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Packers Should Consider Adding a Veteran QB

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Packers Should Consider Adding a Veteran QB

It might be time for the Packers to consider bringing in a veteran quarterback to back up Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers going down in week one against the Chicago Bears was an all too familiar feeling to when Minnesota Vikings’ linebacker Anthony Barr crunched Rodgers’ shoulder into the ground in 2017. There's no worse feeling than a season ending prematurely with the franchise quarterback being carted off the field. 

Thankfully, to an extent, 2018’s story was a little different to the one of 2017. Rodgers emerged from the locker room to lead the Packers to a 24-23 comeback victory in dramatic fashion. At least for one half Rodgers was invincible. 

However, over the next couple of weeks Rodgers had almost no mobility wearing a knee brace. Green Bay’s offense was handcuffed with Rodgers limited to shotgun and pistol formations to protect him from further injury. 

Knowing now how the season would end, Rodgers should have sat out two or three games so his sprain could fully heal. However, after watching backup DeShone Kizer's relief performance against the Bears, a hobbled Rodgers was undoubtedly the better option at the time. 

Much like Kizer’s rookie season in Cleveland, his timing with throws was off and ball security issues still plagued him. The Bears forced back to back turnovers on Kizer, one being a pick-six to take a 17-0 lead that felt like the dagger. 

Then, Kizer took over for Rodgers again facing the Detroit Lions in week 17 after Rodgers left the game during the second quarter with a concussion. Kizer saw his offense get shutout as he completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw an interception. 

As we head further into 2019 Kizer still isn’t any more ready and now that Matt LaFleur is the head coach this will be his third system in as many years. No quarterback has had a journey quite like Kizer who was traded to Green Bay last offseason. He has constantly found himself in tough situations and those days are far from over. 

Perhaps another year of watching Rodgers will do him some good but it’s time to add a veteran to the mix. A number of experienced free agent quarterbacks have a background of working with LaFleur and would be a better stopgap in case Rodgers gets hurt. 

Robert Griffin is a possibility and played for LaFleur when he was the quarterback’s coach for the Washington Redskins during Griffin’s rookie of the year campaign in 2012. LaFleur mentored Griffin for two seasons before Kirk Cousins became the starter.  

Most recently, Griffin was the third-string quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens and is now set to join his fourth team in eight years. He had his best years playing alongside LaFleur so a reunion makes a lot of sense for Griffin even for a short period.

37-year-old Matt Schaub is another option with ties to LaFleur dating back to 2016 as the primary backup to Matt Ryan in Atlanta. LaFleur served as Schaub’s position coach and was a part of Ryan’s MVP season. Schaub is a former Pro-Bowler with 92 career starts and over 24,000 passing yards in his career. 

The last time the Packers had use for an emergency veteran QB was with Matt Flynn back in 2013 following the first time Rodgers broke his collarbone. For those who don’t remember, Flynn led the team back from a 26-3 deficit against the Dallas Cowboys to win 37-36. The team went 1-2-1 with Flynn under center and still managed to make the playoffs.  

History should have taught Green Bay a lesson prior to throwing Brett Hundley into the fire when he clearly wasn’t ready two years ago. 

Better options await the Packers if they lose Rodgers for an extended period of time so signing a guy with experience and familiarity with LaFleur seems like the right move. 



Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (49) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Tarynfor12's picture

A veteran back up QB is the least of the problems and whatever changes LaFleur makes to the offense, the loss of Rodgers makes it moot, since the changes Rodgers allows won't be for any Tom,Dick or Harry to simply step in and win. If it is so, then getting rid of Rodgers should be a question of thought to a high degree.

The TKstinator's picture

I have often had my thoughts questioned.

albert999's picture

Least of our problems until the aging Rodgers gets hurt
then it’s our BIGGEST

Old School's picture

Taryn.....if the problem is that we don't have anybody that we think we can win with at backup QB , then the solution is to get a backup we think we can win with.

I agree with the author that it isn't Kizer. And I agree with you that we need somebody who's not just Tom, Dick, or Harry. But a QB who is good enough to be a starting QB isn't going to sign to be Green Bay's backup. So I think it's really, really hard in FA to upgrade ourselves at QB.

I wanted Lamar Jackson in the last draft. I'm looking at Haskins at #12 this year. IMO, the worst mistake you can make in the draft is to pass up a franchise QB and if one is available at #12, I'd take him. It immediately improves the most important position on the team and puts us in better position for the future. Most importantly, we'd have a guy we might-maybe-could win with.

Of the vets out there, I love RGIII but I don't think he's the guy he was, physically. I actually like the idea of Tannehill. He'd swallow a lot of FA money but he'd be a guy we could win with THIS YEAR if Rodgers couldn't play.

But would I sit here and say "If Rodgers goes down we're doomed anyway"? No. I'd get somebody who I thought gave us a chance. Even if I had to burn a high pick to do it.

GLM's picture

I like your take, but you don't take a QB at 12 unless you need a starter.

The TKstinator's picture

RG3 was really good at avoiding INT’s. He’s definitely worth a look, but not sure about $.

Portland Mark's picture

I don't follow the Ravens closely but it seems to me that Harbaugh changed their offense around to accommodate Jackson's ability as opposed to having him run the same offense that Flacco ran. Conversely, I don't think that MM changed any things to accommodate Hundley or Kizer's abilities. Very few can do what Rodgers can do so why not have a plan in place for the second team guy?
For whatever reason, Matt Flynn seemed to thrive in the Packer system but even then he was bailed out by some great Packer receivers.

jannes bjornson's picture

Matt Flynn was a competitor first, won a Championship at LSU. You need a guy with that desire to make plays and Win. That guy could be had in a trade ( one of the 49rs backups) or through the draft ( #3-4 pick). The group listed above doesn't do us any favors.

Samson's picture

Any veteran who has at least won a few games in his career would be preferable to Kizer or 'Dash' Boyle.

The TKstinator's picture

I’m thinking a solid vet who avoids dumb mistakes. Doesn’t have to be a guy who can rally from 28 pts down and throw for 300 yards. Just play solid. Manage the game.

stockholder's picture

Ok -lets bring back Brett Favre. Jim McMahon is to old. Seriously; It's not fair to Kizer when Rodgers had trouble too.

lou's picture

Hundley clearly outplayed Kizer in the pre-season. When Kizer got his 2 chances his play was abysmal, to quote Bob McGinn, "each time he threw several balloons out of desperation that were intercepted and others that hit the DB's in the breadbasket and were dropped". McCarthy politely after his first time replacing an injured Rodgers said we need to emphasize ball security (noting his fumbles too) to Kizer. If the new GM sticks with him as the backup next year as he is doing with Graham, paying him a fortune to return he is doing no more than covering his back for signing one and trading for the other. Ron Wolf pulled the plug and said he was wrong and moved on, lets see what happens in the future. Boyle and any other veteran QB who comes to camp should have the right to WIN the backup job on MERIT.

stockholder's picture

You have a valid point. I felt it might work out. But the moves that Gute is doing, are Back firing. Jackson should have pushed to start. Burks looks like a bust. Your 5th round OL is not going to play again. Dix was traded, sending a message. Monty inexcusable. Rodgers unhappy with the Wrs. And everybody is wanting to keep Allison now. I have to say Gute's burning the trust of stockholders. Their Complaining about Graham and want Te's drafted. Another Wr. Another OL. And are tired of Cobb Perry, and Cm3. He says he's happy with the OL? He liked the teams chances to make the play -offs. He's gambled spinning that little white Ball on the wheel. Somebody is going against the scouts. And thats a recipe for disaster. Sure he wants to to good. But who is the guy listening too?

jannes bjornson's picture

WIN the game.

sam1's picture

Just said this very thing a couple days ago, but to be fair yes bring in a vet, but see what Boyle has to offer. Must be something there to keep him around for a year as a roster spot albeit inactive!

jannes bjornson's picture

Let's not and say we did. Siemien was there last year for the cheap and the queens brought him in. Get a guy that knows the Pro Game, not a project for QB university. That over.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Stick to tennis Bjorn.


Lare's picture

It'll be interesting to see how the new coaching staff views Kizer & Boyle. A couple of other free agent QB's to consider if LaFleur & Getsy aren't that impressed with them.

Austin Davis was a backup QB in Tennessee last season so he should have familiarity with LaFleur and his offense. The same goes for Sean Mannion was a backup QB in LA the last few seasons.

Either of these would be a reasonably priced backup option until the Packers consider drafting Rodgers eventual long term replacement.

jannes bjornson's picture

Maybe the 49rs will deal CJ Beathard or Mullen. They are schooled in the K Shanahan scheme. Both are mobile and astute players. Boyle may be a third string guy but Kizer is just filling up space.

BlueOx's picture

Your season can’t ride on the health of any one player. With Rodgers’s health and play style, I agree that they need a vet until a rookie emerges. I haven’t seen RG3 play in years, so no comment there, but I don’t like the other options mentioned above. Other than Tyrod Taylor, who probably wants another chance as a starting job, the FA QB who jumps off the list is Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has proven his ability to win a few games without his offense having to shift into ultra-conservative mode.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Very nice article. I understand your concerns for backup qb but extremely disappointed you didn't mention the actual solution to the problem which we already have on the team. RGIII? Matt Schaub? Ah, I don't think so. As some of you may remember we have a young budding star qb already in the making. His name is Timothy Boyle. Pretty sure Mr. LaFleur isn't the least bit worried about the backup after watching the film of Boyle in the preseason. If the Packers and LaFleur are stupid enough to get rid of Boyle they deserve as much pain as possible. i honestly don't see that happening but God help them if they do.


Nick Perry's picture

"Pretty sure Mr. LaFleur isn't the least bit worried about the backup after watching the film of Boyle in the preseason."

Hmmmmm.......I don't kow Dash. It seems the OLD GM and HC weren't the least bit worried after Hundley lead the NFL in passing one preseason and how'd that turn out? Maybe I'm wrong about leading it but there was that one preseason he threw something like 7 TD's and LOOKED like the 2nd coming of Matt Mr. Auguest Hassellback. Be great if your right but lets not put all our apples in one basket yet again

Lare's picture

Not sure what LaFleur will gain by looking at film of last preseason. Stats of those games;

Kizer was 32 of 60 (53%) for 460 yards (14.4 ave.) with 3 TDs, 1 INT and 5 sacks.

Boyle was 26 of 53 (49%) for 294 yards (11.3 ave.) with 3 TDs, 2 INTs and 3 sacks.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Boyle's stats were deceptive. That's why you ALWAYS look at the film not some guy on the couch googling stats like Lare'. Boyle had 3 to 4 td's taken away as a result of J'Mon Moore drops that were right in his hand and in stride for what would have been hightlight reels across the U.S. Boyle probably had the best preseason out of all the rookie qb's in the draft. He was that good and will continue to shine if he's given the opportunity. The entire Packers franchise rests on how LaFleur handles Boyle not Rodgers. Remember, I have a special ability to see things in the future that others simply can't. Boyle needs extensively playing time this training camp and preseason. We need to get this guy ready to go as though he's our starter. Last year was a disgrace not getting Boyle any playing time.


jannes bjornson's picture

scrub talk

SterlingSharpe's picture

I'll take the one among these 3 who are available. And who have worked with LaFleur well already.

Handsback's picture

Hard to win with Rodgers, expect to win with second team guy?
As mentioned above far down the list of needs.

GLM's picture

I think it might be best to unload/reload at the backup positions. Sign a FA, and draft someone to develop.

carlos's picture

What about Teddy Bridgewater. Is he a free agent or a possible trade? Is his knee healed enough?. It was a bad injury. I do like Boyle, but I see a lot of raw talent that needs to be schooled up. I wouldn’t draft a QB in the first round this year.

dobber's picture

Bridgewater is an FA, I think, and is not expected back with the Saints. I suspect he'll look for a team with a vulnerable starter to back up or a rookie draft pick with an eye on starting.

The TKstinator's picture

TB will definitely take the wide open underneath throw.

carlos's picture

Thanks Dobber for the update. I think he’d be a good signing. Just my opinion.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Carlos, no offense but do you want your starting or backup quarterback to be named "Teddy"? I don't think the Packers are ready for that just yet since we still have so many here suffering severe TDS (Thompson Derangement Syndrom).


carlos's picture

Maybe it would jinx the old crap from the last Teddy. We could only hope Dash.

holmesmd's picture

He’s got a noodle for an arm even BEFORE his knee exploded! I’m not convinced he’s a definitive upgrade at this point IMO.

Coach JV's picture

RGIII wouldn't be a bad choice for a backup... Get rid of Kizer and let RGIII compete with Boyle for #2.

ILPackerBacker's picture

If you think there is any other QB in the nfl that could walk into teddie's turds and get better results than AROD does you are really kidding yourself

without Rodgers 3 shutouts in 11 games.

This is not NE level talent that can cover up losing a franchise qb nor bear level talent that can cover up a bad qb

WolfLarsen's picture


Doug Niemczynski's picture

I like QB Ryan Tannehill - I mean out of the 32 teams i would say is in the middle and maybe learning from Rogers can help.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I'd only be willing to spend a couple/three million on a veteran reserve QB. That eliminates Tannehill and Bridgewater, I would think.

Someone who already knows LaFleur's systems sounds interesting. Schaub and RG3 might have credibility with AR as guys who know what it takes, even if they weren't incredibly successful overall.

The TKstinator's picture

2 or 3 million...I’d like to apply for your veteran reserve QB position, please.
I specialize in throwaways. Is that a pawsitive in your system?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Not for passing the football. Now throwaway lines are welcome and positively graded.

Donster's picture

Fitz, Bridgewater or Trevor Siemian if the Vikings don't re-sign him. Siemian being the less expensive of the three, but with a few years of starting experience to go with it, young and not glued together. The team has needed an experienced backup on the roster for years. MM thinking he was the QB guru, and telling everyone that he had Hundley ready to come in and lead the team was a joke. If you want another rookie to look at, wait until after the final roster cuts after camp. Grab someone there and stick him on the PS. This team needs to use its draft picks on guys that can contribute asap.

holmesmd's picture

So Belaga disappeared? He’s an all pro RT when he’s healthy! Yes he’s getting long in the tooth and injuries are a concern but he’s one of the better RT’s in the league IMO.

jannes bjornson's picture

Yes, when he's healthy and he was not really healthy all year. He probably should have started on the PUP, but they wanted him to earn his contract and put him out there day one. They have no faith in Spriggs. The concern for Bulaga is his back issue more so than his knees. The hip injury is always lingering in the weeds. He should return and compete with a high pick for the RT position. Can he go inside at guard and not be stoned with the Bull rush??

Qoojo's picture

A vet backup QB would be nice. But even the grade C guys aren't floating around out there much.

I want to see OL become a priority. Be proactive. Hopefully, they have a new offense where Rodgers doesn't have to hold the ball so long. Now focus on keeping Rodgers clean. He needs to take a lot less hits.

The packers have 2 OL (Bak and Linsey). Everyone else is a question mark. I'd be happy if they draft 1 or 2 edge rushers and 4 OL, if they do nothing in FA towards OL.

OL is the biggest need, along with the annual "need someone to rush the passer".

Jonathan Spader's picture

Rodgers doesn't "have to hold onto the ball so long". Go back and watch tape. He waits for the big play and ignores what's open to him. There were multiple times a game throughout the year Aaron Jones was parked for a check down pass.

With McCray healthy I think he can step in at RG. With BB healthier we have RT shored up until he inevitably gets injured. With Taylor healthy we have an average LG. Spriggs will have another year under his belt with a new OL coach this time. Cole Madison is still a ?, along with Light and others.

OL talent is important but takes time to develop. With all the depth needed on the Packers roster they can't focus on any one position. Fortunately Gute accumulated a ton of draft capital through trading down and trading players. Unfortunately his solution to RG was Bell who was terrible.

jannes bjornson's picture

Tauscher, Coledge and Clifton started as rookies,...Bhaktiari etc. talent trumps
a guy with 100 years of experience every time.

carlos's picture

Agree with most posts. O-line is the key to the whole offense. When it is stable all things are more cohesive. A decent running back can be very productive with some studs up front and a OL guy with a mean streak is also a positive. We all know two more things are important. A good QB, which we have, and a defense that can create turnovers and stop the run.

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