After practicing the past two weeks and feeling much better about his left shoulder this week versus last, Aaron Rodgers still couldn't convince the Packers brass and medical staff that he can play. After meeting this morning with head coach Mike McCarthy and team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie, Rodgers was ruled out of Sunday's game against the Cowboys in Dallas. It will be the 6th game he has missed. It has been 39 days since Shea McLellen of the Chicago Bears derailed the Green Bay season by sacking Rodgers on the game's opening series, driving his left shoulder on the Lambeau Field turf. Rodgers suffered a fracture of the left clavicle, or collarbone and while the fracture wasn't displaced, the original prognosis called for a six to eight week healing process. The problem with a bone break is, it must simply heal on it's own. Rodgers did very little at practice today and said on Thursday he would need to take the majority of team reps to play on Sunday. That's not going to happen. After practice, McCarthy explained the meeting and the decision to reporters.
When Rodgers went down, the Packers were 5-2 and driving on the opening series against the Bears, looking for sole possession of first place in the NFC North. Chicago eventually won that night 27-20. Since? Green Bay is just 1-3-1 in the games in which he didn't start. Here's the tale of the quarterbacking tape.
11 year veteran Seneca Wallace, given the number two job in training camp after Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman were cut and veteran Vince Young washed out, finished the Chicago game and lasted, like Rodgers, one series against the Philadelphia Eagles before leaving with a season ending knee injury. He completed 16 of 24 passes for 139 yards without a touchdown and one interception. He was sacked four times and had a passer rating of 64.4.
Former Wisconsin Badger Scott Tolzien went from the practice squad to starting quarterback in less than two weeks. He started both the Giants and Vikings games. In New York, he threw for 339 yards but it wasn't enough, against Minnesota, he was benched at halftime after turnover issues. Tolzien was 55 of 90 for 717 yards, one touchdown, five painful interceptions and he was sacked three times. His passer rating is at 66.8.
Former Green Bay draft choice Matt Flynn came full circle since signing his free agent deal with Seattle after the 2011 season. Signed after Wallace was hurt, Flynn was thrown into the fire in the second half against the Vikes and rallied the Pack to a 26 all overtime tie. He started the following Thursday in Detroit, a Thanksgiving Day disaster. He mustered only 126 yards of total offense in the 40-10 loss. Flynn improved against Atlanta last week although it took a 4th quarter rally to nip the Falcons by a point. His stats read 55 of 88 completions, for 615 yards, two touchdowns, two picks and a whopping 12 sacks. His passer rating is 81.4. Flynn will make his third consecutive start on Sunday.
If the Packers beat the Cowboys, the Rodgers watch will pick up in earnest for the final two regular season games knowing the team's playoff hopes are still alive. If Green Bay can't win with Flynn, it will be interesting to see if the team shuts down Rodgers for good, knowing they won't be playing beyond the Pittsburgh and Chicago games.