Aaron Rodgers doesn't see 'any benefit to playing one series' in a preseason game

ByROB DEMOVSKY via via logo
August 9, 2022, 3:39 PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. --  Aaron Rodgers doesn't feel the need to play in the preseason, but if the Green Bay Packers quarterback does play then he really wants to play.

Rodgers hasn't played a preseason snap since 2018 -- he was supposed to play one game in the summer of 2019 until the plan got scrapped because of poor field conditions in Winnipeg -- but the combination of a poor start to last season and breaking in new receivers and offensive linemen might be reason to do so this year.

"I don't see any benefit to it," Rodgers said Tuesday. "I definitely don't see any benefit to playing one series. If we're going to play, we should play and play a quarter, a couple of series, two to three series. Just suiting up for four plays, to me, is a waste."

Coach Matt LaFleur has already said Rodgers won't play Friday in the preseason opener at San Francisco or the Week 2 game against the Saints, but he has not ruled him out of the preseason finale at Kansas City.

"I'm not saying this to send a message to Matt; I've already told Matt the same thing," Rodgers said of his preseason philosophy. "We'll see what happens when we get there."

The Packers were blown out in last year's regular-season opener 38-3 by the New Orleans Saints. LaFleur said early in camp that it would "potentially" alter how he handles training camp and the preseason games this year.

"I think you've got to learn from every situation you've been in," LaFleur said. "At least it stimulates conversation."

Said Rodgers: "I think it's kind of a no-win situation to the outside of the building. If somebody gets hurt [it's], 'I can't believe they played our guys.' But if we go out and have a stinker [it's], 'I can't believe they didn't play them.' You've just got to do what's best for the squad, and Matt's going to do that. He's going to lean on the leaders of the football team and if he feels like we need to go out and play, we'll go out and play. But I don't want to just go out and play three plays. That, to me, is a waste of time."

Part of the debate is deciding how much time Rodgers needs to with his new receivers, including veteran free agent Sammy Watkins and rookie Romeo Doubs -- both of whom look like they will be a big part of the offense now that Davante Adams is gone -- and how a patchwork offensive line will hold up.

The Packers have been without All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari and Pro Bowl guard Elgton Jenkins while both continue to rehab knee injuries, and the offensive line has struggled in practice. Putting Rodgers behind a shaky line might increase his chances of getting injured but if he has to play behind a makeshift unit Sept. 11 when the season opens against the Vikings, then perhaps there's value in getting some game experience with it.

The Packers could have as many as three new starters on the line -- left tackle if Bakhtiari isn't ready and the entire right side. Yosh Nijman has handled most of the left tackle snaps in practice, while the right side has seen a rotation of Jake Hanson, Royce Newman, rookie Sean Rhyan and rookie Zach Tom.

"We need to see them play well and have some really good moments," Rodgers said of the line, "so we feel good going into Minnesota and that pass rush that they've got."

For at least the next two weeks, Jordan Love will be the quarterback behind that line.

"We'll probably look at it after New Orleans," LaFleur said. "So don't ask me for a couple weeks."

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