Following a broken collarbone on Nov. 4, Aaron Rodgers has watched his once injury-riddled-but-potent offense turn into a shell of itself. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the quarterback's return looks even more bleak if he can't start this week and the Green Bay Packers take a loss against the Atlanta Falcons:
For #Packers, if Rodgers can’t go this week & they have no chance at the playoffs, source said it’s possible Rodgers is shut down for 2013— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 1, 2013
While it's still unreal to think that the Packers should ever think of sitting Rodgers if he's medically cleared to play, it might be the best decision for the team's future.
Injuries to Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley hurt the Packers tremendously early in the season, but Rodgers' injury has crippled them offensively, leading to four losses and a tie since. Those numbers prove that Rodgers is the key component that brings everything together for the Packers.
Therefore, why would the Packers risk putting him back on the field? If he can't return against Atlanta and they lose their fifth game since his injury, the team loses any hope of making the playoffs with a win by the Detroit Lions.
With Green Bay's window for making the playoffs closing more and more each week, Rodgers shouldn't be expected to risk further injury to his collarbone for a team that would need him to be nearly perfect to make the playoffs.
But then again, Rodgers is still not counting himself out for this week against the Falcons, according to Jason Wilde of ESPN.com:
#Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, on reports he may be shut down for year: "I don't plan on playing 'til I'm 30." His 30th birthday is tomorrow.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) December 1, 2013
#Packers QB Aaron Rodgers also says fractured left collarbone has not been examined since before Thanksgiving. Players off since Thursday,— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) December 1, 2013
A lot of things are clearly still up in the air if Rodgers is medically cleared to start and leads the Packers to a win against the Falcons. But if Green Bay can't muster up a win against Atlanta without him, it might be time to put Rodgers on the shelf and start saying, "Wait 'til next year."