Skip to main content

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur has a lot of faith in Jordan Love. But, apparently, not enough faith to have Love replace the veteran starter who has struggled through a broken thumb and now has an injured rib.

So long as scans of the rib reveal “no major structural damage,” as Aaron Rodgers put it after the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Rodgers will be in the starting lineup on Sunday at the Chicago Bears.

“Yes,” LaFleur put it plainly on Monday.

Why? Including the 40-33 loss to the Eagles in which Rodgers sat out the final quarter, the Packers are 1-6 since he suffered a broken thumb on the final play of the Week 5 loss to the Giants in London.

Love played well against the Eagles, going 6-of-9 passing and leading the team to 10 points in two series. If the Packers think Love is good enough to win games, why not put him in the lineup with the four-time MVP dealing with two injuries? Isn’t the healthy young gun better than the battered legend?

“I don’t think that’s what we’re arguing here,” LaFleur said on Monday, signaling there’s been no internal debate on the topic.

“We’ve got a lot of faith, quite frankly, in both those guys,” he continued. “But, you know, Aaron’s the starting quarterback. He’s battled through a lot throughout the course of his career. It’s pretty well documented, and I think he’s been able to play at a pretty high level through a lot of different situations.”

With a 4-8 record, the Packers’ playoff hopes have only the faintest of heartbeats. So long as there’s a chance and so long as he’s healthy, the Packers will keep rolling with Rodgers until the last grains of sand falls through the hourglass.

Rodgers left Sunday night’s game because of intense pain and fears of a punctured lung. The lung was fine but X-rays to determine whether he had suffered a broken rib weren’t clear. More scans were done on Monday and more will be done before the team hits the practice field on Wednesday.

“Sometimes there’s stuff that doesn’t show up on all the scans,” LaFleur said. “All I can tell you is he’s feeling a little bit better.”

Once the Packers are eliminated from playoff consideration, practically an inevitability, LaFleur probably will go to the bullpen and hand the offense to Love, the hand-picked successor to Rodgers as the team’s first-round pick in 2020.

“There’s obviously a lot of other conversations that come into play once you’re eliminated, and I’ll be open to all those conversations,” Rodgers said after the game. “Pride comes to mind. Love of the game. But there’s other factors that, obviously, would come into play should we be mathematically eliminated.”

There have been short-term reasons all along to go with Love. Had Love started against the Jets and Commanders, perhaps Rodgers would have been healed for the second half of the season.

Now, with the Packers staring at elimination, it’s time to consider the long-term perspective. This offseason, the Packers have to make a decision on his fifth-year option – a pricy decision at almost $20 million. Rodgers’ potential retirement – or a potential trade – all hinge in part on Love’s viability as the starter.

Deep into his third season with the team, the Packers not surprisingly have a good feel for Love’s potential as a starter. Giving him four or five starts should provide confirmation for whatever the Packers truly think about Love’s potential as a starter.

“You see him in practice and that gives you the confidence in what they’re capable of doing,” LaFleur said. “But there is the element to going out there and actually doing it in a live game. Yeah, we feel confident in what we know of Jordan and got a lot of confidence in him. I think his teammates have a lot of confidence in him, as well, and I think that was evident in how they all went out there and executes in those 10 snaps.”

More Green Bay Packers News

Packers-Eagles report card: Worse than an “F” for run defense?

Christian Watson continues his hot streak

Packers’ defense embarrassed by Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders

Aaron Rodgers hopes to play vs. Bears

Jordan Love shines in relief of injured Aaron Rodgers

Eagles 40, Packers 33: Game story, game ball and more

Jordan Love replaces injured Aaron Rodgers

Packers vs. Eagles: Live updates

Justin Hollins makes debut

Report: Broken thumb, torn ligament for Rodgers