Will Aaron Rodgers return for Thursday’s game at Detroit?
Will Matt Flynn be the Green Bay Packers’ fourth starting quarterback in five weeks?
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said it would be a “huge stretch” for Rodgers to be cleared to play what amounts to a must-win game against the Lions on Thanksgiving. For Rodgers, who broke a collarbone against Chicago on Nov. 4, there are some rehab hurdles that haven’t been cleared and he’d have to practice on Wednesday.
“He would like to go,” McCarthy said the day after a 26-26 tie against Minnesota. “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.”
While McCarthy went a long way toward ruling out Rodgers for a fourth consecutive game, he kept the starter at least under a small shroud of mystery.
“Well, we’re going to play either Matt or Scott (Tolzien), obviously,” McCarthy said. “I’ll be honest, the conversation we had an offensive staff last night and again this morning is, 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. 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.”
Flynn estimated he took four snaps with the starters last week and four snaps the week before, his first week back with the team. That was about the same snap count that Seneca Wallace had when he filled in for Rodgers against Chicago and when Scott Tolzien replaced an injured Wallace against Philadelphia.
Flynn ran plays and concepts the team hadn’t practiced last week, including the effective use of a no-huddle approach that rallied the Packers to three scores in the fourth quarter.
“I thought the no-huddle was a great change but Matt Flynn wasn’t really prepared to run the no-huddle,” McCarthy said. “It’s a credit to him to do that because we didn’t prepare going into the game for no-huddle. Hey, he has a lot of history here. We were drawing off things he has done in the past. I’ve never called a game the way the game was called yesterday, and we aren’t going to call it like that anymore.”
Flynn provided a huge spark, which was just what the team needed. After Tolzien led the Packers to an 87-yard touchdown drive on the second possession of the game, Green Bay gained 81 on his final five series. After Flynn’s first series ended in a punt, the Packers went touchdown, touchdown, field goal to get the game to overtime, then led the team to another field goal at the start of overtime.
“I’m going to prepare like it, that’s for sure,” Flynn said on Monday about starting against Detroit. “I’m going to spend some extra time learning, making sure I have everything down, all the little nuances. Making sure I have every check down, things like that. But I’m definitely going to prepare like it, but we’ll see.”
The challenge awaiting McCarthy can’t be understated. Getting two quarterbacks ready under normal circumstances is difficult. Now, he’ll have to do it in the span of short two practices as the team tries to recharge from a grueling five-quarter game.
“Obviously with four days, it’s difficult to get anybody ready, but we’ve got to make sure they’re both ready because, like I already stated, we played four quarterbacks in four weeks,” McCarthy said.
“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.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.