Subtle Signs Point to Rodgers Starting

Before Aaron Rodgers can extend his consecutive-starts streak to 38 games, he must pass the NFL's new post-concussion tests and be cleared by an independent physician.

Will Aaron Rodgers be cleared to play on Sunday against Miami after suffering a concussion on his last pass of the Washington game?

If you're into reading the tea leaves, the answer is yes.

Not only have the Packers not promoted practice squad quarterback Graham Harrell to the active roster, Harrell told Packer Report that he spent Wednesday's practice running the scout team. Asked if he had done any work with the Packers' offense, Harrell replied: "No, sir."

With Rodgers and Matt Flynn being the only quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, it would seem highly unlikely that the Packers would go into this weekend's game with Flynn as the only quarterback.

Moreover, while Rodgers didn't practice on Wednesday, Flynn said Rodgers was in on the offensive meetings, cracking jokes and "definitely (was) his normal self."

Asked if Rodgers could start even without practicing all week, coach Mike McCarthy said: "That's a good question. I would think he is probably to that point in his career that he could handle that. Last week's plan was cut back volume-wise, and we have gone with the same approach this week for different reasons. But, yeah, that would definitely be an option."

First, though, Rodgers needs to be cleared to play by a league-approved neurologist. Rodgers went through the league-mandated conditioning test on Wednesday, which is meant to see if there are any adverse reactions to typical exertion. Then, it's neurological testing, with Rodgers' results this week compared to his results on those tests from training camp.

With Rodgers doing the conditioning tests, Flynn took every snap with the offense on Wednesday.

"I felt like the offense was crisp and sharp out there," Flynn said.

Rodgers, who usually talks to reporters on Wednesday, said he'd do those interviews on Thursday.

The last time Flynn started a meaningful game, he was throwing four touchdown passes in leading LSU to a victory over Ohio State in the BCS national championship game in January 2008. During the preseason, he completed 50-of-75 passes (66.7 percent) for 583 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

As a seventh-round pick in 2008, the rookie Flynn took practically every rep at practice after Rodgers injured his throwing shoulder during the Week 4 game against Tampa Bay. Rodgers, however, took a few snaps at that Friday practice and started that week's game against Atlanta. Flynn knows history could repeat itself.

"Hopefully it doesn't happen (that Rodgers can't play), but I have to go into the week acting like I'm going to play and thinking that so I can prepare just in case it happens," Flynn said. "I've been studying a lot, really been preparing like I'm going to be playing — hopefully not, we'll see, but I feel like my preparation's going well and practice went real well today."

The feeling around the league is that Flynn is one of the better backups in the NFL. A few teams inquired about Flynn during the offseason, including the Cleveland Browns, who saw Flynn as a potential starter while jettisoning Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson.

"Matt would run the current plan that we have in today," McCarthy said. "We didn't put it together thinking that Aaron was not going to play. He would run the full plan today, and it wouldn't change if Aaron Rodgers was in there."


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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 and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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