The Green Bay Packers started off the season with a 5-2 record. All was going well in Green Bay until November 4th. On this day, starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone in a game against the Chicago Bears. Rodgers has not played since being injured. The Packers are 0-4-1 without him.
Questions are swirling around about what the Packers should do with Rodgers. Should the team just wait for him to be cleared, not matter if it is in playoff contention? Or should the team shut Rodgers down for the season and just look to next year?
Various factors have to be considered when deciding something of this nature.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said there are no internal discussions of shutting Rodgers down for the season. There at least has to be a discussion of it, one would think. Rodgers is an elite NFL quarterback and is considered by many as the very best in the game today. Elite, franchise quarterbacks are hard to come by these days. If he were to be shut down for the rest of the season, he would have all that time and the entire offseason to rehab his shoulder and come back in 2014 one hundred percent healthy.
On the other hand, if Rodgers can come back either this week (which he hasn’t been cleared to play, but still an option )or next week and the Packers still have an outside shot of making the playoffs, you would have to think the Packers would put him back on the field. Green Bay just has to simply get in the playoffs and then all bets are off. The Packers were 10-6 in 2010 and were the sixth seed in the NFC, yet still managed to win the Super Bowl.
Green Bay has clearly struggled without Rodgers this season, not winning a single game in his absence. The team has started four different quarterbacks this season, the most of any single season in the 93 year history of the franchise. This is a franchise that is known for having longevity at the quarterback position, so starting four different ones this season is not normal for this team.
The Packers are fully committed to Rodgers and rightfully so. Earlier this year, Rodgers signed a five-year $110 million contract. You can make the case either way when discussing whether or not Rodgers should play again this season. Obviously risk of injuries is going to be contemplated, but its football and the players know what they sign up for. However, the team isn’t completely out of playoff contention, so bringing Rodgers back wouldn’t be a terrible thing being how poorly the other three starters have been.
Rodgers wants to get back on the field whether or not the Packers are still in playoff contention. Where the conversation takes a little bit of a turn is revolving the playoff scenario. If the Packers are in the playoff hunt, it would probably be wise of the Packers to bring him back. If the Packers are out of the playoff race, why would they consider playing their franchise quarterback in meaningless games?
The division isn’t out of the equation for Green Bay, but the team faces an uphill battle. The Packers are sitting behind the Detroit Lions (7-5, 1st place) and Chicago Bears (6-6, 2nd place). In the wild card race, the packers trail the San Francisco 49ers (8-4, current 6 seed), Philadelphia Eagles (7-5), Arizona Cardinals (7-5) and the Bears. The Packers must take care of business this Sunday when it hosts the Atlanta Falcons if the team wants to continue towards the playoffs.
If the Packers are still in playoff contention when Rodgers is cleared, he will more than likely play. If, the Packers are out of playoff contention, the Packers will have a big decision to make. If the team is out of playoff contention, should they just shut Rodgers down?