Category Archives: Scott Tolzein

6

June

Assessing the Green Bay Packers Quarterback Situation

Matt Flynn & Scott Tolzien

Flynn and Tolzien should return as familiar faces behind Rodgers in 2014

For a team that whose quarterback fortunes have been touched by the football Gods themselves over the past 20+ years, it would seem that the Green Bay Packers could probably write the book on how to handle and develop the most important position on the field.

Alas, they learned a tough lesson in 2013 and one that hopefully will set up a more ideal situation with their signal callers in 2014.  I tend to like to revisit history quite a bit so let’s recap the quarterback situation last year for the Packers.

Heading into 2013, Green Bay had Aaron Rodgers, Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman set to go at quarterback and there was little question about whether they would all be on the roster, just a matter of how.

There was hesitation about Harrell after his subpar performances during the 2012 season but his experience in the offense was enough to instill the coaching staff’s confidence in him.  Coleman was expected, by many, to step up and make a jump between his first and second seasons.  Still, he was a possibility to land on the team’s practice squad again.

Neither of them made it to week one and questions began to fly about why so much was expected out of such mediocre players.  Were the Packers losing their luster in being able to develop young passers?  Both Harrell and Coleman were released during the preseason and the Packers signed veteran Vince Young, who had not played at all the season prior.  Young was a complete dud and the Packers released him after the last preseason game.  The Packers then turned to Seneca Wallace to back up Rodgers but he had no time to practice or play with his new teammates in a game situation before the season started.

While Rodgers had missed a few games up until then, there was little reason to be too concerned about who was behind #12 as he had a strong history of being healthy and available.  Unfortunately, Rodgers’ collarbone wasn’t quite as strong and was broken during a week six game against the Chicago Bears.  Suddenly the Packers and their fans were in unfamiliar territory:  they would have to rely on their backup quarterback for an extended period of time.

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27

May

Cory’s Corner: Jared Abbrederis keeps chugging along

Jared Abbrederis was taken in the fifth round by the Packers. He is second all-time at Wisconsin with 3,140 career receiving yards.

Jared Abbrederis was taken in the fifth round by the Packers. He is second all-time at Wisconsin with 3,140 career receiving yards, behind Lee Evans’ 3,468 yards.

Jared Abbrederis is a classic Packers player.

And it has nothing to do with the fact that he was born and raised in Wisconsin or even played college ball for the Badgers.

It’s because he has beaten the odds and succeeded when nobody thought he could or would.

“Abby” is the “Little Engine That Could.” He keeps telling himself: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” that before long, he has not only done it, but has exceeded expectations in the process.

I remember watching him in high school. He was nothing but a blur of orange and black as he led the co-op team of Wautoma and Faith Christian to its first football state title ever. And Abbrederis did just about all he could that day. The quarterback running an option offense ran for 53 yards and a touchdown, was 6-for-11 passing for 73 yards and a touchdown, he returned a couple of punts and he even found enough time to pick off a couple passes.

Abbrederis quickly became a fan favorite at the University of Wisconsin by outworking everyone on the field while maintaining the quiet, humble side, which is a dead giveaway for hard-working Wautoma.

The fact that he elevated himself not only as one of the best receivers in the Big Ten but in the nation is even more impressive, seeing as who was throwing him the ball. His freshman and sophomore seasons he saw the best quarterback play of his career with Scott Tolzien and Russell Wilson throwing him the ball.

But then Maryland transfer Danny O’Brien, Joel Stave and Curt Phillips took over. All three were vastly inefficient. O’Brien had trouble understanding the offense, Stave had trouble consistently completing passes to wide open receivers and Phillips was trying to come back from three knee surgeries.

However, Abbrederis played through all that. And the former walk-on who originally had planned on going to Wisconsin to run track finished up his Badger career by being named first team All-Big Ten for 2012 and 2013.

Abbrederis may not look physically imposing, judging from his pipe cleaner frame, but he has deceiving speed and is an accomplished route runner.

30

April

Breaking Down Matt Flynn’s Contract

Matt Flynn led a fiery comeback for the Packers. And in some ways, the tie is a win.Coming into the 2014 season, many fans placed backup quarterback as the top priority of the offseason.  It’s easy to see why, the Packers were a drastically different (i.e. drastically bad) team after Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken clavicle and it was only some late season heroics from “Plan F” Matt Flynn that the Packers even had a chance at a playoff run at the end of the season.  The Packers cannot expect to get so lucky that the Bears, Vikings and notably Lions happened to be even worse in 2014 and one of the quickest, most efficient fixes that can be made is having a viable backup quarterback on deck in case something happens to Rodgers again.  Keep in mind, Rodgers is now at higher risk of breaking his clavicle again (which is part of the nature of the injury) and is already at risk of concussions (which he has had a history of in the NFL), so it’s not a wasted effort to have someone ready right now.

In a previous article I have argued that after the initial rush of free agency, it didn’t make any sense to not resign Matt Flynn as quickly as possible.  As a 6 year veteran, his minimum contract was around $730,000, which is fully un-guaranteed and with offseason rosters being expanded to 90, theres no reason to not “waste” a spot on another quarterback in the offseason.  Furthermore I argued that should the Packers feel Scott Tolzein or any rookie quarterback was a better option, they could cut Flynn with basically zero penalty.  Commenters argued that it was possible that it was actually Flynn who was holding up negotiations as he was waiting until after the draft or hoping for a camp injury in order to get a better deal.

Well the financial details of Flynn’s deal were finally made public and I will say that I was a little surprised by the specifics, especially considering the scenario that occurred (more on that below). Below is some 1-year contracts signed by established, veteran backup quarterbacks in 2014:

  • Mark Sanchez (PHI) – $2.5 million total, $750,000 guaranteed, additional $2 million incentive clause
  • Shaun Hill (STL) – $1.75 million total, $500,000 guaranteed, additional $500,000 incentive clause
  • Tavaris Jackson (SEA) – $1.25 million total, $1.25 million guaranteed, additional $750,000 incentive clause
  • Matt Flynn (GB) – $970,000 total, $75,000 guaranteed, additional $100,000 incentive clause
26

March

Why Haven’t The Packers Resigned Matt Flynn?

Matt Flynn

In case anyone forgot, the 2013 Packers will always be remembered as the “oh shit, Aaron Rodgers got hurt” season.  After Rodgers broke his clavicle against the Bears, it became quite apparent that the Packers front office had been unusually caught with its collective pants off by having no viable backup to keep the team afloat.  This all started in training camp and the preseason as the Packers cut incumbent backup quarterbacks Graham Harrell and BJ Coleman, leaving former 1st round pick and overall bust Vince Young as the presumed backup, only to release him at the 53 man cut deadline.  After all that, the Packers front office signed Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien to actually backup the season.  Obviously the football gods didn’t look favorably to all this as Seneca Wallace got hurt almost immediately into his first start for the Packers and left an unproven and inexperienced Scott Tolzien to start for the Packers against the Giants and part of the Vikings game.  It was only when the Packers got to “plan F” did they get really desperate and call back old buddy Matt Flynn, who took over halfway into the Vikings game, managed to scrape a couple of tight wins against the Falcons and the Cowboys and managed to do just enough to keep the team afloat until Rodgers came back to play the Bears in the season finale with playoff hopes on the line.

This story is something that the Packers can ill afford to repeat; in all honestly the Packers did not get into the playoffs last year, the Bears and Lions were just even less deserving of a playoff berth.  So the question really becomes, why are the Packers repeating 2013 by not resigned Matt Flynn and what reason could they possibly have?

Matt Flynn would not be an expensive backup, after bombing out in Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, its pretty apparent that the only team that has any value for Flynn is the Packers, and thus his asking price would be low due to no competition for his services.  There has been no news of Matt Flynn taking any visits with any other teams and no rumors that any other team is even interested.  Furthermore, Flynn missed out on the free agent signing rush, where some backup quarterbacks commanded as much as a $5 million average over 2-3 years.  As such, the best Flynn will likely see is a 1 year veteran minimum, which for a player with 6 years of experience means $730,000.

25

November

Cory’s Corner: Biggest wart on Sunday was offense

Former Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn came in to relieve the struggling Scott Tolzien.

Former Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn came in to relieve the struggling Scott Tolzien.

Everyone is going to want to blame the defense today.

And, yeah, it sounds about right.

The defense allowed a 2-8 team to waltz into Lambeau Field and get pushed around by Adrian Peterson who hasn’t been 100 percent for quite some time. Most people can swallow giving up 146 yards on the ground to a future Hall of Famer like Peterson.

But Toby Gerhart’s 91 rushing yards was more of a surprise than finding a 50-dollar bill in the couch cushions.

Yet, despite all that, I’m not blaming the loss, err tie on the defense.

Nope, this coulda-been is on the offense.

Most specifically, the very first overtime drive. Freshly inserted Matt Flynn — whom coach Mike McCarthy admitted he was looking for a spark — led the Packers down the field within scoring distance in eight plays.

The Packers had the ball 1st and goal from the Minnesota 7 and the only thing that was gained from such a great drive was a 20-yard field goal that Mason Crosby could’ve made with his eyes closed.

The play-calling didn’t help either. I didn’t like Eddie Lacy off right tackle on 2nd down and goal from the 3. Lacy got swallowed up for a one-yard gain, which set up the obvious pass on third down.

That of course coupled with the horrific 3-for-16 third down conversion rate and this offense would have had trouble finding water while falling out of a boat. The measure of good offenses down to the game level is how well they move the sticks. As long the chain gang keeps running to set up first downs, the rest will take care of itself.

I realize that it hasn’t exactly been easy for this offense without pass catchers like Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley, but the Vikings secondary isn’t scary. That unit has been gutted with injuries this year and McCarthy was too concerned about not losing as opposed to grabbing a much-needed win.

Now we cannot compare any of the last three quarterbacks that have been inserted since Aaron Rodgers went down. But then again, those are the guys entrusted to play quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. This isn’t the Green Bay Southwest High School JV team where a quarterback is expected to throw at most six passes a game.

21

November

Numbers up for Packers receivers, down for Vikings corners

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is really good. Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is alright, but his fellow corners are not.

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is really good. Vikings rookie Xavier Rhodes is alright, but his fellow corners are not.

Numbers never lie. Except when they do.

Numbers lied when they said that Robert Griffin III had a big day against the Packers. After all, 320 yards and three touchdowns isn’t a bad day at the office, but in reality, Griffin really just benefitted from a garbage-time stat stuffer.

But thanks to new-age stats sites like Pro Football Focus, anyone and everyone can access in-depth stats at the click of a mouse. So if I want to see how good/bad a player does in coverage, it’s pretty easy.

And the numbers say Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson is bad. Awfully bad.

Opposing quarterbacks have completed 56 of 66 targets on Robinson this season. That’s 84.8 percent of their passes–the worst mark in the NFL for a cornerback, along with a league-high 716 receiving yards. Add three touchdowns and no interceptions, and you’ve got yourself a 127.0 cumulative passer rating.

Robinson’s partner in crime, Chris Cook, has allowed 19 completions on 26 targets–again, a staggering 73.1 percent. Cook has been a sieve as far as allowing touchdowns, as he’s been responsible for four scores, despite being thrown at only 26 times. That’s not good for him, but really good for opposing offenses.

Xavier Rhodes, one of the team’s three first-round picks from last April, has shown flashes of why he was a Day 1 pick, although he’s certainly been exposed. The secondary’s lone bright spot will likely see a heavy dose of Jordy Nelson on Sunday, as the Packers will likely move him all around the formation, including the slot which is where he caught both of his touchdowns when the teams met in the MetroDome Oct. 27.

Of 107 cornerbacks that have played at least 25 percent of their team’s snaps, the Vikings have three players who rank 83 or lower on the list, according to Pro Football Focus. Here’s a closer look at how they’ve fared so far this season:

83. Xavier Rhodes (60.8% completion, 293 yards, o TD o INT. 79.3 QB rating)

84. Chris Cook (73.0% completion, 241 yards, 4 TD 0 INT. 141.2 QB rating)

101. Josh Robinson (84.8% completion, 716 yards, 3 TD 0 INT. 127.0 QB rating)

21

November

No Huddle Radio: Packers Season on the Ropes

Marques, Kris and Cory from ALLGBP.com convene to hash out what to make of  the Packers losing their third straight game on Sunday.

Tune in as the guys dissect the loss to the Giants and discuss how the Packers can find their way out of their current predicament. Is there hope or are they down for the count?

Listen using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

 

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Join the writers at AllGreenBayPackers.com for a fast hitting discussion of all things Packers. Please be sure to visit  ALLGREENBAYPACKERS.COM, where we are “All Packers All the Time.”  You can also browse Packers Talk Radio Network for more Packers podcasts and follow @PackerstalkNet and @NoHuddleRadioGB on twitter.

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He is a PFWA member who can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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