Packers Backup QB battle heats up to take spot behind Rodgers

Sports
Rodgers and Kizer throw in Packers practice

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, left, and DeShone Kizer throw during NFL football practice Tuesday June 12, 2019 in Green Bay, Wis.. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

With a new head coach, Matt LaFleur, a new offensive scheme, a revamped defensive squad, and coming off a less than stellar season there are plenty of question marks surrounding the Green Bay Packers.

Packers fans are, of course, ever hopeful that their favorite hometown team will be able to turn things around offensively and defensively under a new coach and fans will be looking for a different energy out on the field when that first game starts. Until then, reporters, analysts, and fans alike will be analyzing every bit of detail that comes out about the team.

An all important question that has yet to be answered is the backup QB position.

And while the backup spot usually wouldn’t get too much fanfare it has become an increasingly important position in the past few years with Aaron Rodgers going down for numerous games with injuries to his calf, hamstring, and concussions.

Green Bay’s backup QB must be able to take the reigns when the Pack’s leader goes down and continue to run the offense in the high-caliber way that Packers’ fans have come to expect.

Deshone Kizer, a third-year pro standing 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, played second fiddle to Rodgers last year, but his multiple showings didn’t quite impress. As a rookie he started 15 games in Cleveland in 2017 and went winless. However, that 2017 Browns team were young and struggled in almost every aspect of the game.

What’s troubling is that Kizer’s on field play did not noticeably progress during his first season with the Pack.

He looked flustered and confused at times, making poor decisions which ended in interceptions, or holding onto the ball in a collapsing pocket with a dumpdown option 2 yards downfield.

The opportunity to seize the backup QB position will be battled over by Tim Boyle and rookie Manny Wilkins.

Boyle is a similar size to Kizer, but tends to play a more pocket-passer style of QB, whereas Kizer likes to get outside the pocket to make plays with his legs. Boyle started in 3 preseason games last season and wasn’t great. Through preseason his completion percentage was 49.1 percent with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Good enough to land him a practice squad spot last season.

Manny Wilkins is a rookie out of Arizona State where he was an efficient QB with an extremely impressive passer rating of 139.5. In all 3 seasons that Wilkins started he ranked in the top five in the Pac-12 in completion percentage. In both his junior and senior years he threw for over 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns. If he can handle LaFleur’s heavy read-option style offense and continue to be an efficient passer Wilkins may very well find himself underneath one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

A lucrative position to be in for a 23-year-old rookie QB.

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