Time for the Packers to consider the future as Aaron Rodgers falters on TNF vs. Titans | News, scores, highlights, stats and rumours

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A week ago, a vintage fourth quarter performance by Aaron Rodgers appeared to have saved the Green Bay Packers’ season. A much lackluster performance against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night should have the 4-7 Packers wondering exactly what their future as a quarterback looks like.

Against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, Rodgers, aided heavily by up-and-coming rookie Christian Watson, helped erase a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to pick up an overtime victory.

In the 27-17 loss to Tennessee, Rodgers dashed Green Bay’s hopes of making the postseason.

This is a loss that falls largely on Rodgers’ shoulders. The Packers did respectable work against Derrick Henry and the Titans’ fast offense (88 yards allowed), and while Ryan Tannehill (333 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) set the Green Bay secondary on fire, the Packers had their chances.

Rodgers failed to capitalize on them.

Green Bay has never trailed by more than 11 points and had four chances during the fourth quarter. They finished that period with a pair of punts and two failed fourth down conversions.

Rodgers went 24 of 39 for 227 yards with two touchdowns. Green Bay managed just 15 first downs and scored under 20 points for the sixth time this season. Yes, the defense played poorly (408 yards surrendered) and the ground play contributed little (2.9 yards per carry).

Still, Rodgers should have been able to lead the Packers against a Titans defense that ranked 31st against the pass. He didn’t, and Rodgers, once one of the NFL’s great escape artists, was especially bad under pressure.

Prime Video Analysis and sports insights @PVSportsStats

Aaron Rodgers struggled under pressure tonight.

1/7, 3 yards, -30.3 Comp% over expected. This follows the trend of his struggles against pressure this season

Thursday’s loss in front of a nationwide crowd may have opened some eyes to Rodgers’ struggles in 2022. Statistics show the reigning MVP hasn’t been great: He came in with a passer rating of just 93.0 and is now playing 16 games with under 300 passing yards, the longest streak of his career (including the postseason), for CBS Sports.

Sure, it was easy to make excuses. Green Bay traded up Rodgers’ primary target, Davante Adams, in the offseason. Before Watson’s Week 10 breakout (107 yards, 3 TDs), it looked like the Packers would never replace him.

The Packers lost offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett in the offseason, who departed to take over as head coach of the Denver Broncos. They have also been hampered by offensive injuries, as key players such as Watson, Randall Cobb, David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins have all missed time this season.

None of these factors explain what we saw from Rodgers on Thursday. He missed a few wide receivers, didn’t time the others properly, and threw a couple of complete scratchers.

Peter Bukowski @Peter_Bukowski

Two consecutive brutal errors by Aaron Rodgers on third down to wide receivers. He had time to put his feet up and throw too.

Rodgers’ mistakes were especially frustrating because he occasionally showed signs of being the elite quarterback we’re used to seeing, like this beauty for Watson late in the first quarter:

It’s clear, though, that Rodgers isn’t quite an MVP-caliber quarterback right now. Perhaps the 38-year-old has finally hit the proverbial cliff. Maybe he really doesn’t have the right reception talent. Maybe his thumb wound it’s bugging him more than he’s letting on.

One could argue that with Adams out of town and a hefty $150.8 million three-year extension in his pocket, Rodgers simply checked out.

Whatever the reason, the Packers are left with a lot of uncertainty as a quarterback.

Rodgers’ contract is part of the problem. He’ll have $99.8 million in dead money remaining in his contract after this season, so cutting him isn’t an option. Even trading him could prove extremely difficult given his inconsistent play. The fact that Russell Wilson is floundering in Denver next That a successful deal could further scare teams away from bidding on Rodgers.

Green Bay is unlikely to get more first-round picks for this version of Rodgers, and they certainly won’t get a team to take on the balance his contract warrants.

Like it or not, Green Bay is likely saddled with Rodgers for at least one more season: Its guaranteed money drops to $24.5 million after 2023. But what do the Packers do after Rodgers is done?

Green Bay used a 2020 first-round pick on Utah State product Jordan Love, but his chances behind Rodgers were few and far between. The 24-year-old made just one start, threw 71 passes and has a career quarterback rating of 71.6. That’s not much of a resume, and the Packers have to decide in the offseason whether to exercise Love’s fifth-year option.

Is it time for Jordan Love in Green Bay?

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It won’t be an easy decision. On one hand, Love spent two and a half years behind an all-time great. On the other hand, the Packers don’t know how he can handle himself as a long-term starter.

“I think we see it every day, so we have a good indication,” said Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “There’s nothing like going into the game and getting those live reps, but it still shows improvement on a daily basis.

Green Bay needs to quickly figure out what it has in Love A) because of the impending option decision and B) because the 2023 draft is fast approaching.

If the season ended right now, the Packers would retain the 12th overall pick. He may be too short for a prospect like CJ Stroud, but quarterbacks like Bryce Young, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson may be available.

If the Packers aren’t sold on Love, they need to seriously consider using their first pick on another quarterback. The end could come sooner than many expected for Rodgers, who openly admitted he wasn’t good enough on Thursday.

“I have to throw the ball better than tonight,” he said, per Demovsky. “…I just didn’t have the same kind of constant grip.”

Green Bay has been largely marred by back-to-back tenures of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers, but a Packers team without an elite quarterback is no longer a distant, mythic entity overshadowed by the dominance of the NFC North. It’s already arrived, and with or without Rodgers, a sizable rebuild could be looming.

The Packers may need to give Love some starting experience this season, because if he’s not the quarterback who will lead Green Bay through a potentially lengthy rebuild, that signalman needs to be found.

For the first time since he took over as starter in 2008, Rodgers isn’t that quarterback.

*Contract information via Spotrac.

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