Aaron Rodgers: The suspense is killing us


When will we get to see this again? The suspense is killing us.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Green Bay Packers fans would rather have Aaron Rodgers healthy and slinging the ball all over the field this December. Instead, we have a holiday season drama that would leave even Frank Capra breathless.

Think about it: Not since the 2010 miracle playoff run has Packers Nation experienced so much drama. Let’s face it, we got accustomed to winning – if the Packers suffered a loss, it was an anomaly, an annoyance. Everyone knew we’d be making it into the playoffs.

But when Rodgers’ collarbone cracked  Nov. 4 under the weight of Chicago Bears linebacker Shea McLellin, the initial thought was that he might miss three weeks. Here we are, six weeks later, waiting once again like children on Christmas Eve to see what will happen.

Well, with today’s report that Rodgers was being sat this weekend, we continue to wonder.

Yesterday, Rodgers took some reps in 11-on-11 drills, marking the first time he’s done that since the injury occurred. Is it a sign the Packers know something we don’t?

A reporter this week asked him, “Are you holding out hope you can play on Sunday?”

Rodgers paused cryptically and then simply replied, “Yes.”

What was behind that pause? Was it simple hope? A gut feeling? Or was there something more?

Rodgers’ clavicle sits before us like an unwrapped gift. How can we possibly wait? At the same time, the drama it has brought has provided Packers fans with a roller coaster ride like none we could have imagined when the Packers took a 5-2 record into that fateful Monday night battle against the Bears.

First, primary backup Seneca Wallace, after an up-and-down performance in relief in the 27-20 loss that night, went down with an injury early in the next week’s game against a beatable Eagles team. Then we watched the defense bumble and stumble in a 27-13 loss in quarterback Scott Tolzien‘s NFL debut – one in which he actually performed fairly well.

But the following week against the Vikings, it was a different story. Tolzien was pulled after going an uninspiring 7-of-17 for 98 yards, and Matt Flynn – who had just been signed off waivers – made his return in green and gold, and rallied the Packers to a bizarre 26-26 tie. The game was one of those that truly typifies how this season has gone, as the Packers took an early lead in overtime on a field goal and watched the defense again fold up and allow the tie. McCarthy’s call not to go for it on fourth down from the three yard line in overtime when a touchdown could have ended the game was scrutinized by Monday morning quarterbacks everywhere.

And then came the Thanksgiving Day Debacle in Detroit. Flynn was smothered all day, and the defense turned in what may have been the worst effort of any NFL team, like, ever. Packers fans choked on their giblet gravy as Green Bay was thoroughly pummeled in an embarrassing 40-10 shellacking at the hands of the Lions.

The season was lost. Or was it?

Which Packers defense will show up in Dallas on Sunday? Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photo

Enter Flynn and a suddenly inspired defense. After what appeared to be a season-killing interception that ricocheted off a defender’s foot and ended up as an Atlanta Falcons touchdown, the Packers trailed 21-10, and again, all seemed lost.

But looking more Errol than Matt, Flynn calmly moved the ball in the second half, while meanwhile the defense stiffened. With a 22-21 win and a Lions loss to Philly, the Packers’ playoff hopes still breathed.

And this brings us full circle back to Rodgers’ clavicle.

Like Schrodinger’s cat, the collarbone at this point can be considered both broken and healed – now we won’t know until next week. The Packers may very well have a good chance to beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday with Flynn at the helm.

If the defense is the defense of last week’s second half, the Packers have a very good chance. But they would have had a better chance if Rodgers was medically cleared to play and performed like his old self.

We just won’t know for at least another week if that is even possible. By then, things may be a whole lot different.

This will be a long weekend, Packers fans – and a long week as we wait for news on Rodgers’ status.

Can you stand the suspense?

We have to.

Until then, Flynn is in and we can only hope not only for a win, but for the healing hand on Rodgers.