In Cheese World, there was a thought this week advanced by a local columnist that the Packers should consider deliberately not playing QB Aaron Rodgers Sunday against the Seahawks, even if he is released Saturday from COVID-19 protocol, the rationale being that the 10-day layoff from quarantine might pose a higher risk of injury.
For the 7-2 Packers, a single potential loss now would be better than losing him for weeks, and because he could use some time to recover from medical help provided by whack-job radio hosts.
It makes some sense, particularly if he has been pounding down horse de-wormer in an effort to get well. Ivermectin is likely not on the list of substances banned by the NFL, but no one wants to see anyone have an intestinal accident mid-second quarter, least of all from one so gallant as the new standard bearer for anti-vaxxers.
But the absence of Rodgers would be bad for the Seahawks.
Think about it: What if the Packers won despite starting back-up QB Jordan Love?
A 3-6 record due to a loss at the hands of an earnest but under-prepared kid? Especially with the full-game return of Seahawks QB Russell Wilson?
A mass swoon by the 12s would create another public health crisis in Seattle at the worst possible time — a Seahawks season all but over nearly two weeks ahead of Thanksgiving.
So no, Seahawks fans should not hope that Rodgers sits out. At least a loss led by him can be seen as a sort of tradition — a 10th consecutive defeat in Green Bay that spans the century thus far. The outcome is at least familiar, as well as free of the chance of civic stroke via shock.
Of course, it’s also possible to wish for Wilson’s recovery sufficient to beat Rodgers at Lambeau Field.
That’s asking a lot. It’s a place where he’s never won.
However unlikely a victory seems, he also just completed a rehab in four weeks that he said doctors told him would take six to eight weeks. The sports world has some experience with what happens when Wilson is told no.
“I feel great, I feel really close,” he said Wednesday at team HQ, his first media session since the big blue meanie, Aaron Donald, mangled Wilson’s middle finger Oct. 7 in a 26-17 loss to the Rams at the Loo. “I’m not 100 percent, but I’m pretty dang close. I’m in the 90 percentile, if not higher. I feel great.
“I have great conviction about what I am doing, and how I’m doing it. My mindset is better than ever. I’m ready to roll.”
As perhaps you can tell, Wilson, publicly silent for three weeks, was bursting with optimism, unleashing a 20-minute spray of positivity that created sunshine, trees, flowers and mountains faster than Bob Ross could paint them.
“We have a goal to win it all, and everything we want to do is right there in front of us,” he said of the season’s final nine games. “We have to take it one step at a time (like) rehab — just in the general process, has been to take the next step, the next breath. That’s been a cool journey.”
Only Wilson could describe rehab as a cool journey.
He was direct enough to describe the injury as “kind of a nasty thing” for which he sought four or five medical opinions, then made the decision for a Los Angeles surgeon, Dr. Steve Shin.
“I prayed about it, then next thing I know, I woke up out of it and I felt like I had a new finger,” he said. “My finger was straight, it wasn’t crooked and going left to right any more.”
A team of therapists joined him daily for “19 or 20 hours” to work on the finger before a surgical pin was removed and he grasped a ball for the first time in a month.
“The first day I noticed that it was OK, and that I would get through this,” he said. The next day, I took the next step. The first throw was OK. Then I did the next throw, and said that I would do three. Three became five, then it became more, and next thing you know it was 50.”
Offensive coordinator Shane Waldron said everything a pitching coach would say about the balls leaving Wilson’s hand.
“It looks great,” he said. “It’s like anything else, he’s coming back into his rhythm. He’s been making all of the throws and had done a great job today. Each day has been better than the one before.”
The one downer of the day for the Seahawks was that their pursuit of WR Odell Beckham Jr. was thwarted by, of all teams, the Los Angeles Rams. The nemesis came from seemingly nowhere to beat out a competitive field for the free agent waived by the Cleveland Browns.
Wilson had barely finished talking about his sales pitch to Beckham when a reporter broke the news that Beckham had joined the Rams. It was the first incomplete pass of Wilson’s return.
“Good for him,” Wilson said. “He will do great, and I wish him the best.”
Wilson has a more urgent personnel matter. He has to be better in his five-week layoff than Rodgers in his 10-day layoff. Unless the Packers do the Seahawks dirty and start the backup.