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Matt LaFleur “absolutely” would want Aaron Rodgers back in 2023

Mike Florio and Myles Simmons spotlight the players and storylines that deserve more attention following an action-packed Sunday.

The Packers have reached their bye week with a 5-8 record, which puts them in third place in the NFC North.

It’s a spot most did not expect Green Bay to be in entering Week 14, especially considering quarterback Aaron Rodgers was coming off back-to-back MVP awards.

But as Rodgers was leaving the playing field in Chicago on Sunday, he saluted the crowd — essentially saying “goodbye” just in case it was the last time he plays there.

So on Monday, head coach Matt LaFleur was asked if he would want Rodgers as the team’s quarterback in 2023, should Rodgers want to return. The reporter didn’t fully finish the question before LaFleur began his response.

“Yeah, absolutely. Of course,” LaFleur said in his press conference. “But, you guys know how I feel. I have a hard time looking past the L.A. Rams [in Week 15] right now. And, obviously, this week is going to be great to kind of dig into ourselves and look at the film critically in every phase and try to challenge our guys in different areas that we can improve. But, then the focus will turn to the L.A. Rams.

“So that’s where my mind is right now. But yeah, absolutely.”

As a follow-up, LaFleur was asked how he would assess Rodgers’ season so far.

“I think we’ve got a great problem in terms of when you have confidence in multiple people,” LaFleur said, presumably referring to Rodgers and Jordan Love. “You’d rather have that. I do think, just thinking about expectations, and certainly people expect — we all expect — a certain level from him every time and especially when you’re coming off back-to-back MVP seasons. I think you’ve got to be realistic about the situation, too, in terms of, you’re losing almost your entire receiving corps and there’s a lot of new pieces around ya. There’s going to be a learning curve to that. Not to make excuses, it is what it is.

“We always expect and want to play that perfect game each and every time we go out on the field. So, I think collectively, everybody’s got to be better, starting with myself. I just think expectations are a funny thing to try to manage. But, certainly, I think as an offense, I think we are showing improvement over the last few games — in terms of just a little bit more consistency. And I still think there’s a handful of snaps that you look back at yesterday and you’re like, we should be better there. Some missed opportunities where maybe you’re not down 19-10 or whatever it was in the fourth quarter. So, I just think it’s a collective effort with everybody.”

Rodgers, who turned 39 last week, has completed 64.3 percent of his passes this season for 2,864 yards with 22 touchdowns and nine interceptions.