GREEN BAY – The 2019 season was special to Tim Boyle for several reasons.
For starters, it was the first year the former undrafted free agent served as primary backup to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, winning the No. 2 job after fashioning a 112.9 passer rating during four preseason appearances.
Once the regular season began, Boyle went from dressing in only one game during his rookie season to being active in all 18 games (including playoffs). He made his NFL debut against Oakland in Week 7 and completed his first NFL pass a month later against San Francisco.
More than anything, however, what the 6-foot-4, 232-pound quarterback will remember the most from his second NFL season is the camaraderie in both Green Bay's locker room and QB room, with Rodgers and practice-squad QB Manny Wilkins.
"This year was one of my most fun years I've ever had playing football," Boyle said. "That has to do with Aaron and Manny and the three coaches in there. Obviously, the team contributed to that, but just the conversations and the laughs that we had in that quarterback room will last forever."
For all the playful banter among the QBs, Boyle feels his time spent with Rodgers has made him "more well-rounded," as both a quarterback and a professional athlete.
He saw more snaps in practice, and worked hand-in-hand with Rodgers and position coach Luke Getsy in putting together scouting reports and relaying what he sees on tape.
The biggest shift in responsibilities came on game days. As a rookie, Boyle was trying to process everything that was going on. This year, he was more engaged on the sidelines, presenting any information and ideas he had to Rodgers and Getsy.
"You feel like you're more invested in what's going on," said Boyle of the No. 2 job. "This year, I definitely felt like I took a step in the right direction. Understanding conceptually what they're looking for here. I understand this offense super-well now with it being (installed)."
Despite an up-and-down college career split between UConn and Eastern Kentucky, Boyle's prototypical size and arm strength made him an attractive rookie free agent to Green Bay after the 2018 NFL Draft.
Boyle has earned praise from Rodgers and others in the Packers’ contingent for how he's performed since making the leap to the NFL. Entering his third professional offseason, Boyle's small taste of NFL action in 2019 has him more motivated than ever before to take his game to another level in 2020.
A native of Connecticut, Boyle is training this offseason in New York City, where both his sisters live. Knowing how quickly life can change in the NFL, Boyle aims to maximize these next three months before returning for April's offseason program.
"This is going to be another important offseason for me. Nothing is set in stone, especially in the NFL," Boyle said. "Living around New York City, it'll be nice to be semi-close to family so I'll be able to see them. I don't have that many vacations planned. It's going to be a nose-down offseason and make sure I'm grinding away."
Going from 6-9-1 to 13-3 was quite an experience for Boyle, who hadn't been part of a winning season since his high school years. More than any records, however, what made 2019 special was the bond in the locker room that coincided with the biggest one-year turnaround in franchise history.
"It's a brotherhood. I know a lot of teams say that but we genuinely cared about each other," Boyle said. "Marcedes (Lewis) said a quote earlier in the year – 'Don't hate the guy across from you, love the guy next to you.' I think we had that in this locker room. We cared about each other. We wanted to see each other succeed."