Aaron Rodgers is officially back, and was cleared by the Packers medical staff on Tuesday to return to the gridiron.
On 12/12 (huh, funny how that worked out), Aaron Rodgers let his fans know about his return through his social media presence. The two-time NFL MVP left many Packer fans in relief, while leaving the rest of the NFC on edge.
Rodgers’ Instagram post received over 275,000 likes along with over 16,000 comments. The quarterback was also very popular on Twitter Tuesday night with over 60,000 likes and over 21,000 retweets. Although arguably the best player in football is back, he didn’t come back to a walk in the park.
Sunday will mark Rodgers’ first game since October, where he suffered a feared season ending injury. When he makes his return Sunday it will mark two months and two days since his last start. The game on Sunday will not be easy by any means, the Packers who nearly lost to the 0-13 Browns last week will have to travel to Carolina.
Green Bay will have to face the 9-4 (.692) red hot, Carolina Panthers led by Cam Newton. The position the Packers are in, a loss would likely end their playoff hopes. As long as Rodgers and the offense are clicking on all cylinders, a win shouldn’t be an issue. Carolina has a nice looking record at 9-4 but, will be overlooked by many as the Panthers have played very inconsistently this season. Sunday’s matchup will feature two former league MVPs at Quarterback.
Rodgers is the best player in football to many people, and his value to Green Bay cannot be overstated. Green Bay started off the season red hot, at 4-1. Once Rodgers broke his collarbone, the Packers went 3-5.
Not only will the NFL notice Rodgers impact but, Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson will too. After only five games the 32 year old wideout recorded 6 touchdowns, all with Aaron Rodgers at the helm of the ship. With Brett Hundley at the starting Quarterback spot, Nelson caught zero touchdowns in eight games.
Rodgers isn’t coming back to the same offense that he played with in September and October. Since the loss of Rodgers, the offense lost its starting tight end Martellus Bennett and veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga. The loss of Bennett shouldn’t affect the offense too much as Bennett was extremely unproductive as a Packer.
The run game will allow more time for the defense to rest and allow the defense to play better as a unit. Also, the run attack will set up play action, so get ready for more bombs from Rodgers to Nelson…or maybe Adams.
Davante Adams is playing like a top ten receiver in the league. Adams is not the same player that he was when playing with Rodgers. For anyone who’s watched Adams the last two seasons it’s easy to say he’s emerging as a premier receiver.
The next 3 weeks are definitely going to be a challenge even with Rodgers back but many are confident that this team can run the table once again. The key to winning not only against Carolina but Minnesota and Detroit is to use the run game to set up Rodgers to succeed.
Rodgers should be healthy enough to make throws we expect but a healthy run game will be just what the doctor ordered to offer Rodgers time to adjust back to the speed of the NFL.
Of course fans are going to cringe every time Rodgers gets knocked down, or every time he gets sacked, but with Rodgers under center, this team becomes an immediate contender again. Green Bay has many tough obstacles ahead but, this year should be different. This year the Packers have an established running attack that could help them go far in the postseason if they can just find a way to get in. And that might be the hardest challenge of all.