Brian Brohm, as he has done throughout a difficult 16 months in Green Bay, stood tall in the face of criticism.
Unfortunately for the disappointing second-round pick, Brohm hasn't stood so tall in the face of enemy defenses.
Brohm was swarmed by cameras and tape recorders on Tuesday, two days before what could be a make-or-break performance against the Tennessee Titans. With Aaron Rodgers likely to play a series or two and Matt Flynn to be limited to holding for kicks because of an injured throwing shoulder, Brohm's future with the Packers very well could depend on his 50- or 55-minute performance against the powerful Titans.
"I've got to go out there like every day and play my hardest, play my best, and whatever happens, happens," Brohm said. "I think everybody on this team is subject to having their job in jeopardy at any time, so I'm just going to go out there and play."
Despite his supposed growth during the Packers' offseason program this past spring, the Brohm who has struggled through this preseason looks an awful lot like the Brohm who struggled through the preseason as a rookie last year.
In three games this summer, he has completed 55.9 percent of his passes, with no touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of just 29.8. Last year, he completed 45.2 percent of his passes with no touchdowns, one interception and a rating of 45.2.
All told, in seven preseason games, he has yet to throw a touchdown pass. The touchdown drive he led against Buffalo — a 13-play, 75-yard excursion in which he completed 3-of-5 passes for 32 yards — was the only one in two preseasons.
Just what has gone wrong for the touted college star who threw 71 touchdown passes while setting the Big East record for career passing yards as a three-year starter at Louisville?
"He is doing OK," general manager Ted Thompson said on Monday. "I thought he played pretty well the other night and hung in there. Sometimes in preseason games, you get a little distorted view, especially at that position, depending on what is going on in the game at the time. But Brian is doing OK."
"OK" isn't exactly what the Packers had in mind when they burned the second-round pick acquired from Cleveland in the ill-fated Corey Williams trade. Landing Brohm — who might have been a top-10 pick had he entered the draft following his junior season — appeared to be a coup at the time for the Packers, who needed a fallback plan had something happened to Rodgers in his first year replacing Brett Favre.
Brohm swears the game has slowed down for him in the last year, but that frequently hasn't been the case on the practice field or in games. He's often guilty of staring at receivers or throwing the ball when the receiver is open — rather than anticipating that the receiver is going to be open — which can get him in trouble because he doesn't have big-time arm strength.
However, in the first two-minute drill, cornerback Joe Porter dropped an interception. Jarrett Bush had an easy interception in a goal-line drill when Brohm telegraphed his pass to the flat to fullback Quinn Johnson. The second of Williams' two interceptions came when he picked off a pass over the middle that didn't have the necessary zip.
Nonetheless, Brohm's success in two-minute periods the last two days — and Rodgers' comparative lack of success in those drills — provides at least some reason to believe Brohm has the skills to turn things around.
"I definitely feel good about the last two practices," he said. "I feel like I've been getting better every single day and getting more and more comfortable with every day out there. I feel good heading into this game Thursday."
For Brohm, Thursday night could be his last chance to impress, with rosters to be cut to 53 by Saturday evening. At this point, it's slim pickings on the free agent market. Sources told Packer Report that the Packers have not expressed interest in the top two available veterans, Brian Griese and Gus Frerotte, but things can change quickly this time of year.
NFL.com reported that the Packers might be interested in obtaining Luke McCown from Tampa Bay. McCown, 28, appears to be the odd man out after Byron Leftwich won the starting job in a three-man derby that included first-round pick Josh Freeman. McCown is entering his sixth NFL season. He's played in 12 games with seven starts, including five games and three starts in 2007, when he completed 67.6 percent of his passes. He attempted only one pass last season, but has completed 53.6 percent of his passes with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 86.6 in the preseason.
Another possibility would be A.J. Feeley, who has no future in Philadelphia behind starter Donovan McNabb, controversial newcomer Michael Vick and 2007 second-round pick Kevin Kolb. Feeley, 32, is entering his 10th season and has made 15 starts, with 27 touchdowns against 29 interceptions. He didn't throw a pass last year, but has completed 77.2 percent of his passes with one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 106.9 in the preseason.
The Packers also could try to grab whoever loses out in the Vikings' derby behind Brett Favre. Tarvaris Jackson, a second-round pick in 2006, has a 111.8 passer rating in the preseason. Sage Rosenfels, who the Packers liked but not enough to give up a fourth-round draft pick, has a 95.1 rating. John David Booty, a fourth-round pick in 2008, has an 81.0 rating.
Or, the Packers could just roll the dice with Rodgers and Flynn, then pick up a veteran in case of emergency. Thompson acknowledged doing so would be risky, but taking a risk is hard to avoid when picking the final 53 players.
"It depends on whether is this a better prospect or is this a better prospect?" Thompson said. "It's not just you have to have X number at each position on your 53. The 53, we go through a lot of angst getting to it but then after that, once you get through the season, you have some imbalances from a perfect roster from time to time."
Brohm's not oblivious to the talk. A good performance could save his job here or make him more attractive to another team as a street free agent.
"It's going to be a lot of fun to get a lot of reps out there and get in a rhythm throughout the game," he said. "It will be a good test for me to see where I'm at. I look forward to the challenge."
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.