Packers Enjoying a Healthy Backup Quarterback Battle

 

There is no question who the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers is.  That hasn't been a question for over 25 years, in fact.  The men who have manned the other quarterback spots, however, have been many over those years.

DeShone Kizer, Tim Boyle and Manny Wilkins are battling it out for the backup and possibly a third quarterback spot.  Kizer and Boyle were with the team last year.  Wilkins was signed as an undrafted free agent this past spring.

There have been some more interesting backup quarterback battles but those were a novelty, knowing that Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers were the unequivocal starters.  2019 has a bit of a different vibe to it.

Rodgers missed half of 2017 and Brett Hundley was called upon to keep the team afloat until Rodgers could return.  The Packers missed the playoffs.  Kizer filled in for a portion of the week one game last season when Rodgers suffered a knee injury.  It was nothing short of a disaster and Rodgers fought through pain to stage a massive comeback win.

There are few, if any teams who can just pick up where they left off when their starting quarterback is lost.  But not since 2013 and the days of Matt Flynn did the Packers have an option that garnered high confidence in being able to keep them in a game if called on.

Kizer was acquired in a trade last year that involved former first-rounder Damarious Randall.  He was also reportedly on the Packers' radar during the 2017 draft and he nearly led the Cleveland Browns to their only win of the season against the Packers in 2017.  No surprise he was given every opportunity to back up Rodgers in 2018.

Boyle made some noise during the preseason, but was rarely active on game day.  With Kizer's visible struggles, many fans were calling for Boyle to step in as the number two.  The Packers stayed the course.  Will they do so again this season?

It's a new era with Matt LaFleur taking over as head coach.  He's a former quarterback himself so his ability to evaluate what Kizer can and cannot be is innate.  Kizer has already had some good and bad moments in the few days of camp.  On day one, he badly missed a wide open receiver on what would have been a touchdown.  He then threw into coverage on a free play.  The following day, Kizer hit on a similar long throw.

Boyle has looked OK so far, as reported.  His absence on Saturday allowed Wilkins some additional opportunities.  Wilkins is certainly on the outside looking in, but all three have shown a little something that should make the preseason a bit more worth watching.  

Make no mistake about it, if any of these three are taking snaps in a regular season game this season, something has gone terribly awry.  But the Packers have to hope that one of them emerges head and shoulders above the others and can do more than look good with a headset on.

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (32)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
NickPerry's picture

July 29, 2019 at 07:07 am

MLF coached Kizer at Notre Dame in 2014 as the QB coach for a year so he has at least some history with the kid. IMO if anyone can make Kizer at worst a quality back-up NFL QB it's LaFleur.

Hopefully with a point of reference no matter how long ago it was is enough for LaFleur to work his magic with Kizer and help him turn things around.

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stockholder's picture

July 29, 2019 at 07:12 am

I believe Brett Favre could come out of retirement and beat all 3 out. Instead of adding so many RBs. Gute needs to add veteran here.

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dobber's picture

July 29, 2019 at 10:11 am

Who?

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Since'61's picture

July 29, 2019 at 11:36 am

Not only who but at what price for a vet QB who can actually play the position? Thanks, Since '61

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ricky's picture

July 29, 2019 at 12:04 pm

It's TEBOW TIME! j/k

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murf7777's picture

July 29, 2019 at 01:43 pm

Stockholder, now that made me LMAO!

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

July 29, 2019 at 08:55 am

I'm at Wofford University right now taking in the Carolina Panthers practice.
This place is cool & there are 1/10th if that, of fans.

But this team is good. McCaffrey at RB. DJ Moore at WR is going to be a stud soon. They added Torri Smith. Curtis Samuel is blossoming. They added Chris Hogan, who has already done what we think Kumerow should. Newton won an MVP more decently than Rodgers has.

Their D front 7 is unbelievable. Obviously Kuechly in the middle but also Shaw Thompson. Their edge rushers are Bruce Irvin & Brian Burns.
Then in the DLine they added Gerald McCoy & have Dontari Poe, along with Kawaan Short.

That team will give the Saints & Falcons a run for their money.

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murf7777's picture

July 29, 2019 at 01:48 pm

Eddie, nice to hear what is going on around the NFL....the one thing I think and I said this back in Newton's MVP year is that he is only as good as his legs take him. He is a career <60% completion rate and that is below average and you won't find a successful long-term QB with that number. Sooner or later they get injured, slow down and have to try and pass out of the pocket to make a living and that is their Achilles heel. He is a me-me person as well so I believe that will hamper their success. If there D is top 5 thou then watch out.

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Packers2020's picture

July 29, 2019 at 09:10 am

Boyle has better pocket presence and is more accurate than Kizer. He showed me more in the preseason last year than Kizer has ever shown.

I hope they cut ties with Kizer but they probably wont unless we sign a veteran QB.

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Hematite's picture

July 29, 2019 at 09:21 am

I'm rooting for Boyle to win the backup job.
From what little I have seen of him, I have a much better feeling with him under center than I do with Kizer.

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Coldworld's picture

July 29, 2019 at 12:48 pm

So far Kizer has looked much better than Boyle in practices.

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arthurl's picture

July 29, 2019 at 10:02 am

Kizer is more talented than the other two. That is a fact seeing as how he was an early draft selection and these other two didn't warrant a draft selection. It's up to the coaching staff to coach up Kizer who has the ability. From what I've read Kizer has looked sharp so far in camp. Have to see how that translates once the games start.

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Packers2020's picture

July 29, 2019 at 12:00 pm

Arthur,

Go back and read the training camp notes. Kizer has been very inconsistent this OTA and training camp just like he has been his whole career. Who cares if he is a higher draft. That does not mean he can play QB in the NFL.

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Coldworld's picture

July 29, 2019 at 12:51 pm

I think that is misleading. What is being said is that Kizer has being doing some really good things, but not consistently. That is a sign of development. Now we need the consistency.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

July 29, 2019 at 10:15 am

Here's hoping that Kizer has the light bulb come on and flourishes in a MLF offense. If he can light it up in preseason we'll all feel better about the trade of him for Randall. They got a draft pick for Hundley if Kizer lights it up in preseason Gute can probably get something for him as well. Instead of screaming for Kizer to be cut lets be fans and cheer him on and wish him success after all like it or not he is a Packer.

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Leatherhead's picture

July 29, 2019 at 11:45 am

I don’t think either of these guys is a legit NFL QB.

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Packers2020's picture

July 29, 2019 at 12:03 pm

I agree, Old School but I think Boyle has a better shot than Kizer based off of what I have seen.

If people go look at his preseason highlights last year VS Kizer highlights (in season and pre season), I think they will find that Boyle has way better presence in the pocket and can transition to the other WR's better than Kizer.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

July 29, 2019 at 04:04 pm

Packers2019 2019 is in your name maybe you should join us in 2019. Boyle faced 3rd string competition while Kizer was against the 1s and 2s. Both have potential/talent and it's too early to write either off. Here's hoping they are both impressive this preseason and we don't have to see then play during the regular season.

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Coldworld's picture

July 29, 2019 at 12:56 pm

I found myself thinking back to the discussions about Rodgers early on before he took over and grabbed the NFL by the scruff of the neck.

Kizer is raw and young (now 23). He would have been far better being drafted into a Rodgers situation. He could yet grow be a legitimate player. He has the physical tools.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 29, 2019 at 06:24 pm

Cold,
Glad you mentioned Kizers age. He is very very young even going into his 3rd season. Boyle is only slightly older. Me thinks fellow Packer fans need to exercise patience. They both could use another full year of seasoning before judgement. I have said this before but everyone agrees you cannot judge a draft for a minimum of 3 full years. Why are we being so hard on a 2nd and 3rd year players?

Everyone needs to chill a little.

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jannes bjornson's picture

July 29, 2019 at 12:13 pm

I'm pushing for Wilkens. He can create.

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Jack_Vainisi's picture

July 29, 2019 at 12:26 pm

The backup they need is someone ready to step in short term. I'd prefer a veteran but they're hard to find. Rodgers' successor is not on this roster. I'll keep my eyes on Wilkins.

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murf7777's picture

July 29, 2019 at 01:56 pm

Gutey has done a very good job, but this one was a head scratcher. Kizer hasn't shown anything yet that would provide us confidence he will be a good back up much less a starter. Neither do the others. We can only hope Kizer progresses and learns under a new coach and system. There are many examples in the NFL where a QB took a few years to become good and that is all we need is for him to be good. This pre-season will tell us a lot. He has the physical attributes and strong arm, so if things start to slow down for him he can become serviceable and provide us some quality starts if needed.

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IceBowl's picture

July 29, 2019 at 04:24 pm

Kizer, nor others, has had a chance to do much of anything.

I hope Kizer shows so he can get us a draft pick. It is very unlikely he will start for the Pack. (Pack history-ARods age)

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Coldworld's picture

July 29, 2019 at 11:26 pm

I look back in it and scratch my head at what those who drafted this kid at 21 and put him into the league with a dreadful offense were hoping for. Kizer probably legitimately took several steps backwards that year. If we can rehabilitate that he might just do that IceBowl. So far he has done things in camp already that we didn’t see last year and haven’t seen from a back up in a long time. If those become the norm then he will be a legitimate NFL player.

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Samson's picture

July 29, 2019 at 05:12 pm

Actually, I shudder to think that Kizer or Boyle can possibly lead GB into the post season. -- I don't know who but I'm still hoping Gute/MLF have another name or two as a possibility before the season starts.

If Kizer or Boyle don't light it up during the preseason & firmly secure the BU QB spot, GB will need another. --- Can't have the BU QB being the albatross in season 2019.

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blondy45's picture

July 29, 2019 at 06:36 pm

IMO, I like Kizer more than Boyle. If we need either backup QB during the season for an "extended amount of time", It will not matter who that QB is. The season and for sure the playoffs will make the Packs chances of competing ...not so good. Their is not an available Veteran QB out there that would make the Pack contenders. We also do not need to be spending money on a Backup QB Vet. Next draft or the following draft we need to draft a QB for the future. Right now we have all our eggs, and money, tied up in Rodgers. I hope Kizer and or Boyle show something in the preseason, so they are both marketable in the future. Give all 3 backup QB's a chance this preseason. I also believe Rodgers will get more playing time this preseason compared to other years.

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wildbill's picture

July 29, 2019 at 08:58 pm

Not a Kizer fan but let’s give him some time. I was at Rodgers first training camp and he looked awful. I know it was a lot of pressure but hey it’s the NFL. Rodgers first couple years he looked terrible when he got into regular season games. His third year he relieved an injured Favre in a loss to Dallas and looked very good. Just saying it took someone with Rodgers skill set/mind over two years to be ready so maybe Kizer deserves some time as he is part of our Packer Family and surely the 0-16 season set him back.

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Handsback's picture

July 30, 2019 at 09:39 am

The number 2 QB spot is for a guy who can win a few games when Rodgers goes down.
Last year neither guy could do it. This year one of the two guys will be cut. Unless Boyle shows something...he probably won't make the cut. Kizer has more ability, he just needs to get more consistent. Will he ever be a capable starter...don't know. He just needs to show he can win!

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MidWestMike's picture

July 31, 2019 at 12:11 am

Kizer can’t win, his records prove it .

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PatrickGB's picture

July 30, 2019 at 10:39 pm

We cannot afford a quality backup. Heck, we can barely afford our starter. So the team needs to hit on a draft pick and/or do the best they can with what they have. Another possibility is a strong run game with an outstanding defense. Perhaps the new offense will help the backups at QB. In any case, this franchise has been spoiled.

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MidWestMike's picture

July 31, 2019 at 12:09 am

Boyle is the guy to keep

This ain’t brain surgery

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