One of the many reasons that looking too far ahead on an NFL schedule is silly, especially when they first come out, is that injuries are a huge part of the sport. In 2023, the NFL has seen a myriad of quarterbacks go out for the season, or most of it, starting in Week 1 with Aaron Rodgers of the New York Jets.
He was joined by Kirk Cousins, Daniel Jones, Joe Burrow and Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson as the season went on.
The Browns schedule now closes with teams that expected to have Rodgers and Burrow but could be down to Tim Boyle and Jake Browning.
As we looked at Cleveland’s last six games, Rodgers' potential return from injury lingered. He had made statements about wanting to return in the middle of December which seemed unrealistic but the quarterback presented it as a goal.
Now, we hear from Rodgers that he isn’t in a position to make that decision yet based on his health and even more details that New York’s record and playoff hopes will impact his decision:
"There's a natural progression here to the rehab and that's gonna involve getting to do some things that are football related..— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) November 28, 2023
I'm improving steadily but we're still not where I can make a decision on playing" @AaronRodgers12 #PMSLive pic.twitter.com/XVlY50CRwa
In the end, while no one put it past Rodgers to try to return really early from an Achilles tear, him missing the entire season always made the most sense despite his plan to return to some practice soon:
The Jets are currently 4-7 sitting four games back of the AFC East lead and two games behind the final wild card spot. Based on tiebreakers, New York has the second-worst record in the AFC and would need to climb over eight teams to make the playoffs.
With division leaders the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons as well as Wild Card contending Houston Texans next on the Jets schedule, we will likely hear soon that Rodgers is shutting it down for the 2023 season.