Aaron Rodgers hasn’t played for well over a month … a fact not lost on any of us.
We remember those days when the Green Bay Packers sat at 5-2 and everyone was predicting that they would cruise through the rest of their schedule, maybe with a loss here or there, toward another NFC North Division title and another shot at the playoffs.
We’ve been patient week-in and week-out as the team’s doctor, Patrick McKenzie has kept us all on pins and needles in hopes he would clear Rodgers for that week’s next game. But it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen and it didn’t happen.
Now the team sits, through a couple of miracles, poised to pounce on another division title – hopefully with the help of Rodgers. We should know more by Thursday, but maybe as soon as tomorrow, Wednesday.
Most are feeling pretty confident that Rodgers will be cleared for this weekend’s game at Lambeau Field against Super Bowl XLV opponent Pittsburgh Steelers.
“My hope is that I practice tomorrow [Wednesday] and experience no setbacks, mentally or physically, and we’ll go from there,” Rodgers said today on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN Milwaukee.
Those are golden words to Packers fans who have been waiting long enough.
More from Rodgers:
“I think there has to be on some level a risk-reward conversation. You have to base that on the evidence you see on the scan, but also how I’m feeling and if I’m able to do normal football movements without pain. That obviously goes into the equation.“Now a couple of weeks ago, that wasn’t in the equation because I felt pain. Last week, I felt more like myself, I think the guys would say I looked like myself and I knew I was closer. It’s Tuesday here, I haven’t practiced this week. I kind of did the same thing I did last week after I was ruled out Friday morning.“I really didn’t do anything Friday. Only threw a couple Sunday morning. And so we’re sitting here with another 4, 5 days of rest while still doing my strengthening exercises and my posture stuff. So we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”
What does that all mean? Well, it means that the $120 million man is ready to play, and is as anxious to get out on the field as we are to watch him play.
But we all know that high expectations don’t always yield results. In other words, there’s bound to be some rust on the QB. I can’t think that after more than six weeks of holding the clipboard that there won’t be some timing issues, some reaction issues.
I know that everyone expects him to hit the field as the same guy who left it back on Nov. 4. But let’s be realistic … he’s going to have to get his playing legs under himself and his arm cocked for the run the rest of the way. Will that happen all at once? We hope so, but don’t be surprised if Rodgers has issues. He is human, after all.
But Rodgers, in his most unflappable mode, won’t let that get to him. We can rest assured that he will be prepared for it, too, and will do his best to work his way back into his all-world skills.
Here’s what he had to say on the subject of rust and conditioning:
“I don’t really worry about those too much. As far those two I would worry a little bit more about conditioning. But I’ve been doing my workouts and feeling good. Practiced last week and took more reps than I had in awhile and felt pretty good.“I think I may have mentioned rust last week. I think my definition of rust and other people’s is a little different. I would rely on the guys, their answers to see how they thought I looked last week. I felt pretty good.”
That’s all well and good, but as fans we have to realize that his return to the field will be a genuine test. Who knows? Maybe he comes out and picks up right where he left off … maybe he’s somewhere in between.
Our hope is that he plays within himself. If he does that, the Packers will be just fine and have a great shot at winning out and picking up another division title.
That’s the plan … that’s the way it should play out … we hope.
Stay tuned …