Aaron Rodgers: Why His Concussion Will Cost the Green Bay Packers the Super Bowl

Elliott Pohnl@@ElliottPohnl_BRFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2010

Aaron Rodgers: Why His Concussion Will Cost the Green Bay Packers the Super Bowl

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    LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 10:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers is taken to the ground by lineback Brian Orakpo #98 of the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter at FedExField on October 10, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins w
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Aaron Rodgers’ status for Week 6 is up in the air after he sustained a concussion on the Packers’ final offensive play in Sunday’s overtime loss to the Redskins.

    In a season marred by injuries across the board in Green Bay, the status of the Packers’ superstar quarterback will determine if a trendy Super Bowl pick will instead become a surprising spectator during the postseason.

    Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy has indicated Matt Flynn might be under center Sunday at Lambeau field against the Dolphins, and said the team won’t rush Rodgers back to action.

    Even when Rodgers is able to return, it might be unrealistic to expect him to hold up for the remainder of the season.

    Here’s a look at 10 reasons why Aaron Rodgers’ concussion will keep the Packers out of the Super Bowl.

No. 10: The Rest of the Division is In Better Shape

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Running back Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    The Bears improved to 4-1 Sunday by outlasting Carolina in one of the ugliest games in the recent history of the NFL.

    The Vikings face an uphill battle Monday night against the Jets, but seem to be headed in the right direction after adding Randy Moss to the mix.

    Even the hapless Lions have something to be proud of this week, piling up points en route to their biggest win since Barry Sanders was running wild at the Silverdome.

    Meanwhile, the Packers find themselves without a number of key starters in the weeks ahead, led by tight end Jermichael Finley, linebacker Nick Barnett and cornerback Al Harris.

    The injury to Aaron Rodgers couldn’t have come at a worse time.

No. 9: The Packers’ Margin for Error is Slim

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    GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03:  Kicker Mason Crosby #2 of the Green Bay Packers attempts a field goal against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Peterse
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    With a number of starters out in Week 6, Green Bay simply can’t afford any additional injuries.

    The Packers also can’t afford to commit turnovers, miss field goals or commit foolish penalties.

    Green Bay has a brutal upcoming schedule starting with Sunday’s home game against the Dolphins, and isn’t likely to fare well unless Rodgers manages to play.

No. 8: The Brutal Upcoming Schedule

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    GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers wait for a replay challenge against the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field on September 19, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bills 34-7
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    What would Mike McCarthy give for a bye week?

    The Packers don’t get their bye until week 10, and face four difficult opponents in the weeks ahead.

    After hosting Miami, the Vikings come to town in Week 7.  Green Bay heads to the New Meadowlands to face the Jets in Week 8, then hosts the Cowboys in Week 9.

    If Rodgers isn’t healthy, Green Bay will be lucky to win a game during that stretch.

No. 7: The Offensive Weapons are Dwindling

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    LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 10:  Tight end Jermichael Finley #88 of the Green Bay Packers leaves the game on a cart after injuring his knee against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on October 10, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins won the game in ov
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Andrew Quarless, a rookie out of Penn State, will get the start at tight end Sunday against the Dolphins.

    With Jermichael Finley expected to miss at least three games after undergoing knee surgery and backup Donald Lee out two weeks with a shoulder problem, one of most important spots in Mike McCarthy’s offense will suddenly be manned by an inexperienced, unproven player.

    And with Ryan Grant lost for the year, Rodgers needs all the weapons he can get in what has become a one-dimensional attack.

No. 6: Matt Flynn Can’t Shoulder the Load

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting quarterback Matt Flynn #10 of the Green Bay Packers rolls out during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 2, 2010 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    If Rodgers is forced to miss time, Matt Flynn will take over as the starter for Green Bay.

    Flynn is light on experience and even lighter on talent.

    He has yet to show that he has the ability to get the ball downfield, and the Packers’ offense would likely struggle against strong opposing defenses in the coming weeks.

No. 5: Already Too Many Injuries to Withstand Another

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    GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 19: Fred Jackson #22 of the Buffalo Bills is tackled by Nick Barnett #56 and A.J. Hawk #50 of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 19, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bills 34-7.  (Photo by J
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The list of the walking-wounded in Green Bay just keeps getting longer.

    The Packers are still without Atari Bigby and Al Harris in the secondary.   Safety Nick Collins is banged up, and fellow safety Derrick Martin is expected to miss time with a sprained knee. 

    In addition, rookie Morgan Burnett is already out for the season, as is middle linebacker Nick Barnett.  Pass-rush sensation Clay Matthews is a question mark in Week 6 with a hamstring problem.

    On the offensive side, injuries at the tight end position and to right tackle Mark Tauscher were devastating Sunday. 

    With Ryan Grant out for the season, Green Bay absolutely cannot afford Rodgers to miss much time.

No. 4: The Packers Have No Running Game

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    GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 03: Brandon Jackson #32 of the Green Bay Packers rushes against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on October 3, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 28-26. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    If Rodgers can’t play Sunday, Green Bay won’t be able to count on the running game.

    Brandon Jackson, a former second-round pick, finally made an impact running the ball against the Redskins.  His production—and health—has been inconsistent throughout his young career.

    Without Grant, fullback John Kuhn has emerged as the Packers’ most reliable ball-carrier.

    Points will certainly be hard to come by without Rodgers in the lineup.

No. 3: The Offensive Line Won’t Improve

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    SEATTLE - AUGUST 21:  Guard Bryan Bulaga #75 of the Green Bay Packers looks on prior to the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on August 21, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Even if Rodgers returns, the questions along the offensive line mean he is likely to take a pounding all season long.

    Tauscher’s injury forced the Packers to start rookie Bryan Bulaga against the Redskins.  The team would eventually like to phase out Tauscher and fellow tackle mainstay Chad Clifton, who have been on the decline in recent years.

    Green Bay’s offensive line was a weakness going into the season, and still has more questions than answers.

No. 2: Rodgers Will Keep Taking Hits

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    LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 10:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers lays on the ground after a hard hit against the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter at FedExField on October 10, 2010 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins won the game in overtime
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    The offensive line is struggling, and Green Bay can’t run the ball.

    That means pass-rushers will pin their ears back and go after Aaron Rodgers all season long.

    Rodgers hasn’t quiet taken the pounding of fellow NFC North quarterback Jay Cutler, but the hits are starting to add up.

    Unless Green Bay fixes the problems up front, injuries to the face of the franchise could become a reoccurring theme.

No. 1: Rodgers Is a MVP in Waiting

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    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 27:  Aaron Rodgers (R) #12 and Scott Wells #63 of  the Green Bay Packers celebrate after Rodgers scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 27, 2010 in Chicago, Illin
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Injuries are the only thing preventing Rodgers from contending for MVP honors this season, while helping the Packers contend for the Super Bowl.

    If Rodgers is unable to get healthy—and stay healthy—Green Bay will be just another average NFL team this season.