The Packers are doing what they have to do at the moment. But the mere sight of quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the practice field running the scout is motivating them, and reminding them what’s at stake.
They kept the hopes of games mattering and Rodgers returning from a broken collarbone alive with an overtime win over the Bucs last week, and seeing him practice on Saturday had them beside themselves.
“That boy, he came back, and he just flicked it,” running back Jamaal Williams said, via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press Gazette. “I was like, ‘Dang!’ I was like, ‘Wow! Are you sure that man is injured?’ I was like, ‘That is far! I couldn’t even do that on my good day.’ I mean, he flicked it. I feel like he didn’t even throw it. He just flicked it.”
Of course, seeing Rodgers make throws other people can’t make isn’t necessarily news. If the Packers can stay alive long enough to justify putting him back on the field and they make the playoffs somehow, that will be something to marvel at.
At the moment, they’re 6-6 and on the fringe of the NFC Wild Card chase. With the Seahawks and Panthers (8-4) two games ahead of them and the Falcons (7-5) one, they realistically need to win out and get some help to reach the playoffs. In such a case, you take the motivation where you can find it. And seeing their quarterback provides.
“It’s big,” left tackle David Bakhtiari said. “But at the end of the day, we’ve got to take care of what we can take care of. If we don’t give him an opportunity, there’s no point. So we know he’s going to do what he can. Just like when anyone’s hurt, you know they’re going to come back. You’re going to fight as much as you can.
“On our side, we’ve just got to make sure we take care of business for him, so when he comes back he can really give us that jolt on the field with his presence, and that will be big.”
Rodgers’ first potential game back would be in Week 15 at Carolina. If it matters. Which the Packers can control this week against the Browns. Which seems reasonable enough, even for Brett Hundley.