With Justin Fields uncertain to play this week, the Chicago Bears are bringing in one of Aaron Rodgers’ former backups to give them an additional option at quarterback for their season rematch with the Green Bay Packers.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Bears have signed quarterback Tim Boyle off of the Detroit Lions’ practice squad to their 53-man roster ahead of their Week 13 home game against the Packers, adding a healthy arm to the room with both Fields (shoulder) and backup Trevor Siemian (oblique) dealing with injuries.
Boyle served as Rodgers’ primary backup in two of his three seasons with the Packers, winning the job away from DeShone Kizer in 2019 and holding onto the role in 2020 despite the arrival of first-round quarterback Jordan Love. While Boyle only attempted four regular-season passes during his time in Green Bay, he completed 60 of his 110 passes for 650 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions across two preseasons for the Packers and was generally liked by both Rodgers and the team’s coaching staff, including current Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy.
The connection between Getsy and Boyle could be one of the reasons why the Bears have decided to add him to their ailing quarterback room. Getsy was quarterbacks coach for the Packers during Boyle’s first three seasons in the NFL and played a key role in his development, even though Boyle eventually departed for Detroit. If Fields and Siemian are both unable to play on Sunday, he might feel comfortable giving the reins to a familiar face instead of the Bears’ other quarterback, Nathan Peterman.
The Packers will visit the Bears at Soldier Field at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, December 4.
Rodgers Plans to Play Against the Bears in Week 13
The Bears aren’t alone in terms of having an injured starting quarterback. Rodgers has been dealing with a broken thumb on his throwing hand since Week 5’s loss to the New York Jets in London. He was also knocked out of last week’s loss in Philadelphia in the fourth quarter due to a ribs injury, leaving Love to close things out for the Packers.
While the injuries to Rodgers have naturally led to conversations about whether the Packers should hand the reins over to Love for the rest of their nearly-lost season, Rodgers himself indicated he plans to play against the Bears on Sunday during his weekly Tuesday appearance on The Pat McAfee Show.
“I got good scans yesterday, so I plan on playing this week,” Rodgers told McAfee.
The Packers will still have to make their own final determination about who will play quarterback on Sunday, but it seems unlikely they would go against the wishes of their four-time NFL MVP, especially if the scans indicated his ribs would be up to the task. So, while it might be fun to imagine a scenario in which two of Rodgers’ backups — Love and Boyle — square off, there doesn’t appear to be a good chance of that happening.
Would Losing to the Bears Alter Plans With Rodgers?
Rodgers has said he would like to keep playing for as long as the Packers are still “mathematically alive” in the 2022 playoff race, but they might want to start having a conversation about sitting him if Green Bay somehow walks out of Chicago with another loss on Sunday and falls to 4-9 on the season.
According to The New York Times’ 2022 playoff simulator, the Packers are already in a situation where they need to win their remaining five regular-season games and get some help from other teams in the NFC to make the playoffs this year. Their odds of making it could shrink to less than a 1% chance if they lose to the Bears in Week 13, making things about as hopeless as they have been during Rodgers’ long tenure.
With the Packers having to make a decision on Love’s fifth-year option in about six months, it could be sensible for them to sit Rodgers for the rest of the year and give their 2020 first-round pick a chance to finally prove himself in a meaningful arena. That’s not to say that sitting Rodgers would be a torch-passing between him and Love, but it would make sense for them to evaluate the younger quarterback’s growth in a regular-season setting in order to make a more educated decision when May arrives.