Friday, December 13, 2013
Early decision on Rodgers helps Flynn
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If ever there was a week when Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy could have left everyone in suspense about quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ status, this seemingly would have been it.
Rodgers did more in practice this week and experienced little or no pain for the first time since his collarbone injury Nov. 4. Behind closed doors, Rodgers lobbied hard to play. But after meeting with team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie on Friday, McCarthy ruled out Rodgers again.
Debate all you want about whether McCarthy and McKenzie were being too conservative, but at least they didn’t play games publicly. Listing Rodgers as anything other than out if they knew he had no chance to play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys would have been a disservice to Matt Flynn, who will make his third straight start.
By making the situation clear Friday, they removed any possibility of unneeded drama in the 48 hours leading up to kickoff.
McCarthy downplayed any value there might be in keeping his quarterback situation a secret until game day, even though he often refuses to discuss other personnel changes during the week.
“I never felt, being on the other side of that, that it really accomplished anything,” McCarthy said. “I thought the Minnesota Vikings last year, prior to the playoff game with Christian Ponder not playing in the game, that was about as well-kept a decision that I’ve ever seen, and I don’t think it really factored in the outcome of the game. Now, we had talked about it, did a little research on Joe Webb earlier, but we had time to make sure our guys were ready for that.”
For his part, Flynn said Rodgers’ uncertain status -- which was higher this week than at any time since the injury because of the progress he had seemingly made -- did not affect his preparation. Flynn took a few less snaps with the starters this week than he did last week in order for Rodgers to get some work during 11-on-11 drills.
“That’s not going to make that much of a difference,” Flynn said. “I feel very prepared with the game plan and what we’re trying to get accomplished. I feel good about it.”
At least one of Flynn’s offensive teammates felt it was better to know Friday than wait until Sunday.
“That’s tough to go all the way up to right before the game [without knowing],” left tackle David Bakhtiari said. “Knowing this is our guy that we’re going to play with, it’s good to get that cohesiveness.”