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Wednesday Walkthroughs: What do the Packers do with their four QBs?

Decision time is coming in the backup QB race.

NFL: Green Bay Packers-Organized Team Activity Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers have more quarterbacks than they have roster spots and as much as they may like to keep all four of their signal callers, some tough decisions are on the horizon. We asked our writers to prognosticate on the future of all four quarterbacks. Here’s what they said.

Wendi Hansen: Starter: Aaron Rodgers; Backup: DeShone Kizer; Released: Brett Hundley, Tim Boyle

It was damn good to see Aaron Rodgers back out on the field during last week’s game against Pittsburgh. That opening TD to Mr. Jimmy Graham still gives me goosebumps. I won’t get into how amazing that acquisition was and will continue to be for the Packers, but I’m excited to see more. of. that. It’s no surprise here that Green Bay’s golden boy will be starting this season, God-willing he remains injury free throughout the rest of the preseason (vigorously searches for a piece of wood to knock on).

As for who will claim the ever-coveted backup spot? I’ve got to go with DeShone Kizer. He’s a little green compared to Brett Hundley, sure, but man can he throw a ball. As he has shown in his impressive preseason performances thus far, Kizer has the depth to go far, to pick up where Rodgers leaves off, if and when that is ever needed.

Since I really only foresee the Packers keeping on backup QB, Brett Hundley and rookie Tim Boyle will be released. Hundley, possibly for good but I do think that there is some yet-to-be-discovered moxy with Boyle. He’s young, talented and has just the amount of drive to one day get that backup title.

Paul Noonan: Starter: Aaron Rodgers; Backup: DeShone Kizer; Released: Brett Hundley; Practice Squad: Tim Boyle

If I ran the show I would keep Boyle as the backup, but it will be Kizer. In terms of performance, Kizer wasn’t any better than Brett Hundley last season, but he was a higher pick, he’s younger, and while Hundley had years to develop in the system, Kizer spent his first year in the NFL’s most toxic environment in Cleveland. In short, Hundley is what he is, while Kizer, at the very least, has some projectability.

There’s also good reason to be skeptical of Boyle as he wasn’t productive in college at either Connecticut or Eastern Kentucky, but he comes with a big arm, and has done a good job of keeping his eyes upfield in the face of pressure. Both Hundley and Kizer struggle with their vision, and while Boyle may be no better than a backup, I’ve already seen more out of him than Kizer and Hundley combined. I view backup QB as a highly fungible developmental position, and yes, once in awhile Nick Foles or Jeff Hostetler wins a Super Bowl, but usually if the backup plays, you’re toast. I suspect Mr. Boyle winds up on the practice squad, which is good enough.

Shawn Wagner: Starter: Aaron Rodgers; Backup: DeShone Kizer; Released: Brett Hundley; Practice Squad: Tim Boyle

Rodgers is a given as the starting quarterback of this team. After that, it gets a bit trickier. As one of Brian Gutekunst’s first moves as General Manager, and one that involved a perplexing trade of the team’s top cornerback in Damarious Randall, it seems unlikely the Packers would release Kizer. They clearly saw enough potential to make the move and it would be a rough PR move for Gutekunst. The second-year quarterback was drafted into a difficult situation in Cleveland where he should have probably sat his rookie year as a raw college talent. Instead, Green Bay needs to re-build Kizer from the ground up and out of some bad habits. Still on a rookie deal for the foreseeable future, Kizer has time to grow in Green Bay and become a capable backup with athleticism.

While Hundley has had a decent showing in preseason, he is entering the final year of his rookie deal and may not be a Packer after this season, much less the preseason. It’s hard to make a deal for Kizer and keep three quarterbacks. Hundley had his shot to prove himself last season and was not prepared. The writing was on the wall after the Kizer trade and at this point, Hundley is auditioning for another team as Peter Bukowski suggested recently. If the Packers can get trade value back for Hundley, that would be great. If not, the team has too many other positions with talent that can help the team more than a third-string quarterback that all-too-often did not trust his reads down the field.

Boyle had impressive minicamps and has looked the part in training camp as well. He has displayed arm strength and confidence in his arm to put the ball where it needs to be. He won’t get a 53-man roster spot, but Boyle is a perfect candidate for the practice squad if not claimed by another team.

Bob Fitch: Starter: Aaron Rodgers; Backup: DeShone Kizer; Released: Brett Hundley; Practice Squad: Tim Boyle

What else can you say that hasn’t already been said? Kizer has more team control, is three years younger, and was traded for a former first round pick. Hundley had an awful season last year even after he was touted as “ready” and “capable” by the Green Bay coaching staff. While that’s obviously coach speak as of course McCarthy is going to pump up whoever is under center, it was clear that Hundley wasn’t ready to run the offense in any capacity.

Boyle on the other hand, has shown better vision than either of the other two passers and might have the strongest arm of the three. Consider me a sucker for (language warning) huck it and chuck it football. He’s as consistent as a chameleon, but reps tend to iron those things out, and Hundley doesn’t appear to be fixable at this point.

Jon Meerdink - Starter: Aaron Rodgers; QB2a: Brett Hundley; QB2b: DeShone Kizer; Practice Squad: Tim Boyle

Keeping three quarterbacks is a pretty extravagant luxury (or foolhardy decision, take your pick) for an NFL team. I think if the Packers had their druthers, someone would give them a mid-round pick for Hundley and give them an easy path to their preferred “QB1, QB2, practice squad QB” quarterback group.

However, nobody seems to be knocking down Brian Gutekunst’s door to take one gently used backup quarterback off his hands, so the Packers are stuck with a quarterback race with no clear winner. Ideally, either Hundley or Kizer would have been leaps and bounds above the other at this point, but that scenario hasn’t developed. The two have been basically fine, leaving the Packers to decide between two versions of more or less the same player.

But the Packers are in the somewhat unique position of having essentially a 54th roster spot for the first two weeks of the season, thanks to Aaron Jones’ suspension. For pretty much that reason alone, I think the Packers punt on deciding on Hundley or Kizer (for now, at least), keeping both on the first edition of the 53-man roster.