GREEN BAY, Wis. – The weekly Aaron Rodgers’ will-he-or-won’t-he-return storyline has become a national obsession.
Or at the very least a regional one.
His collarbone has become perhaps the most talked-about injury in the NFL this season. In every locker room session with the media and in every news conference coach Mike McCarthy conducts, it’s almost always the first and last question asked.
At some point, it will become an exhausting experience.
“Yeah, so stop asking,” Packers receiver Jordy Nelson said Wednesday.
And then Nelson laughed.
“We know it’s part of it,” he added. “It’s always part of injuries, especially when it’s the quarterback position. We talk about it for five, 10 minutes here with you guys, and then we move on.”
With no more clarity offered on Wednesday about whether Rodgers will be cleared to return from his Nov. 4 collarbone fracture, those questions won’t go away any time soon. Rodgers himself will answer them when he speaks to reporters on Thursday.
Until then, everyone else was left to speculate for at least another day.
“We don’t really get into the he said, she said, what’s going on,” receiver James Jones said. “I don’t watch no TV and be like, ‘Is he playing or not?’ If I want to know if he’s playing I’ll just go up to him and ask him. It doesn’t mess with nobody. We just want him to get healthy.”
Much like he did last week, Rodgers split practice snaps with Matt Flynn, who would make his fourth straight start on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers if Rodgers isn’t cleared. At this point, there was no evidence to suggest Rodgers will be given the green light this week.
In fact, several players indicated that they are once again preparing for Flynn to play.
“We definitely must win this one at home,” Jones said. “So we’re going to need Matt to go out there and do what he’s been doing play the best game of his career, and we need to get a win, um, if he goes out there.”
While players say they haven’t been told anything definitive about the quarterback situation this week, they see the same thing that reporters did on Wednesday and perhaps drew their own conclusion. When the quarterbacks went through individual drills at the start of practice, Rodgers once again took snaps from backup center JC Tretter, while Flynn worked with starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith.
“I think we have a little bit of an idea, just based on how the week’s going, but to be honest with you, you prepare the same,” Nelson said. “I think I’ve said it a couple times now through the quarterback rotation that we’ve had. You’ve got to prepare the same no matter who’s there. You’ve got to play the same, as a receiver you’ve got to get open the same, you’ve got to catch the ball, do whatever you got to do. If it’s Matt throwing the ball, Scott, Aaron, then we’ll catch that ball. “
The person it impacts the most, Flynn, seems to be able to roll with it well. He’s easy going by nature, which probably helps. While some thought an answer on Rodgers’ status would come after he met this week with team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie, Flynn was in the dark.
“I didn’t even know they were meeting,” Flynn said.