'Door Is Open' For Rodgers To Play

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not practice all week and is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game at New England on the injury report. While Rodgers did not address reporters and McCarthy was vague, some signs point to Rodgers being the starter.

Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers didn't practice and didn't address reporters on Friday about his concussion, but he was in good enough spirits to banter about a reporter's sweater and his alleged lunch with ESPN's Erin Andrews.

Rodgers didn't practice all week ahead of Sunday night's big game at New England, but coach Mike McCarthy on Friday said the "door was open" for Rodgers to face the Patriots, assuming he clears all of the mental and physical testing stemming from last week's head injury at Detroit.

"He's progressing through the medical process," McCarthy said on Friday after listing Rodgers as officially doubtful for the game. "He was able to attend probably three-quarters of the practice today, and he'll continue to work through that process today and tomorrow. I'm hopeful to make a decision by tomorrow, but the door is open for Aaron Rodgers to play in the game. It really comes down to two things. No. 1, he has to be cleared medically, and Dr. John Gray will have the final say on that. And if he does make it to that point, then myself will make a decision on whether he plays or not. Right now he's still working through the medical part."

Rodgers did not take a snap at practice all week. After being held out of team meetings and film study on Wednesday and Thursday, McCarthy said Rodgers attended some of Friday's meetings before going through more concussion testing.

Rodgers suffered he concussion when the back of his head hit the turf on a first-half scramble against the Lions. It's his second concussion of the season – the other in Week 5 at Washington – and McCarthy said the training staff had gotten Rodgers a new helmet with better protection.

McCarthy had said there was a "slim-to-none chance" that Rodgers would practice on Friday. Turns out, it was "none," though linebacker Clay Matthews said Rodgers did throw the ball on the side. Backup quarterback Matt Flynn again took the overwhelming majority of the practice reps.

As we have said all along, if you're into reading between the lines, take note of this: Practice squad quarterback Graham Harrell – who would be the No. 2 if Rodgers can't play – again spent all of the opening periods of practice lined up as a safety on the "look" team. That he didn't take any snaps wouldn't be unusual, but for a player who could be thrust into action, it would make sense to have Harrell lined up behind the offense to get a quarterback's-eye perspective on the action.

Also, McCarthy said Rodgers would make the flight for the game in Foxboro. It would make little sense to have a player with a head injury board a cross-country flight.

That optimism, however, contrasts with what McCarthy told a Madison radio station on Friday morning. Asked about Flynn, the coach said: "He's had a good week of practice, and this is always a big hurdle for a quarterback when he gets his first start. This is something he'll really benefit from. He's actually put together two good days of practice. I'm impressed with the way he has thrown the ball."

In Friday's press conference, though, McCarthy wouldn't confirm that Flynn would be the starter.

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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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