UPDATE: At 3 p.m. CST Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers announced they had placed quarterback Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve, ending his season. Green Bay was eliminated from playoff contention Monday night.
GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy was noncommittal on quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ availability this week, but the Green Bay Packers coach said he would closely watch Monday night’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Those two items probably aren’t mutually exclusive. The Packers’ postseason eligibility hinged on Monday’s result. A Falcons win would officially eliminate the Packers from playoff contention. A Buccaneers upset would have kept their hopes alive, albeit by the slimmest of margins.
The Packers' hopes were extinguished with the Falcons' 24-21 victory Monday.
With the Packers (7-7) officially out of it, it’s hard to imagine they’d be inclined to play Rodgers in a meaningless game Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings. McCarthy seemed to leave open the possibility Rodgers would be inactive Saturday.
“Aaron Rodgers is sore, rightfully so,” McCarthy said Monday when asked whether Rodgers will play this week. “He was hit too many times, took two big hits. So we’re working through that.
“So we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
The "to play or not to play" debate is taking off everywhere from bars and taverns across Green Bay and Minnesota to every social media outlet. Football is Rodgers' job, but he is the Packers franchise and there is much risk and little reward in trotting him out against an aggressive Vikings defense that caused his broken collarbone.
Well Fans should AARON RODGERS play the final 2 games?, i say yes, because you want to finish strong as a team,and not have a front runner mentality,the fans deserve better, so Aaron should go beat the team that knocked him out!!,give the fans a merry Xmas!!!— leroy butler (@leap36) December 19, 2017
Rodgers was hit seven times as a passer against the Carolina Panthers, including three sacks. He also rushed six times for 43 yards. His scrambling ability was effective, but probably not what the Packers preferred to see in his first game back from a two-month absence with a broken right collarbone.
“They played us extremely aggressive,” McCarthy said. “As aggressive as anybody played us all year.”
Rodgers showed rust in his first game back. He had three interceptions in a game for the first time since November of the 2009 season against the Bucs. Each of the three picks were on underthrown passes.
McCarthy said it was surprising to see the interceptions.
“Those were all throws he’s made throughout his career,” McCarthy said. “I think it was just a product of not playing for as long as he has, because he’s made those throws. Those are routine throws for him.”
Outside the interceptions, McCarthy said Rodgers did “a lot of good things” in Carolina. He finished 26-of-45 for 290 yards and three touchdowns to match the picks. In theory, he’ll be even better this week with some of that rust knocked off.
That is, if he gets the chance to play.
“Obviously there was extra energy in our locker room with Aaron playing,” McCarthy said. “I wish that energy would have been consistent throughout our team for the whole time. That’s a disappointment. But at the end of the day, these guys compete.”