When it comes time to determine Brian Brohm's fate, will general manager Ted Thompson and the coaching staff look at Thursday's stats or Thursday's production?
Will Thompson and the coaches look at Brohm's full body of work or the glimmer of promise that showed during the final week of training camp?
Rosters must be slashed to 53 players by 3 p.m. (Central) Saturday, and the future of the 2008 second-round pick will be one of the top storylines of the weekend.
Playing all but the first series at Tennessee, Brohm completed an impressive 20-of-28 passes and didn't have a turnover. But those 20 completions covered only 154 yards, and on the Packers' only touchdown drive of the night, Brohm completed just one pass of longer than 8 yards.
In Brohm's defense, the pass protection ranged from adequate to poor for most of the night. On the other hand, most of Brohm's completions were of the one-two-three-throw variety. Rarely did the ball go downfield and rarely did he move beyond his first read. The majority of his completions were slants on three-step drops. There wasn't a hint of Brohm trying to make a play or ad-libbing or being the type of polished quarterback that goes through his reads.
Brohm concluded this preseason by completing 39-of-62 passes for just 300 yards, with no touchdowns and three interceptions. In two preseasons, he failed to throw a single touchdown pass. Last summer, however, he failed to even get the team into the end zone. This summer, he did it against Buffalo and Tennessee.
Brohm got the lion's share of the reps at practice this week with starter Aaron Rodgers slated to only play one series and backup Matt Flynn out with a shoulder injury. The extra work led to Brohm taking a step forward at practice, and he carried that into his first possession against the Titans.
Facing Tennessee's starting defense with an offense of backups, Brohm led the Packers to a field goal to tie the score 3-3. He converted one third-and-6 with an 8-yard completion to Spencer Havner and a third-and-3 with a 9-yard pass to Ruvell Martin. In all, Brohm hit on 6-of-7 passes for 45 yards on the possession.
"It was great, that first drive, just to get into that rhythm with the slants, get in the flow of things. That helped out for the rest of the game," Brohm said.
With Green Bay trailing 27-3 in the third quarter, he guided a 10-play, 63-yard touchdown drive that Kregg Lumpkin capped with a 5-yard touchdown run. He completed 4-of-5 passes for 34 yards on the drive. In the fourth quarter, Brohm guided a 12-play, 46-yard drive that ended in a field goal. He hit on 4-of-7 passes for 21 yards.
In all, Brohm absorbed two sacks and was hit seven times, often facing pressure from one or both edges. Five of his nine possessions failed to obtain even one first down.
At the end of the day, did Brohm do enough this week to save his roster spot? Will Brohm's draft status – and Thompson's reluctance to fall on the sword of a failed second-round pick – give Brohm a reprieve? Or does coach Mike McCarthy – who cut his chops working with quarterbacks – believe that Brohm is talented enough to break through the wall that's holding him back? Does Thompson want to give Brohm one more year to see if the quarterback who rewrote the Big East record book finally arrives?
McCarthy's words at his postgame press conference might hold the answer.
"I think young quarterbacks, it's a normal curve of development," he said. "You want to see them always moving forward, making progress. I think Brian clearly has done that the last two weeks. He has put a lot of individual time into this...and I think it's starting to pay off for him."
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.