GREEN BAY – There was no news delivered Monday on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ status.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said a number of scans were done Monday morning on Rodgers’ surgically repaired broken collarbone. Team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie and other experts are reviewing all the information, but no decision has been made.
“It is now in the evaluation stage,” McCarthy said on Monday afternoon. “There’s a number of medical opinions that will be involved in the decision.
“At this time, I do not have a clean decision for you or an update. That’s where it stands.”
Coming off injured reserve, Rodgers is first eligible to play in a game this Sunday in Carolina after missing the past seven contests. With overtime wins in the past two weeks, the Packers are 7-6 and still alive in the NFC playoff chase with three games remaining.
Tuesday is game-planning day for the coaching staff, so Rodgers’ availability would obviously factor into that process. McCarthy didn’t say when exactly he would know Rodgers’ status, but he joked, “If I don’t know tomorrow, we’re going to be putting Pat McKenzie on IR.”
“Hey, it’s a process. They’re evaluating and hopefully we will have a decision as soon as we can,” McCarthy said.
“At the end of the day, the organization is focused on doing what’s in the best interests of Aaron Rodgers’ health.”
Rodgers had surgery the week after the injury, which occurred on Oct. 15 in Minnesota. McCarthy described Rodgers’ rehab process as “exceptional,” as he has spent “an extraordinary amount of time” doing extra things to try to get healthy.
Two weeks ago in Pittsburgh, Rodgers threw passes upwards of 50 yards during pregame at Heinz Field, and he officially returned to practice on Dec. 2, one day before the Packers’ game against the Buccaneers.
Last week, he ran the scout team in practice as backup QB Brett Hundley prepared for this past Sunday’s game in Cleveland, which would be his last start if Rodgers gets cleared this week.
“In his mind, he’s ready to go, if you watch him practice and the conversations with him,” McCarthy said. “But this is a medical decision. Dr. McKenzie is in touch with a number of different medical experts.”
Also on the injury front, McCarthy announced that veteran cornerback Davon House sustained a “significant” injury and would likely be out at least this week. House played through a shoulder injury in Cleveland and then was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with a back injury.
Hundley led the Packers back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime and eventually beat the Browns, performing well in the clutch once again. McCarthy called it “a great intangible to have,” but the coaching staff’s film review on Monday was more focused on a high number of mental errors that put the Packers in such a tough spot against a winless team.
One of those Hundley put on himself, botching the execution of a fourth-and-1 call at the Cleveland 10-yard line, squandering a chance to score points. But according to McCarthy, that was by no means an outlier for the team as a whole.
The offense had four consecutive scoreless drives after an opening TD march, and the defense allowed 136 rushing yards, including a damaging 5.0 yards per carry to a team with a middle-of-the-pack running game.
“We had a couple rough meetings this morning,” McCarthy said. “We didn’t play very well. Our grades overall as a team are probably some of the lowest we’ve had all year.
“That’s what we’re focused on. Too many mental errors. I was not happy in a lot of areas the way we played.”
That said, the challenges the Packers have faced this season, particularly without Rodgers for essentially half of it, have forged a high-character group McCarthy feels goes about its business the right way, and he doesn’t expect that to change over the final three weeks with a postseason spot at stake.
“They just stay the course. You can see it in the games,” McCarthy said. “We’ve had a number of come-from-behind victories. That speaks right to the character of your football team. That’s how you get through those things.
“There’s no deceptive play or secret defense. That’s all nonsense. It’s about their heart, and their belief, the way they stick together and keep fighting. That’s what that is.”