Packers unsure of QB for game against Lions

November 26, 2013

 
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers, left, talk to quarterback Matt Flynn during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. The game ended in a tie, 26-26.

GREEN BAY Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said the chances of Aaron Rodgers playing Thursday's Thanksgiving game at Detroit are "slim to none."

McCarthy isn't sure whether he'll go with Matt Flynn, who rallied the team from a 16-point deficit to a 26-26 tie with the Minnesota Vikings, or Scott Tolzien, who started the past two games but was benched with 8 minutes 22 seconds left in the third quarter.

Rodgers, who suffered a broken left collarbone Nov. 4 against Chicago, has not played since.

Including their 27-20 loss to the Bears, in which Seneca Wallace took over for the injured Rodgers, the Packers are 0-3-1 without their star quarterback.

"(I) had a meeting with Aaron. He would like to go (against the Lions)," McCarthy said Monday.

"Frankly, based on the information where we are as far as the conversation with Aaron, the conversation with the medical staff, I would say he's slim to none, to give you what I'm thinking. That's where we are."

McCarthy said Rodgers has undergone testing, but refused to elaborate.

After Rodgers went down against the Bears, McCarthy didn't immediately rule out Rodgers for the following week's game against Philadelphia, saying, "Let's not kid ourselves, if he walked in your office and asked for the ball on Saturday, what would you do?"

When reminded of that Monday, McCarthy said, "Well, it's more than that. Let's be honest, he's got to practice. There's some physical rehab hurdles to get through that he hasn't reached yet. Like I said, it would be a huge stretch for him to play in this game."

McCarthy said Rodgers would have to practice on Wednesday, before the team departs for Detroit, to have any chance of playing Thursday at Ford Field.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) leads a huddle during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. The game ended in a tie, 26-26.

Rodgers did not speak to reporters while he was in the locker room during the media access session. His weekly radio show on Milwaukee radio station WAUK-AM airs Tuesday.

The Packers (5-5-1) are still in the NFC North race because the Lions (6-5) and Bears (6-5) each lost Sunday.

Despite Rodgers' injury and the team's winless streak without him, the Packers could still win the division a fact Rodgers recognizes.

Asked if he might have to protect Rodgers from himself, McCarthy said, "Well, I think that's always the case when you're dealing with Aaron. But, like I said, he has to do some things with the rehab, the rehab group first. ... If he doesn't practice on Wednesday, he won't play in the game."

The Packers will practice Tuesday and McCarthy said he intends to get both Flynn and Tolzien ready to start against the Lions if Rodgers can't go.

"We've got to get two quarterbacks ready, frankly. This experience that we've gone through the last four weeks with a different quarterback in four straight games, we're taking a hard look at our preparation," McCarthy said. "Who has the ball at the beginning of the game, we'll let you know down the line. I have no announcements on that yet today.

"Obviously with four days it's difficult to get anybody ready, but we've got to make sure they're both ready."

After taking over for an injured Wallace against the Eagles on Nov. 11, Tolzien had completed 55 of 90 passes (61.1 percent) for 717 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions before being benched in favor of Flynn on Sunday.

"It was very disappointing to me. I felt like I'm an accurate quarterback," said Tolzien, who scored on a 6-yard run that gave the Packers a 7-0 lead but completed just 7 of 17 passes for 93 yards before being replaced.

"I don't know what the final stat line was, but I know it wasn't 50 percent. That's bad. I'm not going to try to sugarcoat it. I'm going to learn from it and keep pressing to get better."

Flynn entered the game with the Packers trailing 20-7 and directed two touchdown drives and a field-goal drive that sent the game into overtime at 23-23.

Completing 21 of 36 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown, he drove the Packers to the Minnesota 2-yard line on the first possession of overtime, but Flynn's third-and-goal pass to Jordy Nelson fell complete.

The Packers settled for a 20-yard Mason Crosby field goal, which the Vikings matched on the ensuing series, leading to the first tie in the NFL this season.

Flynn, who was Rodgers' backup from 2008 through 2011 before signing with the Seattle Seahawks as an unrestricted free agent in March 2012, said he will be ready regardless of how many practice snaps he gets on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Before Sunday's game, Flynn said he had taken eight reps four each week with the starters in practice.

"I don't know what's going to happen, but I'll be ready no matter if I take 0 percent, 50 percent, 100 percent of the reps," Flynn said. "I'll be ready to roll. I think I've developed the skill of improving myself without taking reps. We'll see what happens."

Asked if he feels he deserves to be the starter after the way he played against the Vikings, Flynn said, "I don't know. I would like to start. I definitely want to. But that's not my decision to make. Whoever's out there gives us the best chance, whoever the coach feels that is. Whatever happens, I'm here and I do what they tell me to do."

 

Associated Press