Notebook: Rodgers Will Be Game-Time Decision

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers made a few short throws at the start of practice on Friday before continuing the rehab on his shoulder, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he would probably take all the way up until game time on Sunday to decide whether Rodgers will play. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 3

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers made a few short throws at the start of practice on Friday before continuing the rehab on his shoulder, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he would probably take all the way up until game time on Sunday to decide whether Rodgers will play.

Rodgers is scheduled to continue his rehab on Saturday and then work out before Sunday's game to test the strength and pain levels in his shoulder. McCarthy has until 90 minutes before kickoff, or until 10:30 a.m. CT, on Sunday to set his active 45-man gameday roster, and he said he would probably take all that time before making the final call between starting Rodgers or rookie backup Matt Flynn.

"I think how he feels tomorrow and how he does Sunday before the game will be strong indicators," McCarthy said. "I'm preparing to go either way."

Rodgers is officially listed as questionable on the injury report. He wasn't going to make any predictions during a brief session with reporters in front of his locker on Friday.

He, as well as McCarthy, said in addition to gauging the shoulder strength and pain acuity, the prospect of further injury must be taken into consideration. If Rodgers were to take a big hit on his right shoulder, or get sacked and fall on it, he and the medical staff will have to be confident the injury won't get worse.

For his part, Rodgers said if he's going to play, he has to be able to do so without holding back.

"The strength is pretty much back," Rodgers said. "The pain is potentially tolerable. We'll see how it tests on Sunday.

"If I test well on Sunday and I can go, it's because I can do everything that I feel like I'm capable of doing on the field, and there will be no reservations whatsoever."

McCarthy has no reservations about Flynn's readiness and preparation. Flynn took the bulk of the snaps with the No. 1 offense on Wednesday and Thursday during the padded practices, and McCarthy liked the way he handled the work.

"I think you have to admire Matt Flynn's disposition, the way he approaches football," said McCarthy, noting that Flynn is used to big games, having won a national championship last year at LSU. "Nothing rattles him. He practices the same every day, as far as his demeanor and so forth."

Flynn said from here it's all mental work for him. He'll study the game plan further and watch more film on Atlanta's defense in case he needs to play.

"I feel like it was a good practice week for me," Flynn said. "I felt very comfortable out there. I think the more reps I got the more comfortable I felt. I felt like made some good plays in the passing game, have good chemistry with receivers. All in all I feel very good about the game plan and feel very good with the guys around me."

Rodgers hasn't had that practice time this week, and should he play it would be an interesting test to see how well a first-time starter could execute a game plan he hasn't practiced live. But he's done everything else he possibly could, studying film of Atlanta as well as watching this week's practice film with his offensive mates when Flynn and Brian Brohm were at the controls.

"It's definitely a different situation not practicing all week," Rodgers said. "I feel confident in the game plan, confident in my film study and preparation. It's all about executing the scheme and it's all about how I feel on Sunday."

Hawk questionable at LB; Peprah likely to start at S

Linebacker A.J. Hawk (groin) did not practice on Friday and is listed as questionable on the injury report. McCarthy said Hawk would be a game-time decision as well. If Hawk is unable to play, either Brandon Chillar or Desmond Bishop would take his place.

At safety, both Atari Bigby (hamstring) and Aaron Rouse (knee) did not practice Friday and are listed as doubtful, meaning it's almost certain Charlie Peprah will start at safety alongside Nick Collins, who is probable after full participation in practice the past two days. It will be the first start in Peprah's three-year career.

In addition to Collins, offensive tackle Chad Clifton (knees), receiver James Jones (knee) and defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (knee) all practiced in full Friday and are probable. Cornerback Charles Woodson (toe) sat out practice for the fourth straight week but is also probable.

Running back Kregg Lumpkin (hamstring), defensive end Jason Hunter (hamstring) and fullback Korey Hall (knee) all missed practice and are doubtful.

For Atlanta, offensive tackle Todd Weiner (knee) is probable, safety Lawyer Milloy (rib), defensive tackle Grady Jackson (knee) and offensive tackle Sam Baker (illness) are questionable, and defensive tackle Jason Jefferson (ankle) and receiver Laurent Robinson (knee) are doubtful.

Solid start in red zone

It's still early, but the Packers have at least begun the season with solid play in the red zone on both sides of the ball.

{sportsad300}Green Bay's offense ranks third in the NFC in touchdown percentage in the red zone, having scored six TDs in 10 possessions (60 percent). Meanwhile the defense also ranks third in the NFC in touchdown percentage, having allowed only four TDs in 15 opponent red zone possessions (27 percent).

New Orleans and Carolina, two future opponents for the Packers this season, also rank in the top five in the NFC in both the offensive and defensive red zone numbers.

Familiar face

He is questionable for Sunday's game with a knee injury, but Atlanta defensive tackle Grady Jackson will be making his first return to Lambeau Field since anchoring the interior of the Green Bay defensive line from 2003-05.

Jackson, a 12-year veteran listed at 6-foot-2 and a perhaps underestimated 345 pounds, has played in three of four games this season for Atlanta and has been credited with 10 tackles (seven solo) with one batted pass. Back in 2005, Jackson played in all 16 games for the Packers and recorded 54 tackles, his highest total over his last eight seasons.

"Grady has always been a heavy guy, but he's quick, and you watch him on film and he still does great things," offensive tackle Mark Tauscher said. "I don't know how old he is now, but he's still a guy you have to account for because he makes a lot of plays, and anytime you play against an old team, I'm sure he'll be more than fired up to come up here and play."

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