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Matt Flynn wants to start, but has to wait for word

Posted Nov 25, 2013

First Detroit game gave quarterback reference point in Green Bay return

GREEN BAY—If either of the Packers’ two healthy quarterbacks has been told who’s starting on Thanksgiving in Detroit, neither was letting on Monday.

“I don’t know,” said Matt Flynn, who relieved Scott Tolzien on Sunday and led the Packers back from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to an eventual overtime tie.

“I would like to start. I definitely want to. But that’s not my decision to make.”

The decision is Mike McCarthy’s, and while he pegged Aaron Rodgers’ chances as “slim to none” on Monday, he did not name Flynn or Tolzien the starter in Rodgers’ place.

Both young quarterbacks said they would prepare to start and see what happens.

Flynn was able to draw on his four years of experience in McCarthy’s offense – more so than his eight practice snaps with the No. 1 unit over the past two weeks – when he got thrown into the fire on Sunday.

He passed for 218 yards and led the Packers to two touchdowns and two field goals in a span of five possessions through the fourth quarter and early stages of overtime to give the team a chance at an improbable win.

“I felt comfortable,” Flynn said. “This is a familiar place to me. I’ve always felt like in the NFL, this is my first home.

“It’s definitely very comfortable, the same coaches, a lot of the same players, and for the most part the same playbook.”

Flynn said he’ll take the blame for the three false start penalties that occurred in overtime, believing his different cadence was throwing off the linemen’s timing.

He had to get his own timing under control first, and for that he thought back to his first regular-season action, at Detroit in 2010, when he came off the bench for a concussed Rodgers and struggled in a 7-3 loss.

When he first entered the game on Sunday, Flynn felt he was rushing his footwork, the same thing he realized he had done three years ago in Detroit after watching the film. He viewed that film countless times before his first start the following week in New England, and on Sunday, he put the lesson to work early on.

“I had to take a step back and say, ‘Just take a breath. Get out there, relax, play like in practice, make your reads,’” Flynn said. “I’m thankful for that Detroit game. It taught me a lot about what not to do, internally.”

Flynn has better memories of his other Detroit game, of course, when he set franchise records with 480 yards and six touchdowns at Lambeau Field in the 2011 regular-season finale.

Tolzien hasn’t enjoyed a day like that, yet, though he appeared possibly on his way after a scrambling, spinning 6-yard TD run capped an 87-yard drive in the first quarter on Sunday.

In what he called a “roller-coaster game,” though, Tolzien failed to generate points on any of the next five possessions and was pulled in favor of Flynn. He had thrown five interceptions in the previous two games but said he wasn’t playing overly cautious.

“That’s maybe something I had a focus on going into the game, but I wouldn’t say it hindered myself or our offense at any point,” he said. “I thought we simply didn’t get enough first downs, move the ball and score.”

More upsetting to him were some inaccurate throws that led to a 7-for-17 passing day through two-plus quarters.

“It was super-disappointing,” Tolzien said. “I’ve always felt like I’m an accurate quarterback. I don’t know what the final stat line was, but it wasn’t 50 percent. That’s bad. I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it. I’m going to learn from it and keep pressing to try to get better.”

Additional coverage - Nov. 25

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