Packers Number Two Quarterback Tolzien Ready If Needed

The second string quarterback for the Green Bay Packers is much like your local medical rescue squad: you want the best talent there is but hope and pray that you never need them.

The Packers made a subtle but bold move this off-season when they replaced their primary backup quarterback. Gone is the security blanket provided by Matt Flynn. Enter last year’s number three QB Scott Tolzien.

In Tolzien the Packers feel that they have a player with a greater upside and more impressive physical tools to work with over Flynn.

Tolzien says he is ready to accept his role as Aaron Rodgers understudy and will be able to direct the potent Packers offense should the need arise.

With all due respect Scott, we sincerely hope that you never have to play in a meaningful game for the green-and-gold.

During the off-season Tolzien signed a one-year, $1.375 million deal to become the team’s number two quarterback. The contract however, contained just $100,000 in guaranteed money. It will be up to Tolzien to show the team what he can do and earn yet another chance next year.

Scott Tolzien went undrafted in 2011 but caught on with the San Diego Chargers. He was waived that summer and spent the ensuing two years on the roster of the San Francisco 49’ers before being cut loose in late August of 2013. It was then that the Packers picked him up. At the time it seemed like a shrewd tactical move by the Packers who were opening that season against the 49’ers. Tolzien could supply Intel and strategy. Many in fact assumed that once the Packers picked his brain he would be sent on his way.

That however was not the case. The 27 year-old Tolzien stuck. He is known as one of the hardest workers on the team and his teammates universally come away impressed with his desire to pay the price to succeed.

The Packers also invested a fifth-round draft choice this year in highly acclaimed former UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley. How soon can Hundley push Tolzien for the No. 2 job? He possesses better athletic ability, superior size, speed, perhaps even arm strength. Tolzien however has the better grasp of the offense. Hundley did well in the rookie mini-camp practices but was absent for the start of this week’s OTA’s while attending the mandatory NFLPA Rookies Premiere in Los Angeles.

It would be stunning if Hundley were to acclimate himself to the Packers complex offense well enough to earn the number two position behind Rodgers. The Packers feel comfortable that Tolzien can carry the burden if called upon to do so.

Many fans forget that Tolzien was on the roster of the Green Bay Packers for just nine weeks in 2013 when he was thrust into duty after Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) and Seneca Wallace (groin) went down with injuries. And he actually performed pretty well.

Playing in about 2½ games, Tolzien completed just over 61% of his 90 passes for 717 yards. Those who watched Tolzien quarterback the Wisconsin Badgers were surprised by his improved athleticism and arm strength from his days at Madison. However Tolzien also threw five interceptions and notched just one touchdown. Eventually he was replaced with Flynn.

When he was asked by the media as to how things would differ today were he be thrust into meaningful playing time, he responded “I think I’d be more comfortable with the offense and the guys around you. I think really you’ve got to put your own time in because getting the reps in practice, so I think there’s more of a mental side of it as far as my full reps.”

“I think I’ve gotten better. But it’s a business and what have you done lately. So you’re always constantly trying to improve, even in the off-season. I think every day makes a difference.”

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” Tolzien added. “And I love my teammates, the coaches, our offense. I’ve enjoyed it. I really have. I don’t know if you can match it anywhere else.”

Meanwhile reigning NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers arrived at Thursday’s OTA’s declaring that he is healed from his left calf injury which hobbled him at the end of last season. He noted however that aesthetically his leg has not yet returned to normal.

At the present time Packers fans can feel pretty good about their quarterback position. The reigning league MVP is healthy and raring to go. For now Tolzien has settled in at number two and has the background and talent to direct the club in the short-term should the need arise. Brett Hundley will get the coaching and experience, at least in the pre-season, to start off what everyone hopes will be a long and successful career.

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Jeff Albrecht grew up just north of Green Bay and was lucky enough to attend some of the Lombardi Era classic games, like the 1962 championship and the Ice Bowl. Jeff went on to play HS football in the Green Bay area and College ball at UW - Stevens Point. Jeff is retired but still does some writing for his local paper. Jeff is a writer with AllGreenBayPackers.com and you can follow him on twitter at @pointerjeff .

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  • marpag

    If Tolzien were more of a “steady, experienced, won’t-lose-it-for-you veteran” I’d feel fantastic about the Packers QB situation…. best starter in the league, a dependable game-manager back-up and a promising young understudy. I was one who liked the Hundley pick. But alas, Tolzien is still a looooong ways away from a proven, veteran game-manager. Those INTs were killer.

    • croatpackfan

      Those INT came after just 10 days in QB room and practice… I saw more known QBs with more time on team that was more INT prone than Scott, who really did not know the players and Packers offense…
      See under Jay Cutler, last year Eli Manning etc.

      • TedTomsin

        Agree Croat. I wish people would forget about the damn interceptions he threw in those two games. He basically got off a plane from SF and was thrown into a game and people expect him to be Aaron Rodgers.

        Tolzein performed better than Aaron Rodgers did when Aaron was a rookie. I was impressed with Tolzein last preseason. After finally getting acclimated with the players and knowing the offense, he blew away Matt Flynn and most people agreed he earned the no. 2 last season. The progression he made in one year was impressive.

        This year Tolzein can easily step in and win games and they won’t have to change a thing offensively. I’m not buying the “veteran game manager Trent Dilfer bull shit”. He’s a fully developed legit NFL quality starter with a cannon for an arm but he’s our backup. He’s now ready just like Aaron Rodgers was in his third year. No way is Hundley going to come close to beating him out. He’ll be on the practice squad all year.
        Ted

  • Archie

    I think GB’s situation at #2 QB is as good as it has been for a long time. I was never a fan of noodle-armed Matt Flynn. I think Tolzien is capable of making big plays.

    Base defense for Pack on DL this year could be Guion, Raji and Boyd. Then switch to Daniels and Jones in the 2-3-6 or 2-4-5.

    Kyhri Thornton, last year’s top of R3 surprise pick. Is he another Jerel Worthy type pick? #6 and #7 DL is totally up in the air. Could Mike Pennell stick? Could Ringo make it? I like the improvement the Pack made in the pass rush last year. If they could repeat that while improving their run stop, it could be good enough to get back to the SB following a 5 year absence.

    • NemoOutis

      You are an optimist, Archie, and I like that. Last year, the defense often played 8 men in the box with only one safety deep. This gave Burnett the chance to register a career-high 99 solo tackles and a team-high 125 total tackles They may not be able to play as much “8 in the box” this season, given the turnover at CB. But, they should be OK, if the line and ILB play improves. If not . . . well, I won’t speculate. Like you, I hope for the best.

      • TedTomsin

        Hey Schwartz, the article is about Tolzein. Focus.
        Ted

        • NemoOutis

          I was responding to Archie’s excellent comment about the D-line. As for Tolziein, I think he’ll be an excellent back-up and won’t be threatened at all by Hundley. There, are you happy, Mr. Troll?

          • TedTomsin

            Yes, that makes me happy. Archie did initially comment about Tolzein. You on the other hand wanted to take the talk into an entirely new direction. It’s disrespecting and insulting to the writer / author when you do that Schwartz, I mean Nemo. I only say this because I’m a former author having written numerous books on football years ago. No, I will not disclose them.
            Ted

            • NemoOutis

              You seem to take delight in calling me “Schwartz,” as if I don’t know its slang meaning. It is the thing you play with when you piss in the shower, as you’ve admitted you do in a previous post. Remind me not to enter a swimming pool or a hot tube with you.

              • TedTomsin

                Again Nemo, we are discussing Scott Tolzein, not the pissing habits of Ted Tomsin.
                Ted

  • Big T

    The QB situation was instantly improved when Marshall Newhouse left town. He would assist the defender to the QB. If the O-line holds up the number 2 QB should only be coming in for garbage time. Now if Rodgers should pull a groin while playing with Olivia then we will see what Tolzien has.

    • Peter Maiz

      Tolzien will play well until he throws an interception.

  • montana83

    There’s a reason that GB picked the 3rd QB in the draft. By the end of the season Hundley will be No. 2 and Tolzien No. 3. That I assume is why TT drafted him.

    • croatpackfan

      You assumption is wrong… Sorry…

    • aaronqb

      If Hundley is the #2 QB, there will not be a #3 on the 53-man. That roster spot would be taken by someone at another position (like LB, DL, or OL)

    • Peter Maiz

      Not so, Hundley needs a lot of tweaking. Tolzien needs to be able to have grace under pressure. I’d say 60% of starting quarterbacks don’t have that.

  • Taryn Miller

    I believe both Tolzien and Hundley have equal chance of never playing in a game this season.
    Other than the hoped for and often mop up duty consisting of multiple kneel downs.

    • I’d have to suggest that Tolzien has a better chance of playing in a game when it matters than Hundley this season. But who knows, the situation hopefully won’t arise at all, and perhaps Hundley will prove to be a prodigy.

      • Peter Maiz

        How do you guys expect Hundley to really play in 2015? He’s strictly developmental for 2016. But if he’s ever ready…Tolzien will be shown the door. I hope Hundley is very well trained because he’s an exceptional athlete.

  • Since ’61

    The backup QB situation for the Packers is unknown at this point. Between Tolzien and Hundley we have a total of about 11-12 NFL regular season quarters. Tolzien may be able to come into a game where we have a lead and hold on but that will depend on how much time is left when he is required to come in. If we lose Rodgers for an extended period of time during the season we’ll have a repeat of 2013 at best, unless the defense can step up big time which I wouldn’t be too confident about. It’s really a Catch-22 for the backup QBs. To improve they need to play in real NFL games, however if that happens for any length of time the season is probably lost. Therefore I would prefer never to see either of our backup QBs in a meaningful game situation. Hopefully, as Taryn has accurately stated, Tolzien’s and Hundley’s NFL experience will be limited to mop ups and kneel downs for the next several seasons. Thanks, Since ’61

    • TedTomsin

      ” If we lose Rodgers for an extended period of time during the season we’ll have a repeat of 2013 at best”

      100% disagree Since 61 with respect of course. Tolzein’s a different guy now. He’s better than Matt Flynn could ever fathom at this point. All the things you are saying about Tolzein being an “unknown” was said about Aaron Rodgers prior to that Dallas game where Favre got hurt but I saw he was ready that preseason just like I do now with Tolzein.

      Thing is, we do already have a glimpse of what Tolzein can do and I already know this guy isn’t some “game manager”. This guy is aggressive, he has an arm, he’s smart, he’s a hard worker and he’s tough as nails with an attitude. I absolutely love what this kid is capable of doing. He’s ready to be an NFL starting qb. He’ll never get the chance here but if Rodgers goes down, this offense won’t skip much of a beat. Again, just like when Favre went down and Rodgers came in.

      We now have the best backup qb situation in the league. TT is to be commended for going after Tolzein even being so late in the game a few years back and dumping Harrel and Coleman. That in itself should tell you how much TT thinks of this guy and TT is usually right 99.56% of the time.
      Ted

      • Since ’61

        Ted – everything that you are saying about Tolzien may prove to be correct. In fairness to Tolzien we have a very small sample of actual NFL playing time with which to form an opinion. Therefore, I give him the benefit of the doubt. However, based on his limited experience I prefer to manage my expectations of Tolzien until he has a chance to play for an extended period, which as you say, may never happen in Green Bay. I do not count his preseason performances since they are meaningless in terms of the regular season and the level of competition faced. Add to that the fact that Tolzien has not taken a snap in a regular season NFL game since 2013 and it tells me that he would take a while to be an effective starting QB. Let’s not forget that the Packers were 6-10 with Rodgers in his first year as a starter in 2008. That is about what I would expect from Tolzien if he ever has the chance to play for a full season. Taking nothing away from Tolzien, I would prefer that we never need to find out how ready he is or isn’t. Thanks, Since ’61

      • Peter Maiz

        Ted, with all due respect, I’d say most of the quarterbacks that are drafted out of college go nowhere. I hope you’re right about Tolzien. I guess we’ll see if he handles a quarter or two. You’re a great quarterback until you throw an interception. But comparing Tolzien to Rodgers would be comparing a Buick to a Rolls Royce, so let’s not go there.

        • TedTomsin

          You don’t have to go there. I’ll go there for you Peter. I knew Rodgers was going to be great before he took his first start. I see a lot of the same traits in Tolzein last year. He’ll be dynamite starting out the gate this training camp. My guess is the Packers will try to milk him for a high draft pick like they did with Hasselbeck. He’ll be worth every penny. I do hope they can sign him long term for our backup but I doubt Tolzein wants that job.
          Ted

  • Mike Sherman

    This is the last year Tolzien will likely be on the team. 1 year deal and Hundley should supplant him next year and we go back to 2 QB’s. This way Hundley learns this year and is full back up next……. if things go to plan. If he falters, resign Tolzien. It’s a good plan.

  • Peter Maiz

    Tolzien is 27. He studies hard to hide the fact that he is not made to play a full game. He throws interceptions and can’t handle the rush. If he were any good, San Diego or San Francisco would have kept him. We’ve seen Rodgers go down two years in a row.