Preseason finale a chance for Packers’ backup QBs
Aaron Rodgers knows from experience that it isn’t easy to live
life as an understudy in the NFL.
Now that Rodgers finally has broken free from Brett Favre’s
shadow to become an elite starting quarterback, he sees a little
bit of his former self in Green Bay Packers backup Matt Flynn: a
guy willing to do what it takes to prepare as if he’s the starter
every week, knowing that he might never play.
”I was telling a friend this summer, I couldn’t think of a
better backup, because it’s tough to be a backup,” Rodgers said.
”You have to have the right personality, the right attitude and
find ways to be a leader but also be very supportive. He’s one of
my best friends on this team, and he’s improved and done a great
If everything goes according to plan for the Packers, Thursday
night’s preseason finale in Kansas City will be the last time
anybody sees Flynn at quarterback for a while.
Still, Flynn must be ready to step in if called upon, so he and
the rest of the Packers’ No. 2 offense see the game as a
significant chance to sharpen their skills.
”It’s definitely a big week and a week that I think all of the
‘twos’ look forward to,” Flynn said. ”We’re going to get more
reps than we have all camp and any of the games, so it’s something
to look forward to. We’re going to have a lot of fun and hopefully
go out there and execute and put up some points.”
Meanwhile, No. 3 quarterback Graham Harrell has shown steady
improvement during training camp and could use Thursday’s game to
solidify his spot on the team – even if it’s just on the practice
Harrell was a record-setting quarterback at Texas Tech, but
couldn’t get an extended, serious look in the NFL until now.
”I’ve always thought I was able to play at this level, and I
just thought sooner or later I’ll get a shot to do it,” Harrell
said. ”The more success I have here and the more comfortable I get
in this offense and on this team, the more confidence I get and the
more drive or reassurance I have that yeah, I can play on this
level. I am good enough, and quarterbacks from spread systems can
succeed in the NFL, and it’s been a very positive experience so
far, and I hope to continue to improve and do whatever it is that
they ask me to do.”
In Harrell’s case, that could be a stint on the practice
The Packers only kept two quarterbacks, Flynn and Rodgers, on
their roster last season.
Given Rodgers’ durability and a logjam at other positions,
including fullback and tight end, it stands to reason that the team
will keep only two quarterbacks again.
”If they put me on the 53-man roster, obviously I’d be really
happy about that,” Harrell said. ”If they kept me on the practice
squad, that’s still a great opportunity to learn and continue to
improve my game and learn a prostyle offense and get more
comfortable in that.”
Flynn said he didn’t have a sense of which way the team was
leaning, but he has been impressed by Harrell.
”He’s picked it up very fast and the guy can play football,”
Flynn said. ”He’s been good, he’s a fun guy to hang out with and
be around having him in the locker room. He’s done a really good
Already known for his poise, Flynn spent the offseason working
on his footwork and arm strength. But he said his biggest strides
came in his overall knowledge of the offense.
”I think that really has the most to do with it, just being
more comfortable with the offense, knowing what plays to check to
against certain defenses and getting everyone in the right play,”
Flynn said. ”I feel like in the games and in practice too, we’ve
done a real good job of it.”
It showed in last week’s preseason romp over Indianapolis, as
Flynn threw two touchdown passes. And after getting an extended
look during Thursday’s game, Flynn will once again become a
He’ll run the scout team, just like Rodgers did, and Rodgers
will be counting on him for help in the film room.
”The toughest thing is trying to find a way to still be
relevant on a team where you’re not having any playing time,”
Rodgers said. ”But I think Matt’s going to do a great job of