Flynn, Tolzien in tight competition
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – Matt Flynn knows better than to worry about a numbers game at this juncture of training camp.
Having his number called at any point in a game played in August is OK with Flynn, a seven-year NFL quarterback in his second stint with the Green Bay Packers.
“Preseason, to me, is always just a blast to go out there and play,” Flynn said Thursday.
A day after Mike McCarthy confirmed Aaron Rodgers would make his belated preseason debut, the Green Bay coach wasn’t ready to say who would be next up at quarterback when the Packers play a preseason game at St. Louis on Saturday.
With the team off the field Thursday, McCarthy said the decision on who gets the first chance to run the offense after Rodgers against the Rams should come Friday.
“Tomorrow’s practice will determine that once we get through that,” McCarthy said.
Flynn and Scott Tolzien received significant playing time with Rodgers held out of Green Bay’s first game last weekend.
Flynn made the start and played most of the first half in the Packers’ 20-16 loss at Tennessee on a rainy Saturday night.
But Tolzien put up better stats when he had his chance in the challenging weather conditions and may have earned an extended look next time.
“It’s a great battle,” tight end Brandon Bostick said.
Bostick, a second-year player, played with Tolzien and Flynn during part of a trying stretch of seven games in the second half of last season when Rodgers was sidelined.
Those two capable backups, who combined for six starts in Rodgers’ absence, weren’t with Green Bay at this time last year.
Tolzien spent the first two months of the season on the Packers’ practice squad after they signed him at the end of the preseason following his release from the San Francisco 49ers.
Flynn re-signed with Green Bay, the team that took him in the seventh round of the 2008 draft, as a reinforcement just a week after Rodgers was injured in early November.
Flynn led the Packers to two critical wins in December to keep them in contention to repeat as NFC North champions when Rodgers returned for the last week of the regular season.
After Green Bay retained Flynn by signing the free agent to a one-year contract in April, many thought he had the inside track for the No. 2 job. Flynn had the same role behind Rodgers from 2008-11 before leaving the Packers in free agency to sign with Seattle in 2012.
But Tolzien benefited from being in Green Bay’s offseason program for the first time, and the former University of Wisconsin standout has been pushing Flynn in training camp.
“He’s a gym-rat kind of guy,” Rodgers said of Tolzien, a fourth-year pro. “He spends a lot of time at the facility, he’s always very well prepared, knows the scheme well. For him, it’s just about reps and keeping his confidence at a high level.”
The progress for Tolzien continued in the first preseason game. He replaced Flynn late in the first half and played into the fourth quarter before giving way to undrafted rookie Chase Rettig.
In his three series of work, Tolzien went 8 of 12 for 124 yards with a passer rating of 100.7.
By comparison, Flynn was 5 of 10 for 49 yards with a passer rating of 64.2 in five series, played mostly in a rainstorm.
“I was disappointed in some of my efficiency passing just because I didn’t handle the ball well,” Flynn said. “It was a wet, heavy ball, and I didn’t handle it as well as I would have liked to.
“But my decision-making, I take away positives from that. I felt like all of my decisions I was going to the right place at the right time, I was on time, I just wasn’t able to throw it like I wanted to.”
NOTES: McCarthy wouldn’t say whether WR Jordy Nelson will play Saturday. The veteran starter missed the game at Tennessee with a hamstring injury, but returned to practice Tuesday. “Jordy is on course to practice tomorrow,” McCarthy said. “He practiced yesterday. Once we get through practice, we’ll determine the final play-time expectations for all of our guys. But he looks good.” … RB Eddie Lacy is looking to play for the first time in the preseason Saturday after missing the opener as a healthy scratch. “I believe so, but probably not a lot,” Lacy said Thursday, when asked whether he expects to play Saturday. The Packers have been limiting Lacy’s workload in the preseason.