Aaron Rodgers Cleared to Play
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been cleared to resume full football activities. Rodgers made the announcement himself on Instagram Tuesday night.
What this means for the Packers
Rodgers' return has deep and wide-ranging implications for the Packers. After a Week 12 loss dropped the team's record to 5-6, the Packers became an incredible long shot to make the playoffs, needing to win out and get some help to do so.
Rodgers' return makes at least one part of that equation a lot more manageable, though far from a guarantee. Both Carolina and Minnesota present formidable challenges, and Detroit is rarely a pushover at home. Rodgers will have to be his MVP-caliber self in full for this run to bear fruit, and if the Packers don't get some help from other teams, it may not matter.
Having Rodgers back in the fold will likely mean significant changes for the offense. Thanks to Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones, the ground game has been solid even with Rodgers on the shelf, but the passing game has languished.
With Rodgers back, things should be better through the air, although he may not be back to full strength right away. Even if Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb aren't the players they once were, they'll surely be better equipped to produce playing with a quarterback of Rodgers' caliber, and Davante Adams should be even better in what could have been a career year.
Williams and Jones, meanwhile, could also benefit from playing alongside a quarterback like Rodgers. Williams in particular has faced more than a few loaded fronts as defenses dared the Packers to throw. Those problems should disappear with Rodgers back under center.
What this means for Rodgers
It should be pointed out that while having Rodgers back on the field is great, it doesn't mean the recovery process is over. We shouldn't expect Rodgers to be at full capacity right away; that's not fair to him or to us.
When he returned from his broken collarbone in 2013, he was 42 of 65 passing for 495 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions. That's solid, if relatively unspectacular, especially by Rodgers' standards.
It may take time for Rodgers to get his full complement of skills back. For the sake of the Packers' playoff chances, let's hope it's not too long.