Thursday, December 19, 2013
Sure looks like another week with Flynn
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers thought he was ready to play last week.
His coach, Mike McCarthy, seems to have joined him in that thinking this week.
So why does it look like another week with Matt Flynn under center?
Because neither McCarthy nor Rodgers has the final say.
As of Thursday, 45 days after he fractured his left collarbone against the Chicago Bears, Rodgers had not been medically cleared by team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie. On Friday, McKenzie is expected to meet with Rodgers, McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson to discuss the medical evaluation one final time before the team must designate Rodgers' status for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lambeau Field.
The impression is that McCarthy makes those designations. In most cases, that's probably true. But in the case of the franchise quarterback, it probably runs deeper. Several times on Thursday, Rodgers referred to it as “an organizational decision.”
While Rodgers seemed resigned to his fate when he said “I have a good sense of what's going to happen,” McCarthy appeared to be making one final push to get Rodgers cleared.
“I would state him ready to play,” McCarthy said. “But once again we're going through the process [to] make sure we're getting Matt ready to play. Matt took the majority of [Thursday's practice] reps.”
While it might seem like a no-brainer to push Rodgers back into action given the fact that at 7-6-1, the Packers can win the NFC North if they beat the Steelers and the Chicago Bears in Week 17, Thompson is likely thinking both about this season and the future. Rodgers, who turned 30 on Dec. 2, signed a $110 million contract extension this past offseason that runs through the 2019 season.
This situation helps illustrate the difference in the viewpoints of a coach and a general manager. A coach's job is to win now. A general manager's job is to both win now and win later.
There's another possibility at work here, too. Perhaps the organization -- likely Thompson -- decided shortly after Rodgers was injured that the plan would be to shut him down for the rest of the season, as early reports indicated was a possibility.
However, once they learned Rodgers would be upset by that, they decided to proceed with the appearance they would give him the chance to return.
That may be too conspiratorial.
Then again, maybe there's a big difference between looking ready to play and actually being able to play given the fact that when McCarthy was asked whether or not Rodgers should play, he said: “No, you wanted an update. I mean, you wanted to know how he looks, he looks good. He's a limited practice participant. He hasn't been medically cleared.”