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Every week in the past, a classic fourth-quarter efficiency from Aaron Rodgers appeared to have saved the Green Bay Packers’ season. A much more lackluster efficiency in opposition to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday evening ought to have the 4-7 Packers questioning precisely what their future at quarterback seems like.
Against the Dallas Cowboys final Sunday, Rodgers—aided closely by rising rookie wideout Christian Watson—helped erase a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit and delivered an time beyond regulation victory.
In the 27-17 loss to Tennessee, Rodgers erased Green Bay’s hopes of creating the postseason.
This is a loss that largely falls on Rodgers’ shoulders. The Packers did a decent job in opposition to Derrick Henry and the Titans dashing assault (88 dashing yards allowed), and whereas Ryan Tannehill (333 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) torched the Green Bay secondary, the Packers had their possibilities.
Rodgers failed to capitalize on them.
Green Bay by no means trailed by greater than 11 factors, and it had 4 possibilities through the fourth quarter. They completed that interval with a pair of punts and two failed fourth-down conversions.
Rodgers completed 24-of-39 for 227 yards with two touchdowns. Green Bay managed simply 15 first downs and scored fewer than 20 factors for the sixth time this season. Yes, the protection performed poorly (408 yards surrendered), and the bottom sport contributed little (2.9 yards per carry).
However, Rodgers ought to have been ready to carry the Packers in opposition to a Titans protection that ranked thirty first in opposition to the cross. He did not try this, and Rodgers—as soon as one of many NFL’s nice escape artists—was significantly unhealthy underneath strain.
Thursday’s loss in entrance of a nationwide viewers might have opened a number of eyes to Rodgers’ struggles in 2022. The stats present that the reigning MVP hasn’t been nice—he got here in with a passer ranking of simply 93.0 and has now gone 16 video games with fewer than 300 passing yards, the longest streak of his profession (together with the postseason), per CBS Sports.
Of course, it was straightforward to discover excuses. Green Bay traded away Rodgers’ prime goal, Davante Adams, within the offseason. Before Watson’s Week 10 breakout (107 yards, 3 TDs), it appeared just like the Packers would by no means exchange him.
The Packers misplaced offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett within the offseason, who left to take the Denver Broncos head teaching gig. They’ve additionally been hampered by offensive accidents, as key gamers like Watson, Randall Cobb, David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins have all missed time this season.
None of those components clarify what we noticed from Rodgers on Thursday. He missed some open receivers, lacked the correct timing with others and tossed up a few full head-scratchers.
Rodgers’ misses have been significantly irritating as a result of he sometimes confirmed indicators of being the elite quarterback we’re accustomed to seeing—like this magnificence to Watson late within the first quarter:
Ethan Budowsky @ethanbudowsky
This is simply an absurd throw from Aaron Rodgers pic.twitter.com/KYJT0TXjmJ
It’s clear, nonetheless, that Rodgers simply is not an MVP-caliber quarterback proper now. Perhaps the 38-year-old has lastly hit the proverbial cliff. Perhaps he actually would not have the proper receiving expertise. Maybe his thumb damage is bothering him greater than he is letting on.
An argument could possibly be made that with Adams out of city and a fats three-year, $150.8 million extension in his pocket, Rodgers has merely checked out.
Whatever the explanation, the Packers are left with a whole lot of uncertainty at quarterback.
Rodgers’ contract is a part of the issue. He’ll have $99.8 million in useless cash remaining on his deal after this season, so reducing him is not an choice. Trading him may show extraordinarily tough, too, given his inconsistent play. The incontrovertible fact that Russell Wilson is floundering in Denver after that blockbuster deal may additional scare groups away from bidding on Rodgers.
Green Bay is not doubtless to get a number of first-round picks for this model of Rodgers, and they’re definitely not going to persuade a group to take on the assured stability of his contract.
Like it or not, Green Bay is probably going saddled with Rodgers for one other season a minimum of—his assured cash dips to $24.5 million after 2023. But what do the Packers do after Rodgers is completed?
Green Bay used a 2020 first-round choose on Utah State product Jordan Love, however his possibilities behind Rodgers have been few and far between.
The 24-year-old has solely made one begin, thrown 71 passes and has a profession 71.6 quarterback ranking. That’s not a lot of a résumé, and the Packers have to determine this offseason whether or not to train Love’s fifth-year choice.
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That will not be a simple choice. On one hand, Love has spent two-and-a-half years behind an all-time nice. On the opposite hand, the Packers do not know if he can carry out as a long-term starter.
“I believe we see it on daily basis, so we have got a fairly good indication,” Packers head coach Matt LaFleur stated, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “There’s nothing like getting within the sport and getting these dwell reps, however he continues to present enchancment on a each day foundation.”
Green Bay wants to determine what it has in Love shortly A) due to the looming choice choice and B) as a result of the 2023 draft is quick approaching.
If the season ended proper now, the Packers would maintain the twelfth general choose. That could be too low for a prospect like CJ Stroud or Bryce Young, however quarterbacks like Will Levis and Anthony Richardson could possibly be out there.
If the Packers aren’t offered on Love, they want to severely think about using their prime choose on one other quarterback. The finish could also be coming ahead of many anticipated for Rodgers, who brazenly admitted that he wasn’t adequate on Thursday.
“I’ve acquired to throw the ball higher than I did tonight,” he instructed reporters after the sport. “… I simply did not have the identical sort of constant grip.”
Green Bay has largely been spoiled by the consecutive tenures of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, however a Packers group with out an elite quarterback is not some distant, legendary entity clouded by NFC North dominance. It has already arrived, and with or with out Rodgers, a sizeable rebuild could possibly be looming.
It might behoove the Packers to give Love some beginning expertise down the stretch this season as a result of if he is not the quarterback to lead Green Bay by means of a doubtlessly prolonged rebuild, it should discover a new franchise signal-caller.
For the primary time since he took over as the starter in 2008, Rodgers is not that quarterback.
*Contract info through Spotrac.