Green Bay Packers Could Start Backup Quarterback Late in Season

The Green Bay Packers season hasn't gone as expected. At 5-8, they're all but eliminated from playoff contention, and they have little to gain over their final four games of the season. It's time for some soul searching, for them to see what they have in their young players. At a Monday press conference, general manager Brian Gutekunst said he believes backup quarterback Jordan Love can be a starting-level quarterback in this league. It's time to put that theory to the test. Love has played a total of 19 snaps this season, totalling 186 yards and one touchdown on 18 pass attempts. The Packers rank 23rd in scoring this year under starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who recently turned 39.

The unprecedented longevity of quarterback Tom Brady has skewed perception of what a quarterback's lifespan can be. Brady is 45, and has played some of his best ball in recent years, winning two Super Bowls and leading the league in passing yards twice since turning 40. But that's not normal. His long-time rival Peyton Manning was a shell of his former self at 39. Bret Favre, the previous gold standard in longevity, was awful at 41.

The Packers drafted Love 26th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft with an eye to the future. Rodgers had appeared in decline at the time, leading the Packers to 21st, 14th, and 15th rankings in points scored from 2018 to 2020. He rebounded following Love's arrival, leading the Packers to the most points in the league in 2020 and the tenth-most in 2021, earning MVP honors in both years. The Packers signed Rodgers to a massive three-year, $150 million deal earlier this year that won't expire until after the 2026 season, but he has flirted with retirement in recent offseasons.

The Packers aren't technically eliminated from the playoffs quite yet; they're probably a loss or two away from that. The team is right to show some loyalty to their franchise passer. They won a Super Bowl together in 2009, and Rodgers has won an amazing four MVPs in his tenure as starting quarterback. But at some point, likely very soon, every snap Rodgers takes this season will be a futile one. The team would be better served using meaningless games to evaluate their future in Love rather than cling to Rodgers' glorious past.
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