The verdict is in. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been officially declared out for the game between the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. Rodgers hasn't been medically cleared yet to get back on the field after he fractured his collarbone on November 4.
That means that Matt Flynn will be called upon to start for the Packers for the second straight week. Flynn is the third player to start at quarterback for the Packers since Rodgers was injured. Seneca Wallace started one game, while Scott Tolzien started two others.
The results haven't been pretty. The Packers are 0-3-1 in those four games. The Packers were very fortunate to forge the 26-26 overtime tie they had with the Minnesota Vikings in Week 14.
The main reason the Packers were able to come back from a 23-7 deficit was the entrance of Flynn into the game in relief of Tolzien in the third quarter.
Flynn completed 21-of-36 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown in the game. No. 10 also rushed for 24 yards.
After that performance, head coach Mike McCarthy gave Flynn the start at quarterback against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. It didn't turn out well for Flynn or the Packers, as Detroit trounced Green Bay 40-10.
Flynn did not have much time at all to pass in the game, as he was sacked seven times, including once for a safety. Overall, Flynn completed just 10-of-20 passes for 139 yards and an interception.
Still, with Rodgers out with his injury, Flynn gives the Packers their best chance to win, especially at Lambeau Field.
In the last two games he has played in Green Bay, Flynn has thrown seven touchdown passes versus one pick for 698 yards.
Most of those stats came from his performance in the final game of the 2011 season against the Lions. Flynn started in place of Rodgers, who was given the day off by McCarthy to rest for the playoffs.
Bottom line, Flynn appears to be very comfortable playing at The Frozen Tundra, at least based on his recent performances.
Overall in his career as a Packer, Flynn has thrown 10 touchdown passes versus six interceptions for 1,372 yards. That adds up to a 87.0 quarterback rating.
I recently had a chance to talk once again to scout Chris Landry about Flynn on the Steve Duemig show. Landry is one of the best in the business at evaluating players in the NFL and in college. Landry also has ties to LSU, as he was on the coaching staff there in the 1980s.
Flynn also played his college ball at LSU, so Chris is very familiar with him. I asked Chris why Flynn was so much more effective in Green Bay, as opposed to his other stops in the NFL.
He has greater familiarity with that offense. They get the ball out of his hand quicker. And the routes are more conducive. The short and medium routes are more conducive to him having success. He doesn't have a real good arm. So, in other offenses where they try to do more with him, and he has to create and make plays, that's not what he does. In Green Bay's offense, it's the plays, particularly when he's in there. Obviously with Aaron (Rodgers), there's more flexibility and they can branch out that offense more. But that offense is very set to guys getting open and the route concepts are clearly defined when they break it off, and he (Flynn) can use his timing and his accuracy to be more effective.
A good example of that was in the game against the Vikings in Week 12. On the six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jarrett Boykin, Flynn shows the short-passing game skills that Landry alluded to.
Take a look at another angle of that touchdown pass. Boykin was the only player who could have caught the ball. There was no chance of an interception.
Against the Falcons this Sunday, time will tell whether Flynn can recapture his Lambeau Field magic. The 5-6-1 Packers desperately need a win to stay in the NFC North race, as they are a game and a half behind the 7-5 Lions with just four games to play in the season.
If Flynn can play anywhere as effective as he was the last two times he played in Green Bay, the Packers have a good chance of getting their first win since late October.
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