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Packers go with proven Flynn as backup

8/31/2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers did not keep Matt Flynn around to be a third-string quarterback.

The 29-year-old journeyman will start the season at Aaron Rodgers' primary backup, coach Mike McCarthy announced on Sunday.

In keeping three quarterbacks, the Packers essentially said they believe Flynn is the best backup now, but Scott Tolzien might become that at some point soon. For now, though, Tolzien likely will be inactive for Thursday's season opener at the Seattle Seahawks.

While Flynn lost competitions for starting jobs in Seattle (2012) and Oakland (2013), he has proven to be effective as a backup in Green Bay, where he started his career as a seventh-round pick in 2008. He has a 3-3 record as a fill-in starter for the Packers, including 2-2 last season while Rodgers was out because of a broken collarbone.

Perhaps Flynn was born to be a backup. Since high school, Flynn has been a starter for only one season -- his senior year at LSU. He spent his first three college seasons as a backup after redshirting. He was Rodgers' backup from 2008-2011 before leaving in free agency for what he hoped would be a starting job with the Seahawks.

"Obviously at this level you have to be physically skilled; everybody in the league is," Flynn said Sunday. "But not everybody that's physically skilled can be a successful backup quarterback or be ready to go. To me, when I look at it ... you have to have the right mental makeup. What that is, I haven't been able to pinpoint it."

Maybe it's that Flynn has mastered the balance of helping to prepare Rodgers for the upcoming opponent while also becoming versed in the game plan just in case he has to play.

"They go hand in hand, they really do," Flynn said. "Any studying that I'm doing to help him is helping me, too. If you know it good enough to teach it, then you know it well enough. If I'm studying their defense enough to go and relay to him anything I see, then it's making my knowledge better."

For Rodgers, he was pleased that both Flynn and Tolzien made the final cuts coming out of training camp.

"You spend a lot of time with those guys, pull for 'em, help 'em out in the game," Rodgers said. "I was calling some of the plays in that last [preseason] game. Excited for them, playing so well. They both deserve to be on the roster, and it's good to have them both in the room."