The Green Bay Packers haven’t kept three quarterbacks on the roster coming out of training camp since 2008, the last season the NFL required teams to carry at least three.
“I think they’re both playing well and it is close,” starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think they have made the No. 2 decision difficult and also keeping three quarterbacks difficult.”
Going into Friday night’s preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field, Tolzien has moved the offense for 299 yards, six points and 16 first downs eight series. Flynn has taken the team 199 yards for 18 points and 12 first downs in eight series.
“It’s neck and neck,” quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said. “You look at rep count, completion percentage, explosive gains, they’re both having solid camps.
“We’d love to have them both, obviously, but that’s a tough question that I couldn’t answer.”
Flynn found his way back to Green Bay last year after Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone.
Flynn signed with the Seattle Seahawks as a free agent after the 2011 season, but couldn’t beat out rookie Russell Wilson in training camp. After a year as the backup in Seattle, Flynn was traded to the Oakland Raiders.
But he lost out in training camp again, this time to Terrelle Pryor, and was released after starting one game for the Raiders last year. He was briefly with the Buffalo Bills, where he never played before being released, and then came back to the Packers after Rodgers and backup Seneca Wallace went down with injuries.
Flynn ended up starting four games for Green Bay before Rodgers returned, leading the team to a 2-2 record while completing 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,146 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions.
Tolzien was signed to the practice squad last September after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers and was moved to the active roster when Rodgers was hurt.
He started two games and relieved in a third (the Packers were 0-1-1 in his two starts), completing 61.1 percent of his throws for 717 yards and a touchdown. But he was picked off five times.
It was his first regular-season action in his three-year career; he spent two years on the 49ers’ roster without ever playing.
There are three potential NFC contenders with fragile backup situations:
- San Francisco’s Blaine Gabbert has been terrible this preseason and behind him are unproven Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
- Detroit let Shaun Hill walk and are looking at either Dan Orlovsky or Kellen Moore. Orlovsky’s teams are 2-10 in 12 career starts—including 0-7 for the infamous winless 2008 Lions—and Moore has never taken a snap in a regular-season game in two years with Detroit.
- Chicago’s backup competition features Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer, neither of whom has played in a regular-season game since 2010, and rookie David Fales. Palmer has never started a game and has 15 career attempts.
Those are three teams the Packers would hate to see get better by adding the loser of the Flynn-Tolzien battle for No. 2 quarterback in Packerland.