Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers doesn’t see the value in playing a few preseason snaps, but that’s what led to criticism last season.
Veteran status in the NFL often secures certain privileges such as “vet days off“, when many elder statesman of the league take an understandable break.
Veterans are also typically absent from early preseason games, as these are often used as opportunities to vet borderline players trying to make the 53-man roster.
In this sense, Aaron Rodgers is no anomaly. The 38-year-old quarterback hasn’t taken a preseason snap since 2018, and as he heads into his 15th season as the starting Packers quarterback, he doesn’t feel he necessarily needs them. But the bevy of young, new wideouts on the team make a compelling case for Rodgers to take a couple snaps for chemistry’s sake.
After all, the Packers don’t want another blowout loss to open the 2022 season the way they did last year. Instead, Rodgers offers a polarizing ultimatum: either offer him a few drives, or offer nothing at all.
Aaron Rodgers has strong opinion about preseason appearance for Packers
As of now, Rodgers won’t play in the first two preseason games, but it remains unclear whether or not he could play in the third. On Tuesday, Rodgers called the decision to make him take preseason snaps “kind of a no-win situation to the outside of the building.”
His reasoning is that a potential preseason injury, or an eventual loss in Week 1, opens the door to criticism from onlookers. And if Rodgers does play, he wants more than a couple of snaps — otherwise, it’s a “waste of time.”
“I don’t see any benefit to it,” Rodgers told ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “I definitely don’t see any benefit to playing one series. If we’re going to play, we should play and play a quarter, a couple of series, two to three series. Just suiting up for four plays, to me, is a waste.”
Rodgers’ argument isn’t unreasonable, but it does put the Packers in a difficult situation. The longer Aaron is on the field, the longer he is susceptible to potential — and avoidable — injury. In a meaningless preseason game designed to try out playcalls and fringe players, that decision would face overwhelming blowback if the reigning MVP is knocked out.
That being said, the Packers would also face criticism if Aaron Rodgers shows up in Week 1 and looks as bewildered as he did last season when the Packers lost a 38-3 game to the New Orleans Saints. Of course, the season opener ultimately didn’t matter for the Packers, nor did it matter for Aaron Rodgers’ individual performance.
The Packers may choose a Week 1 loss over a potential preseason injury, all because Rodgers doesn’t want to limit his preseason participation to a couple of snaps. Having that inflexibility about how much he plays may end up being the wrong choice for the Packers — and for Rodgers — in Week 1.