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Packers by Position Offseason Preview: Quarterbacks

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Packers by Position Offseason Preview: Quarterbacks

Over the course of the next several days Cheesehead TV will have a brief position-by-position offseason preview, taking a look at what's in store for free agency and the NFL Draft for the Green Bay Packers...

Overview

In one of the most scathing criticisms of Aaron Rodgers in quite some time, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this weekend took umbrage with the air of complacency at 1265 Lombardi Ave.

Although the critique went above and beyond the Packers quarterback, McGinn specifically found fault with Rodgers' merely average play in the team's past three postseason losses. At a time of year when leaders are expected to elevate their level of play, Rodgers has been ordinary.

As the Packers enter the offseason, it will be up to Rodgers to stay hungry, internally motivated as well as spark the desire to raise the level of play of those around him.

Regardless, Rodgers is the Packers' starting quarterback now and for the forseeable future. The focus of the Packers organization in the offseason will not to make the same mistake they did last offseason in trying to identify a backup quarterback.

In hindsight, the Packers foolishly placed too much confidence in the development of Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman, and when they didn't pan out, the franchise metaphorically threw a Hail Mary, praying Vince Young could direct Mike McCarthy's version of a West Coast offense.

All other options exhausted, the season started and the Packers signed Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien, hoping Rodgers would just stay healthy and they wouldn't have to rely on backups.

As we now know, Rodgers didn't stay healthy and it took a mid-season signing of Matt Flynn to help the Packers stay afloat.

Both Wallace and Flynn were signed to just one-year contracts, and the Packers enter an offseason of uncertainty behind Rodgers.

There's hope that Tolzien could be the answer, under contract for 2014. While lacking experience and refined skills, the former Wisconsin product showed surprising arm strength and touch on his deep passes, perhaps hinting that he could become a capable NFL backup.

McCarthy despises the lack of contact he has with his players in the offseason due to the latest NFL collective bargaining agreement, but he'll make the most of every minute with Tolzien as part of his famed "quarterback school."

Free Agency Outlook

Matt Flynn––Don't expect the Packers to make a decision on Flynn until after the NFL draft at the earliest. If by chance he signs with another team, they won't necessarily be disappointed with a compensatory draft choice in return.

After the draft, the Packers will assess where they are at the position. If they happen to draft a quarterback in the mid rounds, they might just roll with Tolzien and a rookie. But if they don't draft one, or take one late in the draft, Flynn might be brought back to compete for a backup job once again.

Whatever happens, the Packers aren't about to get in a bidding war for Flynn's services.

Seneca Wallace––The Packers might feel comfortable that they could sign Wallace at mid-season if another unfortunate rash of injuries once again ravages the quarterback position, but that might be the only way he comes back to Green Bay.

Signing Flynn would be the priority before even considering Wallace.

NFL Draft Outlook

The Packers would probably like to add a quarterback in the draft. The question is, how high can they afford to draft one?

There's plenty of needs and holes on the team, particularly on the defensive side of the football. And in a perfect world, they won't need a backup quarterback to play a single meaningful snap for not only 2014, but the next several years.

There's no such thing as a perfect world, however. The Packers rudely found out in 2013 that they need a better Plan B.

Obviously there are no guarantees, but it wouldn't be surprising if the Packers drafted a quarterback as high as the third round if there's a player still available they find desirable.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (29) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RC Packer Fan's picture

For me ideally they resign Flynn and go into the offseason with Flynn and Tolzien as backups.

Flynn proved he can win games if counted upon. Tolzien I think could win some games but he needs more time in the Packers offense. He has an NFL caliber arm and he is a very smart QB. He just needs more experience.

If they were to lose Flynn, I would like to see them draft a QB in the middle rounds. 4th-5th maybe pending on who is available.
IF they were to draft a QB, I would like to see them draft a more athletic/mobile type of QB. A guy that could be a dual threat. I like the idea of having a more running QB as a backup because if all else fails he could use his legs to get yards.

A few guys that I would consider in the middle rounds would be Logan Thomas, James Franklin, Keith Price.
Another guy who doesn't fit the athletic/mobile/running QB that would intrigue me in the middle rounds is AJ McCarren.

Point Packer's picture

I agree, but Flynn may demand a price-tag to rich for a team with a slurry of other high priority FA's. Then again, it appears Green Bay brings out the best in him. Who knows. If we don't sign Flynn, we need to either sign another veteran back-up (unlikely) or use a mid to late round draft pick and gamble that Turdzien can perform if called into duty.

Or #12 can just stay healthy and whatever happens to Green Bay's back-up QB position in the offseason, doesn't really matter. Kind of like the previous 21 years sans 2013.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, my hope is that the ladder happens. Face it. This team lives and dies with #12.

But I think we will be a lot more prepared this offseason then we were last offseason.
If they can't resign Flynn I do expect them to draft a QB.

mark's picture

Had mixed feelings on McGinn's piece. Aside from a slow start (terrible 1st quarter) against the 49ers (3 run plays on first series), I thought Rodgers played excellent. His throws were crisp, decisions were generally great. Team moved the ball.

Re the backup, and the team going 2-5-1, how many games would the Patriots win with Ryan Mallet or Denver with Brock Osweiler? I think there is validity to the criticism that Seneca was never a good second option and the team could have and should have brought in Flynn a week sooner. But the idea that the Packers would not suffer setbacks without Rodgers (and Cobb, Matthews, Finley, etc) is just not reality.

I hope we get Flynn and/or Tolzien in relief next year. Both should be affordable, and having a capable back up needs to be a priority.

But to suggest things are getting complacent? I take exception to that. We were close as close can get against those 49ers--potentially one Micah Hyde pick, or any other number of plays, away from a very winable game in Carolina. This team could easily be preparing for Seattle and a trip to the Super Bowl. So let's not lose sight of who we are and where we are.

Draft and develop and let others worry about overpaying for FAs. Next year we can expect more (and better) contributions from Bulaga, Sherrod, Perry, Cobb, Rodgers, Matthews, Tretter, Franklin, Worthy, Hyde, Mulumba and others. Guys will get healthy. Guys will get better. And we'll probably have another great draft.

Chill out, Bob McGinn.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Tolzien is under contract through 2014.

I pretty much agree with everything you said. I think they have 2-5 needs pending on free agency.

ILB, S are the top 2. If they don't sign Shields then CB will be higher, and pending on who they sign back on DL they may need another DT.
Offensively I think they need a good TE.

alasconsin's picture

Keep in mind, the top 2 teams in the NFC have star QBs on rookie contracts along with other stars on both sides of the ball that will have to be paid. There is more than one type of window.

Go Pack!

Derek in CO's picture

I try to re-sign Flynn on the cheep. Other teams in the league know he sucked everywhere he went but here, so that helps us. Don't think there's too much of a market for him. But they need to think about drafting someone in the next few years.

Phatgzus's picture

Flynn never received a fair shake as a starter: Russel Eileon started the 1st game in Seattle and never looked back; Flynn started 1 game behind a terrible OL in OAK and that was it. Given a solid OL Flynn could be a starter for some teams (a la mode Ryan Fitzpatrick). Hopefully there isn't a team out there willing to take that risk.

I bleed Green More's picture

I can not even imagine they would think of Wallace any longer.

TommyG's picture

You're right: Wallace will not wear a Packers uniform next season.

Point Packer's picture

Agreed. I'd be surprised.

TommyG's picture

If Flynn will sign for the vet's minimum again, go ahead and hold on to him for another season. Keep Tolzien learning and go into the season with three QBs on the roster. If Flynn gets offered bigger money by someone (Cleveland, I'm looking at you), then go ahead and find a dual threat QB in the later rounds. That would keep Tolzien as the #2. Or something similar to all this would be fine too, just not the fiasco that was last year. Holy heck, let's never go through that again.

Aeric's picture

I love your work Brian. I can't imagine another team getting in a "bidding war" with the Packers for the services of Matt Flynn. Three other teams tried him and he couldn't even make their rosters!

4thand1's picture

*pay*

4thand1's picture

I would not pat Fylnn more than the league minimum. He's a good back up, that's it.

4thand1's picture

I looked as drunk as mundumbdane when I typed this,lol

4thand1's picture

Sign Tony Romo.

Hank Scorpio's picture

At the very least, Tolzien is better than Graham Harrell. So even if Flynn does go somewhere else, they are ahead of where they were at this time in 2013.

But I'd really like to have Flynn back for cheap. I'm hopeful the flame outs in Sea, Oak and Buff sway other teams more than his decent play in December.

4thand1's picture

If he learns to quit starring down receivers and strengthen his throwing arm, he could step up. Never heard anything much about his elbow when he got to GB. Talking about Flynn.

cLowNEY42's picture

What's scary about the McGinn article is that he was right when he stated that Rodgers has been outplayed once by Manning and twice by Kaepernick.

That means teams with less $ invested in their qb can take that extra cash and fill the rest of their rosters with playmakers. Then this lesser paid qb still goes and outplays or 100 million dollar man.

That sucks.

If Rodgers' playoff performances don't start improving... that contract is gonna kill any chance at postseason success.

In the case of the 49'ers... their qb (who made less than a million bucks this year) AGAIN outplayed ours (who made like $20 mil.).

Sumptin' ain't right, there.

4thand1's picture

Again you're so wrong. You're blaming Rodgers for all the dropped passes in the Giants game? Rodgers QB rating was higher than Kaepernicks last game. Also CK threw one pick and had we a secondary besides TW would have picked off 2 more. I win again.

cLowNEY42's picture

When the price tags are so far apart the difference in performance should not even be debatable.

177 and 1 just isn't enough considering the contract..

BradHTX's picture

Cow, massive FAIL on your part here. We expect pessimism from you, but usually it's at least backed up by solid logic.

Yes, you are right, we all wish Rodgers had played a better game against SF. And he would have if the, what, first three possessions? ...hadn't all been run plays called (whether by MM or him, I don't know). To say nothing of several bad drops by the WRs.

CK had a great game against GB. What did he do again CAR last week? 196-1, almost exactly what Rodgers had against SF. How great a game do you think Rodgers would have had against his own team's crappy defense? It isn't a fair stat comparison.

And neither is the salary comparison, since Rodgers is on his post-payout contract and CK is on his rookie contract.

Even elite QBs have bad games against elite defenses. And I don't believe CK is an elite QB -- our defense just makes him look elite every damned time we play him.

The TKstinator's picture

It's because of the maturity of the contracts. Kaepernick is on his rookie deal. Let's see what he gets for his next one.
But in the meantime, yes, the discrepancy in $ sucks.
Kinda reminds me of baseball.

larry valdes's picture

Definitely need to sign flynn and bring a drafted qb to compete with tolzien.

larry valdes's picture

Definity need to sign flynn and bring a drafed qb to compete with tolzien.

Ben's picture

if we sign Flynn, we don't need tolzien or qb draft pick

sign Flynn, trade tolzien (yes we could, maybe a 5th rounder, it only takes 1)

albert Lingerfield's picture

Just saw article of Bleacher Report on the most injured teams in football based on number of games starters on said team missed.
The Packers were 12th. The Giants were number 1.

mani2pani's picture

How can u say Rodgers is being outplayed by Kaep and Eli when u know how bad our D is and how good Giants WAS AND FRISCOS IS! Look at what Rodgers did to Redskins week 3 and to the Vikings. Last time I checked Rodgers has a RING,MVP, Super Bowl MVP, AND NFLs highest qb rating of all time. What does Kapernick have?

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