It’s surprising how much attention the No. 2 quarterback job for the Packers has gotten.
But then again, judging from last year’s injury-plagued season, it’s imperative that whoever backs up Aaron Rodgers has to be able to lead a world-class offense.
However, deciding on a backup isn’t the most important quarterback decision on this team. The most important judgment in terms of the Packers quarterbacks is simple: keep all three.
Matt Flynn is the 29-year-old tactician that owns a 3-4 starting record in his career. Those aren’t eyebrow-raising numbers by any means but he is a product of the green and gold. He was drafted in the 7th round in 2008 and coach Mike McCarthy was able to mold him into a potential starter that signed a three-year $26 million deal with Seattle. Obviously he lost the job to Russell Wilson but Flynn has a handle on the West Coast offense and is very smart.
Scott Tolzien is the 27-year-old guy that has always been good but not good enough. He bounced from San Diego and San Francisco before starting his first game last year with the Packers. He has proven that he is a precision passer by completing an unreal 72.9 percent of his passes in his last year at Wisconsin. And he’s gotten better since his Badger days — namely beefing up his arm strength and showing a knack for escapability.
Tolzien may have a longer shelf life but Flynn is the better backup option. It was Flynn that guided the Packers through the injury storm last year with back-to-back comeback wins that ultimately vaulted the Packers into the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
Tolzien can be the Packers’ next Doug Pederson, but in order for him to carve out a niche as the long-term No. 2 quarterback, there cannot be any doubt from competition. With the way that Tolzien has progressed the last two years, I expect him to grab the backup job next year and never look back. Flynn has been in the Green Bay offense since he became a pro and Tolzien is running this high-octane version very well.
Both Flynn and Tolzien are unrestricted free agents after this season. Flynn’s physical limitations are what will end his earning potential. The current one-year $1,068,125 contract could be the last pro football money he sees.
But just in terms of decision-making, owning the huddle and the confidence of McCarthy’s system, Flynn is the man for this year.
And because of Tolzien’s valuable ceiling, the Packers cannot let that commodity walk out the door either.
So, Ted Thompson and McCarthy may have to swallow hard but for the first time since 2008, the Packers not only should keep three quarterbacks — they must.
The Packers have a legion of weapons in place and if Rodgers goes down with an injury again, a significant drop-off will not take place in the next five to seven years if Tolzien channels his inner Doug Pederson.
Some people are still miffed at how Flynn played during the preseason, but be more impressed with how he orchestrated a win from the jaws of defeat in Dallas than his tentativeness in August.——————
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn