The following is the first installment in a series of stories that’ll examine the Packers’ roster position by position. The series begins with the quarterbacks.
GREEN BAY—What a difference a year makes.
Last year at this time, the Packers were planning to have either Graham Harrell or B.J. Coleman back up
Those plans were ultimately scrapped. In what became an increasingly difficult search for Rodgers’ insurance policy, Vince Young was signed prior to the first preseason game and eventually released after a brief trial, while Harrell and Coleman also were let go.
The Packers signed Seneca Wallace and
The entire ordeal, which included a winless month without Rodgers, taught the Packers a lesson they won’t soon forget: The backup quarterback position cannot be shortchanged, either in terms of personnel or preparation.
That said, the Packers are beginning 2014 at quarterback in essentially the same place they left off, with the veteran Flynn and the developing Tolzien behind Rodgers, and the two could stage a rather intriguing battle for the No. 2 spot in the preseason. Undrafted rookie
Flynn’s knowledge of McCarthy’s offense is one of his best assets, allowing him to step in just 12 days after he arrived in Green Bay last season to bring the Packers back from 16 points down in the fourth quarter against the Vikings to an eventual overtime stalemate. His grit and cool under pressure certainly helped, too, in second-half comebacks against Atlanta and Dallas in December.
Tolzien has an NFL arm, which he showed in completing a handful of deep balls at MetLife Stadium against the Giants last season in his first NFL start. The occasional bad decision or read cost Tolzien, though, as he threw three interceptions in that game following two costly picks against the Eagles the previous week.
Given Flynn’s experience and Rettig’s lack of it, it’s likely Tolzien will take the lion’s share of the snaps in the preseason games. He’ll be out to show consistency and ball security, two qualities that eluded him last November.
How that competition between Flynn and Tolzien shakes out will likely determine whether the Packers keep two or three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster. Rettig will be looking for his chance, too, even if it’s just to land a practice-squad spot. As expected, his reps were very limited in OTAs, though he turned in a promising final minicamp workout when Rodgers and Flynn took the day off.
In playing eight games plus one series, Rodgers threw for more than 2,500 yards and completed nearly 200 passes in 2013. A 400-completion, 5,000-yard season – neither of which has been achieved in Packers history – wasn’t out of the question.
That the Packers are now in better shape behind Rodgers at the quarterback position is without question, either.