Packers want to keep momentum; backup QB Flynn wants to play

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After receiving his first taste of extended playing time as an NFL quarterback in the Packers' last game, Matt Flynn wants more.

"You can't put a price on it," Flynn said. "Any experience you get, to go in there and run the offense, read defenses, everything like that, it's very valuable."

Another rare opportunity for playing time could come Flynn's way Sunday, when the Packers end the regular season on the road against the Arizona Cardinals. The matchup between the playoff-bound teams could be insignificant, and a rematch in Arizona could happen in the wild-card round.

Still, Packers coach Mike McCarthy reiterated Friday that his approach is to play it like any other regular-season game, win and not compromise the team's second-half surge. They have won six of their last seven games after starting the season 4-4.

"It's important for us to go through the week the way we have," McCarthy said. "We've had a quality week of preparation, and we need to go out there and play with the same energy and intensity and keep the momentum going that we've created here the last seven weeks."

McCarthy believes the probability that the Packers will play their first-round game next Saturday is high, and it very likely will be against the NFC West champion Cardinals. Having potentially a six-day turnaround prompted McCarthy to give his players a break Friday. Rather than have a customary practice, the players went without helmets and did a jog-through review of the game plan for about an hour at the Packers' indoor practice facility.

"I was looking for a day to kind of give the team their legs back (with) rest and recovery built in," McCarthy said.

By kickoff Sunday, McCarthy and his Cardinals counterpart, Ken Whisenhunt, could have reason to rest their players.

A win by the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings over the New York Giants in an early game would lock the opening-round rematch between Green Bay and Arizona. A loss by the Vikings would give the Cardinals a shot at the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye if they beat the Packers, who have little to play for; they can't be higher than the No. 5 seed.

If McCarthy decides to take it easy with the Packers safely in the playoffs, Flynn could receive another call in relief of Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Flynn, a second-year pro from LSU, enjoyed a full fourth quarter of work in Green Bay's 48-10 rout of Seattle last Sunday.

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"Just being able to get experience, experience makes you better," Flynn said. "It definitely does, especially a live situation like that."

Flynn's three previous appearances at quarterback this season came in mop-up duty in lopsided games. Although the Packers were ahead 38-3 when Flynn checked in against the Seahawks, he had a chance to experience success running the offense.

Flynn led Green Bay on two scoring drives and made a couple of clutch plays, converting a third-and-12 with a 17-yard pass to Jordy Nelson, leading to a Mason Crosby field goal. On the Packers' next possession, a deep pass from Flynn to Nelson drew a pass-interference penalty, setting up a 6-yard touchdown run by Ahman Green.

"He's our No. 2 quarterback, and we expect the No. 2 to be able to continue with the game plan and the volume of the game plan and the ability to go challenge the opponent's defense," McCarthy said.

Flynn completed 4 of 6 passes for 36 yards in the game, his first significant action since he threw four touchdown passes to lead LSU to the BCS national championship on Jan. 7, 2008.

"It's plays I run in practice all the time, but to run them in a game and do it in a non-preseason game, a real game, cold weather, it was fun," Flynn said of last Sunday's experience. "I'm going to try to build off it."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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