GREEN BAY, Wis. -- One day after the Green Bay Packers tried -- but ultimately failed -- to pull off a trade to aid their struggling offense, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said everyone in the locker room understood the reality of what now faces a team in the midst of a four-game losing streak.
"That just sent the message to us that we've got to play with the guys we've got and win with the guys we've got," Rodgers said Wednesday. "I think there's still a lot of confidence in the guys in the locker room. I do feel like we need to get healthy."
Earlier on Wednesday, coach Matt LaFleur insisted he spent Tuesday preparing for Sunday's game at the Lions rather than pestering general manager Brian Gutekunst for added personnel. If Rodgers was disappointed that Gutekunst didn't land anyone before Tuesday's trade deadline, he kept that to himself during his regular Wednesday session with reporters at his locker.
Gutekunst, according to sources involved in Tuesday's trade negotiations, was in on at least two players: Steelers receiver Chase Claypool, who went to the Bears for a second-round pick, and another offensive skill-position player who ultimately did not get moved before the trade deadline.
"Obviously, the compensation for whatever players we were going after, it just didn't make sense," Rodgers said. "So I trust Brian and we had some good conversations and I know we were in on some things and it obviously just didn't pan out."
Rodgers suggested that if the Packers (3-5) can get some of their injured players on the field more consistently, they have a chance. They haven't played with their five preferred offensive line starters together in a game yet this season. Last Sunday's loss at Buffalo was supposed to be the first time, but guard Elgton Jenkins was a last-minute scratch because of a foot injury. A week earlier it was left tackle David Bakhtiari who experienced problems with his surgically repaired left knee and was a surprise inactive.
Even when they've gotten players back, it hasn't lasted. Case in point, rookie receiver Christian Watson. He returned against the Bills after missing two games (and three of the past five) because of a hamstring injury only to sustain a concussion in the first quarter at Buffalo.
"We've got to hopefully get [Watson] and [Lazard] back this week, Cobby in a couple more weeks," Rodgers said. "We're hopeful that both Elgton and Dave will be able to go, and there's no surprises on game day.
"I think that squad, when you put that together, I think we can win some football games with those guys. That's what we're all hoping for, is just to get a little bit healthier and then everybody play a little bit better."
That includes Rodgers, whose play hasn't come close to that of his previous two seasons for which he was named the NFL's MVP. He hasn't had a 300-yard passing day in 12 straight games, tied for the longest such streak of his career. His yards per pass attempt of 6.6 is on pace for the lowest of his career and would be only the second time he has averaged fewer than 7 yards per attempt.
"The confidence for me comes from within that I feel like that anytime I can go on a run and have gone on runs of playing at a near-perfection level," he said. "I know when I'm playing well, I can raise the level of my teammates in the locker room. I'm going to expect to reach that level. Obviously, we've got to do some things up front and protect and be able to push the ball down the field."