For Rodgers to start the Green Bay Packers' game at Dallas, he'll probably need to be full participation, or close to it, on Friday.
"If I'm going to play Sunday, I'm going to need to take the majority of the reps tomorrow," Rodgers, who is recovering from a broken collarbone sustained on Nov. 4, said after Thursday's practice.
In the strongest sign yet that Rodgers is at least getting close to playing, he did a considerable amount of work on Wednesday and did even more on Thursday. During the time when reporters were allowed to watch, Rodgers probably took as many snaps as Matt Flynn during individual and group drills. Contrast that to last week, when Rodgers did a fair amount of work on Wednesday, only to do very little on Thursday and Friday because of lingering pain.
"You know, I feel a little better than last week," Rodgers said. "Another week, to be able to relax over the weekend, I think, helped, and I'm feeling a little bit better out there."
Still, Rodgers has not been cleared by the medical staff to play in a game. Rodgers said he has not been scanned this week and wouldn't say if he was scheduled to be scanned this week. Rodgers, who was scanned last Tuesday, figured that he'd need a clean scan before being allowed to play. Coach Mike McCarthy said injured players are evaluated on Wednesdays and Fridays, leaving open the possibility that Rodgers could be scanned on Friday.
"Yeah, he's getting better," McCarthy said. "He's Aaron Rodgers. The thing you appreciate is my man can throw the football. He throws the heck out of it. It's good to have him out there."
There figures to be some clarity provided by Friday – though that clarity might not be made public. Rodgers said it wouldn't be "fair to Matt to draw this out to the game," though he recalled the Atlanta game in 2008, when Rodgers was listed as doubtful only to get the green light just a couple hours before kickoff.
If nothing else, this week of practice might be a warm-up act so Rodgers can hit the ground running next week. Even for a player with Rodgers' resume, it's been a long time between live snaps.
"I felt a little bit rusty yesterday, took a little bit more as far as reps today and felt better," Rodgers said. "Felt like I was moving well. I feel rested, my legs do, been able to do more in the weight room, but I felt better out there throwing it well but there's a lot that goes into it from the ground up – legs, being in the right position, footwork and stuff. Today was a better day."
Quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo said Rodgers' fundamentals remain sharp, despite the long layoff. Rodgers practiced before the Detroit and Atlanta games, so he's been able to stay on top of his fundamentals.
"You know, even when he wasn't practicing with us, he was out there working through footwork and kind of getting some reps with the guys under the radar in the team stuff, walking through things," McAdoo said. "And mentally, he's obviously been sharp, and has been into the game plans each week and preparing like he's going to play and go through it and doing tip sheets and things like that for the other guys. He's been in the offense forever, and the offense is built around him and we don't anticipate any problems if he were to go."
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