Raiders vs Packers: Latest on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers wasn’t tight-lipped about much when he returned to practice Monday. He candidly answered questions about the back tightness that caused him to miss last week’s second preseason game for the Green Bay Packers as well as Sunday’s practice.
As to whether he’ll play this Thursday night in Winnipeg against the Oakland Raiders? That decision is in the hands of his head coach.
“That is to be determined,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Tuesday. “I want to wait and see. I’m not going to say one way or another right now. It’ll be a game-time decision.”
While Rodgers didn’t object to the notion of sitting for missing yet another preseason game, as none of the starters played against the Houston Texans in the opener, the star quarterback doesn’t seem too keen on playing in any preseason games at all.
“The practices are so much more important than the preseason,” Rodgers said Monday. “The best reps I’m going to see all summer are at practice. If Matt wants us to play, we’ll play and go out and compete. If not, we feel pretty good about where we’re at.”
Rodgers, who mentioned he doesn’t have a history with back issues, said there was no exact moment when he felt the tightness manifest in his back, but that he felt it “lock up” on him in the week leading up to the road trip to the Baltimore Ravens.
He said went through treatment, missing the game, and then opted to sit Sunday’s practice as a precaution to get back to full strength.
“Sometimes you can sleep on it weird and wake up and it bothers you, or something in the weight room can do something, or a throw,” Rodgers said. “I felt like it was, the one day we had last week Tuesday was a little colder than we had. And sometimes when it goes from hot to cold, it can lock you up a little bit.”
Barring an unforeseen setback, Rodgers’ back problem should go away long before visiting the Chicago Bears for the NFL season opener on Sept. 5. But considering his philosophy on the reps seen in preseason games, there is a genuine question whether playing Rodgers in Thursday’s game against the Raiders makes sense.
Rodgers has missed games in just four of his 11 seasons in the pros, and only two of them — missing seven in 2013 and nine in 2017 — were for long durations of time. That isn’t to say an injury couldn’t occur during live preseason reps.
Either way, Rodgers said he will be ready to go for whatever situation the Packers coaching staff decides is best throughout the remainder of the preseason.
“If we didn’t play, I’d feel great going into Week 1. If we did, I wouldn’t really be worried too much about the results. If we go down and score a touchdown, it’s not going to give me any more confidence than I already have in the scheme. If we go three and out, it’s not going to dampen any confidence that I have in what we’ve established so far in the training camp practice.”