If Rodgers falls, Flynn's in

The Baltimore Sun

Now that Green Bay is Brett Favre-free and Aaron Rodgers is entrenched as the starting quarterback - at least for this week - who is the Packers' next in line? That would be Matt Flynn, the seventh-round pick out of LSU, who beat out Brian Brohm, a second-round pick from Louisville, for the backup job.

The Packers passed on Chad Henne (No. 2 in Miami) to take Brohm with the 56th pick, but Brohm had trouble with the speed of the game and his accuracy during camp. Although Flynn doesn't have a strong arm, he was more decisive and threw the ball better. So if Rodgers goes down against the Minnesota Vikings tomorrow night, the Packers will ride a seventh-rounder.

Around the league

When Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt gave the Cardinals' quarterback job to 37-year-old Kurt Warner, it raised new questions about the maturity level of 25-year-old Matt Leinart, a first-round pick in 2006. But Warner, a two-time Most Valuable Player, threw for 27 touchdowns and almost 3,500 yards last season in just 11 games as a starter. Don't call Leinart a bust just yet. ... Given a rash of injuries, the Cleveland Browns' first-team offense was on the field together for all of nine plays in the preseason. ... Tennessee Titans second-year safety Michael Griffin was kicked off the practice field last week after a dust-up with cornerback Cary Williams. Last year as a rookie, Griffin fought with teammate LeVar Woods and had to be restrained.

Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger was sacked 93 times the previous two years. This season, the Steelers made two changes in the offensive line: Chris Kemoeatu replaces Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca and Carolina castoff Justin Hartwig moves in at center. ... Former Maryland running back Lance Ball was the St. Louis Rams' leading rusher in the preseason, but he still wound up on the practice squad. ... The Rams' roster does feature "Mr. Irrelevant," linebacker David Vobora of Idaho, the last player selected in the draft. Vobora is the first "Mr. Irrelevant" to make a club out of training camp since 2000.

The jury is in on the Chicago Bears' 2007 draft: It wasn't so hot. The Bears cut defensive end Dan Bazuin (second round) and linebacker Michael Okwo (third round) this summer. By taking Bazuin, they passed on left guard Justin Blalock and left tackle Tony Ugoh, starters in Atlanta and Indianapolis last season, at positions of need. ... It's hand-wringing time in Tampa Bay, where kicker Matt Bryant missed five field-goal tries in four preseason games, including from distances of 36 (twice) and 23 yards. That prompted coach Jon Gruden to say: "I've been through this. And I don't want to point fingers, but it was very, very painful." He was speaking of a two-year slump (18 misses) by Martin Gramatica that ended with Gramatica's release. ... Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday is taking the Shawne Merriman approach. Like Merriman, who will play for the San Diego Chargers this year with two torn knee ligaments, Saturday has eschewed surgery for his torn knee ligament. Rookie Jamey Richard will likely fill in during Saturday's six-week rehabilitation.

Stat of the week

How important is opening day? You be the judge. Nine of the 12 playoff teams won on opening day a year ago. The three that didn't were the Bucs, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants, who, by the way, went on to win the Super Bowl.

Compiled from Sun news services and other NFL beat writers.

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