The Big Mac Blog

Advantage Cowboys: Aaron Rodgers is not fine

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers’ left calf is a source of major concern for the Packers.
Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers’ left calf is a source of major concern for the Packers. AP

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is listed as probable, which means 100 percent guarantee. He will not be 100 percent when the Packers play the Cowboys.

He said he is a go for Sunday, but no one is exactly certain what “go” means. Reports from ESPN and other outlets say that Rodgers has a tear in his calf, and a strain as well.

Rodgers practiced on Friday, the final prep for the NFC Divisional playoff game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. He previously had been held out, or limited, in practices.

“Aaron came through the practice, everything OK,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters on Friday. “He feels good today. He’s progressing forward.

“He looks like he’s moving fine to me right now, so we’re not going to change any approach for how we want to attack the Dallas defense.”

Syringe, meet calf.

The Cowboys are six-point underdogs to the Packers on Sunday, and while a less-than-100 percent Rodgers is not ideal, they will take it.

Returning to a Friday practice means just about zero other than a guy can walk on his own power. Friday’s normally are nothing more than a walk-through. The Packers are not asking Rodgers to do much of anything other than walk until he has to run.

Rodgers has been doing not very much other than receive treatment for a calf injury that is being guarded, predictably, like a state secret here in the entire state of Wisconsin.

Listening to the others Packers talk this week, they are braced for their most important player to be limited. Not bad, but limited. Namely, they are preparing for Rodgers to limit how much moving around and running he normally does.

Rodgers is just about as good as any quarterback in the league at burning oncoming defenders with his ability to move and throw on the run. At Lambeau Field, he is 8-0 this season with 25 touchdown passes and no interceptions. (I’m on record that he will throw his first interception of the season on Sunday.)

He is as difficult to pressure as any passer in the NFL because of his ability to nimbly avoid defenders, and create time to find open receivers.

If Rodgers can’t move much, that will change things for a Cowboys pass rush that today received good news when defenders Jeremy Mincey and Rolando McClain passed the NFL concussion test to play on Sunday. Isn’t that amazing how these guys always pass concussion tests in time for kickoff? This is not a great pass rushing team, and a more immobile quarterback would be a big help.

Packers offensive guard T.J. Lang said he expects the Cowboys to try to pressure Rodgers more freely if they think he can’t move as well as he normally does. The front four could charge upfield without the fear of him running around him as easily. That would be an enormous advantage for a Cowboys defense that will need help to slow down or stop one of the most efficient offenses, and passers, in the NFL.

“With his calf, I would not be surprised if they tried to create extra pressure,” Lang said. “I don’t see, the way we have shown we can block a four-man rush I don’t know why you wouldn’t try to bring a little bit more. With him, it’s pick your poison.”

No one wants Aaron Rodgers to be hurt, or limited, but the Cowboys will take it. They may even need it.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof

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