It’s hard to wrap your head around yesterday’s news of Aaron Rodgers testing positive for Covid-19. One and a half football seasons into the Covid-19 pandemic and the Packers have finally been hit hard by the illness. Just a week ago, another Packers star in Davante Adams was forced to miss the matchup against the Cardinals after testing positive for Covid-19. The Packers were able to come away with a victory in Arizona, but the odds will be much longer this week in Kansas City with Jordan Love (hopefully) under center.
I’m not going to play doctor, or judge-and-jury, but from a fans perspective you can’t help but feel a bit letdown by Aaron Rodgers. The Covid vaccine is obviously a very contentious social issue and I believe that each person is within their right to get it or not get it. That said, once you’ve made your decision you shouldn’t have a problem standing behind it…right?
Rodgers told reporters in August that he was “Immunized” when asked if he had received the Covid-19 vaccination. What Rodgers left out was that his immunization was some form of homeopathic treatment administered by his doctor and not an approved Covid-19 vaccine. Rodgers also unsuccessfully lobbied the NFL to gain equal status to that of a vaccinated player by virtue of his “treatment”.
The optics on this are bad for both Rodgers and the Packers. If you’re feeling charitable Rodgers at the very least misled the general public, and many have said that he flat out lied. Again, receiving or not receiving the vaccine is a personal choice but Rodgers did not refute any reports that he was indeed vaccinated.
Furthermore it appears that the Packers organization gave preferential treatment to Rodgers. NFL Covid protocols were likely broken by allowing him to conduct press conferences indoors, without wearing a mask, to an audience of reporters that was led to believe that Rodgers was vaccinated. Other non-vaccinated players like Allen Lazard have had to hold their press conferences exclusively over Zoom, creating an interesting double standard within the organization.
There will be a multitude of instances reviewed by the NFL where the Covid-19 policies were potentially broken, quite likely with the knowledge of the Packers organization. There will likely be monetary penalties levied against Rodgers, and possibly a fine or docking of draft capital for the Packers.
It will be intriguing to see how the NFL handles all of this. I say there will “likely” be consequences because the NFL has a poor track record for getting things right. Also, many on social media have already pointed out instances with other players on other teams that would appear to have broken Covid protocols.
Will the NFL make an example out of the Packers and Rodgers? Will they hand down punishment unilaterally to all of the teams skirting the rules? Will they do anything?
I’m genuinely not upset about Rodgers choice to forgo getting vaccinated, but it’s irrefutable that Rodgers has put the team in a tough situation both on-and-off the football field.
Where are we now?
After cutting through the noise there is still football to be played and a hungry team in Kansas City looking to get right.
Welcome to the big league, Jordan Love! I’m still a little bit dazed by the thought of Jordan Love actually starting an NFL game for the Green Bay Packers, much less a marquee matchup in enemy territory. In the reactionary world of the NFL come Monday morning Jordan Love’s stock will either be sky high with a full blown quarterback controversy or he’ll be ridden out on a rail.
The good news for Love is that unlike the preseason, he’ll be operating an offense with a nearly full arsenal of playmakers. Though not officially-official, we can anticipate the return of Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, and maybe even all-world left tackle David Bakhtiari. Maybe.
What seemed like a winnable game for the Packers just a day ago now seems like a long shot. If there is one silver lining to Rodgers dropping out it’s that it happened early enough in the week that Matt LaFleur & co. can game plan accordingly.
Employing a similar offensive game plan to what we saw last week against the Cardinals would seem to be the clearest path to victory with an inexperienced QB under center. Keep the down and distance manageable, run the ball, throw short and intermediate passes and take the occasional shot play.
Part of me would really like to see LaFleur let Love run-n-gun out there, but I think that would be asking a lot of the young signal caller. I think there is such a thing as being too conservative and the Chiefs defense has been bad…there will be opportunities to exploit them. If you don’t let Love sling it a little Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon will be looking at a whole lot of stacked boxes.
Another strong defensive performance with a turnover or two will go a long way to pulling off a major upset. The football gods smiled on us last week in Phoenix, but it will be that much tougher (or more epic if it happens) this time around.
Win or lose this is just another stop en route to the playoffs. The Packers are a playoff team, Aaron Rodgers will be quarterbacking the team in the playoffs. The noise of this week will eventually fade to the background, maybe we’ll glean a little information about the potential QB of the future this week. Maybe we’ll steal one in KC.
You can follow Adam on twitter at @adamjcarlson28.