Green Bay Packers: Matt Hasselbeck

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson say it every offseason: It is not the rookies who will make the difference for the Green Bay Packers but rather the returning players.

With that in mind, we continue our look at some returning players who need to take their games to another level in 2014.

House
Next up, it's cornerback Davon House.

Why he needs to step up: Remember when quarterback Matt Hasselbeck earned the nickname “Mr. August” early in his NFL career because of his ability to shine in the preseason? The same could be said about House. He has been a playmaking machine in training camp practices and preseason games during his four-year NFL career but when his opportunity has come to make plays when it matters, he has not delivered. He was benched late last season after a poor performance against Detroit on Dec. 8 and played only five defensive snaps over the final four regular-season games before being thrown back into the mix after starting cornerback Sam Shields was injured early in the playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.

What he has to do: The Packers like House's physical style, but he needs to make plays when he gets his chance. Last season, when forced into action because of injuries, House missed several opportunities to make impact plays. He dropped potential interceptions last season against Baltimore, Minnesota and San Francisco.

Outlook: House put together another strong offseason and even though the Packers are deep at cornerback, he could compete for playing time in the sub packages. Entering camp, he's likely the No. 4 cornerback behind Shields, Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward. It's an important year for House because he is in the final season of the rookie contract he signed after the Packers drafted him in the fourth round in 2011.

Quotable: "Truthfully, I'd say I had one bad game maybe and that was against Detroit,” House said. “I gave up a slant, which was a touchdown and the 20-yard catch they caught, which was a good ball. Besides that game, to me I think I did great. One area of improvement I needed to improve on was catching those interceptions."

Previous installments

Part one: Morgan Burnett

Part two: Nick Perry

Part three: Datone Jones

Part four: Jerel Worthy

Part five: Brad Jones
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).
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Green Bay Packers would like to get back into the business of developing young quarterbacks like they did throughout the 1990s -- when Ty Detmer, Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks all came up through their system.

The problem is, this isn't the 1990s.

The rules of the collective bargaining agreement that was put in place following the 2011 lockout greatly reduced the amount of time coaches can work with players in the offseason, a time often set aside for individual and group instruction. For Packers' quarterbacks, that means four weeks have been shaved off coach Mike McCarthy's quarterback school.

Nevertheless, the Packers have come to the NFL scouting combine with one eye on finding a developmental quarterback prospect and hope to take four quarterbacks into training camp this summer.

"I think we definitely need four," McCarthy said at the combine, "So I'm hopeful that we can get a young guy in the draft."

The Packers have only two quarterbacks under contract for 2014 -- starter Aaron Rodgers and Scott Tolzien, who was signed to the practice squad last September and then promoted to the active roster after Rodgers broke his collarbone on Nov. 4. Tolzien has yet to go through an offseason in McCarthy's training program, having been with the San Francisco 49ers for his first two seasons.

Matt Flynn was re-signed last November and became the fourth quarterback to start for the Packers last season, but his contract was only for the 2013 season.

"I thought Matt Flynn came in and did a number of good things," McCarthy said. "There's a lot of stability he brings to the quarterback room as far as the role that he needs to play and his role to the starting quarterback to help them scout and so forth, so Matt is obviously a good fit for our program. I thought he definitely gave us a shot in the arm when we needed it. Free agency is upon us, we'll see what happens."

Whatever happens, the Packers don't want to be stuck in the position they were in at the end of last summer, when the trio of Vince Young, Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman all failed to win the backup job, forcing the Packers to sign veteran Seneca Wallace the week of the season opener.

That general manager Ted Thompson has drafted only one quarterback -- Coleman in the seventh round in 2012 -- since he took Brian Brohm (second round) and Flynn (seventh round) in 2008 would seemingly indicate that it's time to take another one.

"We're always looking," Thompson said. "Coach McCarthy's a quarterback guy. He likes to have a group, so you never stop looking, turning over rocks, that sort of thing."

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