While the 2011 NFL MVP has made progress in his return from a broken collarbone, head coach Mike McCarthy decided Friday to rule Rodgers out for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
"Aaron's frustrated," McCarthy said, via NFL.com's Kevin Patra. "We're in meetings all day together. He's like every other player fighting to get on the field."
Matt Flynn, who struggled mightily in Green Bay's 40-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day, will get his second consecutive start. He's the third different primary quarterback the Packers have used in Rodgers' absence, joining Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien. Tolzien, a 26-year-old former undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin, is listed as McCarthy's third quarterback this week, as Green Bay clings desperately to its playoff hopes.
Sitting at 5-2 and in the catbird seat of the NFC North when Rodgers went down in Week 9 against the Chicago Bears, the Packers have failed to win a game without their Pro Bowl quarterback. They lost by one possession to Chicago and have suffered three multi-possession losses and a Week 12 tie with the Minnesota Vikings.
Coming into Sunday's contest, Green Bay is 5-6-1 and 1.5 games out of first place in the NFC North. There has been talk of the Packers shutting Rodgers down should the Packers fall out of the playoff race, in particular if they lose to the Falcons, who sit at 3-9 and could represent the death blow to a promising season.
Flynn told Rob Demovsky of ESPN that Rodgers is still active in team practices, offering any help that he can give despite his own frustrations.
He doesn't really let it show to anybody else, but you know he's frustrated and you know he wants to get out there. This is his team and for him not to be out there is really hard on him. But he doesn't let it show. He's been great trying to get me ready, and just try to pass on tips, as he always did when I was here for four years. He's been a great asset for us.
This is the first time Rodgers, 30, has missed significant time since becoming the starter in 2008. He had appeared in 86 of 88 possible regular-season games over the past five-plus seasons. In eight appearances in 2013, Rodgers had compiled 2,218 yards and 15 touchdowns against four interceptions.
Should the Packers lose Sunday, it's possible Rodgers' absence could stretch throughout the rest of the year. McCarthy won't want to alienate his quarterback if he wants to get back into the lineup, but having a full offseason to heal might be appealing if their deficit becomes insurmountable.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the latest playoff models show the Packers have only a 5.5 percent chance of sneaking into the postseason. Green Bay has made the postseason in each of the past four years.
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