Training camp is officially underway in Green Bay and everybody is competing to prove their worth. What three position battles should you keep an eye out for?
Football is back in Titletown. Players have begun getting on bikes and making the ride to Ray Nitschke field, to battle amongst themselves and earn playing time.
The Packers finished under .500 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Their quest to get back into the postseason begins with camp and making sure they have the best players competing at every position.
Some players will be competing to make the 53-man roster, while others will be competing to become starters. Certain positions may not have a competition for a starting role, but rather a back-up or third option.
Last season the Packers got a glimpse of what it felt like to play without a franchise quarterback and this season they must establish a reliable back-up option. This is the first position battle we will begin with.
3. Backup quarterback
Life without Aaron Rodgers was not pleasant for the Green Bay Packers last season. Brett Hundley had an opportunity to showcase his skill set and failed immensely.
In nine starts, the Packers only won three games under Hundley’s command. He threw for 1,836 yards, nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His 70.6 quarterback rating was ranked 30th in the NFL only ahead of C.J. Beathard and new teammate DeShone Kizer.
Kizer, who the Packers acquired this offseason via trade with the Cleveland Browns, had a brutal rookie campaign. He threw for 2,894 yards, 11 touchdowns and a league high 22 interceptions. Kizer’s accuracy was a huge issue in 2017, only completing 53.6% of his passes, ranked 32nd in the NFL.
The Packers decision to trade arguably their best corner on the roster, Damarious Randall, in exchange for Kizer, shows that Green Bay likes something Kizer posses. Furthermore it proves that Green Bay could not go into 2018 with the same quarterback depth chart.
Before the start of training camp Hundley expressed he wasn’t worried about competing against Kizer. On day one of training camp, coach Mike McCarthy did not explain how the repetitions would be split between Hundley and Kizer. However, Kizer did start camp getting second-team reps ahead of Hundley.
Frankly, Hundley should be worried and there is a legit chance he is not the back-up quarterback in 2018. It seems very unlikely that the Packers would give up a player like Randall, a position they are weak at, just to cut Kizer.
Remember, Kizer was a second-round pick and certainly has the physical abilities to be a serviceable back-up in the NFL. Being around a much improved/well organized team could be instrumental to Kizer’s growth as a quarterback.
Based on how both of these quarterbacks performed last season, the Packers can not afford to have to rely on either of them, if Rodgers were to go down with another injury.
It will be very difficult for Hundley to win over McCarthy and company no matter how well he plays after what he displayed last season and he will have little room for error. As for Kizer, the Packers will give him every opportunity to back-up Rodgers.