Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers set to play; Joe Barry knows Los Angeles Rams well
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t practice this week, still recovering from a fractured toe. This is now a month's worth of practices in which Rodgers has not been a full participant.
He did not practice at all ahead of the Seattle Seahawks game two weeks ago, and only practiced Friday last week, ahead of the Minnesota Vikings game. Ahead of Sunday’s Los Angeles Rams game, with a bye waiting on the other side of the weekend, Rodgers rested his toe.
However, Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Friday that Rodgers was still able to get the mental reps in preparation for the game, and actually did so on the practice field. He pulled it off by using backup quarterback Jordan Love as proxy.
“He came down to practice,” LaFleur said. “He didn't participate in practice, but he was out there and relaying the calls to Jordan. You know, just getting that practice of just saying the play calls.”
Both Rodgers and LaFleur affirmed this week that the veteran quarterback will start against the Rams.
Barry familiar with Rams
The familiarity across both sidelines will be noted and discussed ad nauseam in this game. One connection that can get overshadowed by the LaFleur-Sean McVay relationship is that of Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry to the Rams. He spent four years coaching on defense under McVay, four years going against the offense in practice and four years getting to know each guy in the building.
In short, Barry knows the Rams roster backward and forward.
“Went to a Super Bowl with that team, drafted a bunch of those guys, recruited a bunch of those guys in free agency, things like that. So a lot of personal relationships with not only staff members, but players as well. So it was weird (scouting them), but it's exciting.”
Yet there’s one person Barry admittedly is still learning and it’s perhaps the most important position for which the DC should be familiar: Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford. The former Detroit Lions quarterback went to the West Coast at the same time Barry came east.
"Probably the biggest thing is obviously, Stafford being there," Barry said. "That's probably the biggest biggest difference just watching them and seeing them… they’re totally different. (Former Rams quarterback) Jared (Goff) and Matt are completely different quarterbacks.”
In game planning for Stafford, Barry is leaning on what he already knows of McVay.
"It's still obviously Sean calling plays, so the principles and the concepts are very similar, but you know, the trigger man is is different," Barry said. "So then it's going to have a completely different feel and different mindset. Jared was much more play action; Matthew’s a little bit more drop back. But the similarities, you still see them just because Sean's still there.”
Injury report: Kevin King doubtful
Offensive lineman David Bakhtiari was officially ruled out for Sunday’s game, an unsurprising piece of news after another week passed without Bakhtiari on the practice field amid a report that he underwent arthroscopic surgery. Wide receiver and kick returner Malik Taylor has also been ruled out. Corner Kevin King is doubtful. When he was seen during the media viewing portions of practice this week, it was often on the stationary bike.
Running back Aaron Jones (knee), linebacker Rashan Gary (elbow) and wide receiver Allan Lazard (shoulder) are all questionable. The trio was all seen practicing in position drills this week. According to LaFleur, the Packers' staff is waiting to see how their bodies react to the exertion.
“We'll just kind of see how they responded to practice (Friday) and see where they're at on Sunday.”
There always exists the possibility of putting Gary in a playable and mobile cast, to protect his elbow while allowing him to still tackle. The question lies more in finding one that allows him to dip into his bag of moves comfortably, while also protecting the injury. LaFleur said that is a part of the question around his availability.
“I think it's all of that," he said. "It encompasses just his ability to protect it and just the function of it.”