Pederson Gains Edge as Backup

So much for that much ballyhooed quarterback controversy. With heavy discussion centered around which quarterback will earn the honor of holding onto the clipboard this upcoming season as the Green Bay Packers backup field general, Doug Pederson may have put an end to such talk following his outstanding performance in the Packers' 22-7 preseason win over the Denver Broncos Monday night at Lambeau Field.

Pederson, waged in a battle with Billy Joe Tolliver for the No. 2 spot behind Brett Favre, threw for 112 yards and one touchdown on eight-of-12 passing and led the Packers on four third-quarter scoring drives.

"It felt good again," said Pederson. "The one mistake I made last week (against Cleveland) was the interception in the red zone. But I wanted to kind of come back out and get that feeling again of playing and getting in the flow of the game."

Following a sluggish offensive showing by the first-team unit in the first half, Pederson wasted little time in providing a spark, moving the Packers down the field on the opening drive of the second half which resulted in a 31-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell.

Then, after a Broncos turnover on the ensuing possession gave Green Bay the ball on the Denver 19-yard line, Pederson connected with Donald Driver for a 19-yard touchdown pass, the first time this preseason Green Bay reached the end zone.

"It's a route where we isolate the linebacker," Pederson said of the touchdown. "(Driver) makes a great move, and it's a touch pass over the defensive lineman's hands. (Driver) did the rest.

"Those are the situations that we've had the opportunity to work on in practice. Myself with Donald and Corey Bradford and Charles Lee and Robert Ferguson, we've had a lot of work together."

Pederson finished his time guiding the Packers on two more scoring drives — Longwell field goals of 39 and 49 yards — as Green Bay outscored Denver 16-0 in the third.

Tolliver, meanwhile, played the fourth quarter but only attempted four passes, completing a pair for eight yards.

"I thought Doug Pederson did everything he had to do," said head coach Mike Sherman. "We put Billy Joe in, and it was a a different environment with different players. These games are not the only thing we'll make the evaluation on because to some different environment with different players. These games are not the only thing we'll make the evaluation on because to some extent, it's not fair.

"But I thought Doug did well. No turnovers. He made some nice throws that he had to make and got out of pressure when he had to get out of pressure. He had a nice play to Donald Driver for a touchdown — moved his feet, put the ball over a rusher on an option route over the middle. I thought that was a big-time play."

Pederson's showing is a far cry from what he had displayed during offseason minicamps, when the coaching staff was so disturbed by his play that they scoured the free-agent market looking for any kind of upgrade. That's why Tolliver, who signed as a free agent with the Packers July 16, was brought in.

"I knew the (backup) position wasn't a lock," he said. "I knew I had to come in here and just compete. And I knew I had to show the coaching staff that I was capable of being the backup here. So I just prepared the same way but came in a little more eager, a little more aggressive to win the spot."

So does this mean the No. 2 spot is all but wrapped up? Pederson isn't ready to make that statement quite yet.

"I hate to speculate, but I don't think tonight hurt," he said. "But we still have a lot of preseason to go. There's two games left. You never know what will happen these next couple of weeks — injury situation, whatever. "I don't speculate. I still have to improve and play the next couple of weeks."


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