Friday, August 15, 2014
Flynn, Tolzien competition to go to the end
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers plan to take their backup quarterback competition through the final preseason game before naming a No. 2 to starter Aaron Rodgers.
"I would think that would be the fair way to do it," quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said this week.
That means there's still much to be decided between Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien, who appear to be locked in a tight battle that may have gotten even closer after Tolzien's impressive performance in the rain during last Saturday's preseason opener at Tennessee.
Any edge the more experienced Flynn held up to that point may be gone after Tolzien completed 8 of 12 passes for 124 yards and led one touchdown drive against the Titans.
"He did a nice job," Van Pelt said. "Matt had some horrible conditions. Scotty's were a little more favorable, still bad, but in those conditions I thought he handled himself well, threw the ball well."
Van Pelt, in his first season as the Packers quarterbacks coach, worked extensively with Tolzien on his footwork and delivery during their offseason workouts. Off the field, they broke down the offense from the beginning, a luxury Tolzien did not have last season after he arrived in Green Bay in September, first as a member of the practice squad and eventually on the roster after Rodgers broken his collarbone.
"The footwork was good, the reads were good," Van Pelt said of Tolzien's performance against the Titans. "I thought he was solid."
Coach Mike McCarthy would not say whether Flynn or Tolzien will follow Rodgers in Saturday's second preseason game at St. Louis. Flynn got the start against the Titans because Rodgers was held out and played 30 snaps to Tolzien's 23.
In practice this week, Tolzien's reps increased.
"We try to keep it even between the two, splitting them between the No. 2 and No. 3 group," Van Pelt said. "We're trying to make it as equal a competition as we can."
At least the conditions this week will be the same for both of them inside the climate-controlled dome in St. Louis.
The deluge made it difficult for both Flynn and Tolzien. Even though Flynn got the worst of it, Tolzien's arm strength perhaps made him more successful in those conditions.
"I would have liked to handle the ball a little better throwing-wise," said Flynn, who completed 5 of 10 passes for 49 yards. "I had difficulty controlling it. It was tough, but that's how it goes."
Van Pelt said Flynn -- who replaced Tolzien after two starts last season and went 2-2-1 in games he finished -- responded this week and, according to Van Pelt, "threw the ball as well as he had thrown it in camp, so to say it was anything other than the weather would probably be wrong.”
The issue might not only be who will back up Rodgers but how many quarterbacks the Packers will keep. They have not opened a season with three quarterbacks on their roster since 2008, Rodgers’ first as a starter.