GREEN BAY—This was big news. It's news that'll change perspective for nearly every team in the NFC, and ESPN didn't waste any time putting its spin on what the impact of Aaron Rodgers' shoulder injury will be to the 2013 NFL season.
"This was a team on the verge of dominating the league," Steve Young said.
Ouch! The truth can be so hurtful.
Eddie Lacy was mauling the Bears. James Starks blew through a huge hole untouched to a 32-yard touchdown run. James Jones was back from injury, Randall Cobb was another week closer to returning from injury, and the Packers offense was becoming scary. Then, the unthinkable, the one thing that absolutely must not happen, happened.
How long? They are the two words on every Packers fan's lips as they tucked themselves into bed for a bad night of sleep on Monday. A 27-20 loss to the Bears wasn't the problem; Aaron Rodgers' left shoulder is.
"Aaron is a huge part of our offense. This is something that was built over time. Aaron is the centerpiece," McCarthy said.
A team built around the quarterback and passing attack, might need to reinvent itself. How long? Oh, those two words. They are so haunting.
Matt Flynn, a reporter asked? The former Packers quarterback, who happens to share the team record for passing yards in a game with Rodgers, was cut by the Bills on Monday. He's available.
"I'm focused on Seneca Wallace right now," McCarthy said.
Answers are going to come quickly this week. Tuesday is roster-moves and game-plan day, and preparation for the next opponent begins on Wednesday. In this case, the next opponent is a strange offensive animal that attempts to exhaust its opponent with play count and pace. The Eagles did just that when Nick Foles threw seven touchdown passes on Sunday.
That's not a pleasant thought, especially when you're waiting on a diagnosis of your quarterback's left shoulder. How long? Always, how long?
However long it is, if Rodgers is to miss time at all, the Packers will have to change. They'll have to lean harder on their running game, which was a thing of beauty in pounding out 199 yards against the Bears. The Packers will need a much better performance from their defense, which was disappointing at crunch time against the Bears.
Special teams? Can you count on blocking a punt and recovering an onside kick, again?
The percentages say teams that block a punt and recover an onside kick will win the game almost every time. What does it say about Rodgers' importance to this team that on a night when Eddie Lacy ran for 150 yards and the Packers made two huge special teams plays, they lost the game?
"I was trying to steal a series. I thought the timing was right. I felt the football team needed it," McCarthy said of his decision to attempt an onside kick following a game-tying touchdown run by Lacy.
They absolutely needed it. Even more, they need their quarterback back.
It's all about how long. It's all about that exact diagnosis.
Try to get some sleep. Complete game coverage