GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers knows the possibility is looming, perhaps as soon as after next week's bye, that he will step aside and watch Jordan Love finish out this 2022 season.
The four-time MVP quarterback hopes it doesn’t come to that. Rodgers said his desire is to win the final five games, which might keep open the opportunity to sneak into a NFC playoff seed, however unlikely.
Short of that, Rodgers said, he understands the Packers might want to see more of their 2020 first-round pick.
“Look, I’d love to finish the season out,” Rodgers said, “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.”
Love played his most significant snaps this season Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, completing 6-of-9 passes for 113 yards, one touchdown and a 146.8 rating. It was by far his best showing as a pro, significant improvement from his lone career start last season at Kansas City.
The Packers have made clear a quarterback change is not happening this week. Rodgers had repeatedly said he’s playing for “pride,” even if the playoffs are a remote possibility. When asked if Rodgers will be his quarterback Sunday at Chicago, coach Matt LaFleur responded flatly with one word: “Yes.”
Asked if he might benefit from resting, considering his significant injuries with a broken thumb and ribs he declined to say were fractured, Rodgers referenced the uncertainty of his future. Though it seems unlikely he would retire when his contract owes $59 million guaranteed next season, the Packers could trade him.
“That’s an assumption,” Rodgers said of resting for next season, “that this place won’t look any different next year. So I think that’s part of the conversation.”
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Rodgers has no doubt he’ll be able to play Sunday.
While he did not practice Wednesday, he said his ribs feel much better than he could have expected exiting in the fourth quarter at Philadelphia. Rodgers’ initial concern was internal organ damage, he said. When scans of his ribs came back positive, it was all the information he needed to start planning to play this week.
In the team’s training facility, Rodgers said, he threw footballs. He did some rehab in the team’s pool and said his ribs felt good. Rodgers said he “probably” will wear extra padding Sunday to protect his ribs, something he hasn’t done since college.
“Not sure I want to start now,” Rodgers said, “but I’ll probably have something covering up.”
Rodgers said he doesn’t need to practice this week to play Sunday. He’s played in games without a week of practice before, the most recent last season against the Seattle Seahawks, when he was unable to be around the team all week leading up to the game after contracting COVID-19. The Packers won that game 17-0.
Of course, this is a very different team than last year. A team that could be looking at young players needing development on the short horizon. For now, Rodgers said, he’s intent on doing everything he can to play, starting with winning.
“I think I can definitely come out Sunday and be fine,” Rodgers said. “I’ve done it in the past, but I’d like to test it either tomorrow or Friday, see where I’m at and just get out and get a little sweat going. The way I’m feeling, the way I’ve progressed from Monday to Tuesday and Tuesday to today, makes me confident I can go out and practice tomorrow and not really be limited. There’ll be some pain for sure, but nothing that I can’t deal with. So I’m really encouraged with how I’m feeling.”
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Aaron Rodgers would step aside for Jordan Love to play out 2022 season