- Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are 4-8 with just five games left to play in the regular season.
- Rodgers was already nursing a thumb injury, and on Sunday, left a game against the Eagles early to deal with a rib injury.
- While Rodgers says he wants to continue playing as long as the Packers are still mathematically alive, it might be time for Green Bay to see what they have in Jordan Love.
The 2022 NFL season is not going how Aaron Rodgers had planned.
Heading into the year, Rodgers and the Packers knew they faced a daunting challenge. Despite Rodgers coming off of back-to-back MVP seasons, the departure of superstar wide receiver Davante Adams left a hole in the Packers offense that would prove impossible to fill.
Now through 12 games, Green Bay is 4-8 on the year, and with Rodgers now nursing two injuries, it leaves the Packers in limbo heading into the homestretch of the season.
Last week, reports came out that Rodgers was playing through a broken thumb in his throwing hand.
“I think I’ve had worse injuries I’ve played with,” Rodgers told reporters the next day, according to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic. “Definitely a challenge, but the days off helped. Feeling better this week.”
That was before Sunday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, which Rodgers was forced to exit early due to a rib injury. While Packers head coach Matt LaFleur said that Rodgers was feeling better on Monday, his status moving forward this season is still in question, and with good reason.
As things stand, the Packers would need to essentially run the table to be a factor in the NFC playoff picture. While they aren’t yet mathematically eliminated from postseason play, their window is closing fast, with FiveThirtyEight giving Green Bay just a 3% chance of reaching the playoffs.
Rodgers said after the Eagles game that as long as the Packers were still alive for the playoffs, he wanted to be on the field, a point he reiterated when appearing on Pat McAfee’s show on Tuesday.
“We’re not eliminated. I got good news from the scans yesterday. So I still plan on playing this week,” Rodgers told McAfee.
Rodgers said that the Packers record is irrelevant to his desire to play, saying he wouldn’t be taking time off to recover even if Green Bay was better situated for a playoff run.
“If we were 8-4, 4-8, 12-0, 0-12, I would want to suit up this week. And not just because it’s Chicago,” Rodgers said. “Because that’s what you do. When you’re a player, you go out there, and if you can play, you play. You don’t need some doctor to give you an excuse.
“If you can go out there and compete, and you have competitive greatness in your body, in your heart, in your mind, you go out and play.”
—Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) November 29, 2022
Still, depending on the severity of his injuries, and the Packers’ long-term planning, it might not be the best move to keep trotting their 38-year-old quarterback out Sunday after Sunday.
When Rodgers was forced out of Sunday’s game, backup quarterback Jordan Love took the field. Love has been working behind Rodgers on the Packers depth chart since he was drafted in the first round in 2020. At some point, the Packers are going to want to see what they have in Love, and with five games left in what looks like a lost season, now might be the time to do it.
That said, Rodgers is a tough man to deny, and given his past success in essentially single-handedly willing the Packers to the postseason, there’s reason to think Green Bay may just let him continue under center until the final nail is in their playoff coffin.
If his body will allow it, Rodgers might have a bit of extra motivation to stay on the field for this week’s game, as the Packers head to Chicago this Sunday to face off against their division rival. Last time Rodgers played in Chicago, he infamously told Bears fans “I own you,” and looking at the stats, he’s absolutely right.
But regardless of Rodgers’ ownership stake in Chicago football, it might be time for the Packers to start thinking less about next week, and more about next year.