2017 Packers Previews: QBs Make The World Go Round
A team’s success begins and ends with its quarterback, and no team has had a longer uninterrupted run of success at the position than the Packers. Dating back to at least 1992, the Packers have never wondered who their starting quarterback would be going into a given season.
That run continues into 2017, but questions do remain. With Aaron Rodgers entering the self-described “back nine” of his career, when and how will the Packers begin to manage the upcoming transition? How will the talented, athletic youngsters on the roster factor into that process, if at all? We could begin to get some answers this year.
Veteran to watch: Aaron Rodgers
Heading into his 13th NFL season (and tenth as a starter) Rodgers appears to have put whatever was going on for much of 2015 and 2016 behind him. Over the final seven games of the regular season, Rodgers was as good as he’s ever been, completing just a hair under 70% of his passea and throwing 18 touchdowns against zero interceptions. In that stretch, he was as good or better than league MVP Matt Ryan in nearly every passing category.
There’s no reason to assume that Rodgers, who turns 34 in December, is set for any kind of decline. In fact, with Martellus Bennett taking up space in the middle of opposing defenses and Jordy Nelson now two years removed from his knee injury, Rodgers could be better than ever.
Notable newcomer: Taysom Hill
27-year-old rookies are not exactly common, but Hill has never been a common player. At 6-2 and 235 pounds, Hill has uncommon athleticism. He blazed a 4.44 time in the 40-yard dash at his pro day while posting a 38.5-inch vertical leap.
Though the Packers may not be willing to keep a third quarterback on their roster for a second consecutive year, Hill’s athleticism should at least make for some interesting camp competition with Joe Callahan.
Biggest question: Will we get the full Brett Hundley experience?
Hundley was a surprise pick for the Packers in 2015. Even more surprising was his near-immediate success running an NFL-style offense in his first training camp. Hundley lit it up in his first preseason and last year he entered training camp as the entrenched backup behind Aaron Rodgers.
But ankle injuries robbed him of his only significant in-game opportunities, and Hundley only got 20 cameo snaps during the regular season. Now, as the Packers look to recoup their investment into the quarterback prospect, Hundley faces a pivotal stretch in his young career.
Will he play well enough this preseason to make a team eager to pony up for a trade? All eyes will be on Hundley as we wait to find out.
Key Number: 109.6
According to Pro Football Reference, Aaron Rodgers produced a passer rating of 109.6 when operating in no-huddle situations in 2016. He completed 70.34% of his passes when the Packers didn't huddle before a play.
When the Packers did huddle, Rodgers' rating was just 103.2 and he completed just 64.86% of his passes.