It sounds as though Matt Flynn will start for Green Bay on Sunday against Pittsburgh, but judging from the way Mike McCarthy praised the practice performance of Aaron Rodgers, the Packers coach might have been sending a message to the decision-makers that it's time to clear his star quarterback for play.
General manager Ted Thompson gets the final say on all football matters. He's the one who approved a $110 million contract extension for Rodgers and he definitely wants to protect his investment. He does not want to see Rodgers suffer a displaced fracture of the collarbone and face several months of rehab in the offseason.
On Thursday, McCarthy sent out the message that he thinks Rodgers is capable of performing at a winning level even though much of practice was devoted to Flynn running with the No. 1 offense. He made it clear Rodgers' broken left collarbone was not hindering him on the field.
"He looks sharp," McCarthy said. "He definitely looks better this week. He looks like he's ready to play."
Rodgers said he had an idea about whether he'd be cleared and judging from his brief weekly meeting with reporters, it seemed as if he was expecting to ride the bench for a seventh straight week.
"It's a medical decision. It's an organizational decision," said Rodgers, who hasn't played since a loss Nov. 4 to Chicago.
Seahawks: Brandon Browner vowed to continue to fight his indefinite suspension for a violation of the league's substance-abuse policy. The cornerback's agent, Peter Schaffer, told ProFootballTalk.com that Browner will sue the NFL if other attempts at overturning the suspension are unsuccessful. Browner's appeal was denied Wednesday. The suspension is the second in two seasons for Browner.
Cardinals: Larry Fitzgerald said he practiced fully but has one more concussion test to pass with an independent neurologist before he's cleared to play Sunday at Seattle. Still, the wide receiver said he expects to play. So does quarterback Carson Palmer (high ankle sprain). "I've never missed a division game in my life," Fitzgerald said, "and I don't plan to start this weekend."
Falcons: Safety Thomas DeCoud (concussion) practiced for the second straight day after missing last week's win over Washington. "He'll be ready to go," coach Mike Smith said. Atlanta plays the 49ers at Candlestick Park on Monday night.
Vikings: Running back Adrian Peterson is on track to play Sunday despite being held out of practice for treatment on his sprained foot. Coach Leslie Frazier said, based on what the team has seen from this week, Peterson "should be fine" at Cincinnati. Peterson sat out against Philadelphia.
Broncos: Wide receiver Wes Welker is questionable for Sunday's game against Houston after sustaining a second concussion in four weeks on Dec. 8.
Texans: Matt Schaub will start at quarterback Sunday against Denver in place of Case Keenum (thumb injury). Schaub had been benched after six games. ... Houston interviewed former Chicago coach Lovie Smith on Monday for its coaching position, a source told ESPN.com. Wade Phillips, the Texans' defensive coordinator, has been interim coach since Gary Kubiak was fired Dec. 6.
Bengals: Cincinnati signed former Buffalo punter Shawn Powell to replace Kevin Huber, who had his jaw broken in a loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Jaguars: Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) will likely sit out Sunday's game against Tennessee.
Giants: Receiver Victor Cruz will miss the rest of the season after surgery on his knee. Recovery period is at least three weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.