Green Bay Packers Full Position Breakdown, Depth Chart Analysis at Quarterback
Now, post-draft, the Packers appear to be comfortable with the current quarterback depth chart—but are they prepared in case the worst-case scenario, an injury to Rodgers, occurs again in 2014?
We'll take a look at how the depth chart behind Rodgers looks, with backups Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzien and undrafted free agent Chase Rettig all currently on the 90-man roster, and predict what the state of the position will look like by final cuts in August.
No. 1: Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is certainly focusing his offseason training on the goal of staying healthy in 2014.
Per ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky, Rodgers told reporters at OTA practice on May 29 that he lost 11 pounds after the 2013 season and has increased the amount of yoga he did this offseason to improve his flexibility, in the hopes of preventing injury.
"A lot of flexibility's helping with those injuries as you get older," Rodgers said, also noting that he initially shied away from heavy lifting and "shoulder stuff" right after the season ended.
Rodgers didn't struggle to get back to form after returning from his collarbone injury against Chicago in Week 17. In that game, and the Wild Card game against the 49ers, Rodgers passed for 495 yards and three touchdowns, completing an average 65 percent of his throws.
He did, however, have an uncharacteristic two interceptions in his first game after the injury versus the Bears—a rare occurrence he isn't likely to repeat often in 2014.
The emergence of Eddie Lacy as a legitimate threat on every down, combined with the new weapons the Packers gave Rodgers this offseason in Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis, should give Rodgers even more opportunities to excel next season.
He'll be able to pull off more convincing play action to Lacy, and the receivers' diverse route tree will keep opponents guessing about Rodgers' reads. The team around him is set to help Rodgers have one of the best seasons of his career in 2014.
No. 2: Matt Flynn
Though Mike McCarthy said at the NFL meetings in March that he wanted Matt Flynn to return to Green Bay to compete with Scott Tolzien for the No. 2 job, per ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky, it would be surprising if Flynn dropped to No. 3 on the depth chart.
Still, if anything, a little competition could push both Flynn and Tolzien to improve, which is never a bad thing.
"Do I like Matt Flynn in the quarterback room? Absolutely," McCarthy said, via Demovsky. "Not only Matt as a player, but there's value he has, he's been there, he's got experience, his relationship with Aaron. He carries a lot of value. That's added value. But also you have to continue to improve. How do you improve? Competition."
When tested in game situations in 2013, Flynn led the Packers' late-season playoff push and proved he could snatch a victory from difficult matchups, while Tolzien didn't come away with a win.
Despite a somewhat shaky return to Green Bay in Week 12, Flynn averaged 229.2 yards, 1.4 touchdowns and a completion percentage of 60.7 percent over five games.
Expect Flynn to win the immediate backup job, while Tolzien continues to develop behind them both.
No. 3: Scott Tolzien
Green Bay is expecting Scott Tolzien to make big strides in camp this year, providing legitimate competition to Matt Flynn for the No. 2 position. Though most likely Tolzien will be the Packers' No. 3 and be given more time to develop in the system, when he next plays in a regular-season game he should be much improved.
The Packers like Tolzien's arm strength and poise, per ESPN.com's Rob Demovksy, but would like to see him refine some of his techniques this offseason.
In film, it's clear that Tolzien's arm is stronger than Flynn's—in his nine attempts at a pass more than 20 yards downfield in 2013, he completed six, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Tolzien also averaged more yards per attempt than Flynn, generally proving in his few snaps to possess more explosive play potential.
But Flynn's more sound mechanics, higher success rate in the red zone and proven ability to win games will give him the edge in the competition—though Tolzien's high upside should keep him on his toes.
No. 4/Practice Squad: Chase Rettig
Green Bay didn't draft a quarterback in 2014, as many expected they might, but the chips fell in such a way that they didn't need to. Chase Rettig, an undrafted free agent out of Boston College, agreed to terms with the Packers within minutes of the conclusion of the draft, according to Bob McGinn and Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The 6'2", 215-pound Rettig, who had a 40-yard dash time of 4.99 seconds, has made the 90-man roster, but even with their conscientious need to have a full stable behind Rodgers after being caught unprepared in 2013, it seems unlikely that Green Bay would bring four quarterbacks into the regular season on the 53-man roster.
With the potential the Packers see in Tolzien, and the resources they've already put into developing him, the practice squad is a likely landing spot for Rettig.