KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hours before their Wednesday press conference, the Kansas City Chiefs and the rest of the NFL world found out that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has tested positive for COVID-19 and would not travel to face Kansas City on Sunday.
“I’m just hoping he’s healthy and he can get through it,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “COVID is a scary deal and it can get anybody. I’m just praying for him that he can get back to who he is.”
This was the second time a matchup between Mahomes and Rodgers has been put on hold. In 2018, the two teams met at Lambeau Field, but Mahomes was out with a knee injury.
“It’s definitely disappointing. I’ve watched this game for a long time and feel like I play a similar style,” Mahomes said. “You always want to compete against the best. Hopefully he’s healthy and its not too bad. I’m sure he’ll come back from it stronger than he was before.”
With Rodgers out, Jordan Love will start in his place.
Love was drafted in the first round of the 2020 draft out of Utah State University. He played two games in the preseason, completing 24 of his 35 pass attempts and one touchdown.
Love is known for his big arm and big play ability and even received comparisons to the aforementioned quarterbacks by analysts.
“He was slinging it around the field making a lot of plays happen. He had a great preseason and played really well. I’m sure he’ll be ready,” Mahomes said. “They have a great offense and he’ll be able to step it and try to do what he can to have success.”
Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said the challenge remains focusing on their mentality and preparation versus who is lining up under center on the opposing team.
“Obviously Aaron Rodgers is a special player, probably one of the most talented quarterbacks in this league,” Mathieu said. “But I think as far as preparation, it’s all about our mindset, our attitude, trying to get as much information as we can. Pretty sure those guys offense won’t change too much. It’s all about formational recognition and understanding what’s going on on our end.”
With a quarterback getting his first start on the road, Mathieu says he won’t be surprised to see the Packers put the balls in the hands of their best playmakers.
“Davante Adams is one of those receivers, it doesn’t matter who he has throwing the ball to him. He’s a tough cover,” Mathieu said.
“The more I watch Aaron Jones, I like the way he runs the football. He reminds me of Dalvin Cook… I can see them leaning more on 33, obviously 17 speaks for himself, and even their back up running back AJ Dillon, he’s a tough duty as well.”
The Packers are reportedly bringing in quarterback Blake Bortles to back up Love as they do not have another signal caller on the roster with Rodgers testing positive.
The Chiefs and Packers kickoff Sunday at 3:35 p.m. from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.