The choice between Ty Detmer or Mark Brunell is shaping up as Green Bay Packers' coach Mike Holmgren's most difficult decision of the preseason.
Which of the two backup quarterbacks will assume the spot immediately behind starter Brett Favre on the Packers' depth chart?"Our plan is to try and make an intelligent decision regarding Mark and Ty based on the preseason," Holmgren said. "I suspect that even after the preseason, nothing much will change in my mind. They both can play. They're very close to one another. It will be a tough call."
Holmgren called the decision a no-win situation.
"However we do that, too much emphasis will be put on it, in my opinion, because they are very close."
The results of a scrimmage on Sunday did little to resolve the issue. Detmer, 26, the former Heisman Trophy winner from Brigham Young, completed 10 of 13 for 189 yards and three touchdowns. Brunell, 23, lefthander from the University of Washington, completed nine of 15 for 135 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception - a ball that caromed off tight end Willie Felton's hands.
Quarterbacks coach Steve Mariucci thought it was a draw.
Detmer and Brunell seemed comfortable directing the offense, avoided the rush when possible (each was sacked twice) and delivered the ball to receivers with zip and accuracy.
Factor in Favre's performance (12 for 18, 174 yards, two touchdowns) and it was a long day for the secondary.
Brunell's personal highlights included a nine-yard scramble, a perfect screen pass to Dorsey Levens, who carried the ball 43 yards for a touchdown, and a 14-yard scoring strike to Willie Harris. Detmer's day featured a 60-yard scoring strike to rookie Jay Kearney and a 10-yard touchdown pass to Robert Brooks.
The most memorable play of the quarterback's derby, though, may have been Detmer's 11-yard scoring pass to tight end Jeff Wilner. Detmer rolled to his left, avoiding the rush of end Sean Jones and a pair of linebackers, waited and delivered the ball perfectly to Wilner in the end zone.
"That was a heck of an improvise," Mariucci said. "Ty made a big play. Ty got some good work. He worked with our ones (first team), and our twos (second) and our threes (third) today, whereas Mark only worked with the twos and threes. He didn't have a chance to work with our ones.
"We'll get him a chance to do that, either in practice or exhibition games."
Said Holmgren: "If they didn't have that rule where the third quarterback, once he enters the game, the other two guys can't play. If that rule didn't exist, it would be like I have two seconds.
"But, it is. So it becomes a bigger deal."
Holmgren was asked if he would consider alternating his backups - activating one for one week and the other the next.
"I could do that, I suppose. I don't know what that would do. Certainly they were both capable. Again, I don't have to make that decision for a few weeks."