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Back It Up

Back It Up

 

With each errant pass flailing dangerously through the Florida sky, it was evident on September 28, 2008 the Green Bay Packers could have used a veteran backup quarterback.

Matt Flynn demonstrated a flawless ability to hand the ball off, however, that savvy couldn’t drive the offense within 60 yards of the end zone.

 

Of course, a first down would have been needed to achieve such a feat.

A rookie quarterback trying to come in the fourth quarter of a tightly contested ballgame and lead a drive is a scary proposition. Even scarier considering it was on the road against the nasty Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense.

Flynn finished the contest 2/5 for 6 yards on two attempted drives. That didn’t seem to give the Packers any kind of hope once Rodgers hurt his shoulder. Their best chance was that Rodgers would come back in the game with a half-available throwing arm.

Obviously Flynn was in nearly the worst possible situation to come in, one in which he was destined to fail as a young signal caller. My knock isn’t on Matt Flynn; it just seems the Packers could have used a serviceable veteran backup quarterback that day and for the remainder of the season. What’s wrong with a little bit of insurance?

While it’s too late to fix last season’s mistakes (I don’t have enough fingers to count them), I think the Packers should at least bring in a veteran free agent to help compete for the backup role. If Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm play better than this proposed individual throughout the preseason, then release him.

Both Flynn and Brohm could turn into serviceable quarterbacks in the future, but it takes time. Aaron Rodgers struggled his first two exhibition seasons because he wasn’t ready to lead a team.

It’s obvious that management has far more pressing needs to shore up their roster before they report to training camp. I fully understand that building the new defense and making tough decisions on the offensive tackles is more important than finding a journeyman quarterback to compete for the backup slot. However, it still seems very important to fill this void. Do any Packer fans feel confident that the offense could be competitive with Matt Flynn or Brian Brohm at quarterback?

Looking over the free agent list, there appears to be a few viable options out there. Scratch Jeff Garcia off the list because he will be competing for a starter job in somebody’s training camp. Kerry Collins and Luke McCown have also been claimed by their prospective teams, so take them off the unrestricted list.

It seems like bringing in a player with previous starter experience would be beneficial. The players that seem to fit this role best are as follows: Kyle Boller, David Carr, Rex Grossman, Byron Leftwich, J.P. Losman, J.T. O’Sullivan, Dan Orlovsky, Patrick Ramsey, and Chris Simms.

While none of these players are great, I feel adding them (without spending much) would make our team better. If Rodgers goes down for a quarter, game, or a season, I would feel much more confident with a proven veteran.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (15) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Greg C.'s picture

This is a tough one, but I'm okay with the QB backup situation for now. Ted Thompson is always thinking long-term, and that's why he kept Flynn around. Brian Brohm was supposed to be an NFL-ready backup, and when he struggled as a rookie, Flynn passed him up. The problem was that Flynn wasn't quite ready to be a good backup as a rookie, yet he was too good to cut. And although Brohm struggled, he had way too much potential to be cut.

So we ended up with a bad backup QB situation, and I agree that it came back to bite us in that Tampa Bay game. But the payoff should be that we have two young QBs with a lot of potential, and at least one of them, if not both, should be ready to step in and play competently if Rodgers gets hurt this year. If one or both of them have a bad training camp, though, I would agree that it would be time to bring in a veteran.

Dale Z's picture

I agree with Tyler. I agree so much you'll read more about this subject at a later time during this week's TOP TEN.

Tyler B's picture

My one retort to that is Flynn really going to be a solid player one day? Are the skills even there to stick around in this league for more than 2 or 3 seasons? I know he outplayed Brohm last preseason, but I think Ruvell Martin would have been better than Brohm.

I will agree this is probably what they will stick with, I'm just wondering why.

Asshalo's picture

Flynn is way too small to be an NFL QB. He doesn't have the arm strength or the foot speed.

I'de say grossman is definitely out-- His confidence is shattered and he looked like matt flynn when he came in for orton against GB. I wouldn't mind brian griese either. He's managed some comeback wins for Tampa Bay and Chicago the past two seasons. We don't need someone great-- just someone that may be able to come in and score some points.

Pack93z's picture

Flynn is too small? Comparison sake..

Matt Flynn is 6'2" 222.. Aaron Rodgers 6'2" 220.

The Ironman himself... Favre 6'2" 222....

On arm strength, the same could be said for Rodgers his first camp and year or two in GB. Same for Tom Brady upon arriving in FoxBoro..

You won't make it into a NFL camp if you don't have enough arm strength, but his mechanics, delivery and motion need work to maximize what arm strength he has.. I attended a couple of the training camp practices.. Flynn has enough strength to play in this league, he might not have a rocket for an arm, but has enough to play solidly at this level.

Another issue in assessing a QB's arm strength is how much confidence the kid has in his play... an unsure QB is going to be tentative in delivery and may make his delivery look subpar..

Footspeed... Did Brett have excellent footspeed? Marino? Big Ben?

You can dice all the physical traits up you want, it all really comes down to confidence, poise, vision, awareness, ability to make efficient reads and follow it up with sound decision making with your throws.. give me a QB that can become comfortable with those three aspects over a physical dynamo of a QB any day of the week.

One of the few roster spots on a team that smarts supremely outperforms raw talent.

Pack93z's picture

BTW... we have no clue if either Flynn or Brohm has "it" at this point..

If I am the GM.. I have a couple of plan B ideas in my head if they both come to camp and struggle.. QB camp in March should give MM and sound idea of where we are at in terms of progression.

Pack93z's picture

"I will agree this is probably what they will stick with, I’m just wondering why."

Why..

I argued against the move last season, with the durability of Rodgers in question, the unknown of just how Aaron would handle not only the position of starting QB but the pressure that went with it. We went the season without a net so to speak at the QB position.. and as you laid out.. it was proven to be fact.

But I actually support the notion of staying status quo this coming season. But have that year of NFL grind experience underneath them, both has been working with the staff in developing an understanding of the game this entire offseason and that will continue with QB camps, and heavy reps in minicamps. With Rodgers shoulder in rest mode, they will work but of these QB's hard, where as last offseason Rodgers was the priority to get ready.

Think about it, they have now been in the GB system for a year already.. they will have at least six more months of experience before the whistle blows for real again..

Second part of that support is this, if only on progresses and pans out.. then we have the typical structure.. but what if both develop and give us the ultimate chip in trading.. a surplus of talent at the QB spot.

Think back to the days of Brunnell, Brooks, Hassellback... they all became important chips in building of the mid 90's teams and into the 2000's... it is like starting pitching in baseball.. you never can have too many and they always can be dealt for value.

So in conclusion, IMO, not only do they give us protection in depth, but they very well might give us value in the future in terms of chips for trade.

Alex Tallitsch's picture

I love it when Pack93z gets going.

Pack93z's picture

If I could type without the freaking typos... it might be better that last one needs some editing.. lol.

Speaking of that.. why no edit feature?

Alex Tallitsch's picture

Huh? We have editing.

Tyler B's picture

“I will agree this is probably what they will stick with, I’m just wondering why.”

Why..

Because that's what they did last season. Plain and simple.

And I'm not talking about releasing either one of the guys. I want them around to develop, I just think the Packers are much better off with a legitimate veteran backup. They could easily have a veteran backup and have Brohm as the third stringer. Then you put Flynn on the practice squad to develop. I realize putting him on the practice squad could lose him, that's a chance that I'm willing to take.

What does it hurt to bring in a veteran qb? If both guys perform better than him, then release the vet you brought in. It is a no risk situation.

Pack93z's picture

Why take the reps away from the young pups at mini camps and QB camp?

If either or both have not shown enough progression at that time, then I would agree that you invite a veteran to camp.

But lets be honest, of the retread arms that you are going to get on a one or two year minimum deal are they really going to be that much improved over either Flynn or Brohm?

I think both these young guys surprise this year.

BTW... packone.. nice job on the edit button... for those keyboard challenged types like me.. important add.

Tyler B's picture

But lets be honest, of the retread arms that you are going to get on a one or two year minimum deal are they really going to be that much improved over either Flynn or Brohm?

In the short term it sure seems that they would be. Yes. I have zero confidence in Flynn and Brohm leading a drive at this point in their career. I hope you're right about them surprising and progressing this season, I just feel like a little insurance wouldn't hurt.

Greg C.'s picture

Tyler, as you said, putting Flynn on the practice squad means that you run the risk of losing him to another team, and that's the problem. If he was waived, he would almost certainly be snapped up by someone, as he has overperformed as a 7th round pick. He is one of those QB's who seems to have that X factor that just might allow him to become an NFL starter someday. He needs to make a lot of strides in the minicamps and in training camp this year, though. I will be very interested to see how both of these young QB's play this summer.

Alex Tallitsch's picture

Well, I am going to take the high road on this one. Personally, I think you evaluate the two as early as possible, then either risk one, or trade one and bring in a vet.

We will see, I would like to think we have three guys that can step in, but as we all know that most likely isn't the case.

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