Quarterback decisions still to come for Packers

Preseason ends with victory, roster moves on the horizon

QBs DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle
QBs DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle

GREEN BAY – There's been no decision made, yet.

Head Coach Matt LaFleur didn't announce after Thursday's preseason finale who would be the Packers' backup quarterback in 2019.

Truth be told, the 27-20 victory over the Chiefs at Lambeau Field didn't seem to decide anything. Between DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle, Kizer had the better performance on this night, putting together a two-minute drive at the end of the first half for a touchdown, one week after Boyle had the most productive outing by any Packers backup QB in several years.

It isn't even clear if the Packers are keeping two or three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, which they must select by 3 p.m. CT Saturday. But somebody will be the next man up at the most important position behind Aaron Rodgers heading into full-on preparation for the Bears in Week 1, and the auditions are now closed.

"That's still …," LaFleur said, pausing without saying something like "to be determined."

"We'll take a look at the tape and come to that conclusion here in the next two days when we have to."

Through a preseason in which Rodgers did not take a snap, Boyle put up the better numbers. He finished the four August games 34-of-57 for 356 yards with six touchdowns, no interceptions and a 112.9 passer rating. Kizer was 25-of-45 for 273 yards with two TDs and two INTs for a 70.0 rating, his second interception coming Thursday when it appeared receiver J'Mon Moore stopped running on a crossing route.

Protection was an issue for both QBs in this game, as they were sacked a combined three times and under duress in other moments. There's more to the decision than just the stats, and it's possible both will make the 53 and the competition will continue into the regular-season practices.

That's what LaFleur indicated is happening at left guard, where he named veteran Lane Taylor the starter over rookie second-round pick Elgton Jenkins for Week 1 without declaring the competition over as it relates to the full season.

Neither guard played in either of the last two preseason games, so that decision came down to practice reps and Taylor's veteran status.

"I just think it's a comfort factor, you've got an experienced player," LaFleur said. "I think Elgton is a guy that's got a lot to learn, but I think there's a lot to like about Elgton. I think he's got a bright future."

The future of several roster hopefuls hangs in the balance over the next day and a half after a summer finale that featured turnovers on both sides setting up points.

Rookie linebacker Ty Summers capped an eventful preseason with a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown, snagging Kyle Shurmur's floating pass that resulted from fellow rookie linebacker Markus Jones' big hit.

A Chiefs fumble recovered by Jones then gave the Packers a short field and Boyle found rookie tight end Jace Sternberger, making his preseason debut after missing the first three contests due to injury, for a 2-yard TD.

Kizer's interception set up an easy score for the Chiefs, and then receiver Darrius Shepherd's fumbled kickoff return gave Kansas City a tying field goal late in the third quarter, sending the game to the fourth even at 20.

Green Bay closed its preseason out with a matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field.

No. 4 quarterback Manny Wilkins then directed the game-winning scoring drive, a 10-play, 73-yard march highlighted by Wilkins' own 12-yard scramble in the red zone that saw him hurdle a defender at full speed.

"He made him miss – that was a heck of a play by Manny," LaFleur said when asked about the danger of the maneuver for a QB. "You'd better make the guy miss if you're going to do that."

Rookie running back Dexter Williams capped the drive with a 3-yard TD run, giving him a team-high nine carries for 34 yards as his battle for the No. 3 running back job with Tra Carson (six carries, 25 yards) concluded with both players flashing production, as they have all preseason.

LaFleur complimented quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy on the pace of his play-calling, duty he took over at LaFleur's request so the head coach could take a more wide-angle view of his team in the finale. He listened in on a lot of the defensive communication.

Due in part to severely limiting the snaps his primary starters took in the preseason, LaFleur got the Packers through training camp as healthy as they could ask for heading into Week 1. Aside from some uncertainty at inside linebacker (injuries to Oren Burks and Curtis Bolton) and possibly cornerback (Kevin King), the Packers have whom they're rolling with in Chicago next week.

"Until you get out in the regular season, you never truly quite know, but I think we feel good about the preparation, the work that we put in," LaFleur said. "I think our guys have come together. I think they really understand what is being asked of them, the expectations."

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