It was supposed to be the game where Aaron Rodgers would make his first preseason start. Instead, it turned into anything but on Thursday night at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.
A problem with the field conditions, particularly concerning in the end zones, led Matt LaFleur to rest all of his starters. In a stadium that regularly houses the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the goal post is traditionally in the end zone of where a normal NFL game would be, so by moving the goal post, the patch that covered up the older area, wasn’t properly glued down. As such, the patch was moving and after a while of testing, the Packers and Raiders brass and the officials deemed it unsafe, so both squads had to play on a shortened 80-yard field. As such, the 10-yard lines serving as the goal lines, and there were no kickoffs.
Head coach Matt LaFleur didn’t say that the field conditions were the ultimate reasons he decided to rest all his players, instead saying the Raiders decision to sit all their stars played into his call.
“We made the adjustments we felt were in the best interest of our football team, and we moved forward,” LaFleur said. “It was a combination of a lot of things I really don’t want to get into right now. It is what it is. They weren’t playing their guys and I just didn’t want to put our guys at risk.”
The Packers lost 22-21 on a late field goal by the Raiders, but with just one preseason game remaining, the hopes that Aaron Rodgers would see any sort of preseason reps are dwindling. If he does not play in their preseason finale against Kansas City, this will be the first time in Rodgers’ career that he will have had zero preseason snaps.
“I feel confident in our preparation,” LaFleur said.
With just one more game remaining to evaluate his players, there were at least a few shining spots. Tim Boyle got his first career start. He was 16-of-25 for 191 yards and 2 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Trevor Davis also impressed, combining for 96 total yards and a touchdown.
On the injury front, no updates were given, but the list of players that left Thursday’s game was extensive. Receiver Equanimeous St. Brown left the locker room in crutches with a boot on his left leg after sustaining what appeared to be an ankle injury, while first-round pick Rashan Gary was carted off to the locker room, but later revealed he was fine on Twitter. At inside linebacker Curtis Bolton was also in crutches and a knee brace, while defensive backs Will Redmond and Mike Tyson, receiver Allen Lazard and offensive lineman Cole Madison all exited the game.
The team now heads into their final week of the preseason.