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King of the Hill: Packers' Hill Impresses in Another Preseason Game

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King of the Hill: Packers' Hill Impresses in Another Preseason Game

For an undrafted quarterback like Taysom Hill, every NFL opportunity could be your last. But up to this point, he's made the most of the few he was given.

The odds of Hill ever taking a snap in Green Bay during the regular season are slim-to-none, but managing to grab hold of the fringes of the Packers' active roster in September would still pay dividends for Hill. Whether his goal is to just be part of the team's practice squad plans or make himself stand out to other clubs in need of a quarterback, he's made his case for both the last two weeks.

He helped engineer an eight-play, 82-yard drive against the Eagles last week in which he completed four of his five passes for 69 yards, including the final touchdown to rookie receiver Michael Clark in the waning seconds.

To follow up the impressive outing in the Packers' preseason opener, he was the team's leading rusher Saturday night against the Redskins.

His six carries for 38 yards more than doubled the runner-up in Kalif Phillips, who had 17 yards on his five touches.

The second Hill entered the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter in Washington, he instantly brought a spark to the Packers' offense with his running ability. His very first play was a bootleg roll-out that he turned into a six-yard gain on the ground. 

"I know it's the preseason, but as a rookie, to come in and get some opportunities to play, my priority was to make sure I put us in a position to win the football game," Hill said after the game. "One of the first things I said when I got in the huddle and I was on the field, was that we are out here to showcase what we can do, but we're also out here to win this football game."

During his collegiate career at BYU, Hill's tendency to leave the pocket and become a runner in open space was one of his biggest qualities. Especially when he rushed for 259 yards in a single game against Texas in 2013. 

It was, and still is, one of his biggest faults.

Hill suffered four season-ending injuries: 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Neither of which stopped him from being signed by the Packers just last May and apparently, neither setback is stopping him from succeeding at the professional level.

It'd be unfair to fault Hill for utilizing one of his best traits, but at some point, straying from freeing yourself up to being knocked around like a ragdoll by 260-pound linebackers may be the best course of action. Even if it means becoming foreign to an aspect of the game that you've grown accustomed to during your entire football career.

Hill's reckless tendencies were on display against the Redskins, but the energy he brought to a Packers offense that was stagnant through the entire third quarter with Joe Callahan at quarterback was undeniable.

"I think from college to the NFL, my mindset has always been the same," Hill said. His 23-yard game-winning touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the Packers' lone score on the ground, and he broke three tackles in the process. "I've had some coaches kind of harp on me to try to protect myself. 

"But when I get in the red zone and I see the end zone, I'm going to do whatever I can to win. I wanted to get in."

Brett Hundley may have set the stage with what head coach Mike McCarthy calls "his best performance as a Packer," but Hill stole the show in his limited fourth quarter reps. 

Hundley bounced back after a sloppy performance last week against the Eagles, going 9/10 for 107 yards, one touchdown and sporting a 144.6 passer rating. He was also sacked three times, the most of the Packers' quarterbacks. But even so, McCarthy had high praise for Hill and his late-game heroics for the second week in a row.

"Taysom [Hill] played very well," McCarthy said. "Feels like I've said that several times already. We had to go to a four-wide receiver personnel group because we were short at the tight end position. Give those young guys a lot of credit because we ran base concepts and they were able to handle it.

"More responsibility falls on the quarterback, and he did a very good job of managing that particular drive."

Hill has shaken up the backup quarterback scenario this preseason, putting even more emphasis behind the question of who the team's third-string passer is.

Or, if there will even be a third-string quarterback?

The Packers seemed to admire Callahan's skill set a season ago, enough to enter the regular season with him on the active 53-man roster. Sure, he was released by mid-October and then brought back to Green Bay in early December, but the Packers keeping him off of the practice squad at first so another team couldn't claim him spoke volumes.

Between Callahan and Hill, one is more likely to be destined for the practice squad and the other waivers, as it's tough to see a scenario where the Packers enter the season with three quarterbacks on the roster for the second year in a row. Especially not when there are other positions that could use the roster spot.

There's a quarterback controversy in Green Bay, but it's certainly a good one to have.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

croatpackfan's picture

"He helped engineer an eight-play, 82-yard drive against the Eagles last week in which he completed four of his five passes for 69 yards, including the final touchdown to rookie receiver DeAngelo Yancey in the waning seconds."

It was Michael Clark who caught TD, not Yancey!

Second article, same mistake Zach. I know your favorite is Yancey, but he has 0 at TD stat!

What, you do not read what people has to say about your article?

Zachary Jacobson's picture

Common mistake when you're dealing with a handful of rookies while trying to produce timely work. And, my favorite is Clark, not Yancey, in case you haven't been paying attention. ;)

croatpackfan's picture

Well, how you forget that your favorite scored TD, than? Sorry, but same remark was written to you in comment section by fan "L" under the article "Defense Shines in Packers' 21-17 Preseason Win in Washington".

And you just copy pasted paragraf? That is why I reacted as I did!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Hill has beaten out Callahan. This kid just has too much talent to be let go. A major Ted Thompson steal.

As for Hundley--another major Teddy steal--I'm shocked no team has offered a 1st Rounder yet. This kid is a quality starter with 2 years of cheap football remaining. Several teams should be on the phone.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

A 1st rounder? Why stop there? Maybe the Cardinals will offer Patrick Peterson and David Johnson...

Seriously though I am hoping for a player in return. Maybe the Jags, Bills or Browns would trade a younger guy who can play this year.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I'm dead serious. This is a talented, developed, starter-quality QB with 2 years left on a rookie deal. There are teams with good rosters missing a quality QB, and they're looking at a full year wasted.

1sr rounder? You bet. He's that good, and that ready.

sonomaca's picture

Maybe a young tackle prospect, given what's going on with Spriggs.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

If it's a real good one, that wouldn't break my heart.

If it's just a solid tackle, we'd still need a 3rd rounder as well.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Hill is playing like he's got nothing to loose. Sort of like Callahan last season :)

al bundy's picture

Good maybe we can trade him for a linebacker who can stop the run and cover tight ends. Team doesnt need three QB's. Guys like him are a dime a dozen now

chugwater's picture

Really premature to say, but hard not to wonder if we could trade Hundley, and keep Callahan and Hill.

It's good to have options.

egbertsouse's picture

No way will they get a 1st rounder for Hundley. Maybe a sixth or seventh. It's fun to speculate on the QB situation but we all know how it will shake out; Rodgers and Hundley on the final roster and Callahan on the PS. I say Callahan because 1.) TT has one of his man-crushes on him and 2.) Hill will get picked up by another team based on potential alone.

On another matter, I watched Spriggs last night and he is absolutely horrible, worse than last year, if that's possible.

sonomaca's picture

WTF! A 6th or 7th for Hundley. Thanks the lord you're not the Packers GM.

LayingTheLawe's picture

Hill has certainly been a spark to the scrub units when he has come in. He has been able to overcome the bad o line play to make some plays. He would need to show the same spark when playing against people who aren't going to be in the arena league in a few weeks.

As a quarterback he is a different style and his running is a big threat. But does it hurt a team to have a backup that needs to play a totally different set of offensive plays than the regulars?

sonomaca's picture

Jacksonville's QB situation is ugly. The rest of the team is good to very good. Why not start Hundley vs. Denver and see if he flashes against a top 3 defense. If so, might command a first round pick.

Spock's picture

I like our backup QB's but some of these wild trade scenarios remind me of how a lot of fans overvalue the Packers WR's during training camp and the preseason and now are doing the same with the QB's.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

If we could get a first from a team, Hundley would be gone already.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Hundley didn't have enough tape with the ankle injury last year to warrant a 1st round pick. We selected him with a 5th rou d pick evem though we traded up to get there so a bit more draft stock invested. If we can get a 2nd or 3rd round I'd still call that a win. Hundley looked good against Washington even with little to know protection. In the NFL you never know what's going to happen. That's what keeps it interesting.

sonomaca's picture

Problem with Hundley is that he's a FA after next season, so the trade window is going to start closing relatively soon. Plus, there are 7 potential 1st round QB prospects next year.

Since '61's picture

Given what we have seen so far Hundley and Hill should be our backup QBs for 2017. We still have 2 preseason games to go and if Callahan can't put any points on the board and Hundley and Hill continue to play well and score points Callahan will be gone. Next week's game is the 3rd preseason game and most team's including the Packers give their starters 3-4 series of plays. If the Packers follow that script again there will be fewer snaps for the backups especially Callahan and Hill. Unless Hill puts a few drives together over the next 2 games he is probably gone from GB. As for keeping 2 or 3 QBs on the final 53 if Hundley and Hill continue at this rate I would keep both of them for a total of 3 QBs. If we release Callahan and then receive a serious trade offer for Hundley we are going to need Hill as the backup. That's my reason for keeping him. But let's see what happens over the next 2 games. Thanks, Since '61

sonomaca's picture

I think you can safely put Callahan on PS at this point. I think that's what they'll do. I think they'll have to keep Hill on 53 if they really want him.

flackcatcher's picture

Hill's injury history is why teams did not draft him. According to Wilde four season ending in five years at BYU. Plus roster spots are now coming in play via special teams. That is a big minus for both Hill and Callahan.

sonomaca's picture

If Hill could be the backup in 2018, they should keep him, because Hundley will
likely be gone.

The TKstinator's picture

Maybe Hill could play special teams? I'd wager none of his collegiate injuries occurred whilst he played upon them.

sonomaca's picture

How many QB's you see on ST's (other than as holders)? If you want to guarantee another Hill injury, put him out there.

phillythedane's picture

Oh, that irony is a tough one to pull off electronically, eh, TK?

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