The Green Bay Packers begin their preseason schedule on Thursday with a home game against the Tennessee Titans, and this year the team has a bona fide competition for the backup quarterback job. 2015 draft pick Brett Hundley is working against new arrival DeShone Kizer for the rights to back up Aaron Rodgers, and both are expected to see significant playing time on Thursday.
However, in his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike McCarthy declined to give any clarity on which player would start the game or what the plan was for the two quarterbacks in the game. Instead, McCarthy said that those decisions would be made following Tuesday’s practice: “The biggest thing is today’s practice. This is our workload Thursday type practice so this is our biggest practice going into the game,” he said. “We’ll see how it sorts out.”
Still, it’s clear that the Packers want to see a heavy dose of both signal-callers on Thursday. McCarthy did go on to say that the competition is indeed raging: “I think they’re battling for the backup position so you’ll see a balance in reps between Brett and DeShone.” In other words, regardless of which player starts, expect to see both of them for most of the game on Thursday, with probably no game action for Aaron Rodgers and only a series or two for Tim Boyle late in the game.
McCarthy also spoke about a few other topics on Tuesday. Here are a few notes about his other comments:
- The team is playing around with having safeties and linebackers wearing the radio helmets to see what works best for Mike Pettine’s scheme. “You’re talking about new language, a new method of communication. Especially playing against a veteran quarterback, you don’t want to give away any of your communication.”
- On the safety group in general: “I really like our safety group as a whole from a personnel and talent standpoint but the communication in that group has really improved.”
- The Packers have a specific snap count goal for each player through the entire preseason, including certain combinations and groupings that they want to see together, particularly on defense. “It’s really a combination of who’s playing with who and different personnel groups and what you’re showing. We definitely have a number we want to hit with every player.
- McCarthy, OC Joe Philbin, and company are looking both to the present and future in their revamping of the offensive scheme. “It was really more of a cleanup and changing terminology. If anything we have tweaked some things that we’ve called that could be cleaner for the quarterback and receivers ... we want to build it so that next year’s changes build off of it.”