GREEN BAY – Maybe Matt Flynn will be able to find an opportunity to start elsewhere. But as much as he helped save the Green Bay Packers’ season, that’s no sure thing.
If he doesn’t, the guy who’d be his new quarterbacks coach in Green Bay, Alex Van Pelt, would love to have the unrestricted free agent back as Aaron Rodgers’ backup.
Although the Packers like the potential of Scott Tolzien, who is under contract for 2014 and started two games after injuries to Rodgers and veteran Seneca Wallace, Van Pelt – a former backup quarterback in the NFL himself – really liked what he saw from Flynn, who went 2-2 as the starter and had four fourth-quarter rallies in the five games he played.
Flynn rallied the Packers to a 26-26 tie with Minnesota in relief of Tolzien on Nov. 17; engineered come-from-behind one-point victories over Atlanta on Dec. 8 and Dallas on Dec. 15, and also had a fourth-quarter comeback in a loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 22. He started the season with the Oakland Raiders but was cut Oct. 7, then spent a month with the Buffalo Bills before he was released just in time for the Packers to sign him following Rodgers' collarbone injury.
“I think Matt has a great track record. He's been successful in this system. His understanding of the system is huge,” said Van Pelt, who has shifted from running backs coach to quarterbacks coach following Ben McAdoo’s departure to become the New York Giants’ offensive coordinator last month. “It's very tough to operate as a quarterback in this system with all the flexibility you have to be able to change plays at the line of scrimmage. Having an understanding of the system is huge for him.
“The way he fits in the locker room, especially in the quarterback room. The things he does to get Aaron ready to play on Sundays are little things that are hidden sometimes when you're looking at guys. So I'm excited to hopefully get him back in there.”
Flynn, who said he would be open to returning in a late-season interview, completed 102 of 166 passes (61.4 percent) for 1,146 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions (86.1 passer rating) in four-plus games. His greatest moment came against the Cowboys, the team he’d grown up watching, as he matched the biggest comeback in franchise history by completing 26 of 39 passes for 299 yards with four TDs and one INT (113.1) to keep the Packers’ playoff hopes afloat with a rally from a 26-3 halftime deficit.
Tolzien, meanwhile, was 55 of 90 (61.1 percent) for 717 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions (66.8 rating) and should benefit from an offseason in quarterback school after joining the Packers the week of the regular-season opener after two years in San Francisco.
“I think thought Scott did an exceptional job getting thrown into the mix like he was. He showed some toughness,” Van Pelt said. “His ability to lead in the huddle, things like that – that are once again kind of hidden from everybody else – to see how he conducted himself in an adverse situation was positive. I think he also has a skillset where he could be successful. I'm excited once again to get back in that room and get to talking football."
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