A Scout's Take on the Decision to Keep Aaron Rodgers Inactive vs. the Steelers

Bob FoxContributor IDecember 21, 2013

Dec 8, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers walks off the field following the game against Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field.  Green Bay won 22-21.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

I had another opportunity to speak with scout Chris Landry again yesterday on the Steve Duemig show. Chris has a background with the LSU football program, plus he worked in the NFL with both the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns. Chris also played a major role in the development of the NFL Scouting Combine.

I wanted to get an opinion from Chris regarding the dynamics that take place when a player and a coach both feel that the player is ready to play again after rehabbing after a serious injury, and the discussion they have with upper management and the medical staff.

The player and coach I'm speaking of are Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers.

On Thursday, both Rodgers and McCarthy concurred that No. 12 is ready to play after rehabbing from a fractured clavicle that occurred on November 4 versus the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field.

"Aaron Rodgers practiced well today," McCarthy said via Packers.com. "We have the medical meetings on Wednesday and Friday, so we'll have a conversation tomorrow. Obviously, today he's still not medically cleared. Looked very good at practice. I would state him ready to play."

Rodgers added, "I've completed just about every pass in practice. Last week I had a couple bad ones."

The fractured collarbone injury happened on this play, when defensive end Shea McClellin of the Bears tackled Rodgers with force, delivering the brunt of the hit to Rodgers left shoulder as it impacted with the turf.

NFL Game Rewind

Yesterday, it was announced that Rodgers would remain inactive, after the Packers as an organization made a decision regarding the status of No. 12.

"A lot of conversation," McCarthy said Friday at his press conference. "Everybody involved. But, as an organization, we feel that we are not ready for him to play. He's not medically cleared."

McCarthy used the word "organization" nine times during his press conference. The group in that decision-making process most likely included people like team president Mark Murphy, general manager Ted Thompson, team doctor Patrick McKenzie and McCarthy.

"I think Aaron clearly wants to play," McCarthy added. "I mean, he's a very competitive man. The kid's played with injuries, he's a tough guy. Everything was laid out on the table...he understands how the organization feels."

Landry first talked about the injury to Rodgers and the frustration level that goes on in the locker room:

Well, first of all, I don't think there is any question about being ready to go. I think the fact that he can play is not the issue. The issue is, from a medical standpoint in this case, the degree of danger of falling and getting hit. And this, because it's not healed and it's a bone situation, it's just a greater chance of it cracking and causing not a setback, but would basically take most of the offseason for him to lay off. The frustration from a competitive standpoint from a coach and a player is that they want to play...they want to win. They have a chance to make the playoffs, as you know if they win out.

Landry then laid out how the dynamics work in this type of situation with a football operation:

The way it works, it really comes down to upper management and ownership, in this case the president (Mark Murphy) and in this case the general manager (Ted Thompson) trying to look at and weigh the medical decision, that you truly want to leave it in the hands of the doctors. Because they are the experts on the medical part. I've always said it, that you got to make a decision whether to draft somebody or whether to play someone, you've got to decide as a head coach or as a GM, that you really need to play close attention to your medical people. Or else you have to get another medical staff in there. If they are saying, and I'm guessing that this is the reason he (Rodgers) isn't playing, it's got to be, is the danger of him playing and the risk of him getting the injury reoccurring or opening up again because it's not quite healed is just too much for them to risk.