Matt Flynn exited Saturday's preseason victory with an injured throwing shoulder but it certainly didn't hurt his prospects of remaining the primary backup to starter Aaron Rodgers.
Brian Brohm, not Flynn, was the quarterback who replaced Rodgers after Rodgers led the offense to three touchdowns in four possessions to jump-start a 31-21 victory over Buffalo at Lambeau Field. Brohm played the final 9 minutes of the second quarter, then replaced the ailing Flynn for the final 8 minutes of the game. The results left plenty to be desired, with Brohm completing 12-of-19 passes for 83 yards with one interception. However, Brohm did lead the Packers on a 75-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter. It's the first touchdown drive for Brohm in six career preseason games.
"The production part of it, he didn't have the production you're looking for until the last drive," coach Mike McCarthy said of Brohm. "I thought it was big for him to go out there and lead that. He did a good job with a couple of the run-game adjustments as far as which side to run the ball and also throwing the quick slant."
As was the case last week against Cleveland, Brohm was plagued by indecision and a poor feel for the pass rush. On his first play of the game, Brohm threw right into a blitz and the pass was deflected. On his second drive, he either overthrew Jordy Nelson or made a horrible read to Ruvell Martin. Either way, it resulted in Brohm's third interception of the preseason.
In the third quarter, Brohm almost was intercepted again as he failed to move out of the way as right tackle Allen Barbre was bull-rushed by Copeland Bryan. p> In four possessions spanning the second and third quarters, Brohm led the offense to four first downs and 87 yards. Thirty-four of those yards came on one pass interference penalty on a deep pass that was slightly underthrown to James Jones.
Flynn, who played well against Cleveland last week, took over the offense late in the third quarter. He failed to move the ball for a first down, through no fault of his own. His first pass came on third-and-9, when left tackle Tony Moll was whipped. On the next possession, Flynn completed a 13-yard pass to Kole Heckendorf, but on the next play, Bryan blew past right tackle Breno Giacomini. Bryan got to Flynn just before he was ready to throw, resulting in a fumble and Flynn's sprained shoulder. Flynn finished the drive – and his night -- by handing the ball twice to Kregg Lumpkin.
"Yeah it is, it's very frustrating," said Flynn, who thought he could have returned to the game and is optimistic he'll be able to practice on Monday. "Every rep you get is precious. I'm pretty frustrated to be taken out, but that's the way it is."
Given a second chance, Brohm capitalized. He connected on slants to JaRon Harris for 15 yards, Heckendorf for 9 yards and Heckendorf for 8 yards. Tyrell Sutton added a pair of 10-yard runs before scoring a 3-yard touchdown to make it 31-14.
That Brohm was the No. 2 quarterback on Saturday was a surprise. Flynn thoroughly outplayed Brohm against Cleveland and has had the upper hand throughout training camp. Brohm, a second-round pick last year, had a horrendous training camp as a rookie and, given quality personnel as a supporting cast against the Bills, failed to do anything to quell what must be growing doubts within the organization.
"Well, they're competing for a position," McCarthy said when asked why Brohm was the No. 2 quarterback. "We've been splitting the reps all training camp. We wanted to get a good look at Brian. I thought he had some good opportunities tonight that really didn't present (themselves) last week. Now we feel that we have some quality film on both of those guys and we'll keep evaluating."
That quality film will continue to show that they got a seventh-round steal in Flynn and a second-round disappointment in Brohm.
If the Packers ultimately wind up going in another direction, there aren't many veteran quarterbacks available. J.P. Losman - a former first-round pick by Buffalo - recently signed with the UFL. Journeymen Gus Frerotte and Brian Griese are available, too. Perhaps the best bet would be in, of all places, Minnesota, where the Vikings will have to part ways with Sage Rosenfels, Tarvaris Jackson or John David Booty at some point after signing Brett Favre.
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.