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Back-Up Plan Works for the Packers

When people think of their team’s back-up quarterbacks, they often take them for granted and assume they are good enough, but nothing special. But many back-up quarterbacks turn out to be just as good as or better then the starter they played under.

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Take Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, for example. He was Brett Favre’s back up for many years, and after Favre “retired”… and went to the Jets, Rodgers got his time in the spotlight. Now, just a few years after being named starter, Rodgers is one of the NFL’s premier players.

Another great example of an underrated back up is Steve Young. Young was Joe Montana’s back up on the 49ers for four years in the late 1980s. When Montana went out with an injury, Young got the chance to prove what a phenomenon he was. Many back-up quarterbacks have turned out to be great and have even become superstars once they have emerged.

A great recent example of an underrated back-up quarterback is Green Bay’s Matt Flynn. When the Packers selected Flynn in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL draft (the 209th overall pick) they were expecting to get a decent back-up quarterback, possibly even the third stringer. It is now very clear that Flynn has exceeded those expectations.

After playing sidekick for a couple of years behind Packers star Aaron Rodgers, Flynn made his first start on December 19, 2010 when Rodgers was sidelined with a concussion. He threw for three touchdowns and 254 yards and almost knocked off the heavily favored New England Patriots. Flynn really emerged from hiding on New Year’s Day this year, when Coach Mike McCarthy chose to sit Aaron Rodgers with a playoff spot already clinched. After throwing for a franchise record six touchdowns and 480 yards, completing 31 of 44 passes and leading the Pack to a 45-41 victory over the Lions, many NFL teams put Flynn on their radar.

After this season, Flynn’s contract with the Packers will end and he will become a free agent. Many fans like me are wondering what will happen to him. Has he proved himself ready to be a starter for another team? If so, how much will teams be willing to spend on him? All of this is so far unclear.

But I think the main question is will the Packers want to re-sign him to have a back up incase Rodgers goes down? I believe that after this season (no matter the outcome of the playoffs) the Packers will try their hardest to re-sign Flynn. The market of teams looking into Flynn may be huge, which could be a problem for the Packers. And Flynn might prefer to be a starter.

Every NFL team wants to have a solid back-up quarterback. The Packers clearly have that in Flynn. Many teams have had situations like this before and it looks like we are going to see history repeat itself again. The Indianapolis Colts will take Stanford QB Andrew Luck as the first pick of the 2012 NFL draft. If Peyton Manning is healthy enough to play next year, yet another team will have a solid back-up. And based on the Packers’ success with back-up quarterbacks, this sounds like a very good strategy for Indianapolis.