Since the Packers drafted Jordan Love in the first round this past April, speculation has been rampant about Aaron Rodgers’ future in Green Bay. Despite all the speculation, head coach Matt LaFleur made it abundantly clear during his press conference with reporters on Sunday that Rodgers is the Packers starting quarterback and LaFleur “expects him to be here for a long time.”
There is little doubt Rodgers is going to be the Packers starting quarterback in 2020. He is coming off his eighth Pro Bowl season and threw 26 touchdown passes last season while tossing just four interceptions. He led the Packers to a 13-3-0 record and a berth in the NFC Championship Game.
Love was drafted as the heir apparent, but even the most optimistic scouts who were high on the Utah State alum’s potential admitted he needs time to mature and become NFL ready. The biggest concern seems to be his ability to see the entire field and read defenses. He will need experience and coaching before he is deemed ready to be an effective starter in the NFL.
LaFleur was clear that Rodgers is his starter this season and for the foreseeable future. “Right now, Aaron is our quarterback, and I see him here for a really long time,” the coach said. “How long that is, I don’t think anybody knows. Nothing is guaranteed in this league. But I feel so lucky to be able to work with him on a daily basis and I don’t see that changing for a really long time.”
Reading between the lines, LaFleur is saying that Rodgers will be his quarterback this season. But as Jerry Glanville famously said, “NFL stands for ‘not for long.’” If and when Love is ready to challenge Rodgers for the starting job, he will be given every opportunity to become QB1. The timeline for that is unknown, but it is likely to happen by 2022.
Rodgers and LaFleur worked well together during the coach’s first season in Green Bay last year. LaFleur installed a mix of his preferred offense, which comes from the Kyle Shanahan school, and the old Mike McCarthy system that Rodgers ran so well for more than a decade as the Packers starter.
Despite the rumors that Rodgers was difficult to coach, he and LaFleur got along well and made an effective combination as the offense, while inconsistent at times, did just enough to help the team win 13 games during the regular season.
This season, LaFleur will look to add more of his preferred plays to the playbook and implement more of his preferred system. Again, Rodgers and the rest of the players will have to adjust to the new aspects of the offense.
LaFleur also indicated the Packers may consider keeping an emergency quarterback on their roster who will be considered a “quarantine quarterback.” That player would be kept away from the team and isolated from his teammates. He would play only if other quarterbacks on the roster contract Covid-19 or are completely ineffective.
The “quarantine quarterback” is an emergency consideration that makes sense during this pandemic and the extended rosters and practice squads that are expected as a result. It ensures that each team will have at least one healthy quarterback in case several players in the locker room test positive.
At the end of the day, the Packers offense will be run by Rodgers this season if the future Hall of Famer is healthy. Love will sit on the bench and learn by watching Rodgers and the Pack may also have a quarterback on the roster who is isolated from his teammates and only called on in case of emergency. It certainly won’t be a dull season in Green Bay this year.
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