Aaron Rodgers’ absence with an undetermined return date leaves Packers Nation in limbo. The injury to Rodgers’ collarbone is one that could prove to be devastating to the Packers playoff hopes.
Or can, as Coach McCarthy mentioned a few weeks ago, simply “Keep Calm and Carry On?”
Though Rodgers and the Packers insist that there is no timeline for the return of QB1, early reports suggest that the fracture to Rodgers’ collarbone could heal in 4-6 weeks. That would have Rodgers back at the helm at the earliest against the Lions on Thanksgiving and at the latest Dec. 15 against Dallas. It is reasonable to assume, however, that Rodgers may not return this season.
The real question is not when Rodgers returns, but what happens in the interim. Can Seneca Wallace play well enough in an offense designed around the unique abilities of arguably the best quarterback in the NFL? Can the Packers win with Seneca Wallace as their quarterback?
A tough question and quite frankly only time will tell. With that said, I don’t think the Seneca Wallace Green Bay Packers coming out party on Monday Night Football was necessarily an accurate assessment of his ability. Coach McCarthy will be challenged to utilize the strengths of Wallace to move the Packers’ offense. I believe this is possible, but I don’t expect Wallace to slip passes by many earholes.
The advent of a Packers running game featuring Eddie Lacy will certainly aid this transition. All of us armchair quarterbacks know this will only last so long before opposing defenses stack the box and stuff the run. Wallace will need to be competent in the passing game. He doesn’t need to be A-Rod Light, but serviceable and able to move the team through the air.
In my estimation, for the Packers to weather this injury to Aaron Rodgers the defense is going to have to play exceptionally well. Wallace can’t be expected to be putting 30 to 40 points on the board like Rodgers seemed to be able to do on a bad day. The Packers defense will need to keep the opposition under 20 points per game and force more turnovers.
At the end of the day Wallace needs to keep the Packers’ ship afloat. The Packers, when healthy, are a very talented team. Consider that the Bears narrowly beat the Packers on Monday when Green Bay played without four offensive starters, an 80 percent James Jones and missing Clay Matthews on defense. Wallace needs to give the Packers a fighting chance until Rodgers returns.
If Rodgers can’t return until Dec. 15 against the Cowboys at Dallas and Wallace guided the Packers to a 3-2 record during that stretch, I would say Green Bay would have a chance to peak just in time for the playoffs and set off on a magical Super Bowl run.
If things go well for the Packers, it will be a dogfight to the end. It is very possible that the Dec. 29 game at Chicago could determine the Packers’, the Bears’, or even the Lions’ playoff future.
The 2013 season just got a bit more interesting. Hopefully six weeks from now we, as Packers Nation, are still interested.