Starter Pack: Rust doesn't concern Rodgers

A roundup of what’s happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – If this is the week quarterback Aaron Rodgers returns from his broken collarbone – and we may know more about that later on Wednesday – then the most-asked question around the Packers will finally be retired.

The most-popular question no longer will be about when he will return but rather how he will play when he does.

Remember last week when receiver Jordy Nelson said there was no reason to even ask that question? At the time, Nelson said: “I don't think the situation is, ‘How is he going to play?' It's, ‘What can he take as far as hits?’”

Rodgers doesn’t sound worried about it, either, even though this has been the longest layoff since he became a starter in 2008.

When asked on his weekly ESPN Milwaukee radio show on Tuesday whether he was concerned about being rusty and out of shape, Rodgers said: “Nah, I don’t really worry about those too much. As far as those two, I would worry a little bit more about conditioning but I’ve actually been doing my workouts and feeling good and practiced last week and took more reps than I had in a while and felt pretty good.

“I think I may have mentioned rust on Thursday last. I think my definition of rust and maybe other people’s definitions are probably a little different. I would rely on the guys, their answers to see how they thought I looked last week. But I felt pretty good.”

In case you missed it on ESPN.com:

  • Ever since Rodgers has been injured, you’ve heard the name of Dr. Pat McKenzie mentioned often. He’s the Packers’ team doctor, and Rodgers’ injury has brought McKenzie’s name to the forefront. It’s also given us previously unseen insight into the relationship between Packers’ players and McKenzie, who has been treating them since 1991.

  • Like many Packers’ players have, Rodgers publicly thanked Ravens kicker Justin Tucker for his 61-yard field goal that beat the Detroit Lions on Monday night and in the process helped Green Bay’s playoff chances. However, Rodgers said that won’t play a factor in whether he returns this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • Snap counts from Sunday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys can be found in our weekly playing-time breakdown.

  • That victory helped the Packers inch up a couple more spots in the Power Rankings.

  • Don’t be surprised if the Week 17 game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field gets moved to prime time.

  • For coverage on the Packers’ upcoming opponent, read Steelers reporter Scott Brown’s coverage.

  • On Tuesday, Brown wrote that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he doesn’t regret drafting running back Le’Veon Bell instead of Eddie Lacy, who went to the Packers.