflicting and noncommittal statements do not finish there, both.
“We’re really pleased with his progression and what he’s been able to do,” Gutekunst continued. “I think it would be really good for him, the growth you need to go through, seeing things for the first time, making those mistakes you need to make, but I think from our end of it, we’ve seen what we need to see.”
So, the overall supervisor thinks it will be good for Like to get extra recreation expertise however not for the needs of constructing the choice to choose up his fifth-year choice or not. That is what I am getting from these quotes.
“I think whoever gives us the best chance to win needs to be out there,” Gutekunst mentioned. “That’s only fair to this locker room. That’s the way I feel about it. I think Matt (LaFleur) feels the same.”
However he did not say Rodgers.
On condition that Rodgers is on the street to restoration and has some swagger again after the win in Chicago, it will be onerous to consider that Rodgers nonetheless feels as he did per week in the past with these aforementioned first feedback. If the Packers are profitable, the conversations about sitting Rodgers should not be had in his thoughts. And if what Gutekunst says is true, and the Packers’ brass already is aware of whether or not or not they’ll choose up Love’s fifth-year choice primarily based on what they’ve already seen from him, then possibly it is solely honest to let Rodgers see if he has some magic left in him this season.
It might be a hell of a comeback for one of many league’s comeback kings and would present us all as soon as once more to by no means, ever rely Aaron Rodgers out.
High tales from FOX Sports activities:
Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports activities. Carmen had earlier stops with The Draft Community and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, together with 2020, which added the title of Tremendous Bowl Champion (and boat-parade participant) to her résumé. You possibly can comply with Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.
Get extra from Nationwide Soccer League Observe your favorites to get details about video games, information and extra