As the Green Bay Packers cling to playoff contention, the return of Aaron Rodgers is on the radar.
Since Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken right collarbone early in Week 6, the Green Bay Packers are just 1-5 (counting that game). But they are still in playoff contention at 5-6, with virtual must-win games coming over the next two weeks against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cleveland Browns.
Rodgers was seen on the field throwing passes prior to last Sunday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which points to significant progress in his recovery. He can begin practicing this week, and Packers head coach Mike McCarthy had to address the possibility on Monday.
“We’ll see,” McCarthy said Monday. “I mean, he’s still going through — there’s a protocol, there’s targets we’re trying to hit each and every week. I think they’re working [on it], and it’s segmented. The A-No. 1 priority is to get him healthy. Practice is not something we’re really focused on right now.
“I’m more focused on game planning for the Buccaneers. There’s a plan laid out for Aaron, just like the other guys on IR. He’s knocking it out of the park, he’s going at it 120 miles an hour. We’ll see what the end of the week brings.”
The Packers don’t practice on Fridays, so Saturday looks like the first day Rodgers could participate in any sort of significant capacity. He won’t be eligible to play Sunday against the Buccaneers or the following week against the Browns, but Week 15 against the Carolina Panthers can be held out as Rodgers’ return to action.
Brett Hundley is coming off his best game of the season in place of Rodgers, with 245 yards and three touchdowns against the Steelers in a narrow loss. If the Packers win the next two games, while sticking around the playoff race at 7-6, Rodgers would be set to take over regardless of Hundley’s level of play.
Even one loss in the next two weeks would hamper the Packers’ playoff chances in a deep NFC playoff chase. Then Rodgers would be surely declared out for the season, even with the possibility to play some sort of spoiler for the rival Minnesota Vikings in Week 16.