“Look, I might love to complete the season out, however I perceive it is a enterprise and there is a whole lot of us form of older guys who play an honest quantity, they usually may wish to see some youthful guys play. Hopefully, we do not have to have that dialog, but when that dialog comes up, I will method it with an open thoughts with none bitterness or resentment. Clearly, like I mentioned, I wish to win out, after which we do not have to have these conversations. However I perceive if we do not that it is a risk to have that dialog.”
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 was sitting at 4-8 on the season, misplaced seven of their final eight and had a 3% probability of creating the playoffs.
Rodgers had additionally sustained a rib damage within the sport on prime of coping with a damaged thumb on his throwing hand. Morale was, predictably, low.
Nick Wright explains it was dangerous for the Packers to win towards the Bears as a result of the phantasm of creating the postseason continues to be alive when Inexperienced Bay needs to 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’ll be able to by no means, ever depend him out.
“He is most likely one of many smartest quarterbacks I’ve ever performed towards,” Bowles mentioned in September. “I’ve a respect for him as a result of with him, they’re at all times in each ball sport and you’ll’t say that about everyone within the league.”
Positive sufficient, final week the Packers then marched into Chicago and Rodgers engineered yet one more fourth-quarter comeback to win his eighth straight over Inexperienced Bay’s division rivals, and odds are, at 5-8, the Packers are beginning to rethink issues.
“We had been definitely anticipated to be competing for a championship and we’re nonetheless in it,” mentioned Packers common supervisor Brian Gutekunst on Monday. “If we’re in a position to dig our manner again into this factor, we nonetheless kinda really feel like we’ve got the power to do this.”
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 believe my thumb is near being a non-issue,” Rodgers mentioned. “I am in a position to return to taking a snap the outdated manner, which has been very nice, and the ribs will probably be shut, most likely.”
Yeah, Rodgers has needed to take snaps fully otherwise 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 depart backup quarterback Jordan Love?
The staff 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 normally — as quickly as subsequent season — is in query, particularly given a number of the drama already this yr. No, the Packers aren’t mathematically eradicated, however their shot of creating 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 fascinated with subsequent season and the way forward for the franchise. That begins with determining if maybe sitting Rodgers in favor of evaluating Love in the course of the season is the most effective plan of action in the long run.
Jordan Love got here in reduction of Aaron Rodgers towards the Eagles and instantly led the Packers on a scoring drive. Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe talk about the Packers QB scenario.
Love got here in reduction of Rodgers when he received harm towards the Eagles in Week 12. The previous first-round choose accomplished 6 of 9 go 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 dimension, 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 have clearly seen him for 3 years in observe, and there was a stretch whereas Aaron was banged up, the place he is had a whole lot of reps with those,” Gutekunst mentioned. “I believe that was nice for him, it was nice for us to see, however it was additionally simply actually good expertise for him sport planning every week. Once more, I believe quarterbacks should get into this league and play a bunch of video games earlier than they discover ways to win, however I do suppose we really feel very assured that Love can transfer the ball, rating factors and do the issues that we ask of our quarterbacks.”
The conflicting and noncommittal statements do not finish there, both.
“We’re actually happy together with his development and what he is been in a position to do,” Gutekunst continued. “I believe it might be actually good for him, the expansion you could undergo, seeing issues for the primary time, making these errors you could make, however I believe from our finish of it, we have seen what we have to see.”
So, the final supervisor thinks it might be good for Like to get extra sport expertise however not for the needs of creating the choice to choose up his fifth-year choice or not. That is what I am getting from these quotes.
“I believe whoever provides us the most effective probability to win must be on the market,” Gutekunst mentioned. “That is solely honest to this locker room. That is the way in which I really feel about it. I believe Matt (LaFleur) feels the identical.”
However he did not say Rodgers.
On condition that Rodgers is on the highway to restoration and has some swagger again after the win in Chicago, it might be exhausting to imagine that Rodgers nonetheless feels as he did every 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 are going to 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 would 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 depend Aaron Rodgers out.
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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.
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