Rookie QBs will get their chance

Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn will get the bulk of the snaps on Thursday against Tennessee, with Aaron Rodgers getting only a series or two. Packer Report's Bill Huber explains why so much is at stake, especially for Flynn.

The quarterback plan for the preseason finale was apparent during Sunday afternoon's practice.

During a third-down drill — a pivotal one for a starting quarterback — Aaron Rodgers took one snap, Brian Brohm took two and Matt Flynn took two.

So, it wasn't a surprise when coach Mike McCarthy answered in the affirmative when asked if Rodgers would play a series or two against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

For once, the focus won't be on Rodgers. Instead, it will be on his rookie backups.

It will be a big game for second-round pick Brohm and seventh-round pick Flynn. It's hard to imagine either have done enough in the preseason to make McCarthy feel secure in the Packers' future should Rodgers miss a game or even a couple series.

"I think it's important for both of them," McCarthy said after Brohm and Flynn combined to throw six passes on Friday at Denver. "I need to get them as many reps as possible and give them some opportunities, not only in the run game, but also in the passing game. I want them both to take a step forward. They'll be in an excellent competing opportunity with the Tennessee Titans coming in here as far as their format for the game, so it will be a great opportunity for a number of our young guys."

The format McCarthy is talking about is Titans coach Jeff Fisher's preference of using the fourth preseason game — rather than the third — as a dress rehearsal for the regular season. Thus, Brohm and Flynn will be directing second- and third-stringers against the Titans' starters and top reserves for much of the night.

"I'm excited," said Brohm, who went 0-for-4 in limited action at Denver. "It's going to be a good opportunity to go out there and get a few more reps, from what we're hearing, probably against the No. 1 defense for quite a while from Tennessee. So, that'll be a lot of fun."

Brohm remains the No. 2 quarterback, even though his preseason passer rating of 35.8 is far below Flynn's 87.1. Though, judging by McCarthy "looking to possibly split their time" on Thursday, it appears Flynn has caught, or almost caught, Brohm.

Flynn has the most to lose against the Titans. Brohm's roster spot is secure based on his draft status, $1.55 million signing bonus and the impossibility of a player with his collegiate credentials making it to the practice squad. Flynn's signing bonus was just $64,150, and while he's done OK in the preseason, he's likely not a hot commodity around the league.

Thus, unless Flynn clearly outplays Brohm on Thursday to be Rodgers' top backup, Flynn certainly would be released if the Packers need a veteran No. 2 and could be released if the team places a higher priority on, say, an extra defensive lineman than a third quarterback.

Flynn is ready for the challenge.

"There's been a lot of work building up to this point, and I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing," said Flynn, who led LSU to the national championship last year.

McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson have come this far with two rookie quarterbacks. But, this preseason has been about getting Rodgers ready to be the starter. Now, it's up to the rookies to perform. "I just want to get as much opportunities for both guys," McCarthy said. "The plan has been the same all through the preseason. It's just you only have four games of opportunities to get those guys as much work and progress. We know it's a process of getting two young quarterbacks ready, so I just want to give them as much work as I can and try to put them in as many different situations as possible.

Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


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