Although Aaron Rodgers practiced in pads yesterday for the first time since breaking his collarbone, the Green Bay Packers have decided to officially rule Rodgers out for this week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. Backup Matt Flynn took the first-team reps yesterday, and he’s going to get the start again this week. Hopefully he does better than he did in last week’s blowout loss to the Detroit Lions, and hopefully both the defense and offensive line aren’t completely abysmal. The Falcons aren’t nearly as good as the Lions, of course, so the Packers should still be able to win this one without Rodgers. If they don’t, then they will officially be eliminated from playoff contention and, quite frankly, deserve that designation 100%.
There was some hope that Rodgers would play this week after practicing in pads yesterday, but Rodgers was just a limited participant and was never realistically expected to play this week. The Packers once viewed Week 14 as the target date for Rodgers’s return, but they scaled back their expectations at some point last week when they realized that Rodgers would honestly be a longshot to play. Even though Rodgers really wants to get out there and lead his team again, the Packers team doctors have wisely been conservative with his injury. They know that if Rodgers returns to soon, then he could seriously aggravate his broken collarbone, and that could end up being a disaster. Given how important Rodgers is to the Packers and the fact that he’s the best quarterback in the league, there’s no point in risking his future health in any way.
If the Packers are indeed able to dispose of the Falcons this week, then Rodgers will be back out there in Week 15 to take on the Dallas Cowboys. But if the Packers lose, then I am willing to bet that the Packers will simply shut down Rodgers for the rest of the year. There’s no point in playing him if they are eliminated, and I firmly believe that the Packers are playing their cards correctly when it comes to managing Rodgers’s injury. To be honest with you, it’s always impressive to watch teams deal with injuries in a more prudent manner, and we’ve seen teams like the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens do it with star players like Michael Crabtree and Dennis Pitta this season.