‘Can You Throw?’: Packers Scrambling for QBs Ahead of Matchup vs. Chiefs

Blake Bortles Return

Getty Blake Bortles #9 of the Green Bay Packers warms up before a preseason game against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field on August 21, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

In wake of Aaron Rodgers’ positive COVID-19 test that has knocked him out of the Green Bay Packers Week 9 game against the Kansas City Chiefs — which was first reported by NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero — the Packers are scrambling to find help at quarterback.

During his press conference following Rodgers’ positive test on Wednesday, November 3, Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur said it would be “all hands on deck” in terms of a backup quarterback before asking a reporter: “Can you throw?”

Outside of Rodgers, the only other quarterback the Packers have between the active roster and practice squad is Jordan Love, a 2020 first-round pick of the team. So, to fix that problem, Green Bay has called upon a veteran former first-round pick that spent time with the team this summer to fly in and suit up for the outing against the defending AFC champions.

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Bortles En Route to Green Bay

Former third overall pick Blake Bortles is flying to Green Bay with the expectation that he will sign to the Packers’ practice squad and be on the 53-man roster come Sunday, November 7, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

With no other help on the roster, the Packers have called upon Bortles, who was part of the team during this summer before being cut on July 27 and has been a free agent since then, per Pro Football Reference. Bortles hasn’t been a starter since 2018 and hasn’t taken a snap in a regular-season game since 2019.

Signing him is desperation at its finest for a Green Bay team that didn’t leave themselves with many options following the absence of their star quarterback.

Chiefs on Rodgers’ Absence from Week 9 Matchup

Speaking to the media not soon after the news broke on Rodgers’ positive COVID-19 test on Wednesday, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes reacted to not being able to face Rodgers for the first time in his career.

“It’s definitely disappointing. I’ve watched this game for a long time and feel like I play a similar style,” Mahomes said. “You always want to compete against the best. Hopefully he’s healthy and its not too bad. I’m sure he’ll come back from it stronger than he was before.”

Mahomes also spoke about Love, who was named the Week 9 starter for Green Bay by head coach Matt LeFleur on Wednesday.

“He was slinging it around the field making a lot of plays happen. He had a great preseason and played really well. I’m sure he’ll be ready,” Mahomes said. “They have a great offense and he’ll be able to step it and try to do what he can to have success.”

In terms of preparation, safety Tyrann Mathieu said nothing would change despite Rodgers not being the quarterback on Sunday.

“Obviously Aaron Rodgers is a special player, probably one of the most talented quarterbacks in this league,” Mathieu said during his presser. “But I think as far as preparation, it’s all about our mindset, our attitude, trying to get as much information as we can. Pretty sure those guys offense won’t change too much. It’s all about formational recognition and understanding what’s going on on our end.”


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