Packers wise to keep both backup QBs

August, 30, 2014
8/30/14
7:45
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers kept both backup quarterbacks after all.

Tolzien
 
Flynn
Flynn
 After initially leaning toward keeping only two quarterbacks, they opted to retain both Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien as insurance behind Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers began the day on Saturday thinking their needs at other positions would be too great to keep three quarterbacks, but they had more injured-reserve candidates at other positions than they initially thought -- they placed four players on IR -- and it opened up a spot for a third quarterback.

It would have been a significant risk to let either one of the backups get away, especially after the quarterback debacle of last season. It took them three tries -- Seneca Wallace, Tolzien and finally Flynn -- to find a quarterback who could win a game while Rodgers was sidelined for seven weeks because of his collarbone injury.

Keeping two backups -- something they had not done on their Week 1 roster since 2008 -- was the safe move for a team with realistic Super Bowl aspirations.

The Packers did not announce whether Flynn or Tolzien will serve as the primary backup, but Flynn started the first and fourth preseason games when Rodgers was held out.

The 29-year-old Flynn, who went 2-2 as a fill-in starter last season, has proven to be a good fit as a backup in Green Bay despite failing to win starting jobs in open competitions with the Seahawks (2012) and Raiders (2013).

In the long run, Tolzien, 26, may be the better prospect. He appeared in three games last season (including two starts) without the benefit of an offseason with the Packers, who first signed him to the practice squad last Sept. 2. A full year in coach Mike McCarthy's quarterback-friendly program led to a solid preseason; Tolzien actually had better numbers in the preseason than Flynn.

In four outings this summer, all in a backup role, Tolzien completed 38-of-56 passes (67.9 percent) for 477 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 112.0. Flynn, who started the first and last preseason games which Rodgers sat out, was 18-of-38 (47.4 percent) for 232 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 82.3.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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