Cowboys DC expects Rodgers to be less effective if mobility limited

IRVING, Texas — The Cowboys are convinced Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play on Sunday as Green Bay hosts Dallas in a playoff game at Lambeau Field. And the Packers seem convinced too, even as the first-team All-Pro QB is hobbled by a left calf injury.

"I’m going on Sunday," said Rodgers, who did not practice with his team on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday. "It’s just a matter of how."

Ah, but it’s also a matter of "how well.”

Rodgers has a "slight tear" in his calf in addition to the strain, according to ESPN, the result of an injury sustained the Dec. 28 regular-season finale against the Lions. His mobility in that win was clearly limited.

Dallas defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was asked if Rodgers is less effective if limited mobility means he’s forced to stay in the pocket.

"Yeah!” Marinelli said.

He added, "In the pocket, he’s tough. Outside the pocket? He is off the charts. Outside the pocket he’s really tough. He throws rockets.”

Marinelli knows well the gifts of Rodgers. When he was the Bears coordinator working against Green Bay, the Packers were 6-1 and Rodgers posted a QB rating of 101.5. 

Meanwhile, Tony Romo — second only to Rodgers in All-Pro voting this year at QB — was back at Cowboys practice on Thursday. Doug Free, Jeremy Mincey, Rolando McClain, Anthony Hitchens and Terrell McClain were unable to work. All but Free are expected to participate on Sunday.

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