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Aaron Rodgers believes getting healthy will help Packers get on a run

QB discusses turnaround efforts from all angles

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers trusts the 3-5 Packers can get their season back on track because he sees a team that has remained together in the locker room.

Now it just needs to get together, health-wise, on the field.

Speaking at his locker Wednesday on the heels of four straight losses, Rodgers reiterated a point he made a couple of weeks ago, that a turnaround is possible as long as nobody breaks rank or steps out of line, which hasn't happened.

"I think this group is a group that's won before, that knows how to win, and again, we haven't broken," he said. "There hasn't been people popping off or saying a bunch of things or pointing the finger in public or behind closed doors. So that gives me even more optimism that we have what it takes to get this thing turned around."

But he also stressed that the biggest obstacle, at least offensively, to getting that done has been the lack of continuity due to injuries and near-constant lineup shuffling.

"I do feel like we need to get healthy," he said, rattling off the uncertainty regarding standout offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, plus the injuries to Randall Cobb, Allen Lazard and Christian Watson in the receiving corps, among other continual adjustments.

"When we're at our full strength, which we really haven't been this season, … we haven't really had the 11 we thought like we were going to play with for an extended time. When we get those guys, I feel like we have the team to get the job done."

Rodgers' tone was positive as it relates to Bakhtiari and Jenkins playing this week in Detroit, even though they didn't practice Wednesday. Lazard returned to practice from his shoulder injury, and Watson appears to have a chance for Sunday while working through the concussion protocol. Cobb is still out at least a couple more weeks, but he's expected back soon as well.

All that said, the need goes beyond getting everybody back and also includes everyone's game cranking up "a tick higher," including the QB's own.

"The confidence for me comes from within that I feel like anytime I can go on a run, and have gone on runs of playing at a near-perfection level," Rodgers said. "I know when I'm playing well, I can raise the level of my teammates in the locker room. I'm going to expect to reach that level."

He added that expecting to win, rather than hoping to win, is another necessary element. That's not a glaring issue for a team whose veterans have won 13 regular-season games each of the last three years, but he'd only verbalize it if he felt it needed to be said.

Also, the absence of a move at the trading deadline to improve the roster, despite attempts that didn't work out, finalizes the reality the Packers must win with the players they have. By all accounts, those players believe in one another, which is how they've stayed together.

"The people in this locker room all have it," tight end Robert Tonyan said. "I'm not really too worried about them getting down on themselves or making a big deal about it. I think we have the right men in this room to just go out there, next game, next play.

"It just takes one. It takes one win to get back rolling, get back feeling good, and get everyone back on the right track."

Rodgers feels the same way. He said it after the loss in Buffalo and again Wednesday.

The Packers need all their pieces, or as many as they can get. It starts there, and perhaps the rest can follow Sunday in Detroit.

"It just takes one game, one quarter, one play that can alter the trajectory of a team, both positively and negatively, and hopefully we make that play, that quarter, that half, whatever it's going to be this week to put us in the right direction," Rodgers said.

"There's a little bit more urgency, I think, as the season gets into November. If we can just get a couple of these, then I think we get to start to become that dangerous team we believed at the beginning of the season we'd be."

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