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Packers’ 2018 QB Acquisitions: DeShone Kizer failed to impress as Aaron Rodgers’ backup

Kizer only got brief chances to play in the regular season, but when he did the results were unpleasant.

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Over two weeks, Acme Packing Company will break down the Green Bay Packers’ 2018 roster position-by-position, providing our grades for each spot and looking ahead to free agency. Today, we begin with the quarterbacks.

After taking a look at our grades for the quarterback position overall earlier today, let’s dive a bit farther into the new faces at the position. Green Bay turned over the bottom of the QB depth chart in 2018, adding two players while unloading former backup Brett Hundley for a late-round draft pick in 2019.

The fact that general manager Brian Gutekunst got anything for Hundley was impressive, particularly given his struggles when thrust into the starting lineup in 2017. It ended up working out fine; Aaron Rodgers started all 16 games, and in the only meaningful game that saw him miss time, he returned to lead the team to a comeback victory. However, his new backup struggled mightily in his two games of extended action.

DeShone Kizer

How acquired: trade from Cleveland Browns — Packers received Kizer, 2018 4th-round draft pick (#101 overall), 2018 5th-round draft pick (#138 overall) in exchange for DB Damarious Randall, 2018 4th-round draft pick (#114 overall) and 2018 5th-round draft pick (#150 overall)
Regular season stats: 20-42 (47.6% completions), 187 yards (4.5 Y/A), 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions; 40.5 passer rating
Preseason stats: 32-60 (53.3% completions), 460 yards (7.7 Y/A), 3 touchdowns, 1 interception; 88.2 passer rating

Oh boy. Kizer was one of the key pieces in a trade early in the offseason that unloaded malcontent defensive back Damarious Randall on the Browns. As a rookie, Kizer started 15 games and struggled mightily, as rookie quarterbacks tend to do. The idea was that a full offseason of tutelage under Mike McCarthy would help him fix some of his decision-making problems and become a more consistent player.

In week one, that theory was shot to hell when Kizer came on for an injured Rodgers in the first half. He turned the football over twice, once on a sack-strip and once on a screen pass pick-six to Khalil Mack. Kizer was saved by Rodgers’ return — if the veteran had indeed suffered a more catastrophic injury, the Packers likely would have had to turn to free agency or a trade to find a quarterback capable of keeping them remotely competitive.

All told, Kizer’s limited game action showed a player who wasn’t much different from what he was in Cleveland as a rookie; he was inaccurate and inconsistent, and though he could make some plays with his legs, he was easily rattled by pressure.

Tim Boyle

How acquired: signed as rookie undrafted free agent
Regular season stats: none
Preseason stats: 26-53 (49.1% completions), 294 yards (5.5 Y/A), 3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions; 69.2 passer rating

A rookie from Eastern Kentucky, the book on Boyle coming out of college was that he had a big arm but faced questions about his athleticism and accuracy. He showed those qualities in the preseason, and his arm apparently gave the Packers enough confidence in him as a developmental quarterback to keep him on the 53-man roster.

Did losing Taysom Hill on waivers after final cuts in 2017 play a factor in keeping Boyle? Only Mike McCarthy and Brian Gutekunst can answer that, but Boyle ended up as exclusively a scout-team quarterback this season and an emergency option who never saw the field. With a new coaching staff coming in and plenty of day-three draft picks in the Packers’ control, Boyle will likely be competing for the #3 spot in 2019.