One NFC north starting quarterback has already been traded. Will Aaron Rodgers join Matthew Stafford on a new team this season? Maybe out in California?
Absolutely not was the message from Packers leadership on Monday, more than a week after Green Bay's 31-26 loss to Tampa Bay in the NFC title game.
"Absolutely he will be here for a long time. I know I've said that before, but a long time," said Packers coach Matt LaFleur, which is the kind of thing you would say if you were trying to reclaim trade leverage ... no, no, sorry (and seriously) if you were trying to send a strong message about the presumptive league MVP not changing teams.
Added Packers GM Brian Gutenkunst, who shot down a report that the Rams had tried to acquire Rodgers before getting Stafford: "He's our quarterback, and he's our leader."
Still, if LaFleur wanted to really appease his star quarterback he might have answered another question differently.
(Note: This is not how the question was phrased): Matt, remember how you decided to kick a field goal when you had 4th-and-goal from the 8 with just over two minutes left and your Hall of Fame QB never got the ball back? Don't you think that was a bad idea that you would do differently next time?
LaFleur (actual answer): "If I had to do it again, if it's fourth-and-goal from the 8-yard line, we're kicking a field goal. If it's fourth-and-goal from the 5, I think we have a different discussion. You've got to play the percentages. We had three shots at it, gained no yards. That's how it is. Some people will agree. Some people will disagree. It in my heart, that's what I felt like was the best decision for us. Unfortunately, it didn't work out."
First, I truly love when coaches substitute the "safe" move for "play the percentages" when in many cases (including this one) going for it was the higher-percentage move.
Second, why not just say you would have done things differently? And most importantly, why say that if you had reached the 5 — which Rodgers might have been able to do had he scrambled on third down — you might have gone for it? That's only going to fuel Rodgers' regret. LaFleur did say he wished he had communicated better with Rodgers about the plans.
But that's not the same as just saying "my bad. I wish I would have given one extra crack at the end zone to the Hall of Fame quarterback we really should keep until he's ready to hang it up."
Which would have been the best and most honest thing to say.