If you're into reading between the lines, practice squad quarterback Graham Harrell spent the entire jog-through period at the start of Wednesday's practice lined up at safety for the look team, as he usually does, with Matt Flynn getting all the work behind center and Harrell not even getting a quarterback's-eye perspective of the action. In fact, Harrell's only reps at quarterback during the 70 minutes that reporters were allowed to attend were two passes during a screens-and-deceptive plays period.
It was a similar story when Rodgers' status was in doubt heading into the Week 6 game against Miami after suffering a concussion the week before at Washington.
However, two months ago, Rodgers was cleared to participate in Thursday's practice, and there was little doubt that he'd get the call against the Dolphins. This time, following his concussion sustained late in the first half of a shocking 7-3 loss at Detroit, Rodgers wasn't even allowed in the meeting room – much less watch or participate in practice – and coach Mike McCarthy said there's a "slim-to-none chance" that Rodgers will be allowed to practice on Friday.
So, while the Packers' postseason aspirations are on shaky ground and Rodgers has 45 career starts under his belt and a track record of success with limited practice time, the odds are tilted in favor of Flynn making his first NFL start this week.
"You have hurdles you have to clear, and as he clears them, we'll move accordingly," McCarthy said. "We're not doing anything different than we normally would do with any of the players. We understand the importance of the quarterback position, but this is about Aaron Rodgers, first, No. 1, being healthy, and then after that, we'll make a decision on whether he'll play or not."
That decision, McCarthy said, would not be made until Saturday, for reasons based on Rodgers' health and competitive advantage. If Rodgers passes the cognitive and physical exertion tests and gets the green light from an independent physician to play, then McCarthy said he'll make the final decision.
If it's Flynn, it would be his first start since throwing four touchdowns in LSU's 38-24 victory over Ohio State for the national championship following the 2007 season.
Thrust into action when Rodgers went down last week, Flynn completed 15-of-26 passes (57.7 percent) for 177 yards. However, an interception in the end zone took away at least a field goal, he turned the wrong way on a third-and-1 running play and he missed Greg Jennings on what would have been a game-winning touchdown pass on fourth-and-1.
"I've played in big games before – not at this level, but I've been on big stages before, so that's not going to bother me," he said. "It's just getting on the plane Saturday, being completely prepared and have my mind at ease that I've prepared myself as much as I can."
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