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DeShone Kizer's 'Up-And-Down' 2017 Translating Into More Knowledgable, Opportunistic QB

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DeShone Kizer's 'Up-And-Down' 2017 Translating Into More Knowledgable, Opportunistic QB

-- If all goes well for the Green Bay Packers' in 2018, they won't have to worry too much about who their backup quarterback is.

But the reality of the situation is that there always has to be a plan B in place, simply because of all of the unpredictable outcomes that could unfold through the course of a 16-game season. 2017's plan B(rett) just didn't pan out as expected.

To add a little more solidity to their depth chart behind starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers followed through with a trade back in March that sent cornerback Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns and quarterback DeShone Kizer, Cleveland's second-round (No. 52) pick in 2017, to Green Bay.

Kizer was thrown into a starting role in his rookie season, starting 15 games as an inexperienced 21-year-old and completing just 53.6 percent of his passes to a subpar offensive unit whose talents translated to a 0-16 record. In his 15 starts, Kizer threw half as many touchdowns as he did interceptions (22).

That wasn't enough to deter coach Mike McCarthy from adding Kizer to his roster and establishing a sense of competition at quarterback behind Rodgers.

McCarthy earlier this month said that Kizer would've been a first-round pick in the 2018 draft class, which is evidently high praise given the skill sets of the five quarterbacks drafted within the first 32 picks.

However, McCarthy has some ground to stand on behind his words. Rodgers, McCarthy's most accomplished experiment, went through the coach's "quarterback school" in 2006 and has since blossomed into one of the most talented to ever play his position.

"After being here for almost two months now, it's obvious why quarterbacks come here and leave much better than when they came here," Kizer said after the Packers' first public OTA practice on Tuesday.

"As most people know, quarterbacking is all about footwork, and here, they teach a different style of footwork. I think it's turned into a lot of success for a lot of guys."

Being able to learn behind Rodgers is pretty big incentive for a young quarterback to push himself twice as hard -- that could spell bad news for Brett Hundley, who started nine games for the Packers in 2017 after Rodgers' collarbone injury sent him packing to injured reserve.

If anything, Hundley's "fall from grace" last season may have made it even tougher for him to gain an advantage over the newly-acquired Kizer. But it isn't like Kizer's struggles last season don't loom large; the only difference is Kizer is four years Hundley's junior and doesn't have a track record in Green Bay's offense.

"I had a lot of ups and downs. Obviously, 0-16 is a tough year for you. But I looked at that season as an opportunity to develop.

"In this league, you can learn one of two ways: by fire or by watching, and I was out in the fire. I learned quite a bit about myself, a bit about what it takes to win in this league, now it's about making sure I take those experiences and learn from them. So next time I step out on an NFL field during the regular season, I'm in a better position to win the game."

To preface: if all goes well, the Packers won't need Kizer this season. Everyone -- within and outside of the organization -- is banking on a healthy rebound season from Rodgers, who now has two broken collarbones -- one of each -- on his resume.

The only times a young Rodgers played as a backup early in his career were mostly in blowout losses, sans the Packers' 52-3 win against the New Orleans Saints in 2005 in which Rodgers completed his first regular-season pass.

Hundley, meanwhile, played in four regular-season games in 2016 as a backup -- two blowout wins and two blowout losses.

Rather than getting beaten down by a Rodgers-less Packers team like a Kizer-led Browns team did last season (Kizer arguably played his best game of the season), Kizer now gets to organize his locker two stalls down from someone who he dubs as "one of the better quarterbacks to ever throw a football."

"This is an opportunity now to see it from a player's perspective, a guy who's been in here and experienced success within this league, and do whatever I can to find the intricacies within the game that I can develop myself.

"Discipline is everything. I mean, every time the guy takes a rep, every time he takes his drop, it's the exact same way. If you go back and watch my film, you can see that I was adjusting things throughout the year. Obviously, that comes with time."


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (35) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

4thand1's picture

Hope he gets most of the reps in pre season. We can release Hundley for an extra roster spot and go with 2 QB's. If something happens we can always bring back Joe C or Hundley, I'm sure they'll both be available.

flackcatcher's picture

So cruel yet so true......

EddieLeeIvory's picture

I'd rather bring back Matt Flynn than Bubble Gum Hundley.... Or Brian Brohm, Vince Young, Akili Smith, Tim Couch, Kurt Warner, Mark Brunell, Ty Detmer, Aaron Brooks.... all former Packer QB's....

Mibster's picture

This year nothing will happen to Arod.. Be calm and relax :)

croatpackfan's picture

I hope something will happen to Aaron Rodgers this season!

A SB win!

flackcatcher's picture

Seriously, this was an outstanding trade (so rare in today's NFL) of two good football players who needed a second chance. After the damage Hue Jackson (killer of quarterbacks) did to Kizer last season, there was no chance the Browns players would believe in him. For that very same reason I hope the Packers release Hundley so he can get a fresh start. Hundley does have talent. but was horribly miscast in what became a wreak of an offense without Rodgers. Neither McCarthy nor Bennett adjusted the offense to fit Hundley talents. Hundley never had a chance out there last season. That's all on McCarthy. This team should do the right thing and find a place so Hundley can get another chance, just like the Browns did for Kizer.

Nick Perry's picture

"Neither McCarthy nor Bennett adjusted the offense to fit Hundley talents."

As much as I loved Bennett and a WR Coach I disliked him as a OC. I understand why he left but IMO he should have NEVER been promoted to OC. I was never a fan of him as OC.

Archie's picture

Hue Jackson is the MM of offense, only maybe worse.

I agree with your opinions on both QBs.

Chuck Farley's picture

The problem with kizer and hunley, they both have a lot of bad habits to un learn. You golfers will understand that.
Travarius j had all the tools except being able to read a pass d that was moving.
I say hunley and kiser both lack the mental ability to read a d and toss a lot of picks. Just what the pack don't need, two guys prone to toss picks. Let's hope I'm wrong on the last guy

Rak47's picture

Of Kizer's 22 picks how many were tipped? How many were because his putrid receivers ran the wrong route or gave up on a play? How many were from bad throws? How many were on a defensive player just making a great play? How many were on the coach and the plays he called? It's not like a 21 year old rookie second rounder has freedom to call plays or audibles at will. If you don't know the answers to these questions than you truly have no clue as to whether he can read defenses or not. Coaches and knowledgeable staff know the answer to those questions as they study the film and can break down the nuances. For all we know maybe only 6-7 of those int's were on Kizer. So to say he can't read a defense is purely speculation made on no knowledgeable basis.

Ferrari Driver's picture

I'm a golfer and I understand that.

It's unfortunate I don't get paid to stink.

Rak47's picture

Comparing Kizer and Hundley is like comparing apples and oranges. Exactly what makes you come to the conclusion Kizer doesn't have the mental accumen to read defenses? I would love to hear whatever theory you have so I can dismantle it. However I won't disagree on Hundley, he had 2+ years to hone his skills behind AR and flopped badly when called upon to play. It was obvious he was out of his league and had peaked in College. Kizer's circumstances were completely and totally different. I would bet you probably think that Rodgers or Brady would have thrown 30 plus TD's on last years Browns team with that pathetic talent and staff. In reality it's more likely both would've probably thrown double digit picks trying to create something to make up for the lack of talent and having to constantly play from behind.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I look at this a bit differently.

I like Kizer and I'm confident he'll develop quickly after escaping Cleveland. He's our clear #2. But I also think Hundley was on a very bad team last season. One reason Ted is gone is that the Packers had simply become a relatively unathletic team with several poor drafts, along with terrible coaching (you don't dump 2 coordinators if they're good).

My point is, I don't think people realize just how incredible Rodgers is, or how much he has carried a weak roster in rapid decline. Hundley took over and did what many starting NFL QB's would do with this roster: Struggle badly. WR's couldn't get open. Blocking was highly suspect. Running game was terribly unexplosive when Jones went down. No TE's of any quality whatsoever. An absolute sieve of a defense.

This was a bad team with poor talent and awful coaching, rescued over the past few seasons by an immortal QB. Many good QB's (like the guy Minnesota signed) would have gotten KILLED with this team. So why should we brand Hundley as awful for simply being unable to carry a roster that only one human being can?

Kizer will be the #2, but he wasn't the only guy carrying a bottom-feeding roster last season.

Ferrari Driver's picture

Some of those thoughts were in my subconscious; you did a nice job expressing yourself.

Tundraboy's picture

I agree. After reading your's and other posts it seems that much more clear to me that MM put Hundley in there fully expecting him to essentially run ARod's Offense, counting on Hundley mastering what he had studied in his school for 2 years. Live game experience quickly exposed that book smarts mean nothing in real game action if you don't have the skills. Wow glad that nightmare is behind us.

PAPackerbacker's picture

Give Kizer a chance. The Browns almost defeated Green Bay in their game last year. It went into overtime. And Kizer looked pretty darn good in that game. If Kizer would have had the receiving talent Green Bay had the Browns would have won that game. Kizer was never given a chance to learn under a veteran like Rodgers. He was thrown into the starting QB position immediately and did well considering what he had to work with. I like his chances in Green Bay.

Chuck Farley's picture

Kizer didnt toss picks against our pos pass d. All I know is in two nd games I saw him in he got booted for tossing picks. I know he threw 22 last year so I have no clue how mental Mike will solve this. Ditto with hundley and his three year experiment.

Archie's picture

It's true, Kizer's ceiling is still unknown and unknowable. Give him a couple of years to learn under the master (Rodgers, not MM) and then decide. The first inkling I had that Rodgers would be great was I heard him interviewed about the intricacies of reading defenses. I knew right then that he knew a hell of a lot about football. Same with Ahman Green. So let's see how smart this kid is once he has had a chance to learn the system and the NFL game.

Chuck Farley's picture

No one can teach him to be smart and figure out the d.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

I laugh about the Kizer comments. Let's see what summer camp and pre-season games bring. I think the Pack is very fortunate to land Kizer and he will impress.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I loved this trade so much. While I believe Randall will flourish playing safety in Cleveland, we're getting a very talented young QB with more years on his rookie deal than Randall had remaining.

Remember, Favre was a 2nd-rounder who looked completely lost in his rookie year, then we snagged him and quickly developed his immense talent. Kizer won't be Favre, but I'm confident he'll be a quality QB.

Excellent trade. Another Gute gem, along with the all-out robberies he committed on Draft Day.

egbertsouse's picture

It must be the hot weather. Everybody is guzzling Mikey McMuffin's green-and-gold kool aid.

4EVER's picture

Found myself chuckling...

egbertsouse's picture

Meanwhile out of NOLA, I'm hearing raves about a guy named Taysom Hill. Anybody ever heard of him?

Lare's picture

"After being here for almost two months now, it's obvious why quarterbacks come here and leave much better than when they came here," Kizer said after the Packers' first public OTA practice on Tuesday. "As most people know, quarterbacking is all about footwork, and here, they teach a different style of footwork. I think it's turned into a lot of success for a lot of guys."

I have no idea how Kizer will develop as a QB, but I'm just wondering who all these QB's are that have left Green Bay and been successful elsewhere.

Tundraboy's picture

Mark Brunelll, Aaron Brooks,......

Bearmeat's picture

I think ALP made a really good point: The Packers were terrible last year, with just a few young bright spots. Hundley was awful and MM screwed the pooch with him. He wasn't ready and there were no adjustments once it became clear that he wasn't able to run the offense MM wanted.

If ARod gets hurt, this team is nowhere near as talented as Minny across the board to prop up a mediocre to subpar QB. Kizer wasn't ready last year, but the Browns actually weren't that much worse than the Packers without ARod. One great QB masks a whole lot.

I do think Randall will be a very good FS, and that Kizer will be better than Hundley. But let's not fool ourselves - if Arod goes down, this team is screwed again.

Bearmeat's picture

That's what I'm saying though - if Rodgers goes down, let's say Kizer is 50% better than Hundley. A competent starting QB. Say, top 20. That's best case scenario, right? Maybe Kizer has a higher ceiling than that in the distant future, but almost surely not next year.

So, Kizer is top 20 theoretically. (which is no sure thing I might remind you).

The team would still be sub .500. Maybe even 5-11 bad. That's my point.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

AR might only go down for 2 or 3 games. If Kizer is good enough to win 1 or 2 of those (and/or if the opponents are not a murderers row) then it might make a difference. Or not.

Rak47's picture

God forbid AR goes down again, But if he did I think Kizer has the ability and experience at this point to throw 25 TD's in GB's offense over an entire season. If he could lower his turnovers while doing that he could at least keep the offense competitive [unlike Hundley] with a solid run game and all the weapons the Packers have. Jmho.

stockholder's picture

Kizer only needs to be aggressive. Like any player he became to cautious. The support went south. Winning will change anybody.

Demon's picture

I personally have no confidence in kizer. For 3 years we heard the mindless drivel spewed from the mouth of Mike (Lumpy Rutherford) McCarthy on what a fine QB Hunley is. How did that turn out? Hunley was without question the worse NFL QB ive had the misfortune of watching.

Now once again Lumpy is singing the praises of another QB whom last season went out and stunk up the field , albeit for a different team.

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

dobber's picture

Ya know, it's hard to take too seriously when you go out of your way to give MM a snarky nickname--that you're clearly very proud of--but can't spell Hundley correctly.

Demon's picture

So now we take shots at each other ? Ok i get it you know what theh say about paybacks right?

dobber's picture

It's been said here many times in the past (and not just by me): people who lower themselves to using derogatory nicknames immediately shred their own credibility in their posts. It's nothing against you personally. I don't know you. But when things like that get posted, I immediately lose any expectation of any substance in the content. It doesn't help that you missed on Hundley, too.

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