Green Bay Packers: B.J. Coleman

Tolzein/FlynnUSA TODAY SportsScott Tolzien and Matt Flynn give the Green Bay Packers more stability than they had at this time last year at the backup quarterback position.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Between them, the Green Bay Packers' backup quarterback combination of Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien has played in 47 NFL games and thrown for 3,192 yards and 18 touchdowns.

That's 43 more games, 3,172 more yards and 18 more touchdowns than what the Packers' backups a year ago at this time had on their professional résumés.

How much better should the Packers feel about their backup quarterback situation with Flynn and Tolzien than they did last year at this time with Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman?

"We know now what Scott and Matt can do," Packers receiver Jordy Nelson said. "And they'll be here all the way through training camp. That will be the big thing."

Last year, the Packers dumped both Harrell and Coleman by the time the regular season opened. They had to rely on three backups – Seneca Wallace, Tolzien and Flynn – who spent last offseason with different teams.

And when Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone on Nov. 4, it showed.

Wallace did not make it through his first start, and Tolzien – although he showed signs of a strong arm and above-average athleticism – could not avoid the costly turnovers that may have been due to a lack of experience in the Packers' offense. Flynn, who spent 2008-11 with the Packers before stints in Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, finally steadied the offense and went 2-2-1 to set up Rodgers' Week 17 return.

"Not only did we have to deal with the backup, there was two we hadn't seen and they were thrown into the fire two months into the season," Nelson said. "That will be the big thing. Scott's learning, still progressing. He'll do a great job. Obviously we know how hard he works. Matt's his normal self. We know what he can do, and he proved it again last year."

The Packers re-signed Flynn to a one-year deal that could be worth up $1.068 million (with incentives) and for now, he’s the No. 2 quarterback.

"You need a quality backup, and it's great having him," Rodgers said. "And Scott's done a really nice job for us as well. He's a really hard worker, a gym rat. He's made some great strides."

Tolzien isn't sleeping on a couch in the Packers’ locker room like he did during his early days with the San Francisco 49ers, but he appears to taking advantage of his first offseason in the Packers' quarterback-friendly program.

"Scott's gotten a lot better," McCarthy said. "I think what you're seeing now with Scott Tolzien is he's comfortable with the language. He's definitely comfortable with the footwork. We've changed some things with his mechanics and fundamentals. He's a tireless worker. I don't know if there's anybody in our program that spends as much time at it as Scott does. He's getting better."

For Tolzien, it's a chance to learn both the fundamentals that McCarthy and his assistants teach their quarterbacks and also to absorb the massive playbook without the pressure of cramming a game plan into his brain in less than a week.

As important as all the offseason work – the film study, the quarterback drills, the OTA and minicamp practices – will be for Tolzien, it might be his experience in real, live NFL games last season that will make the most difference.

"When the bullets are flying and you make good plays in a game atmosphere, you realize you can do it," said Tolzien, who completed 55 of 90 passes for 717 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions in three games last season. "And that's a super powerful thing to have that inner confidence that you've done it before."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers will hold their second open practice of their organized team activities on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. local time.

It will be outside on Ray Nitschke Field and open to fans (weather permitting) and reporters (rain or shine).

Here are some things to keep an eye on:

1. Davante Adams and Khyri Thornton: The rookie pair missed last week’s OTA sessions because they were selected to attend the NFL's annual Rookie Premier in Los Angeles. Coach Mike McCarthy did not sound too happy about it. "My understanding is the rookie premiere is part of the CBA contract, and I won't touch that with a long telephone pole," he said. "That's part of the legal counsel. I have no opinion on that stuff. Do I like that they're missing practice? No, I don't like that they're missing practice. I don't understand it either, but that's part of a contract.” Approximately 40 rookies participated in the event. Adams, a second-round pick from Fresno State, is expected to compete for the No. 3 receiver spot. Thornton, a third-round pick from Southern Miss, is expected to provide depth on the defensive line.

2. Rookie roles: Last week, there wasn't a single rookie who worked with the No. 1 offense or defense. At some point, that will change. Could it be this week? The Packers will no doubt begin to integrate first-round safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix -- and likely several others -- into the mix with the starters. However, when OTAs opened last week, Micah Hyde took all the reps with the starters at free safety. The second-year defensive back is working at safety for the first time after playing cornerback last year as a rookie.

3. Quarterback competition: The Packers believe they are in a better situation behind Aaron Rodgers than they were last year at this time, when Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman were battling for the backup job. This year, they have a proven capable backup in Matt Flynn, who went 2-2 in four starts last season. And if Scott Tolzien develops like the Packers believe he can, then there might be a legitimate competition for the No. 2 job later this summer. The Packers also have a fourth quarterback, Boston College undrafted rookie Chase Rettig, on the roster. McCarthy has said he would like to take four quarterbacks to training camp.

4. Running back rotation: It might be the deepest group of running backs the Packers have had in McCarthy's nine season as head coach, but there's still plenty to sort out behind starter Eddie Lacy. James Starks was productive -- and finally healthy for the most part -- last season in a limited role that suited him well. But DuJuan Harris, who missed all of last season because of a knee injury, is back and practicing at full speed. There's also still hope for Johnathan Franklin, a fourth-round pick last season who did not practice last week and is coming off a neck injury that landed him on injured reserve last December. It's tough to judge running backs in these non-pads practices, but you can sometimes get a feel for how they're planning to use them.

5. Return duties: The Packers are not a team with the luxury of a proven kick returner -- unless they want to use receiver Randall Cobb, and there is no reason to think that they do. They liked what Hyde gave them in the punt return game last year, but they are sure to put several players through return tryouts this summer. Among the recent draft picks who could do it include receivers Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis plus cornerback Demetri Goodson. Look for them to get extended reps during OTAs.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Since he took over as general manager of the Green Bay Packers in 2005, Ted Thompson has drafted 87 players.

Leading up to this year's draft, in which Thompson currently has nine selections, we will look at his best and worst selections in each round.

We'll start at the bottom and work our way up over the next week.

Seventh round

Total players drafted: 16

By position: Receivers 3, linebackers 3, defensive ends 3, quarterbacks 2, tight ends 2, guards 1, tackles 1, running backs 1.

Best pick: Brad Jones, LB.

Jones (No. 218 overall in 2009) was the only one of Thompson's seventh-round picks that was a full-time starter last season. After beginning his career as an outside linebacker, he moved inside in 2012 and then took over as a starter after Desmond Bishop tore his hamstring in the preseason and D.J. Smith injured his knee in Week 6. After that season, he signed a three-year, $11.75 million contract. However, after an inconsistent 2013 season, he likely will face competition for the starting job in 2014.

Honorable mention: Matt Flynn, QB (No. 209, 2008), C.J. Wilson, DE (No. 230, 2010), Ryan Taylor, (No. 218, 2011).

Worst pick: B.J. Coleman, QB.

It's hard to call any seventh rounder a bad pick, because at that point in the draft every player is flawed, but the Packers had high hopes for Coleman (No. 243, 2012) -- so high they neglected the quarterback position last offseason, and when Coleman (and Graham Harrell and Vince Young) proved ineffective, it left the Packers without a viable backup for Aaron Rodgers when training camp broke last summer.

Dishonorable mention: Will Whitticker, T (No. 246, 2005). Clark Harris, TE (No. 243, 2007), Andrew Datko, T (No. 241, 2012).

Notes: Thompson hasn't fared as well in the seventh round as former Packers GM Ron Wolf, who found starters Adam Timmerman, G (No. 230, 1995), Donald Driver, WR (No. 213, 1999) and Mark Tauscher, T (No. 224, 2000). Driver and Tauscher are likely locks for the Packers Hall of Fame. ... Thompson did draft Dave Tollefson, DE (No. 253, 2006) but cut him, only to see him go on to be a contributor for the New York Giants from 2007-2011. ... Perhaps the strangest case is that of Whitticker. He started 14 of 16 games at right guard as a rookie, but never played in another NFL game after the Packers cut him at the end of training camp the following season.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers would like to get back in the business of drafting and developing quarterbacks.

North Dakota State's Brock Jensen could be just the quarterback to start with.

The native of nearby Waupaca, Wis., worked out for the Packers this week, his agent Brian Adkins confirmed Friday.

Adkins said scouts have told him they project Jensen could be a mid- to late-round draft pick, although neither Mel Kiper Jr. nor Todd McShay had Jensen in the latest version of their top-10 quarterback prospects.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Jensen led North Dakota State to a third straight FCS title as a senior last season.

He finished with a 47-5 record as a starter, making him the winningest quarterback in FCS history.

"I have no doubt in my mind he could be a player a few years down the road that we're talking about as the quarterback in this draft," Adkins said.

Jensen has two more visits scheduled for next week, with the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, Adkins said.

"Cincinnati has shown the strongest interest," Adkins said. "They sent their quarterbacks coach to his workout and took him out to dinner. But it was great to see Green Bay bring him in."

The Packers typically use their pre-draft visits to look at late-round picks or potential undrafted free agents. Earlier this week, they had Virginia center Luke Bowanko in for a visit.

The Packers have three quarterbacks in the fold -- Aaron Rodgers, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn (who agreed to terms on a new contract this week) -- but would like to add a fourth prospect, coach Mike McCarthy said last month at the NFL annual meetings.

Since 2008, when general manager Ted Thompson drafted Flynn (seventh round) and Brian Brohm (second round), the Packers have drafted only one quarterback (B.J. Coleman, seventh round in 2012).

Thompson's mentor, former Packers general manager Ron Wolf, made a habit of drafting quarterbacks, developing and eventually trading them. In the 1990s, the Packers drafted Ty Detmer (ninth round, 1992), Mark Brunell (fifth round, 1993), Matt Hasselbeck (sixth round, 1998) and Aaron Brooks (fourth round, 1999).

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If the Green Bay Packers do nothing else at the quarterback position this offseason, at least they know they have someone who has proven he can win games as a backup.

That is a better situation than they were in a year ago, when they had no clue whether Graham Harrell or B.J. Coleman could function with a meaningful NFL game on the line.

And it's a better situation than they were in in September, when they broke training camp by cutting Harrell, Coleman and Vince Young.

By re-signing veteran quarterback Matt Flynn on Tuesday, the Packers renewed an insurance policy that paid off last season after Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. Flynn came back on Nov. 12 after failing to win starting jobs with the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders (and following a brief stint with the Buffalo Bills).

Just 12 days later, he rallied the Packers to a comeback tie against the Minnesota Vikings and went 2-2 in his next four starts to keep the Packers in playoff contention before Rodgers returned to win the regular-season finale -- and NFC North title -- against the Chicago Bears.

Whatever Flynn's shortcomings were (likely a lack of arm strength and an unfamiliarity with new offenses) when he got his chances in Seattle and Oakland, he has proven to be comfortable and effective in Green Bay, where he began his career in 2008 and still holds a share of the team’s single-game passing yards record (480 against the Detroit Lions in the 2011 regular-season finale, a mark Rodgers tied in Week 2 last season against the Washington Redskins).

Perhaps the Packers won't need Flynn or they will decide Scott Tolzien is a better option after he goes through coach Mike McCarthy's offseason program for the first time. But for now, they don't have to worry about the unknown that came with Coleman, who never caught on with another team; or Harrell, who, coincidentally on Tuesday, was hired as an assistant coach at Washington State, according to media reports.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For the next two weeks, we'll take a position-by-position look at what the Green Bay Packers have and what they need.

We can revisit this process before the draft based on what -- if anything -- general manager Ted Thompson does in free agency.

First up is the quarterback position:

2014 free agents: Matt Flynn, Seneca Wallace.

The good: The Packers went 6-2 in the regular season in games in which Aaron Rodgers started and finished. Although he missed nearly half the season because of the broken collarbone he sustained on Nov. 4, his performance was up to his usual standards despite only an average showing in the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. In the regular season, he ranked fifth in the NFL in completion percentage (66.6 percent, which was better than his career average of 65.7 percent entering the season), second in average gain (8.74 yards) and had a solid touchdown to interception rate (17-to-6).

The bad: Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy failed to find Rodgers' backup during training camp -- when they auditioned Graham Harrell, B.J. Coleman and Vince Young -- and were forced to sign Wallace after final cuts. At the same time, they added Scott Tolzien to the practice squad. Wallace didn't get through his first start after Rodgers got hurt. Wallace's groin injury forced Tolzien into action and necessitated the return of Flynn. Tolzien showed some promise but wasn't ready to win games, so Flynn took over and went 2-2-1 in games in which he either finished or started.

The money: Rodgers' salary-cap charge jumps to $17.9 million in 2014, up from $12 million last year when he signed his five-year, $110 million extension. Tolzien is under contract for a minimum salary of $645,000. Flynn, who made $294,412 for his portion of the season on the Packers' roster, and Wallace also were working for minimum contracts, but those were only one-year deals. At age 33, Wallace is unlikely to return. Flynn might still want another shot to start somewhere else.

Draft priority: Since drafting Flynn (seventh round) and Brian Brohm (second round) in 2008, Thompson has taken only one quarterback == Coleman (seventh round in 2012). Unless Thompson is convinced Tolzien can be a long-term backup or wants Flynn to fulfill that role again, there's a need to take another mid-to-late round quarterback like Ron Wolf used to do on a regular basis when he was the general manager. Despite having Brett Favre as his starter, Wolf drafted six quarterbacks from 1993-99.

Double Coverage: Packers-Cowboys

December, 12, 2013

IRVING, Texas -- The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys are two of the most storied franchises in NFL history, but with three games to play in the 2013 season both are on the outside of the playoff chase and in need of a win.

The Packers have fallen on hard times without Aaron Rodgers but won last week against the Atlanta Falcons. The Cowboys are coming off a humiliating loss to the Chicago Bears and have a short week to get ready. Packers reporter Rob Demovsky and Cowboys reporter Todd Archer debate the matchup in this week's Double Coverage.

Archer: I'll skip the "What's Aaron Rodgers status?" and ask about Ted Thompson's approach to the backup quarterback. The Cowboys pay Kyle Orton a lot of money to hopefully never throw a pass. Is there any regret form the Packers that they did not have a better backup quarterback situation behind Rodgers, considering their struggles without him?

[Editor's note: Rodgers was officially ruled out for Sunday's game on Friday.]

Demovsky: Thompson admitted at the end of training camp that he probably should have signed Vince Young much earlier than he did, although after watching Young for about a month, I'm not sure he would have been any better had the Packers signed back in the spring. Where they probably erred was in not drafting a quarterback. They overestimated what they had in Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman, and neither one developed enough. When Ron Wolf was the GM, he made it a regular practice to draft a quarterback in the middle-to -late rounds. Not all of them worked out, but guys like Ty Detmer, Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks all came up through the Packers' system.

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Tony Romo is "playing probably as good as he has in his career." Do you agree with that assessment?

Archer: I'd agree with that, sure. It's hard to argue against his numbers. He has 3,244 yards passing with 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's taking care of the ball. He had one really careless throw and it cost the Cowboys big-time in their loss to the Denver Broncos. Romo gets most of the blame for the December/January woes this team has had, but in his last 16 games he has 34 touchdowns and seven picks. It's hard to play better than that. But you know what? He has to. This defense is so bad that Romo has to be nearly perfect. There can be no poor drives. If they don't get points they at least need to chew up time because there's not an offense the Cowboys can slow down right now.

When the Packers won Super Bowl XLV at AT&T Stadium they were able to overcome so many injuries, especially on defense as we talked about. The difference this year is Rodgers missing time, but is there anything more to it than that?

Demovsky: They did end up with 15 players in injured reserve in their Super Bowl season, and then during that game itself they lost Charles Woodson to a broken collarbone. But you know what? This defense played fine early this season and even during the stretch Clay Matthews missed because of his broken thumb. Capers said last week that losing Rodgers had nothing to do with the Packers' defensive slide, but I'm not buying it. The Packers' defense got four turnovers in the Thanksgiving game at Detroit and still got walloped 40-10 because the offense couldn't do a darn thing with them. To be sure, there are issues on defense. Their failure to address needs at safety has hurt them up the middle, where their inside linebackers also haven't played well enough.

It sounds like Monte Kiffin is already taking heat, but how much of it is personnel? When I saw Packers castoff Jarius Wynn playing Monday night against the Bears, to me that was a red flag that there are talent issues, perhaps some of them caused by injuries.

Archer: There are talent issues and there are depth issues. Blame the owner and GM who constructed this team. Blame the coaches -- Kiffin and Rod Marinelli -- for saying the line was a position of strength. The Cowboys thought they had pieces to fit Kiffin's scheme at the start of the year. DeMarcus Ware has not been DeMarcus Ware in part because of injuries, but he acknowledged he has to play better. Bruce Carter was supposed to be the ideal weak-side linebacker and he just has not made any plays. The corners are more man corners and Kiffin has tried to play more man but all of them -- Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick -- have had issues. Sean Lee has been hurt and could miss Sunday's game with a neck injury. He's been good but the defense has been lit up with him on the field, too. It's just a mess. Until Jerry Jones realizes he needs better players, not necessarily better schemes, it will be a mess.

Let's stick with the defensive coordinators. From the outside looking in, it appears Capers is catching a lot of grief too. Are the Packers committed to the 3-4 regardless or could they pull a Dallas and move to a 4-3 in the future?

Demovsky: When the cornerstone of the defense is Matthews, an outside linebacker, I would think they'd have to stick with the 3-4 even if they part ways with Capers, which I'm not sure will happen anyway. Mike McCarthy has continually praised Capers and the defensive staff. It's probably more about personnel. They need a few more playmakers to help out Matthews. They haven't gotten enough production from their defensive front. I'd look for an overhaul in personnel more than a coaching change.

Knowing the temperature in the Cowboys locker room like you do, how do you think they will react to getting steamrolled Monday night? Is this a group that will fight? Or will they pack it in?

Archer: This is where I have to give Jason Garrett credit. This team has fought. Maybe they didn't fight all that much in the losses to New Orleans and Chicago, but they have not packed it in. You saw the last time the Cowboys packed it in in 2010 at Lambeau Field when Wade Phillips was the coach. The Cowboys lost 45-7 and were completely disinterested. Phillips was fired the next day and Garrett took over. There is some gumption to this team. They do work hard. They do the right things. I'll say it again: Most of it is a talent issue. I'd expect the Cowboys to come out with the effort Sunday because they're still very much in the playoff chase. But do they believe they can really make a run? I don't know about that.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When you're a draft-and-develop team like the Green Bay Packers, hitting on less than half of your draft choices probably isn't good enough.

But after cutting second-year safety Jerron McMillian on Tuesday, general manager Ted Thompson's percentage from the 2011 and 2012 drafts combined dipped below 50 percent.

"You never want to give up on a young guy," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said shortly after McMillian was released.

But that's exactly what the Packers did with McMillian, a fourth-round pick in 2011, and several others from the 2011 and 2012 drafts.

Of the 18 players Thompson picked in those two years combined, only eight remain with the Packers. And only six of those are on the active roster. Randall Cobb, a second-round pick in 2011, is on injured reserve/designated to return. Casey Hayward, a second-round pick in 2012, is on injured reserve.

Because Thompson believes in the theory that the more swings you have at the plate, the better your chances of finding good players, his percentage might be a little bit lower than a team that simply picks every time their turn comes up rather than trading back to acquire more picks.

But look at Thompson's 2010 draft, for example. He made only seven picks, and all are still with the Packers, although first-round pick Bryan Bulaga is on injured reserve.

Here's a player-by-player look at the 2011 and 2012 drafts:

2011 (Total players selected: 10. Players still with the Packers: 4)
  • T Derek Sherrod (first round, No. 32 overall): Returned to the roster last month after nearly two years on the physically unable to perform list because of a broken leg he sustained Dec. 18, 2011. Played his first snaps on offense since his injury Thursday against the Detroit Lions and likely will compete for a starting job next season.
  • Cobb
  • WR Randall Cobb (second round, No. 64 overall): Budding star who led the Packers in catches (80) and receiving yards (954) last season but sustained on leg injury Oct. 13 and was placed on temporary injured reserve. He is eligible to return Dec. 15 against the Dallas Cowboys but has not been cleared.
  • RB Alex Green (third round, No. 96 overall): Sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament as a rookie and despite coming back to lead the team in rushing with just 464 yards in 2012, he was released in the final cuts after training camp this season.
  • CB Davon House (fourth round, No. 131 overall): A part-time starter for the first time this season but has allowed five touchdown catches this season, according to
  • TE D.J. Williams (fifth round, No. 141 overall): Caught just nine passes in two seasons before he was released in the final cuts after training camp this season.
  • G Caleb Schlauderaff (sixth round, No. 179 overall): Traded to the New York Jets on Sept. 3, 2011 for a conditional draft choice that ended up being a seventh-round pick in 2012.
  • LB D.J. Smith (sixth round, No. 186 overall): Started the first six games of the 2012 season but tore his ACL and was released this past April.
  • LB Ricky Elmore (sixth round, No. 197 overall): Cut at the end of training camp in 2011.
  • TE Ryan Taylor (seventh round, No. 218 overall): Has become one of the team's core special teams players.
  • DE Lawrence Guy (seventh round, No. 233 overall): Spent all of his rookie season on injured reserve and then was on the practice squad in 2012 until the Indianapolis Colts signed him to their active roster.
2012 (Total players selected: 8. Players still with the Packers: 4)
  • LB Nick Perry (first round, No. 28 overall): Has battled injuries each of his first two seasons but has been a starter when healthy.
  • DE Jerel Worthy (second round, No. 51 overall): Played a part-time role as a rookie before he tore his ACL in the regular-season finale. Came off PUP last month and has played in one game this season.
  • CB Casey Hayward (second round, No. 62 overall): Led all rookies with six interceptions last season but a recurring hamstring injury limited him to just three games this season before going on injured reserve.
  • Daniels
  • DT Mike Daniels (fourth round, No. 132 overall): Perhaps the best player from this draft class. Daniels has become a force as a pass rusher with 5.5 sacks this season, which is second on the team to Clay Matthews.
  • S Jerron McMillian (fourth round, No. 133 overall): Began the season as the starting strong safety but was released Tuesday after being phased out of the defense for poor play.
  • LB Terrell Manning (fifth round, No. 163 overall): Released in the final cuts at the end of training camp this year. Played only sparingly, mostly on special teams, as a rookie.
  • T Andrew Datko (seventh round, No. 241 overall): Released in the final cuts at the end of training camp this year. Spent his rookie season on the practice squad and was never on the active roster.
  • QB B.J. Coleman (seventh round, No. 243 overall): Released in Week 1 after Seneca Wallace was signed to be the backup quarterback. Spent his rookie season on the practice squad.

Don't expect a Flynn-Packers reunion

October, 7, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers did not hesitate to try multiple backup quarterbacks this preseason.

They went from Graham Harrell to Vince Young to B.J. Coleman before finally settling on 33-year-old Seneca Wallace, who was signed on Sept. 2.

But they don’t appear interested in shaking things up behind Aaron Rodgers again -- not even to re-sign their former backup Matt Flynn, who was released by the Oakland Raiders on Monday.

“Personally, I’m very happy with the quarterback room, the way it looks, the people in it,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. “Obviously Matt was a Packer, very fond of Matt and his time here. As far as any roster moves and things like that, I really don’t have any comment on, but I do like Seneca Wallace. I like what he’s done since he’s been here. I feel very good about our quarterback room.”

Just last week, Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo said Wallace’s 10 years in the NFL and his experience in a similar offense during his time with the Seattle Seahawks have made him a good fit.

“He’s been around the block,” McAdoo said. “This isn’t his first rodeo. He’s an experienced guy; he’s a smart guy. He knows his role, and he’s a good team player.”

Flynn cashed in on the strength of two performances -- his 2010 start against the New England Patriots when Aaron Rodgers was ruled out because of a concussion and the 2011 record-setting performance in the regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions with Rodgers resting for the playoffs. In the latter, Flynn threw for a team-record 480 yards and six touchdowns.

The following offseason, he signed a three-year, $26 million free-agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks but couldn’t beat out then-rookie Russell Wilson for the starting job. The Seahawks then traded him to the Raiders this past April, but once again Flynn couldn’t win the job. He started one game this season, the Week 4 loss at Washington, and was demoted to third string shortly thereafter before he was released.

“I definitely am surprised because when his opportunity came I obviously gave him a very high recommendation,” McCarthy said. “Injuries and all the different types of things, quarterback competition in both places, a lot of factors go into it. I haven’t watched the film of Matt, so I really can’t even give you an educated or informed opinion on how exactly he did play, but on a personal level I’m very fond of Matt Flynn. He was excellent in his time here, and I wish him the best of luck.”

The Packers-Josh Freeman connection

October, 3, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Could the Green Bay Packers be a possible landing spot for former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman?

Well, there’s a connection between Freeman, who was released on Thursday in an ugly ending with the Bucs, and the Packers.

Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt was Freeman’s position coach with the Bucs in 2010 and 2011 before he came to Green Bay in 2012.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy wouldn’t comment on whether Green Bay might be interested in Freeman but if he was looking for an endorsement from Van Pelt, he got one.

“I loved Josh,” Van Pelt said Thursday. “Josh and I had a good working relationship. He was nothing but a pro when I was there with him. He was never late for meetings. We actually had 6:30 (a.m.) quarterback meetings; we were an hour before anybody else, and I never had an issue or anything like that. He did everything that I asked him to do.

“He was a great teammate, watched him work around the other guys and had a lot of respect for him. I don’t know what happened, but I know the guy that I was there with I really enjoyed being with.”

When asked whether Freeman could still be an NFL starter, Van Pelt said: “No doubt.”

Freeman made his first NFL start against the Packers on Nov. 8, 2009, and led the Bucs to a 38-28 upset victory.

“I haven’t really seen Josh play in a few years,” McCarthy said. “But as far as player acquisition and so forth, I really don’t have anything to talk about. But when we did compete against him, I definitely thought he was a young quarterback that had a bright future.”

Given how the Packers shuffled through backup quarterbacks this summer -- from Graham Harrell to Vince Young to B.J. Coleman and now Seneca Wallace -- it makes sense that the Packers might be mentioned as a possible landing spot for Freeman.

Wallace might be good fit for Packers

September, 2, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Sure it’s only the backup quarterback -- and that caveat will stick as long as Aaron Rodgers stays upright -- but the Green Bay Packers haven’t found themselves scrambling at that position so close to the start of the regular season in years.

In the 5˝ weeks since training camp opened, they have had four different No. 2 quarterbacks. It began with Graham Harrell, whose release on Aug. 24 gave way to Vince Young (who wasn’t signed until Aug. 5). B.J. Coleman had the job, albeit for only two days, after Young was released on Saturday. By Monday morning, Coleman was on the streets, and the Packers signed veteran backup Seneca Wallace.

“You go through that, you create opportunities, you evaluate and you assess,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. “That’s really the matter of what happened. So if it didn’t work out the way people are used to, I make no apologies for that at all.”

Now, McCarthy and his coaches will have one week to prepare Wallace just in case he would have to play in the season opener at San Francisco on Sunday. They had nearly a month to get Young up to speed and that did not work out, but perhaps the process will be easier with Wallace, who has been a career backup.

“He clearly understands the role,” McCarthy said.

What’s more, the 33-year-old Wallace has vast experience in the West Coast offense that McCarthy’s system is rooted in. From 2003-09, Wallace played for the Seattle Seahawks under former Packers coach Mike Holmgren.

“It has a lot of carryover from the West Coast terminology that I’m used to,” Wallace said. “Mike Holmgren was here, and I was with him in Seattle for seven years. There’s a lot of carryover. Now it’s just trying to hone in, especially in this kind of week with the game coming up, and I just got here, trying to take in as much as I can.”

The Packers first expressed an interest in Wallace last season, when they brought him in for a workout in October. The former Iowa State standout was out of football all of last season after he was released by the Browns at the end of training camp. He signed with the New Orleans Saints this past April but was released midway through training camp. He then spent less than a week with the San Francisco 49ers before he left the team on the day of their preseason finale.

There’s no telling how well Wallace would be able to function if he had to play, especially early in the season, and there’s no guarantee he will turn out to be a better option than Harrell, Young or Coleman.

But when Wallace gets acclimated, he might be a valuable resource for Rodgers on the sideline during games and in the meeting room during the week.

“I think it’s been some years since they had a veteran quarterback backup to try to help A-Rod during the game and during the meetings and things like that,” Wallace said. “Just some of the insight that I can provide being around for a long time. I guess I’m the oldest one in the locker room [actually second oldest to Ryan Pickett], which is hilarious. It’s exciting just to be able to keep playing in this journey, and so I’m just excited to be here.”

A look at the Packers' practice squad

September, 2, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers filled six of their eight practice-squad spots on Monday.

It’s possible they will add quarterback B.J. Coleman, who was released from the roster to make room for Seneca Wallace. Coleman will have to first clear waivers.

Why are these practice-squad players important? The Packers have a history of promoting from their practice squad, so there’s a good chance you might see a few of them on the field at some point. Five players currently on the 53-man roster -- receiver/kick returner Jeremy Ross, cornerback Tramon Williams, linebacker Robert Francois, guard/center Greg Van Roten and tight end Brandon Bostick -- began their Packers careers on the practice squad.

Here’s a look at the six players the Packers have signed so far:

G Bryan Collins: The 6-foot-3, 301-pound rookie from SMU was an undrafted free agent who broke in with the Houston Texans, where he played in two preseason games. He’s one of two practice-squad signees who wasn’t with the Packers in training camp. A 20-game starter in college, Collins was a second-team, All-Conference USA pick as a senior in 2012.

WR Charles Johnson: A rookie seventh-round pick of the Packers who missed most of the offseason program and half of the preseason because of a knee injury. Johnson has good size (6-2, 215) and athleticism but was raw coming out of Grand Valley State.

CB James Nixon: Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said during training camp that Nixon might be the fastest player on the team, even faster than cornerback Sam Shields. The 6-foot, 186-pounder, who was on the Packers’ practice squad most of last season, reportedly ran a 4.31 40-yard dash at his pro day coming out of Temple. Shields reportedly ran a 4.30.

TE Jake Stoneburner: The undrafted rookie from Ohio State made a strong bid for a roster spot at a crowded position but hurt his chances when he fumbled near the goal line in the Packers’ third preseason game against Seattle.

QB Scott Tolzien: The former University of Wisconsin quarterback was released last week by the San Francisco 49ers. Originally an undrafted free agent signed by the San Diego Chargers in 2011, he spent the past two seasons on the 49ers' active roster but remains practice-squad eligible because he never appeared in a game.

WR Myles White: The 6-foot, 182-pound rookie from Louisiana Tech was the Packers’ second-leading receiver in the preseason with eight catches for 90 yards.

UPDATE: The Packers have completed their practice squad by signing two more players:

T Aaron Adams: A 6-5, 303-pound rookie from Eastern Kentucky, Adams spent the entire preseason with the Cleveland Browns, who signed him as an undrafted free agent.

RB Michael Hill: A 5-10, 210-pound rookie from Missouri Western, Hill spent the entire preseason with the San Diego Chargers, who signed him as an undrafted free agent. Hill finished his career at Missouri Western as the school’s career rushing leader (4,969 yards) and had 35 touchdowns.


The case for Seneca Wallace

September, 2, 2013

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In the NFL, so often coaches and general managers rely on the familiar.

Such is the case with 33-year-old Seneca Wallace, who, as Ed Werder first reported Monday morning, was signed to be the Green Bay Packers’ newest backup quarterback.

Take a look at Wallace’s career path. In 2003, he was a fourth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who at the time had Mike Holmgren as their coach and general manager. Wallace had an unusual career in Seattle, where sometimes he played receiver when he wasn’t needed at quarterback. When he did play quarterback, he went 5-9 as a starter, with his most extensive playing time coming in 2008 after Matt Hasselbeck sustained a knee injury. Wallace started eight games that season, going 3-5.

In 2010, Wallace was traded to Cleveland, where Holmgren had become the Browns' president only a few months earlier. Wallace started seven games over the next two seasons, but won just one of them.

Wallace hasn’t played in an NFL regular-season game since 2011 and his most recent stint with an NFL team was a week-long stay with the San Francisco 49ers, which ended last week in bizarre fashion, with coach Jim Harbaugh saying Wallace would retire and Wallace later denying that.

Which brings us back to the Packers, whose general manager, Ted Thompson, was Holmgren’s top personnel man in Seattle from 2000 to '04. So Thompson not only knows Wallace well but has seen him play in an offense that is similar to what Packers coach Mike McCarthy runs.

Still, familiarity doesn’t always breed success. There’s been little in Wallace’s history to suggest he could keep the Packers afloat in a playoff race if something happened to Aaron Rodgers.

Thompson has been in a scramble mode with his backup quarterbacks ever since he signed Vince Young on Aug. 5 after Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman got off to shaky starts to training camp. Thompson released Harrell on Aug. 24 and Young on Saturday. The Packers briefly had Coleman as the only quarterback behind Rodgers. To make room for Wallace, the Packers released Coleman.

With Wallace, the Packers now expect to have two quarterbacks with ties to the 49ers, their Week 1 opponent. They plan to sign Scott Tolzien, who was released by San Francisco last week, to their practice squad.

But for those who think the Packers signed Wallace to help with preparation for the 49ers, it should be noted that he spent only a week there this summer, and as a vested NFL veteran, the Packers would be on the hook for his entire 2013 base salary (likely the league minimum) if he’s on the Week 1 roster.

Starter Pack: Labor Day edition

September, 2, 2013
A daily roundup of what’s happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

The NFL stops for no holiday -- well, at least not this one -- and the Packers will hit the practice on Monday to begin preparations for Sunday’s regular-season opener at San Francisco.

Before we look forward, let’s look back at some of the major developments over the last few days.

In putting together the 53-man roster, general manager Ted Thompson assembled the fifth-youngest team in the NFL and stuck to his principle of keeping players that have come through the system. A summary of that can be found here.

One other housekeeping item: I noted on Twitter Sunday evening that the Packers worked out five players earlier that day. They were: guard Chandler Burden of Kentucky, guard Bryan Collins of SMU, receiver Sam McGuffie of Rice, running back Joe McKnight of USC and quarterback Scott Tolzien of Wisconsin.


Taking the blame for Vince Young

September, 1, 2013
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After the Green Bay Packers released veteran quarterback Vince Young on Saturday, it was worth discussing -- as we did here -- whether more time in the system would have made a significant difference in his bid to be the team’s backup.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson, the man who waited until Aug. 5 to sign the 30-year-old quarterback, thinks that perhaps it might have done just that.

[+] EnlargeTed Thompson
AP Photo/Morry Gash"I probably should have had him in here earlier," Packers GM Ted Thompson said about Vince Young.
In discussing his roster moves on Sunday, Thompson placed the blame on himself for not acting sooner to bring in the former first-round draft pick.

“Quite frankly, it probably wasn’t fair to Vince,” Thompson said. “We threw a lot on his plate, and the fault is probably mine. I probably should have had him in here earlier.”

Thompson praised Young for being a good teammate and a humble guy.

“If there was fault, it was probably mine,” Thompson said.

The decision to release Young left B.J. Coleman, who spent all of last season on the practice squad, as the only quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers. Coleman’s shaky play early in training camp was one of the reasons Thompson turned to Young in the first place.

The Packers no doubt are exploring all of their options at quarterback, but the list of those available was far from impressive. They were expected to add a quarterback to the practice squad -- Scott Tolzien, the former University of Wisconsin starter who was released by San Francisco last week.

“We’re actively pursuing everything there is in the National Football League at every position,” Thompson said. “I’m not just making this up. At every position, we’re looking to see if we can get better.”

If the Packers stick with Coleman, it wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that they went into the season with an inexperienced backup. They did so last season with Graham Harrell, who like Coleman had previously been on the practice squad. And they did so in 2008 with rookie Matt Flynn.

When asked if Coleman, who completed just 41.2 percent of his passes this preseason, would be an adequate fill-in if something happened to Rodgers, Thompson said: “Well, we think he has a good chance to do that. Again, there’s a lot of things that he hasn’t seen yet. He’s played in preseason games but never played in a regular-season game. We’re getting ready to tee it off, so we’re getting ready to play.”

Note: The Packers have not announced their practice-squad signings yet. But in addition to Tolzien, they are expected to add receivers Charles Johnson and Myles White, tight end Jake Stoneburner and cornerback James Nixon, according to multiple media reports. Those four all were released by the Packers on Saturday. The Packers had hoped to bring back center Patrick Lewis to the practice squad, but he was claimed off waivers by Cleveland. Four others released by the Packers on Saturday were claimed off waivers: running back Alex Green (by the New York Jets), tight end D.J. Williams (Jacksonville), linebacker Dezman Moses (Kansas City) and linebacker Terrell Manning (San Diego).