Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is back, but not to save the season

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is back, but not to save the season

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy says quarterback Aaron Rodgers is getting ready to play against the Carolina Panthers this weekend.

If the discussion lasted all day Tuesday, it's logical to assume there were dissenting opinions expressed. "I feel confident I'll be able to go out there and play the way I've always played". After all, it's going to take more than his return. The team that people have been increasingly saying that they fear the most in terms of their match-up with the Vikings is the New Orleans Saints, a team that bested them the last time they had a championship caliber team.

Overall, the Packers without Rodgers probably wouldn't stand a chance to win this game. Can he do permanent damage to the collarbone by re-injuring it? That's what it means to be a leader in this locker room and the quarterback of this team. But the Packers can limit the scoring by hunkering down in the red zone and forcing field goals, creating turnovers to give the offense a short field, and doing just enough to keep Rodgers in control of the game. Knowing how McKenzie operates, I don't think he would allow Rodgers to return if it wasn't safe. But the backup did his job to set up a unique opportunity: an Aaron Rodgers rescue mission. Even when Rodgers was under center, they often found ways to dig Green Bay big holes.

First, Rodgers could re-injure the shoulder and do permanent damage, shortening a career that should have many more good years. The collarbone was scanned on Monday to determine he was ready to return. Some armchair doctors have said another injury would cause long-term problems for that reason while others said he would be as good as ever after another rehabilitation period. Hopefully it gives a lift to some of the guys, but I'm not coming back to save this team. "I'm cleared." Still, Rodgers insisted he won't change his style of play, risk or no risk.

"There's an expectation of the way I play on Sunday and how I'm going to play".

Second, there are no guarantees the Packers will make the playoffs even with Rodgers, especially since he's coming off an eight-week layoff.

However, all five of the Packers' recent defeats have come against teams that now sport winning records. This veteran linebacker has had some productive outings against the Packers through the years, including an interception the last time the teams met in 2015.

"We've done it before", he said. "We're 7-6. We clearly understand what's on the line here". I saw something that we have 750-to-1 odds to make the playoffs. "We're not going to go to Carolina with a bunch of false confidence".

"Injuries are part of this game, unfortunately", McCarthy said.

Eighteen players were listed on the Panthers' injury report. "(Pat) McKenzie and our incredible training staff". "He coordinated the decision-making process and the decision was made last night".