Packers 2017 Recap: QB Joe Callahan

Somehow, a quarterback who played for a Division III college with below-average size (6-1, 215) has stuck around in the NFL for two full seasons.

All signs pointed to Joe Callahan quietly exiting the NFL after 2017’s training camp. The Packers brought in undrafted free agent Taysom Hill at quarterback, one of college’s most athletically impressive athletes, and were unlikely to keep three quarterbacks on the roster out of camp.

Hill put on a show during the preseason, and Callahan struggled to find the same mojo that kept him around Green Bay during the 2016 regular season. However, the Packers cut both in the hopes of signing Hill to the practice squad. Once Hill was claimed by the New Orleans Saints, Callahan was the one who returned.

Everything changed when Aaron Rodgers was injured. In lieu of signing a veteran to backup Brett Hundley, general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy elected to elevate Callahan to the active roster.

2017 Stats

  • Appeared in 1 game
  • 5-7, 11 yards, 74.1 passer rating, 35.1 QBR

Expectations going into the season: Low
Expectations were: Met

What we said after last season

Packers 2016 Recap: QB Joe Callahan – Quarterback Joe Callahan had the longest odds to make the Packers’ roster. He made the most of his chances in preseason and stood out. It’s unclear what the future holds for Callahan. At best, he’s a backup quarterback with mobility. At worst, he’s a fun footnote five years from now when you’re watching highlights from the 2016 Packers preseason at 2 a.m.

Analysis: Callahan not called upon during season’s end until the very end

Once Green Bay was eliminated from the postseason after Week 15, the idea of playing – or even starting – Joe Callahan at quarterback was a buzz-worthy topic. Two regular season games remained with no impact on the Packers postseason hopes, and it was clear the Packers knew what they had in Brett Hundley.

Head coach Mike McCarthy refused to play Callahan, however, until the final drive of the season’s final game against the Detroit Lions. With 2:10 left in the fourth quarter, Callahan led the offense on a seven-play series that featured seven passes.

By all accounts, Callahan became just the second quarterback from a Division III school in NFL history to play the position in a regular season game. (Tennessee’s Alex Tanney was the first, in Week 17 of the 2015 season.)

The deck has always been stacked against Joe Callahan when it comes to his career in the NFL. No one seemed to give him a chance to make a regular season roster as a rookie last season – until he did. Then, no one expected him to stick around for a second season – until he did. Finally, no one thought he would ever make it into a regular season game – until he did.