First-year Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur wouldn't say for sure, but the fact that his starters suited up for Thursday's NFL preseason game with the Oakland Raiders and then sat down for its entirety is being blamed on field conditions at IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Team personnel huddled around square patches of synthetic turf accentuated by copious amounts of crumb rubber infill that were located in both end zones of the American football layout. The turf patches were there to cover the sockets used for goal posts in Canadian football, which has a longer field, but goal posts closer to the goal lines.
Because of concern over the location of the turf patches, the field was modified to 80 yards by moving the goal lines to the 10-yard line. Moreover, game rules were modified to eliminate all kickoffs. Still that seemingly wasn't enough to satisfy the Packers, who pulled their offensive and defensive starters out of the the penultimate preseason game before it even began. As a result, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has yet to take a snap in 2019 after not dressing for Green Bay's first two games. He may not play in the preseason finale, either, as it takes place a mere seven days before the Packers open the regular season against Chicago.
The Raiders likewise sat their starters Thursday in Winnipeg.
“We made the adjustments we felt were in the best interest of our football team, and we moved forward,” LaFleur said moments after the Packers lost, 22-21, on a late field goal by the Raiders. “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.”