GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers' calf injury of 2014 showed just how effective he could be as a pocket passer.
Throw on the tape from the divisional playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys for a reminder. Rodgers, with limited mobility less than a month after the injury, threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns to send the Green Bay Packers into the NFC Championship Game.
He might want to consider that approach whenever he returns from his broken right collarbone -- whether that's later this season or not until next year, something that won't be determined until mid-December at the earliest. Rodgers must remain on the injured reserve list, where he was placed on Oct. 20, for eight weeks.
In fact, Rodgers was asked if he must reconsider his style of play considering that both times he broke his collarbone (2013 and last month), he was on the move outside the pocket, where the rules that protect quarterbacks don't apply.
"Good question," Rodgers said after a lengthy pause to consider it. "I haven't thought about that a whole lot. But what comes to mind right away is no. But I might need to think about that the next eight weeks."
Coaches and players alike have long raved about Rodgers' ability to make plays outside of the pocket. Last year's playoff game against the Giants was one of many examples. Rodgers stayed alive for 8.3 seconds before he threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams. That was his fifth completion and third touchdown pass in two seasons in which held the ball for 8 seconds or more, according to ESPN Stats & Information. No other quarterback had more than one such completion in that time.
"His game outside of the pocket is tremendous, and I don't think you'd want to take that away from him," Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said. "We've just got to encourage him not to take hits. Now obviously that one [that broke his collarbone] was out of his control; both of them were. But that's a big part of what he does."
Van Pelt, who was Jim Kelly's long-time backup with the Buffalo Bills, would like to see rules that protect quarterbacks more when they're on the move, to possibly deter defensive players from hitting quarterbacks in the way that Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr did on the play that broke Rodgers' collarbone last month.
"Was it late? I don't want to get into that," Van Pelt said of the hit. "But I think it was unnecessary, and that's how I classified it in my mind. One of the things that really gets under my skin is when those guys dive at your legs when you're outside the pocket. I know it bothers Aaron. I know it's part of the game, but I think those guys, the quarterback's been pretty darn important and I think the more he's out there on the field, the better game you're going to have."