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 took some first-team snaps in practice Wednesday,
though the Packers' franchise quarterback still hasn't been
cleared to play in a game.
If that stands
through the rest of week, backup Matt Flynn is back in for Rodgers
when Green Bay visits the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in a game
critical to both teams' playoff hopes.
It's been a mixed
bag of news this week for Packers fans anxious to find out when
Rodgers will adorn the No. 12 jersey again in a game. The Packers
are 1-4-1 since Rodgers fractured his left collarbone in a 27-20
loss Nov. 4 to the Bears, though they regained confidence
following the come-from-behind, 22-21 victory last week over
looked real good today. It was good to see him out there, really
working with the offense," tight end Andrew Quarless said
Wednesday. "He was out there before but wasn't working as
much with the offense, but today he took some offensive reps,
which is a great thing for the team, definitely."
Asked to clarify,
Quarless said Rodgers did some work with the starters.
Don't get too
worked up though, Titletown.
McCarthy didn't sound like someone Wednesday who was sure Rodgers
is ready. The quarterback is still officially listed as
"limited" in practice.
He is "the
face of our franchise and until he's medically cleared, just like
any other player going through a significant injury, that's really
where the focus will be," McCarthy said.
Tuesday on his
radio show on 540-AM ESPN in Milwaukee, Rodgers recounted his
practice routine the previous week, when he said he felt pain
while pushing him last Wednesday, Dec. 4. He said he then tried
not to stress the collarbone the next two days.
While Rodgers has
been hopeful of a relatively quick return, he has said that a
normal healing cycle for someone with his type of injury was to
six to eight weeks. Wednesday would be about five weeks since
McCarthy said he
didn't notice Rodgers in any pain Wednesday.
how he is tomorrow. We'll set a plan for him again tomorrow,"
McCarthy said. "Aaron still is not medically cleared. And
that's really, I think it's important to stay in tune with that
because the topic of 'Is he playing in the game' vs. 'Is he
medically cleared' — those are two totally different
Which brings the
Packers back to Flynn, who can build off a mainly positive outing
last week against the Falcons. He threw for 258 yards and the
2-yard touchdown pass to Quarless that put the Packers ahead for
Green Bay (6-6-1) about a month ago after Rodgers and previous
backup Seneca Wallace were hurt in back-to-back weeks, Flynn is
gradually getting comfortable again in McCarthy's West Coast
system. He's benefiting from full weeks of practices after getting
shelled following a short work week for the 40-10 Thanksgiving Day
loss to Detroit.
Flynn was effective in the no-huddle offense. For the most part,
he didn't force throws or take risky shots deep. He came up clutch
in the fourth quarter with the touchdown pass that cashed in on a
"We had flow
to our offense, rhythm to our offense that we really hadn't had
consistently over the past month," McCarthy said. "Just
trying to find that midpoint of doing things that we feel that we
need to win on Sunday, but to make sure he's comfortable."
Sacks remain one
big problem. Flynn shouldered blame after being taken down five
times by Atlanta, and he thinks his increasing comfort level will
help with hurdles like getting hung up too long on certain
Flynn is confident the team can succeed without Rodgers for the
rest of the year, if need be, pointing to the complimentary
football played Sunday as evidence.
something good to build on. If you ask anyone in this locker room,
everyone thinks we can win," Flynn said. "We just have
to go out there and execute and prove it."
NOTES: RB Eddie
Lacy missed practice Wednesday and will likely miss practice
Thursday with a twisted right ankle. McCarthy estimates his
starting running back should return Friday. ... Inside linebackers
Brad Jones (ankle) and Jamari Lattimore (knee) also missed
practice Wednesday, though McCarthy sounded optimistic about the
prognosis for their injuries.