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No need to shut him down now; Packers are back, baby

Posted Dec 8, 2013

Win over Falcons leaves Packers half game behind Lions

GREEN BAY—Start the Aaron Rodgers’ watch again. Would you have it any other way?

If you would, these words aren’t for you. This kind of late-season drama might be too much for you to bear.

These words are for the hopeful. These words are for the people that aren’t afraid to lose. These words are for people that have the courage to accept that losing is a necessary risk in the pursuit of victory. These words are for everyone that didn’t embarrass themselves and this franchise by spending last week campaigning for Rodgers to be shut down for the season.

Shut down? The Packers are a half-game out of first place. They can win the division and host a playoff game. They can become a hot team heading into the postseason. Don’t shut him down, get him back. He’s “The Man.”

Kudos to Matt Flynn and the defense. Hey, that was great, guys, but it would sure help the Packers’ chances if the best quarterback in the league was to be medically cleared to play against the Cowboys next Sunday.

Heal, bone, heal.

The Packers’ fate this season rests with the rate at which Rodgers’ left collarbone mends itself, so we’ll start the questions again on Monday: Mike, do you think Aaron will be ready to play this week? Mike, when will you know if Aaron will be able to play this week? Mike, don’t you hate it when we ask you these questions every day?

Hate it? He should love it, because had the Packers not rallied to beat the Falcons on Sunday, McCarthy would almost certainly have been facing this question this week: Mike, do you think you should shut Rodgers down for the season?

It is possibly the most ridiculous issue in Packers history, but now, mercifully, it is a moot point. If the Packers can get “The Man” back, they can become a very dangerous team down the stretch.

“We know we’re a good team. We know we can play with anybody in the NFL. We know we have guys that leave it all out there. Hopefully, this gives us a little momentum going forward,” Flynn said.

Here’s something else that would give the Packers a little momentum going forward: medical clearance for Rodgers to play against the Cowboys.

The Packers did something on Sunday they had never previously done: They won a meaningful game without Rodgers at quarterback. They found a way to stay alive. That’s good stuff.

It was a gut-check game. Everything was on the line on a nine-degree day that can make a man think, oh, well, we’ll get ’em next year.

Next year is still this year. No need to quit. The Packers have life.

“Our guys just stayed after it. Our defense overcame adversity. That’s what you look for,” McCarthy said.

If the Packers can build on that feeling, they might still achieve the “look out” this column predicted for them. They need to build on that feeling and they need to get back their quarterback. The rest just might follow.

There’s only one way to find out. I’m game if you are.

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