Rodgers 'Looks' Ready to Play, But Will He?

Coach Mike McCarthy spoke in strong terms about Aaron Rodgers on Thursday, perhaps signaling the coach is joining the quarterback in pushing for Rodgers to be cleared for Sunday's game. With Rodgers still not medically cleared, Matt Flynn took most of the reps.

Aaron Rodgers "looks like he's ready to play," according to coach Mike McCarthy.

That doesn't mean there's an expectation that Rodgers will be allowed to play on Sunday.

"I have a good sense of what's going to happen," Rodgers said on Thursday without elaborating.

Rodgers was listed as limited participation for Thursday's practice. During the one 11-on-11 period that reporters were allowed to watch, Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien took the reps with Rodgers standing on the side. After practice, McCarthy said Flynn took the majority of the reps, which might be a hint that the Packers are inclined to wait at least another week with their franchise quarterback. The barrage of short answers offered by Rodgers during a short media session also might be a hint that he's not going to be cleared to play this week.

Twice, however, McCarthy said Rodgers looks like he's ready to go. He also used the words "sharp" and "very good" to describe his practice.

With Rodgers pushing to play and McCarthy making his first strong assertion about Rodgers' readiness, it could be construed as those two putting on the pressure on the team's physician, Dr. Pat McKenzie, and general manager Ted Thompson to give the green light with the Packers being two victories away from winning the NFC North. Rodgers has frequently mentioned the need to weigh the risk vs. the reward. Given the surging Packers' position in the NFC North, the reward is great. But how great is the risk?

"It's a medical decision, it's an organizational decision," Rodgers said.

On his weekly radio show on Tuesday, Rodgers said that he was not going to be scanned this week because Rodgers and McKenzie knew what the result would be. Without a scan showing that Rodgers' broken collarbone has healed, it's hard to imagine Rodgers being turned loose against the Steelers.

"At this point, I have to focus on the things I can control and that's practicing well, taking care of my business in the weight room, preparing, being a good teammate," Rodgers said. "It's an organizational and a medical decision at this point."

Then again, this could all be a ruse to make the Steelers think they're going to face Flynn. That hasn't been McCarthy's style – he said as much last week. Rodgers has missed the last six games and has been ruled out on the Friday before each of them.

"I'm clear of mind and my body feels good," Rodgers said.


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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