The Green Bay Packers are doing their best to usher off the stage the idea that Aaron Rodgers could play this week against the Dallas Cowboys.
Coach Mike McCarthy said the team will get Matt Flynn ready for another start this week, just like last week, considering Rodgers has not been cleared for game action. Rodgers worked out on Tuesday for the coaches and trainers and will be evaluated by the team doctor on Wednesday.
“We’re planning to play the game with Matt,” McCarthy told Green Bay reporters. “That’s the way you have to go about it. It’s the same way we went last week.”
McCarthy said Rodgers is making improvement from the broken collarbone that knocked him out of a Monday night game at Minnesota seven weeks ago.
“I think the biggest thing is strength — strength and comfort,” McCarthy said. “He felt better Friday than Wednesday. Hopefully he’ll make the same progress this week.”
The Packers lost their first three games without Rodgers, tied against Minnesota and lost at Detroit on Thanksgiving before winning last week against the Atlanta Falcons.
Flynn has started the past three games for the Packers in Rodgers’ place. Last week, he had his best quarterback rating of the season in five starts (two for Oakland, three for the Packers).
He put up a 95.6 rating in completing 24 of 32 passes for 258 yards, a touchdown and an interception. For the season, he has a 79.9 rating.
The Packers might need to turn to their backup running back, too.
Eddie Lacy will have to recover quickly from a sprained ankle to play against the Cowboys. If he cannot, the Packers will turn to fourth-year veteran James Starks, who has a career-high three touchdowns this season and is averaging a career-high 5.3 yards per carry.
He has never played against the Cowboys.
The Packers might go with a new starter at safety. Second-year player Sean Richardson, playing his third game since coming off neck surgery, replaced starter M.D. Jennings in the second quarter last week and impressed the Packers enough that they want to at least give him more playing time against the Cowboys.
“Very aggressive,” McCarthy said. “I liked what he did on defense. Sean brings an attitude, energy, juice. So he may get some more opportunities this week.”
Richardson was undrafted out of Vanderbilt.
Inside linebacker Brad Jones left the Atlanta game with an ankle injury, but the Packers think he might be able to play Sunday. His replacement, Jamari Lattimore, suffered a knee injury later in the game.
Defensive end C.J. Wilson missed a second straight game last week with an ankle injury.
Receiver Randall Cobb is eligible to return to action this week off the IR/designated-return list, but it looks unlikely. He has been out with a broken leg since Oct. 13 and said last week he is not cleared to run yet.