GREEN BAY, Wis. — If Thursday night’s preseason finale was a winner-take-all to be the Green Bay Packers backup quarterback, Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien each made a strong case to be next in line behind Aaron Rodgers.
Flynn started the game against Kansas City, but he and Tolzien alternated every quarter. Both led touchdown drives in their first series and both had passer ratings over 100.0.
But it’s not just about being the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart. Flynn or Tolzien could possibly find themselves out of a job entirely by the time roster cuts are due Saturday afternoon. With the way they both played Thursday — and throughout the entirety of preseason — that could be unlikely.
"I think Matt and Scott have both championed the case to be on our football team," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "I felt very good about their progress from last year through the spring and all the way through training camp. And, watching it live, I think they both played very well tonight. Just the little things, too — there’s a number of little things that went on as far as checks and adjustments and things like that.
"I thought they both played very well."
Flynn finished the game completing 7 of 15 passes for 102 yards with two touchdown passes, no interceptions and a passer rating of 108.9. Aside from the relatively low completion percentage, Flynn had the offense moving and scored 17 points in the four possessions for which he was on the field. He wasn’t satisfied, though.
"The only thing I’m thinking about are the ones I missed," Flynn said. "I know that we had some production, but there’s a couple plays that I’m pretty frustrated about."
The one play that had Flynn particularly upset with himself was a fourth-down incompletion in the third quarter on a pass intended for tight end Jake Stoneburner.
"I don’t know why, I don’t think I’ve ever done it in my life, but I flinched at a guy coming at me about to hit me," Flynn said. "I made a bad throw and I’m embarrassed. I’d like to have that one back."
Not that it’s a huge number, but Flynn’s seven career NFL regular-season starts is a factor working in his favor. More importantly, Flynn’s four starts with the Packers last season — during which Green Bay had a 2-2 record — gives McCarthy confidence that the 29-year-old veteran could be relied upon if needed. But that was the 2013 season, and Flynn knows that will only matter so much in determining what the Packers decide to do going into the 2014 season.
"Every year you have to prove to people that you deserve to be on this team, deserve to be in the NFL," Flynn said. "I’m proud of what I’ve done this camp and I have no regrets. I can hold my head up high, knowing I’ve done the best that I can."
Flynn finished the preseason 18-for-38 passing for 232 yards with three touchdowns, one interception and an 82.3 passer rating.
Tolzien doesn’t have Flynn’s same level of experience (he only has two career starts), but the former Wisconsin Badgers quarterback was better statistically in the win over Kansas City and overall in preseason.
On Thursday, Tolzien was 12-for-18 for 139 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 126.9. His most impressive play was a perfectly placed pass to Jeff Janis for a 33-yard touchdown. It looked like the type of throw Rodgers would have made if he hadn’t been watching from the sideline.
"I think you’re always hard on yourself, but I’m definitely pleased," Tolzien said.
Tolzien had a better completion percentage in preseason (67.9 percent) than Rodgers and Flynn, and his passer rating (112.0) was just slightly below Rodgers’ 116.6.
Of course, this topic is of higher importance this year after witnessing what happened in 2013 when Rodgers fractured his left collarbone. Green Bay initially turned to Seneca Wallace before throwing Tolzien into the fire just two months after he signed and without any offseason work to use to his advantage.
"I know I feel a lot more comfortable now than I did last year, but it’s still a work in progress," Tolzien said.
The competition between Flynn and Tolzien has been very friendly. Flynn said he was too busy supporting Tolzien throughout the process to even pay attention to the ongoing battle.
While they both obviously want to have the No. 2 quarterback spot, their preference is that the Packers keep three quarterbacks on the active roster this season. If that happens, it would be the first time Green Bay has done so since 2008.
"I think me and Scott have played well," Flynn said. "I think we both made an argument to be on this team."