Matt LaFleur: Right now, the mindset is we’re going to play our guys against Detroit

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After clinching the NFC’s No. 1 overall seed with their victory over the Vikings on Sunday, the Packers don’t really have anything to play for in Week 18.

But there’s still a game scheduled against the Lions. And at least for now, head coach Matt LaFleur is planning on having his starters participate in it.

“Right now, the mindset is going into this is we’re going to play our guys and we’re going to approach it like every other game,” LaFleur said in his Monday press conference. “I just think that the reason behind that is I’m not comfortable having, essentially, a three-week layoff for our guys. And I know you can look at it a million different ways and there’s never a right answer unless it works out.

“So if somebody goes in there and they get injured, then [the question is] why’d you play your guys? But if you go out there in that first playoff game and you lay an egg, [the question is] why’d you rest your guys? So there’s not a right answer. The bottom line is, whatever we do, we’ve got to go out and perform and we know that. And that’s the way we’re going to go about it.”

LaFleur noted there is a chance some players could start the game but then exit after getting some work.

“I think certainly there is definitely a feel to that,” LaFleur said. “And I don’t want to speak in absolutes by any stretch. But I just think going into the game, you have to approach it like that. Whether a guy plays a half or three quarters, you’ve got to go into it with the mindset that I’m going to play this whole game.”

LaFleur’s rationale makes sense, but it also stands to reason that some players are going to be treated differently than others. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, for instance, has been dealing with a fractured pinky toe since coming off the COVID-19 list in November, so it would probably make sense to rest him.

It probably would anyway, given his importance to Green Bay’s success. Plus, 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love could likely use the in-game reps.

Still, as LaFleur said, “I’m sure if you asked 100 different people, they could give you 100 different answers on what we should do.”

We’ll see if LaFleur changes his public stance as the week evolves.

19 responses to “Matt LaFleur: Right now, the mindset is we’re going to play our guys against Detroit

  1. The Packers were in this situation before, rested their starters, and then lost the game because they were clearly rusty. Don’t repeat that mistake again.

  2. “I’m not comfortable having, essentially, a three-week layoff for our guys.”

    Peyton Manning might have at least a couple more rings if Tony Dungy had felt this way.

  3. Rodgers is too good and is not susceptible to rust. Doubt he sees the field this week.

  4. In 2011 15–1 Packers benched Aaron for week 17 and lost to the 9-7 Giants who won the Super Bowl.

  5. Even if they play the starters, they will have a long layoff. So why bother with the additional risk? Different story if they didnt have the bye, but they do.

  6. While injury is always a risk, I’d be more worried about a 3-week layoff. The Packers are on a roll…..and unlike many think, you cannot simply throw a switch and be right back where you were after 3 weeks.

    Many teams have collapsed after1 2-week layoff. Three weeks is too much

    Play the starters in the first half……and then let the backups have fun.

  7. They did not play any starters in the preseason and came out to lay an egg against the Saints.

  8. I’d like to see Rogers play a series or two and score a TD, then bring in Love and let him play with the starting O-line and some skill players for 2 quarters and then let Benkert play the 4th quarter. On D I’d rest Clark, Stokes and maybe Amos and get the subs some time.

    Problem is you’re limited when you can’t suit up all 53.

  9. Say what you want about the Lions, but that defense plays a hard game. They should compromise and play the starters a quarter or two.

  10. I love high class problems.

    Better football……………

    …………for better people.

  11. In LaFleur we trust! This is the right approach – if anything, this is about making sure the starters go through the same Monday-Saturday routine, as opposed to shutting them down. Aaron will likely play 1-2 series then get taken out so we can get some extended action of Jordan Love. Same with Davante and Aaron Jones.

  12. kevpft says:
    January 3, 2022 at 4:34 pm
    “I’m not comfortable having, essentially, a three-week layoff for our guys.”

    Peyton Manning might have at least a couple more rings if Tony Dungy had felt this way.

    ———

    Peyton had 9 one-and-dones….. He is fortunate to have one two SBs

  13. nagyisterrible says:
    January 3, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    Whatever Aaron says, Lafleur is a puppet.
    ********
    Aww….somebody sounds a little bitter. 🤣
    This is always my favorite time of year when serious teams are getting ready for important football games.
    While the rest are making tee times. 😉

  14. It’s a good mindset that should lead to quality mental reps for #12 as the heir apparent gets a chance to trip over his shoelaces a few times.

  15. Rough call. It’s a division rivalry. Lions never have anything to lose. I’d probably sit Rodgers after the first half.

  16. Whatever the decision you can bet the Lions will put forth a lot more effort than the Vikings did. They’ve played hard in every minute of every game and could be a .500 or better club next year.

  17. I don’t know that I’d compare this to 2011.

    That defense was downright bad. I believe they are still one of the 5-10th worst ever in yards allowed. Granted, part of that was due to how great the offense was. But its no coincidence the Giants came in and put 37 on them.

    And who can forget that hail mary at halftime?! It was a 3-point game before that catastrophic breakdown.

    … and can we really call that team rusty? Matt Flynn put up 45 points in the finale with Rodgers sitting out.

  18. What a great opportunity to “start” ALL of your IR guys and working them out and get some rust off! They get tonsee if theybare truly ready or not and it is a win/win situation. Live , real game time reps are golden to have and use!

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