GREEN BAY – Even with a former first-round draft decide at backup, Matt LaFleur mentioned he by no means thought-about resting Aaron Rodgers after the four-time MVP broke his throwing thumb this season.
Rodgers confirmed Wednesday he broke the thumb on his throwing hand throughout the ultimate play Week 5 in opposition to the New York Giants. He has performed six video games, throwing greater than 200 passes, because the harm. Rodgers’ completion share dipped 5 factors, from 67 earlier than breaking his thumb to 62 since. His passer ranking for him declined from 95.7 earlier than to 91.1 after.
Regardless, LaFleur mentioned giving Jordan Love a begin so Rodgers might relaxation his thumb per week or two was by no means a transfer the group contemplated.
“Aaron is without doubt one of the hardest guys I’ve ever been round,” LaFleur mentioned, “when it comes to simply having the ability to battle by means of a number of accidents. In order that by no means crossed my thoughts. It is kind of the dialog when it comes to how he communicates with us, and the place he is at. Definitely, I do know he informed you guys, he is performed by means of so much worse. He is old-school powerful.”
LaFleur mentioned the most important problem Rodgers’ damaged thumb introduced was what number of snaps he took underneath heart throughout observe. The Packers often rested Rodgers on Wednesdays, although he has change into extra current at observe in latest weeks. Rodgers practiced Wednesday and Thursday this week because the Packers put together to play on the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night time.
Whereas Rodgers dismissed his damaged thumb as a purpose for waning accuracy this season, LaFleur mentioned the harm makes it “harder and problem” for quarterbacks to throw. Requested if Rodgers’ misses on shorter throws this season, passes which were just about automated for him prior to now, is the place the damaged thumb has been particularly problematic, LaFleur solely mentioned it might “probably” be a difficulty.
“If you’re a quarterback, and you’ve got one thing improper along with your hand,” LaFleur mentioned, “it could create some obstacles. He is appeared to maneuver round it for probably the most half fairly effectively.”
An even bigger difficulty this week is a flu bug circulating the Packers locker room. 5 gamers had been on the harm report with an “sickness” designation Wednesday. Kicker Mason Crosby, receiver Randall Cobb, security Rudy Ford and rookie security Tariq Carpenter returned to observe Thursday, although rookie offensive lineman Rasheed Walker remained out.
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LaFleur mentioned the flu bug is “very comparable” to the identical sickness that swept by means of the Packers locker room late within the 2019 season, which memorably prevented former proper sort out Bryan Bulaga from beginning in a playoff recreation that season.
“It appeared like everyone was getting sick,” LaFleur mentioned. “However I believe our medical workers is doing job of staying on high of those guys. If guys have – we have been testing them for every part – and if they’ve the flu, we’re retaining them out.”
New linebacker Justin Hollins practices
Exterior linebacker Justin Hollins had his first observe with the group after being claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday. Hollins, a fifth-round draft decide of the Denver Broncos in 2019, spent the previous three seasons with the Rams. He performed underneath Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry with the Rams in 2020 when Barry was a linebackers coach.
LaFleur hopes the familiarity helps Hollins modify shortly, giving the Packers reinforcements within the wake of Rashan Gary’s season-ending ACL tear.
“I believe he’ll have a faster transition,” LaFleur mentioned, “when it comes to studying the terminology and understanding the fundamental ideas of the protection. So hopefully that may give him a chance to get on the market just a little bit faster than perhaps just a few man who hasn’t been accustomed to this fashion of system.”
Rookie receiver Romeo Doubs rehabbed on the sideline throughout observe Thursday, a constructive step in his return from an ankle harm. Doubs has missed the previous two video games after injuring his ankle early Nov. 6 throughout a loss at Detroit.
Tight ends Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis didn’t observe Thursday. Tonyan was out due to sickness, whereas Lewis had a veteran’s relaxation day, as is customary for the veteran on Thursdays.
Inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell additionally missed observe due to his knee harm.
“He is making progress,” LaFleur mentioned. “It is simply each state of affairs is just a little bit totally different.”