Packers QB Rodgers has fractured left collarbone

November 6, 2013

 
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to quarterback Seneca Wallace during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. The Bears won 27-20.

GREEN BAY The Packers' franchise quarterback is taking a seat.

Aaron Rodgers said Tuesday he has a fractured left collarbone and has no idea yet how long he will be out.

The 2011 NFL MVP offered details of the injury on his weekly radio show on 540-AM ESPN. He got hurt after getting sacked by the Bears' Shea McClellin on a third-down play during the Packers' first series while he was scrambling outside the pocket. He hurt his left, non-throwing shoulder.

"I do have a fractured collarbone. That's a significant injury," Rodgers said. "We'll know more about the severity and the timetable later this week."

Rodgers said he was holding out hope he would heal quickly. "In this case, it was considerably more pain than I've felt in a long time," he added.

That collective groan you heard came from the state of Wisconsin.

The sliver of good news for the Packers: coach Mike McCarthy indicated that the injury won't end Rodgers' season. He sounded much more optimistic than after Monday night's 27-20 loss to Chicago.

"I'm relieved, no doubt," McCarthy told reporters at Lambeau Field. "With the new information that was given today, everybody felt better about it. How long? We don't have our hands around a timeline yet, but I know Aaron is very optimistic and he'll do everything he can to get back in a timely fashion."

So in steps Seneca Wallace, who wasn't even in Packers training camp this offseason, to take over the offense when the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Wallace was signed before the week of the season opener after Green Bay jettisoned three other backup candidates.

Wallace was ineffective in relief in the 27-20 loss against the Bears, finishing 11 for 19 for 114 yards and an interception. It was his first game since Jan. 1, 2012.

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers, right, talks to Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler after an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. The Bears won the game 27-20.

The Packers can wait until Friday to officially rule out injured players, but McCarthy said "I'm preparing Seneca to be the starter, that's the way our game-planning has gone."

Yet he seemed to leave open a glimmer of miraculous hope.

"But let's not kid ourselves, if (Rodgers) walked in your office and asked for the ball on Saturday, what would you do," he asked rhetorically. "So, we'll just see what happens."

On a team rocked all season by injuries, Rodgers had been a rock. The Packers had reeled off four straight wins despite being without top players like linebacker Clay Matthews (thumb), Randall Cobb (leg) and Jermichael Finley (neck).

Losing Rodgers might be the most devastating blow of all.

His timing, accuracy and footwork have been typically top-notch. Protected by an improved offensive line, and complemented by a rejuvenated running game, the Packers looked to be serious NFC contenders again considering guys like Matthews and Cobb were expected to return.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is sacked by Chicago Bears' Shea McClellin (99) and Isaiah Frey (31) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. Rodgers left the game after the play.

Rodgers entered Monday night having completed 67 percent of his 249 pass attempts for 2,191 yards and a 108.0 quarterback rating. He has 15 touchdown passes and four interceptions.

And since taking over for the equally dependable Brett Favre in 2008, Rodgers has only missed a game due to injury once on Dec. 19, 2010, for a concussion.

Rodgers got emotional at one point during his 15-minute radio appearance when he described the reception he got from fans as he walked back to sideline in green warmups in the third quarter.

"We put our bodies on the line. We do it because we love this game. But when I walked back out on that field I'm getting a little choked up here just thinking about it," Rodgers said, "that was one of the top five moments of my career there."

Notes: Finley was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, officially ending his season. Finley, a free agent after this season, has said he plans to play again. "The medical decision made for Jermichael was in the best interest of him as a man, as a father, as a husband. This wasn't about football, we were not going to take that chance," McCarthy said. ... Matthews will try to practice this week with a club after having pins removed from his injured right thumb. ... The team also placed linebacker Sam Barrington (hamstring) on injured reserve, and activated tackle Derek Sherrod from the reserve/physically unable to perform list. Sherrod, a first-round draft pick in 2001, hasn't played since breaking his leg in December 2011.


Packers place TE Finley on injured reserve

GREEN BAY Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is done for the season after the team placed him on injured reserve.

General manager Ted Thompson announced the move Tuesday. Finley had to be carried off on a stretcher after suffering a spinal cord contusion while being tackled Oct. 20 against the Browns.

Finley has said he plans to return to football. He was having a good year with 25 catches for 300 yards and three touchdowns.

Green Bay also placed linebacker Sam Barrington (hamstring) on injured reserve, and activated tackle Derek Sherrod from the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

Sherrod, a first-round draft pick in 2001, hasn't played since breaking his leg at Kansas City on Dec. 18, 2011.


Packers get ready with Wallace at QB for Rodgers

GREEN BAY, Wis.  Seneca Wallace has an unofficial but well-paid quarterbacks coach in Aaron Rodgers.

Sidelined by a fractured left collarbone, Rodgers could only watch in green warmups while Wallace ran through drills Wednesday at practice.

The process of getting Rodgers' presumed replacement up to speed for Green Bay's game Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles has begun in earnest.

"You're still learning," Wallace said. "You're never going to get comfortable. Aaron, he's learning each and every day, when we come out here, even though he's been here a long time, there's always something new."

But it sure helps being able to practice with the first-team offense, instead of being relegated to just running through a handful of plays a week.

"Everybody will be much better off," coach Mike McCarthy said. "Not only just Seneca being comfortable going through the reps, but everybody else being comfortable with Seneca."

Wallace is considered a mobile quarterback. He has been around the NFL since 2003, when he was drafted in the fourth round by the Seattle Seahawks. He has played in 63 games, starting 21, and McCarthy doesn't think recognizing defenses will be an issue.

It's more about the coaching staff fitting the game plan around Wallace's skill set, then the backup trying to be the next Rodgers, the 2011 NFL MVP.

"You just have to try to adapt. Like I said, it is up-tempo, fast pace, and try to emulate some of the things he does," Wallace said. "Obviously, it's not all going to be the same, but just try to make sure the receivers and everybody (are) on the same page."

After Rogers was injured early against Chicago, Wallace was largely ineffective in a 27-20 loss, finishing 11 for 19 for 114 yards and an interception in his first regular-season action since Jan. 1, 2012, when he started for Cleveland in a 13-9 loss to Pittsburgh. For his career, Wallace has a 59 percent completion rate with 31 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

He'll join a small club. The Packers have had just three starters over the last 22 years Brett Favre (253 games), Rodgers (86) and Matt Flynn (two).

"It's going to be a good challenge. Obviously, when you lose someone of that caliber, no matter where it is," receiver Jordy Nelson said. "But a quarterback is a little more important. We're all confident in Seneca."

Rodgers has his back. He was officially listed Wednesday on the practice report as having not participated. Coaches don't have to officially rule out players until Friday for a Sunday game.

There was Rodgers at the indoor practice facility, hands on knees a few yards behind the quarterback coach, watching Wallace and newly-called up backup Scott Tolzien take practice snaps during light drills. At one point, Rodgers dropped back on his own without the ball and ran through the motions. Facing Tolzien from about 10 yards away, he leaned over with emphasis while watching a pass sail by, as if trying to will the ball to a certain spot.

"Aaron's going about it just as if he were playing in the game," McCarthy said. "He's going right through it right next to Seneca."

Notes: Tolzien, a third-year player who played at Wisconsin, was signed off the practice squad to serve as Wallace's backup. ... LB Clay Matthews, coming back from a thumb injury, sported a club on his right hand while talking to position coach Kevin Greene during a portion of practice Wednesday open to reporters. He's missed four games. ... LBs Andy Mulumba (ankle) and Nick Perry (foot) were limited. G T.J. Lang (concussion) did not participate. ... T Derek Sherrod, the team's 2011 first-round draft pick, took part in his first practice since being activated from the reserve/physically unable to perform list. He broke his leg in a game in December 2011. ... The team signed Alex Gillett to the practice squad. The rookie, who was with the Packers as an undrafted free agent through training camp started 30 games at quarterback and three at receiver at Eastern Michigan.

Associated Press