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Packers staying flexible during unique week of preparation

Offense will be ready to play for whoever's “slinging it”

Head Coach Matt LaFleur with quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love
Head Coach Matt LaFleur with quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love

GREEN BAY – The Packers returned to the practice field on Wednesday with Jordan Love under center and Aaron Rodgers participating remotely over Zoom.

Both the Packers and Rodgers are hopeful the three-time MVP quarterback will be cleared to return to the building Saturday, the first day he's eligible to do so following his recent bout with COVID-19.

In the meantime, however, Love has three more opportunities to run the first-team offense in practice and build off his first NFL start this past Sunday in Kansas City.

"I do think it's a good opportunity for Jordan to continue to get those reps that he wouldn't necessarily get, and then Aaron was fully involved and quite interactive with us in the meetings," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said.

With Rodgers and practice-squad quarterback Kurt Benkert both on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the Packers went into Sunday's game against the Chiefs with Love and recently signed veteran Blake Bortles as their quarterbacks.

Love had his ups and downs in the 13-7 loss to Kansas City, completing 19-of-34 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown and an interception, while also scrambling for 23 yards.

However, the former first-round pick began to find his rhythm in the fourth quarter and ended his day with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard against Kansas City's five-man pressure on fourth-and-5.

"I feel like he handled it really well," said receiver Davante Adams, who caught six passes for 42 yards. "Obviously I'm sure he wishes he'd have played a little bit better, but his first opportunity in a game…

"I like that he stayed pretty poised in there. A lot of things thrown at him, they were bringing a lot of blitzes and trying him as a young quarterback, and I liked his poise in the huddle. (That) is what I was really the most impressed with."

During his weekly Tuesday appearance on "The Pat McAfee Show," Rodgers was effusive in his praise for how Love handled his first NFL start in a hostile road environment. Rodgers' biggest piece of advice to his backup before the game was to "trust his feet" and did that while avoiding a few sacks.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, Sunday marked just the third time in Rodgers' 17-year NFL career that the three-time MVP quarterback watched the game from home.

There still are some medical hurdles he must clear before being added back to the active roster, but Rodgers told McAfee that he feels "really good." According to LaFleur, Rodgers was involved in both the pre- and post-practice meetings on Wednesday.

Adams, who missed one game last month due to COVID-19, is optimistic Rodgers will be back against Seattle. While Rodgers won't practice this week, Adams believes an added emphasis on communication away from the field will be enough for Rodgers to shift back into game mode.

"We've built up years and years of camaraderie at this point," Adams said. "I don't think we'll lose it over the course of 10 days, so I'm not too worried about that. It'll obviously be a little different, but (Wednesday) was a little bit more above-the-shoulders type day, so just moving around, making sure we know our assignments and control what we can control. We can't control who's in there at quarterback right now, just be ready to play for whoever's gonna be slinging it."

The Seahawks likely will be getting back former Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson, who missed the last three games due to a finger injury. Seattle (3-5) has yet to have a losing season during Wilson's first nine years as a starter.

For that reason, LaFleur is bracing his locker room for "a playoff-caliber team" ready to give the Packers everything it has. Despite all the outside distractions, Green Bay is centering its focus on the Seahawks.

"I constantly have to remind everybody in my family, don't read, don't look at anything. I have to follow the same advice," LaFleur said. "You just focus on the task at hand because each week is such a challenge, no matter who you're playing. Everybody has different circumstances. Everybody in the league is going through adversity. So, you've just got to keep putting one foot in front of the other and focus on what you have right in front of you."

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