During his usual “Tuesdays With Aaron” show on ESPN Milwaukee, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stated that he was still not cleared to return to play for the team. This came after Rodgers had an X-ray for the first time since before the Thanksgiving holiday. The results were apparently not what Rodgers, or the Packers, were hoping for.
Rodgers explained his timeline and thought process. “We’re now four weeks and one day from my fracture. I’ve made a lot of progress. A lot of it is just the bone healing. Bone takes three to six weeks to heal. We all hoped we’d be on the short end of that.”
Rodgers has not officially been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field. He will practice with the team and be evaluated again this week on the slim chance that the Packers medical staff would clear him to play in that game.
If Rodgers is not cleared, Matt Flynn will start in his place, said head coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday during a press conference. McCarthy is going with Flynn over Scott Tolzien because of Flynn’s experience and comfort in the Packers offense. Many are hoping that some of that comfort and familiarity produces much better results than Flynn and the Packers showed against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.
Beyond this weekend’s tilt with the Falcons, there are still rumors floating around that if Rodgers is not cleared and the team’s postseason hopes get slimmer than they are now, that Rodgers could land on season-ending injured reserve. Anything is possible, but judging by the comments and demeanors of both Rodgers and McCarthy, it would seem that if Rodgers is healthy enough to play, he’s playing.
For those clamoring for the team to play for a better draft pick next year, consider the team’s culture and the impact that quitting on this season could have. Losing becomes a habit and a bad one at that. Just as winning fixes most issues, losing creates them. Confidence gets lost with each consecutive loss, just look at the Falcons, who entered this season as one of the favorites in the NFC.
Back in the 1970’s, former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll was known to evaluate his players at the end of a down season. Those who continued to play hard stuck around. Those who quit were on the first train out of town. While McCarthy is no Chuck Noll, he does at least say the right things about the expectations that he has of his players.
Every franchise goes through some unexpected down seasons. This looks to be one for the Packers, although they are only a game and a half out of first place in the NFC North. Many improvements need to happen in a hurry if the Packers are actually going to make something of this season. If they are unable, they will be in a position to draft some impact players in next year’s draft.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson just let go of one of his fourth-round picks from last year’s draft today in that of safety Jerron McMillian. Several other players from the 2011 and 2012 drafts are already on another team’s roster or practice squad. With several departures from the team’s scouting and personnel departments in recent years, the Packers will need to see a much better return from the class of 2014 if they want to bounce back.——————
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: