Green Bay Packers: Trust Scott Tolzien


If there is one indispensable player on the Green Bay Packers roster, it’s Aaron Rodgers. Any chance this team has to make a Super Bowl run is on the shoulders of No. 12.

However, the last couple of seasons have proven to be a little rough for the Packers regarding their star quarterback’s health.  In 2013, Rodgers missed half of the season with a broken collarbone and the Packers somehow, with a little help of poor play from their division rivals, the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, barely squeaked into the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.

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That season, the Packers went through three different backup quarterbacks until Rodgers came back for the final game of the year. Last season, Rodgers suffered a serious injury to his calf muscle and while he didn’t miss any time, it did hinder his play and take away his ability to scramble, which is a strong part of Rodgers’ game.

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Heading into this season, the Packers knew they needed to upgrade their backup quarterback position. They decided to let Matt Flynn walk and hand the reins to Scott Tolzien this season.

Tolzien first came to the Packers in 2013 and he saw action in three games. Tolzien was still pretty raw, and while he displayed some positive traits that season, he didn’t have the ability to consistently play well. Flynn would replace Tolzien as the starter until Rodgers came back for the final game of the 2013 regular season.

The Packers kept both Flynn and Tolzien last year, even though at one point it did seem like the Packers were set on only keeping one of those players to back up Rodgers. Flynn won the primary backup job and did see some snaps last year.

Heading into the 2015 offseason, the Packers decided to go with Tolzien and brought him back to be the primary backup to Rodgers and they let Flynn walk. So far, that decision is looking very smart.

Flynn is currently on his second team already this season. After signing with the New England Patriots, he was released before the first preseason game and was just recently signed by the New York Jets.

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Meanwhile, Tolzien looks to have really improved his game. From what I’ve noticed at training camp practices, Tolzien looks a lot more comfortable and confident. Many times in quarterback drills, he and Rodgers are making the drills a friendly competition amongst themselves. Many times, Tolzien is holding up his end of the bargain.

Because he is faring well in practice, he’s getting more confident in his game. He is also becoming more composed and combining that with his improvement in his skills, he’s becoming an improved player.

All of this improvement was evident in his first preseason action against the Patriots, when Tolzien was 10-for-16 passing with 107 yards and a 26-yard touchdown pass that came on a fourth-down play.

So the question now is, can Tolzien win a game in the regular season if need be?

The health of Aaron Rodgers is no doubt on the minds of both Packers fans and the organization. The Packers don’t want to have to go through any more games that Rodgers is unable to play in and have sub-par quarterback play from their backup. The snaps that Flynn played last year, both in relief because of blowout wins and injuries, Flynn struggled to move the ball.

With the improvement from Tolzien this year, don’t expect to see him struggling if he has to play.

The Packers should be able to win a game or two with Tolzien’s improvements if he has to play for Rodgers. From what Tolzien has shown throughout practice and in the first preseason game, he’s showing that he can go into a situation and win a game for the Packers and this is mostly with the No. 2 offense.

Put Tolzien with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, and the No. 1 offensive line and Tolzien has the tools to succeed.

The Packers have had playmakers in their offense the past two years for all of their backups to succeed. Other than a couple of decent games from Flynn in 2013, the backup quarterback failed to take advantage of a top-notch offense. Tolzien won’t make that mistake this year if he needs to come in. Tolzien is currently showing that the moment is not too big for him.

He’s displaying command of the offense and his game is just better. It’s evident that staying in the Packers system and going through Mike McCarthy’s quarterback school has helped improve Tolzien’s play. It also doesn’t hurt to learn from the best quarterback in the league in Rodgers.

The Packers and their fans don’t want to see Rodgers miss any games. If Rodgers misses time, the Packers’ chances of going to the Super Bowl drastically drops. However, if the Packers find themselves in a similar situation as they were in 2013, the Packers and their fans should feel more confident and comfortable with their backup quarterback play.

Put the 2015 version of Tolzien into that situation, and the Packers win 10 games instead of eight.

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