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Packers plan to 'cut Rodgers loose' against Bears

Dec. 27, 2013
 
The Packers plan for quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday is to "cut him loose" against the Bears. H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media
The Packers plan for quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday is to "cut him loose" against the Bears. H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media

When Aaron Rodgers steps back under center for the Green Bay Packers this Sunday, don’t expect many restrictions to be levied on the returning quarterback.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy reiterated Rodgers has been cleared to play. He again steered clear of getting as descriptive as “medically cleared,” but is game-planning with his MVP quarterback in mind for Sunday’s winner-take-all battle for the NFC North title against Chicago.

That means preparing a game plan with a healthy Rodgers in mind and no need for cuddling in conservative play-calling.

“To me, that goes back to the decision. If we were thinking that way, the decision wouldn’t be what it is,” McCarthy said. “The decision’s been made. Obviously it was a thorough one. And it’s time for Aaron to play. We’re going to cut him loose and we’re going to go play. We’re going to play to win.”

McCarthy went through the game plan with Rodgers on Friday morning. Like a restaurant menu, McCarthy asserts, the two discussed what to use and what not to use on the play-calling sheet.

The final playbill was proofed before practice with the notion being to get the most out of Rodgers.

Both the offensive line and running backs are in unison agreed a central part of that is maintaining a clean pocket must remain clean for Rodgers, not only because of his collarbone but to reignite offensive rhythm.

One area where Rodgers should be able to provide an immediate jolt is with a run game that’s been under constant surveillance since he broke his collarbone.

Rodgers’ most recent replacement, Matt Flynn, doesn’t possess the same arm strength and allowed many defenses to crowd the line of scrimmage with single-high safety looks.

With Rodgers, it’s not that simple. Rookie running back Eddie Lacy can appreciate that.

“I definitely think it’ll be easier,” said Lacy, who’s probable to play through a sprained ankle that’s been bothering him for the past there games. “They pretty much have to pick their poison, and with 12 back there I think they’ll chose to back up a little bit, which will in turn make it easier for me and Starks to get rushing yards.”

Dormant for the last seven games, the Packers don’t fear a rusty start under Rodgers, but are also realistic in their expectations for the 30-year-old quarterback.

The offense might very well find its way, but the defense needs to revert back to how it was playing earlier this season. In seven games without Rodgers, the defense is allowing 30.7 points per game.

“Obviously I say it all the time, he’s the best in the world, but we can’t count on him as the savior and think we can not do our jobs,” inside linebacker A.J. Hawk said. “We need to find a way defensively to play really well and play our best game of the year. He’s coming back. We didn’t put this whole game on his shoulders. I’m sure a lot of people outside of this place are thinking that, but Aaron even though he’s the best at what he does, it’s on us as a defense to make some stops.”

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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