Etling was signed to the Packers roster last summer. During the 2022 preseason, Etling was efficient, completing 17-of-22 passes at 10 yards per attempt with one touchdown, according to PFF. He also ran for 73 yards as well. Etling spent 2022 as the Packers practice squad quarterback.
Since training camp began nearly two weeks ago, Etling has taken the majority of the snaps with the second-team offense with mixed results. My guess is that there are two primary reasons why the team chose to move on from Etling.
The first being the confidence that the Packers have in Clifford to be the backup. Green Bay spent a fifth-round pick on him and after the draft, mentioned that Clifford’s college experience, fit in the locker room, and athleticism were key reasons why they selected him. Since offseason programs, Clifford has continually improved.
The other reason for moving on from Etling is that Matt LaFleur has talked about on a few occasions how difficult it can be to get four quarterbacks, especially when all are inexperienced, the proper number of snaps they need in practice, let alone in games with joint practices and the preseason starting later this week.
Although Etling has more experience in the LaFleur offense than McGough, the team either likes McGough’s upside, his fit, or both more so.
This move all but cements Clifford into the backup quarterback role. I suppose keeping three quarterbacks isn’t completely out of the question now, but McGough likely ends up on the practice squad.
There is still going to be a certain production and tape prerequisite that Clifford has to produce on the field this summer to be the backup, but as GM Brian Gutekunst pointed out on Friday when speaking with reporters that the backup quarterback’s role is also to support Love. This can include being an extra pair of eyes in the film room and on the practice field as part of forming the weekly game plan, along with on the sidelines on Sundays as the game is taking place.
With the release of Etling, the Packers’ official roster now stands at 89 players, leaving room for an addition. My guess right now is that they bring in a tight end with Josiah Deguara still sidelined since Tuesday with a calf injury. Without him, Green Bay has just four tight ends on the 90-man, five if you count Henry Pearson, who is listed as a fullback but played tight end in college.