Statistically, Flynn was outplayed by Tolzien in just about every statistical manner during the preseason. It was no different in the Green Bay Packers’ 34-14 victory over Kansas City on Thursday night. Flynn played well, with 7-of-15 accuracy for 102 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 108.9. Tolzien, however, completed a higher percentage, threw for more yards, averaged more yards per attempt and had a passer rating of 126.9.
The scoreboard, however, never lies, and that’s what Flynn can point to as coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson decide how many quarterbacks will make the 53-man roster and who will be Aaron Rodgers’ primary backup.
In four possessions against the Chiefs, Flynn led the Packers to two touchdowns and a field goal. The touchdown drives covered 86 and 94 yards.
“Points,” Flynn said when asked what matters to him. “I don’t ever look at completion percentage, I don’t look at big plays or anything like that. I look at drives that score, obviously, and sustained drives (and) converting on third downs. To me, that’s kind of what I look at: getting points and not three-and-outs; not hitting the big play here and then three-and-outs for five drives. I don’t look at completion percentage, I don’t look at yards, I don’t look at touchdown (passes). It’s, ‘Did your team score?’”
That’s what Flynn had in his favor during the preseason. While Tolzien won in completion percentage (67.9 to 47.4), yards per attempt (8.5 to 6.1) and passer rating (112.0 to 82.3), Flynn won in points. Of Flynn’s 16 preseason possessions, seven resulted in points (four touchdowns, three field goals). Of Tolzien’s 16 preseason possessions (not including a take-a-knee series to end last week’s game or the possession at the end of the first half on Thursday, but including his six-minute possession to end the Kansas City game), five resulted in points (four touchdowns, one field goal).
“I think Matt and Scott have both championed the case to be on our football team,” 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.”
More than the good plays – such as his perfect 22-yard touchdown to Davante Adams to start the scoring -- what will haunt Flynn are a couple of missed opportunities. The one glaring one was on his one failed series. On fourth-and-4 at the Chiefs’ 35, Flynn missed Jake Stoneburner on a corner route.
“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.”
Now, Flynn will wait. His history has to mean something – he rallied the Packers to a tie against Minnesota when he replaced Tolzien and victories against Atlanta and Dallas. Is that enough to last in Green Bay for one more season? Is he better-equipped than the up-and-coming Tolzien to take the reins again? And if he’s not, is he more valuable than the 11th linebacker or fourth tight end on the roster?
“I’ve said it from Day 1 and it’s true -- I’m not just saying it to be saying it -- but I really haven’t paid attention to any competition,” Flynn said. “I’ve been out there supporting Scott. I have never wanted to compare apples to apples or even try to. I don’t think anybody really does in a competition. I think that both him and I both played well and I think both him and I made an argument to be on this football team.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com, and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.