“Aaron Rodgers is not ready to go. He’s out for the game,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy
Those 12 words are words that all Packers fans had a feeling could be coming, but hearing them from Coach Mike McCarthy made it real once again. The Packers leader, Aaron Rodgers, is set to miss his 5th straight game (basically 6 considering he was knocked out early in the Bears game) and with the season on the line each week, the situation looks bleak. As we discussed prior, the Packers must win out and get some help along the way in order to have a shot at the playoffs, no matter how bleak. Additionally, Rodgers being ruled out for this week opens up another discussion, what happens if the Packers lose? What do you do going forward?
It was originally reported a few weeks ago that the Packers were considering shutting Rodgers down if the Packers were out of playoff contention. That could very well be the case after Sunday so the questions asked above will very soon have some answers. Personally, if Rodgers gets cleared, I don’t see why you hold him out. I get the concept of protecting for the future, but injuries in football happen. Shutting him down the last 3 weeks doesn’t guarantee he won’t get hurt in a different matter next year. Now, if they the medical staff doesn’t’ feel that he is ready to go, then the discussion is mute, but all indications look like he is getting closer to game action. I’m not jealous of McCarthy’s position in having to make the upcoming decision.
There are additional factor to consider in addition to Rodgers collarbone, what type of offense line will be in front of him. In recent weeks, Evan Dietrich-Smith and David Bakhtiari have both missed practice and in EDS’s case, the Lions game. That has equated to a mix and match situation on the line and the results haven’t been pretty. I’m not suggesting throwing Matt Flynn or Scott Tolzien out there just to get hammered but if that keeps Rodgers collarbone in one piece, then so be it.
That leads to the next factor to consider, seeing Flynn and Tolzien more to could help solidify the back up position going forward. Flynn has tested the open market and all it did was earn him a lot of money, two backup positions, a trade and twice being cut. He has a comfort level in Green Bay and is a relable back up if Rodgers were to go down again. Tolzien has had moments of looking good but as other teams acquired more film on him, they were able to expose his weaknesses. It’s far to early to start slotting the back up and 3rd string for next year but knowing what you have and seeing them perform in game action is important piece to the puzzle.
Finally, I read a lot of people saying that by not playing Rodgers the Packers could help assure themselves of a better draft pick. While there is some truth to that, there are zero guarantees in the draft. Ted Thompson has shown that he can draft well whether he is picking early in the draft or late. I’m also not a fan of moral victories, but if the Packers can finish 4-0, 3-1 or even 2-2, that shows some progress considering how the past few weeks having gone. Draft position is nice but the Packers are looking at a spot in the teens (based on how the season has gone to this point) and there will be numerous players available that can help fill the needs that Packers will have. At the end of the day, a team steps on the field to win, no matter how good or bad they are. The draft will work itself out.
Aaron Rodgers is the franchise and while we already knew that, over the past weeks that’s become even more evident. With Rodgers behind center this year, the Packers were 5-2, without, they are 0-4-1 (counting the Bears game). Seeing him healthy and playing this year will brighten the Packer fan spirtis going into the offseason. If he is healthy, I say let him play!