Rodgers, who completed 21-of-30 passes for 208 yards and accounted for three touchdowns in the critical 27-17 victory over the Seahawks, is sore but didn't have any setbacks with his injured right throwing shoulder, coach Mike McCarthy said in his day-after news conference on Monday at Lambeau Field.
It was Rodgers' second consecutive strong performance since spraining the shoulder in a Week 4 loss at Tampa Bay. He is ranked eighth in the NFL with a passer rating of 98.0 points, and is seventh with 1,482 yards and 11 touchdowns. Since the injury, he had a rating of 109.4 against Atlanta and 111.5 against Seattle.
"I think as an individual, just the ability to play through pain," McCarthy said. "His pain threshold is obviously high, which is important when you're able to keep going and not only start football games but perform at the level he's performed at. I think everybody involved is very pleased with the way he's played the last two weeks just from a pure productivity standpoint, and to be able to play at that level fighting through this injury I think it says a lot about him."
McCarthy defended running Rodgers into the pile on two quarterback sneaks. The first kept a drive alive that set up a game-opening field goal and the second came on second-and-goal from inside the 1-yard line to tie the score 10-10 just before halftime. In such a massive pileup, hard hits are rare, and Rodgers stayed low to keep out of harm's way.
"If we felt it was a problem, I wouldn't have it in the game plan," McCarthy said. "We had it up a couple different ways, and he's actually pretty good at it. He has the ability to accelerate the crease and keeps his legs moving, and a lot of it, too, is the technique the quarterbacks use. I've had quarterbacks in the past who get way too high and take unnecessary shots. Based on his type of injury as far as the load of the weight and the pile falling on him, we didn't think that was a concern."
McCarthy said the injury that knocked defensive tackle Ryan Pickett out of the game in the third quarter was a triceps strain, not a tear. At this early stage of the week, McCarthy said he'd list Pickett as questionable for Sunday's game against Indianapolis.
"I think really how he feels Wednesday and once he goes through a rehab segment, where they work the muscle and see the fatigue and the strength of it, it's something that we're just going to have to get more information on throughout the week," McCarthy said. "Ryan's a pro. He's played with a lot of different types of injuries throughout his career, so I wouldn't be surprised if he's able to fight through this. Time will answer that question."
With or without Pickett, the Packers could get help at defensive tackle this week with the return of last year's first-round pick, Justin Harrell. Harrell, coming off of a second round of back surgery during training camp, is eligible to be activated from the physically unable to perform list this week.
McCarthy said Harrell would be a full participant when the team resumes practice on Wednesday, "and we'll just see how he does throughout the week. He hasn't been in that particular environment for quite some time, so they just want to make sure they give him the proper progression of working his way through a full week of practice."
If Harrell emerges from the practices feeling good, he'll likely play against the Colts. But first thing's first, McCarthy said: Harrell has to get through a week of practice.
Let's shake on it
"Ain't much you can do anymore in this league, so you just have to come up with something classy and maybe you won't get fined," Williams said with a big laugh on Monday.
Pro Bowl voting
Voting is open for the 2009 Pro Bowl, set for Sunday, Feb. 8, in Honolulu. The fans' vote, conducted at NFL.com/probowl, counts for one-third of total voting. Voting closes on Tuesday, Dec. 9.
Players and coaches will cast their votes on Dec. 11-12, with their votes each counting for one-third of the total vote.
McCarthy, as coach of the NFC runner-up, and his staff coached the NFC squad to a 42-30 win.
McCarthy said "flu-like symptoms" kept No. 2 running back Brandon Jackson out of action against Seattle, but the second-year pro should be back this week. … McCarthy is "hopeful" safety Aaron Rouse will be able to practice on Wednesday. Rouse was knocked from the game with a head injury. … Rookie running back Kregg Lumpkin is on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, starting safety Atari Bigby has been sidelined the last four-and-a-half games by an injured hamstring and Pickett missed all of training camp with a hamstring problem. "I think every year you have the injury of the year, and we have had a number of hamstrings," McCarthy said. "We've had a number of knee sprains too. It just kind of goes that way." ... The NFL trade deadline is at 3 p.m. (Central) Tuesday. The Chiefs' star tight end, Tony Gonzalez, allegedly is on the market, but the team also has planned to honor him on Sunday for setting the NFL career record for receiving yards by a tight end. ... McCarthy was asked if the Packers' injury situation was "not so bad" in light of the mess in Seattle, which was without Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and four top receivers. "I don't share that viewpoint," McCarthy said.
Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at email@example.com