Matt LaFleur will have an eye on everything Thursday

Packers’ backup QB battle ‘extremely close’ heading into preseason finale

Quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy and Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy and Head Coach Matt LaFleur

GREEN BAY – Matt LaFleur wants to get a big-picture look at his football team before final roster decisions are made and the real games begin.

To do so, the Packers head coach is handing off play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy for Thursday's preseason finale against Kansas City at Lambeau Field, and he'll be observing the larger operation he's spent all spring and summer building.

"It will give me a chance to really listen in and see how the communication's flowing through all channels," LaFleur said following Tuesday's final practice of training camp. He added the communication he'll be monitoring will be between players and coaches, as well as amongst one another.

"Then also when you're watching the game, it gives you a little bit more of a chance to worry less about scheme and look at … are these guys playing with the energy that we're looking for, fast and furious?"

For a head coach to step back from play-calling duties at some point in the preseason is common practice. Mike McCarthy often did so in the final game. LaFleur said he called plays in two preseason games in Los Angeles for Sean McVay two years ago.

LaFleur has chosen Getsy rather than offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to call the plays because Hackett has done it before, whereas it'll be a new and valuable experience for Getsy. He also said Hackett and Getsy have been calling the plays in practice the past couple of days already.

It's Getsy's charges who will be in the spotlight as it is, with a decision coming over the weekend as to how many QBs the Packers will keep, and whether DeShone Kizer or Tim Boyle will be the top backup to Aaron Rodgers.

Boyle made a strong case for the job last Thursday in Winnipeg, getting the start and directing the Packers' No. 2 offense to three consecutive touchdown drives in the second quarter, albeit on a shortened field. Still, it was the most productive single performance by any of the backup QBs this month.

With all the regular starters expected to rest up for Week 1, LaFleur hasn't said which QB will start against the Chiefs, but he termed the competition between Kizer and Boyle "extremely close," and he's looking for a measure of consistency as the preseason wraps up.

"Getting all 11 on the same page (is key) because there's been really good moments and then there's been some times where somebody doesn't know what they're doing, and you come to find out that maybe the play call doesn't come out as clean as it needed to be," LaFleur said. "Consistent quarterback play, that's all that we're looking for."

Kizer has led the offense to one touchdown and one field goal through his three preseason appearances, and the third-year pro and former second-round draft pick recognizes plenty is at stake in Thursday's finale.

"This is the first year I'm required to go out there and try to earn a position within that fourth game. That's the obvious elephant in the room," Kizer said. "But with that being said, it's about making sure I look at those reps the same way I looked at Day 1 reps in training camp.

"(It's) just making sure I can accurately portray exactly who I am, that I can really show the confidence I've been able to gain this training camp, and put some points on the board."

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