left, Green Bay Packers' Scott Tolzien (16) sits with
quarterback Aaron Rodgers, center, and Matt Flynn, right, on
the bench during the second quarter of an NFL football game
against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit,
Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013.
GREEN BAY —
Aaron Rodgers would rather not let the "Will he-or-won't
he" questions linger until Sunday.
franchise quarterback expects a decision Friday —Saturday tops
— whether he'll be medically cleared to face the Atlanta Falcons
in a game crucial to the team's dwindling playoff prospects.
medical decision. There were three parts to it: the strength, the
range of motion and the evidence that we see on the scan. Two out
of three are passed so far," Rodgers said Wednesday.
It was the
results of the scan on the fractured left collarbone that
disappointed Rodgers earlier in the week. He's healing, but the
outlook wasn't as promising as he hoped.
If he can't go,
Matt Flynn is back in again. Rodgers doesn't want his backup
waiting until game time to learn that he's the starter.
"No, I don't
think that's fair to Matt if we do that. I think by Friday or
Saturday at the latest there will be a decision," he said.
No other scans on
Rodgers' collarbone were planned for this week, according to coach
Mike McCarthy. Limited in practice Wednesday, Rodgers was
following rehab protocol. McCarthy will measure Rodgers' progress
But at least one
person thinks Rodgers is a go, even if the Packers themselves
anticipating that he's going to play this week," Falcons
coach Mike Smith said. "I know that there was information
that came out (Tuesday) that said that he wasn't cleared, but he's
not been ruled out. We're taking that that he's playing."
Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) walks off the field
after giving up the ball to the Detroit Lions during the
third quarter of an NFL football game at Ford Field in
Detroit, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013.
The value of the
2011 NFL MVP has never been more evident than over the past month,
with Green Bay 0-4-1 since one of the most irreplaceable players
in the league got hurt on the first series of the 27-20 loss Nov.
4 to the Bears.
Scott Tolzien and Flynn followed at quarterback. The Packers fell
from first to third in the NFC North, sitting at 5-6-1 behind the
Lions and Bears. They're hoping they've bottomed out with the
40-10 loss to Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.
but you just got to continue to grind it out," said seemingly
perpetually optimistic receiver Jordy Nelson. "I think
everyone has confidence in their ability to play this game and
make plays. Everyone's done it in the past, so everyone just needs
to do it at the same time."
For the Packers,
one disturbing trend during the slide has been the decline of the
defense at a time when it was needed most.
On offense, not
having Rodgers means opponents stack the box more to stop rookie
running back Eddie Lacy. It worked for the Lions, who held Lacy to
just 16 yards on 10 carries.
In turn, that
theoretically means the Packers having more shots to throw
downfield against single coverage. It's a look that Rodgers would
rarely face because of his proven ability to make big plays.
The hope with
Flynn is that a full week of reps will give him a lift after going
just 10 of 20 for 139 yards and an interception against Detroit,
working then off barely three days of practice as the starter.
it to a really bad round of golf. We went out there and got our
butts kicked, have to forget about it," said Flynn, who's
preparing like he'll start again.
Rodgers said he
felt fine in practice Wednesday doing individual drills. During
one portion of practice open to media, he took turns with Flynn
and Tolzien, making sharp passes of about 10 to 12 yards.
Watching from the
sideline during the winless streak has been tough.
know, I need to take some of my own advice: worry about the things
you can control. I can't control the healing of my bone. That's
frustrating," Rodgers said. "But I've been preparing as
if I was going to play every week and trying to help Matt and
Scott out as much as I possibly can."
NOTES: LB Mike
Neal (abdomen) didn't practice Wednesday, while LB Nick Perry
(foot) was limited. Center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who left the Lions
game with a knee injury, was also limited and also sprained an
ankle Wednesday in practice.