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Packers' QBs each offer their distinctive traits during preseason win

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Packers' QBs each offer their distinctive traits during preseason win

-- Thursday night's preseason opener didn't help clear up any of smog at the backup quarterback position for the Green Bay Packers.

In fact, the cloudy haze has thickened.

Based off of the Packers' 31-17 win over the Tennesee Titans to kick off their slate of exhibition play, all three backups -- Brett Hundley, DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle -- could make their own case as to why they're the No. 2 behind Aaron Rodgers.

"I thought Brett Hundley did some really good things," coach Mike McCarthy said after the win, immediately citing Hundley's 48-yard completion to receiver Davante Adams on the Packers' opening drive. "Productive, decision-making was sound. I thought his tempo was the best of the three quarterbacks.

"I thought he played well. I thought all three quarterbacks contributed, especially for their first time out. All three guys made big plays and you have to be able to make big plays."

Hundley, listed ahead of both Kizer and Boyle on the depth chart, handled starting duties deep into the second quarter before passing the reins off to Kizer, whose passer rating was the lowest of the three by the end of the night.

The Packers acquired Kizer from a trade with the Cleveland Browns back in March in which Green Bay shipped off defensive back Damarious Randall. Many expected Kizer to become the primary backup and effortlessly grasp a new system within five months, which others would argue is unrealistic.

Against the Titans, Kizer showed that he is certainly still a project.

Kizer did lead the Packers on a 16-play drive that covered 87 yards, however, the offense opted to go for it on 4th-and-4 from the Tennesee 4-yard line -- an incompletion to rookie receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

I thought [Kizer] did some good things," McCarthy said. "He really didn’t get a chance to do the no-huddle because of the personnel group and what we prepared for, so we just stayed away from what they were doing in a particular personnel."

Both teams combined for 24 penalties -- 10 from the Packers. They began in influx once Kizer's offense took the field, and continued into Boyle's reps.

"He had some very long drives — you have to give those quarterbacks, especially Kizer and Tim [Boyle], a lot of credit. When you get into those series where it’s a lot of herky-jerky back and forth, penalty here, penalty there, a big part of getting your offense going is establishing that rhythm, timing and flow. … When you get a lot of breaks in action with the penalties, that really challenges your mechanics and I thought both guys managed that very well."

The Packers got arguably their best production at quarterback out of Boyle, who threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter en route to 130 yards. He finished with a team-high 116.7 passer rating in his debut.

Boyle had been a training camp standout, which was enough of a surprise considering many thought he'd be nothing more than a camp body when he was signed as an undrafted free agent from Eastern Kentucky in May.

Instead of looming as a dark horse, Boyle is using his powerful arm to throw himself into the conversation for Rodgers' backup.

"I think I belong here," Boyle told Michael Cohen of The Athletic after the game. "I struggled at UConn, didn't have a great year at EKU, and a lot of people had question marks about me. But I always believed in myself and my drive, and this kind of cemented the fact that I belong here.

"I have a career here."

One of Boyle's touchdown passes was a red zone score to Valdes-Scantling from 15 yards out, and the other was a 52-yard bomb to Jake Kumerow; a receiver who finds himself in a similar situation in terms of roster status as Boyle.

Boyle has the arm, it's just a matter of incorporating consistent accuracy into his repertoire -- something he's probably heard his entire collegiate career. Boyle completed less than 49 percent of his passes over three years at Connecticut. 

His performance Thursday night could've been the first stepping stone in doing so. Things could get interesting if the Packers don't want to risk stashing Boyle on the practice squad, because there's a good chance he won't pass through waivers unclaimed.

Before anyone jumps to that point, though, Boyle needs to show he can piece together another three games worth of promising play.

"Just slowing it down and seeing the field, I didn't really know what to expect going into the game, you know, from a speed dynamic. So I thought I saw the field well. The biggest thing is just executing and moving on to the next play."

Boyle's "next play" will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers next Thursday at Lambeau Field.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV and a contributor/analyst for 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 (24) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jonathan Spader's picture

"Both teams combined for 24 penalties -- 10 from the Packers. They began in influx once Kizer's offense took the field, and continued into Boyle's reps."

The new lowering the head penalty flags got REALLY OLD REALLY FAST. Loved Lofton's comment that the only reason to throw the flag on Jackson was to get a workout.

Mojo's picture

The question is if Hundley plays well this preseason and beats out Kizer what do you do with Kizer.

Boyle you can probably get to the PS but I'd hate to have to keep 3 QB's on the 53 strictly to avoid losing Kizer to another team.

Personally, I'd prefer one established veteran as the backup and a developmental type like Boyle on the PS.

Watch, Hundley's going to play well enough to stay on the roster with little hope of taking the team where it wants to go when the games count. What they do with Kizer then, I don't know.

mrtundra's picture

At this point, I'm more worried about losing Boyle on waivers if he gets sent to the PS. I'd keep Kizer and Boyle and either jettison Hundley or send him to the PS.

pacman's picture

I missed the first half and was surprised to hear that Hundley looked pretty good. Kizer was clearly a dissappointment. For an UDFA, Boyle looked really good. Except for the one errant throw that must have slipped off his fingers, he had deep throws that Hundley could never make last year and the ones he missed were not by much. Short passes were very crisp.

It's only one game but there might be a very tough decision to make for backup QB.

Oppy's picture

I don't think Kizer was a disappointment. He's still learning and changing his mechanics.

While Hundley was decidedly better than Kizer (and you'd expect that at this point) Keep in mind that Kizer was likely playing against stiffer competition than Boyle had to navigate late in the game.

Guam's picture

Given his outing against the Titans, it is hard to believe he completed less than 49% of his passes at UConn. I doubt he is ready to be the Packers backup, so it might be a good idea to just not play him and try to keep him under wraps for the PS.

The Hundley - Kizer dynamic just got much more interesting. I am not a Hundley fan after last season, but he did look much better Thursday night. I wonder if either of them will have any trade value if they both have good preseasons. Hard to believe we may keep Hundley again, but I suspect the Packers could get more for Kizer than Hundley and I doubt the Packers want to keep both due to needs/talent elsewhere.

More interest in the Steelers game than just the return of Burnett!

cheesehead1's picture

Personally, I would cut Hundley loose. He had his chance last year, and while at times he was ok, overall he just didn’t get it done. Boyle, IMO, looks more the part, more upside. Anyway, nice win and from most reports, no serious injuries. Go Pack.

Turophile's picture

If Hundley looks like the best QB, you keep him. It's pointless him taking valuable snaps, if he has no chance at a roster spot. It's also pointless cutting him if he looks like the best backup through preseason.

Hundley may have made a big jump this year, and he may not have, but you don't pre-judge, you let the preseason onfield play decide the roster, as you should.

At this time I'm not sure who is the best backup QB of the three.......I need to see more.

Turophile's picture

double post

hodge555's picture

I think they are playing Hundley, hoping his stock rises so they can trade him, likely for a late round draft pick.
I don't see them keeping Hundley over Kiser unless Kiser truly stinks up the place. Don't forget also that Hundley is now in the last year of his rookie contract whilst Kiser has 3 years to go.

Boyle is the interesting one here though. Ideally the Packers would like him on the PS but if he continues to play well they might decide to put him on the 53 and not lose him like they lost Hill. The strategic plan might be to put him on the initial 53 and then in wk 3, when Jones comes back, drop him to PS. i.e. at at time where you hope the other teams will have already decided their QB plans.

cheesehead1's picture

Agree with you, but why would anyone trade for Hundley? His performance last season pretty much nixed that, IMO. I still believe we made a mistake with Taysom Hill last year. If we had him now all this would be a moot point.

Oppy's picture

Taysom Hill definitely looked great in preseason games.
Here's Taysom Hill's Regular Season Career stats:

G: 0 GS: 0 Comp: 0 Att: 0 Pct: 0% Yds: 0 Avg: 0 TD: 0 Int: 0
Sck: 0 SckY: 0 Rate: 0.0

I think we can all agree the Packers let a QB with a ton of potential get away last year, but he hasn't played an actual NFL regular season snap. There's no guarantees he'd have been the answer.

cheesehead1's picture

Agree, but is Hundley better than Hill? Regardless, if Rodgers goes down again, we’re in trouble as are most teams. Where would Seattle be without Wilson, NE without Brady etc, etc.

ricky's picture

Hill is making a name for himself on special teams. If the Saints thought that much of him as a QB, would they really be letting him get banged around on ST's? Personally, I doubt it.

Turophile's picture

hodge555 said "I think they are playing Hundley, hoping his stock rises so they can trade him, likely for a late round draft pick"

If Hundley's stock really rises, then he should be kept, imo, and Kizer should be the one to be moved on. Just because Hundley was a big disappointment last year (and he really was), doesn't mean he couldn't have made a big jump this year. Let the competition play out, keep the best, then decide what you do with the 2nd and 3rd best of those three.

The usual wisdom of the NFL is to keep 2 QBs at cutdown. This just might be a year when the Packers keep three..........and Boyle is still firmly in the mix as someone the Pack might be reluctant to cut (remember the Taysom Hill loss to the Saints, last year). The next three preseason games are going to be fun, as they sort this group into a best-to-worst order.

PAPackerbacker's picture

The pass from Tim Boyle to MVS in the back of the end zone was pin point accurate. And the TD pass to Kumerow was right in stride. If the Packers are keeping 3 QB's on the roster I think the poise and accuracy of Tim Boyle made a huge leap forward in his attempt to be #2 behind Rodgers and Kiser at #3.,
at least for now. Hundley needs to be gone. He had plenty of chances to prove himself last year and just didn't get it done. He had 3 years to prepare for it and failed miserably when he got his opportunity. Tim Boyle looked impressive, but I guess there are 3 more games before a decision is made. It will be fun to watch the competition at QB. I never saw Tim Boyle play before the Titans game and I was surprised at his accuracy and arm strength. Very good competition at the backup QB position. May the best man win. Go! Pack! Go!

Community Guy's picture

does anyone keep track of the relative throwing velocity on passers? my perception is that both Hundley and Boyle showed strong arms/a high throwing velocity. conversely, i thought Kizer lacked arm strength. perhaps Kizer is not playing with a healthy throwing arm?

last night, Boyle appeared to have the best throws with his TD throws while he also had one of worst throws with his attempt to Yancey in the redzone.

PatrickGB's picture

I know it’s preseason but the QB,s looked ok. So now all we need is for some of the receivers to actually CATCH the ball. Let’s keep working on that!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Both Hundley and Kiser played on bad teams last season, so I hold none of that against them.

My biggest concern with Hundley is that he only has 1 season left on his rookie deal. That just doesn't work.

Boyle has changed his mechanics or something, because he's clearly not a 49% thrower. After struggling early on Thursday night, he got comfortable and showed again why he is currently the best of the 3 backups.

It became silly watching him and MVS/Kumerow against lesser competition. If Cobb and Rodgers skip another game, I'd consider starting all 3 of them this Thursday--or at least playing earlier. Let's see them against higher competition.

Boyle stays. Kiser likely stays. Hundley will be a very, very fortunate pickup for some team.

DD's picture

You're all misguided by Hundley. He looked good in preseason last year too, and then you seen the result of his time spent with MM and real game showing. Dont be fooled, he is not a solid backup QB for the Pack. Kizer is new to the system, but lacks accuracy, even after a full start season with the Browns. New system, we will see. He's another Hundley. Use Boyle more the next three games to see his upside and Kizer. We seen the three years as already what Hundley can do, which is not much. Let's face the music, if Rodhers goes down the team goes down. Our future is bleak without a proper replacement for Rodgers!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

No problem. If Rodgers goes down, the Packers have arranged to cancel the season and commit group suicide somewhere in the forest.

DD can hand out the Punch of Death's Sweet Release.

dobber's picture

" Use Boyle more the next three games to see his upside and Kizer. "

It won't happen that way. They'll be force-feeding Kizer and Hundley all the snaps they can to sort them out and try to showcase the loser. With ARod needing to get a quarter of action in there, too, there won't be much left for Boyle, which might actually be the best case for the Packers.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Good point, dobber, though I'd still get Boyle some snaps. After impressing in camp and on Thursday, he seems to be another Gute find.

But having 3 strong backups and displaying them is not a bad idea, given the likelihood of a couple QB's going down elsewhere in the NFL preseason.

billybobton's picture

Just once I would like to see a packer writer any one of them have the ba$$s to call out MM when he starts that crap on BH.....maybe even just to compare the load MM sold last year when we had a chance to go and get a real QB.

every time MM opens his mouth about a back up QB his guru status gets flushed

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