Flynn starting for Packers at QB vs Falcons

The Green Bay Packers will have to try to win for the first time

in more than a month without Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers have ruled out their star quarterback for the game

Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

”Aaron Rodgers is not ready to go,” coach Mike McCarthy said

Friday.

Rodgers hasn’t played since breaking his left collarbone early

in Green Bay’s 27-20 loss to Chicago on Nov. 4.

That was the start of a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) for the

Packers, whose playoff hopes are fading with a 5-6-1 record with

four games to play.

Rodgers practiced on a limited basis this week, including

Friday, but still hasn’t been cleared to resume playing.

”Aaron’s frustrated,” McCarthy said. ”We’re in meetings all

day together. There’s a conversation each and every day. He’s like

every other player that’s fighting to get back on the field. He has

a rehab program, and how he feels going through it is obviously

expressed every day. He’s frustrated.”

The Packers instead spent the week preparing Matt Flynn to make

a second straight start at quarterback.

Flynn is looking to bounce back from a rough outing in Green

Bay’s 40-10 loss at NFC North leader Detroit on Thanksgiving last

week.

”The one thing I need to do better?” Flynn said in response to

that question being asked after practice Friday. ”Play better. I

don’t think you can really look at any one part of what we did as

an offense and say we did it well. We need to throw the ball

better, and we need to get some completions.”

Flynn completed just 10 of 20 passes for 139 yards with an

interception against the Lions. He didn’t lead the Packers into the

end zone.

Detroit held Green Bay to a season-low 126 total yards, sacking

Flynn seven times.

When asked how he has gone about putting that game in the

rearview mirror, Flynn replied, ”It’s easy. Just don’t think about

it. Just forget about it.”

As the fourth starting quarterback for the Packers this season,

all in the last month, Flynn feels more at ease going into Sunday’s

game.

Even with Rodgers able to participate in individual drills and

do some throwing on the field, Flynn took the first-string reps

every day in practice this week. Flynn also had the benefit of a

full week of studying the playbook and building a rapport with the

rest of the guys on offense.

When he was named the starter for the last game, Flynn had only

a few days and very limited practice time to absorb the game plan

on the short week.

”It was good just to be able to call the plays,” Flynn said of

his work this week. ”Now I feel like I’m calling the plays and not

really thinking about where guys are lined up or what they’re

running. I feel more fluid with everybody, and I feel like we were

able to get a little chemistry going.”

McCarthy felt good about Flynn’s progress by the end of the

week.

”I thought Matt had a good day today. He missed some things

yesterday,” McCarthy said. ”I thought he was sharp today.”

Flynn might have to play behind a reshuffled offensive line with

center Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee/ankle) questionable for

Sunday.

Dietrich-Smith, who turned an ankle in practice Wednesday,

didn’t practice the last two days.

McCarthy said the team planned to put Dietrich-Smith through

testing for the ankle, which has given him the most trouble the

last few days, on Saturday.

”He’s not ready as of today, so we’ll see where he is,”

McCarthy said.

If Dietrich-Smith can’t play Sunday, T.J. Lang likely will move

from right guard to center.

The Packers would have a few options for filling the void at

right guard, having used starting right tackle Don Barclay,

Marshall Newhouse and rookie Lane Taylor there for spot duty in

recent games.

Rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari practiced Friday after being

sent home with an illness the previous day. Bakhtiari is probable

for Sunday.