GREEN BAY – Matt LaFleur's Packers are getting used to this.
When Baker Mayfield takes the field for the Rams on Monday night, he'll be the fourth quarterback already in LaFleur's young tenure to face the Packers as a starter for two different teams.
He joins Philip Rivers (Chargers/Colts), Matthew Stafford (Lions/Rams) and Jared Goff (Rams/Lions) just within the past four seasons.
Including Mayfield, all four of them will have faced Green Bay with different teams in back-to-back years, too.
That's the unusual part, because when encompassing the LaFleur and Mike McCarthy eras, there are 20 other quarterbacks who faced the Packers as starters for different teams, but doing so in consecutive years was very rare.
Here's the full list, dating back to 2006, McCarthy's first year as head coach:
Donovan McNabb (Eagles/Redskins), Brian Griese (Bears/Buccaneers), Jay Cutler (Broncos/Bears), Josh McCown (Raiders/Bears/Buccaneers), Jon Kitna (Lions/Cowboys), Peyton Manning (Colts/Broncos), Kyle Orton (Bears/Broncos/Chiefs/Bills), Carson Palmer (Bengals/Raiders/Cardinals), Mark Sanchez(Jets/Eagles), Alex Smith (49ers/Chiefs/Redskins), Sam Bradford (Rams/Vikings), Nick Foles (Eagles/Rams), Ryan Tannehill (Dolphins/Titans), Teddy Bridgewater (Vikings/Panthers), Brian Hoyer (Bears/Patriots), Kirk Cousins (Redskins/Vikings), Brock Osweiler (Texans/Dolphins), Joe Flacco (Ravens/Broncos), Jameis Winston (Buccaneers/Saints), Tom Brady (Patriots/Buccaneers), plus Rivers, Stafford, Goff and Mayfield.
Of the first 20 QBs, only Griese's starts for different teams were in consecutive years (2007-08), though it's also interesting to note that two of Orton's were in the SAME year – 2011, when he quarterbacked against the Packers for both the Broncos and Chiefs, the latter being a loss that ruined Green Bay's perfect record at the time.
It's also worth noting, for those curious, that if including opposing QBs who started against the Packers in the McCarthy era but had done so with a different team pre-2006, the following names are added to the list: Drew Brees, Joey Harrington, Brad Johnson, Vinny Testaverde, Kerry Collins, Gus Frerotte, Daunte Culpepper, Kurt Warner, and Michael Vick.
But back to the here and now.
Mayfield taking over as the Rams quarterback is one of the most unusual situations from a preparation standpoint. The Packers have just one game to go on, the Thursday night game on Dec. 1 in which Mayfield brought the Rams back from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter to stun the Raiders.
"It was really impressive, especially him playing quarterback, there's so much to it," defensive lineman Dean Lowry said. "Different stuff they do, different schemes, cadences. For him to get that down in a week speaks to his football aptitude.
"Not many guys can do that. It's really impressive to see him do that and pick it up so fast."
Prep-wise, it's similar to Week 2 last season when the Packers only had one game to study of Goff running Detroit's offense. By the time they played Rivers with the Colts in '20, it was Week 11, and last year's game against Stafford and the Rams was Week 12.
Still, the defensive players and coaches have emphasized it's not as much about the one game of film on the player as it is the opponent's scheme as a whole.
"I think they're going to run their offense," safety Adrian Amos said. "That's what it is. What they do is really what they do. There might be little tweaks based on something he liked that they want him to run, but we have to prepare. We can't just only watch one game and go off of that. We have to watch what they like to do as a team."
In that vein, the Packers have plenty of familiarity with the Rams and coach Sean McVay's system, having faced Los Angeles each of the last two seasons, both in the colder weather at Lambeau Field (divisional playoff in '20, Thanksgiving weekend in '21).
No matter the quarterback, the defense's objective is to "make it cloudy for him," Amos said, but especially when Mayfield won't be fully comfortable in a new offense in such short order. The Packers also know they intercepted Mayfield four times in the game against the Browns last Christmas.
All that said, defensively the Packers feel this game is much more about themselves than the opponent. The defense has been up and down all season and needs to find its better self and keep hold of it for a while.
Can the unit do that for a run of four must-win games? That's not really the focus, either.
"To me, it all comes down to whether we execute that game," Amos said. "I don't think it's been bad momentum, good momentum. Did we execute what we were supposed to? And that's for all four quarters, from all three phases in the game. That's bigger than whether we get momentum or anything like that.
"When we're executing, it's right there on film we can be pretty good."