Offseason Progress Report: Quarterbacks

The Packers obviously are set with Aaron Rodgers and are in an infinitely better position with their backups, with Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien battling to be the No. 2.

With four weeks of offseason practices behind them, Packer Report is taking a position-by-position look at the Green Bay Packers.

Depth chart

No.NamePosHtWtAgeYr.School
12 Rodgers, Aaron QB 6-2 225 30 10 California
10 Flynn, Matt QB 6-2 225 29 7 Louisiana State
16 Tolzien, Scott QB 6-2 213 26 4 Wisconsin
7 Rettig, Chase QB 6-2 215 22 R Boston College

The answer

Coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday said Rodgers was having his best spring of their nine offseasons together.

"If Mike says it, I'll take it," Rodgers said.

Listing all of Rodgers' statistical accomplishments would practically take as much time as counting the stars in the sky. Among them, he's got the NFL's all-time highest passer rating and its lowest career interception rate. But here's what really matters: Rodgers puts points on the scoreboard. In the eight games in which he was injured, the Packers scored 13 or fewer points three times. In his 39 starts from 2011 through 2013, the Packers scored 13 or fewer points just twice. For his career, his 28.21 points per start is No. 1 in NFL history ahead of Tom Brady (27.99) and Norm Van Brocklin (27.14).

Without James Jones and, possibly, Jermichael Finley, the challenge this year will be a pass-catching corps with only three proven commodities. Rodgers said he wasn't worried, pointing to the success of unproven guys like Jarrett Boykin last season.

Rodgers has taken a proactive approach.

"I think he's really been focused and locked in what we're trying to get done" new quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said. "He's been great for the young additions on our offense in helping them out, talking them through what he's looking for in routes. It's been a very positive spring."

The question

There's no question the Packers are better off behind Rodgers. At this time last year, Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman were in what was essentially a no-armed boxing match. Then there was the blindfolded dart throw with Vince Young. Scott Tolzien, who was added to the practice squad after the leaguewide final cutdown, did plenty of good things -- though he could barely find the end zone with a compass. You could hardly blame him, considering the incredible circumstances of his rise into the starting position. When he got thrown into the Philadelphia game, he was running plays that he'd never run at practice.

"For him to come in and for us to expect great success of the kid is kind of unfair. He got thrown into a tough situation and he made the best of it," Van Pelt said.

Tolzien has many of the tools necessary to be a good quarterback. He's smart. He works hard. He's got a good arm. Now, with three games of experience and a full offseason under his belt, he'll get a chance in training camp and the preseason to show if he can actually be a good quarterback.

"It's big just being able to get a chance in the offseason to learn things from the ground up, the 101 of the offense, if you will," Tolzien said. "That's been great for me to re-evaluate and it will be something that should have been a basic thing last year, you kind of have a moment this year like ‘Oh, that's what that meant.' It's been helpful to slow down and learn it from the bottom."

He'll battle Matt Flynn to be Rodgers' backup. Flynn was the No. 2 throughout the offseason. The Packers had never won a game under McCarthy when trailing by more than one score in the second half. Flynn did that with comebacks against Atlanta and Dallas. He's what Tolzien is trying to be: a true quarterback.

Roster prediction

Rodgers, Flynn and Tolzien.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com, and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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