Packers keep ‘ascending’ Tolzien to back up Rodgers
Signing may mean Flynn won't be back
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Scott Tolzien evidently has waited long enough to get his iPad playbook.
Set to become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers backup quarterback made no secret of his desire to return in 2015, staying in town after the season ended and asking the Packers’ video staff for his iPad so he could watch film and study during the offseason.
“Our video guy said [to me], ‘Hey, Scott Tolzien wants his iPad,'” Packers coach Mike McCarthy recounted during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last month. “I said, ‘Awesome. Tell him to sign his contract.'”
That’s next. An NFL source confirmed multiple reports – PackerReport.com’s Bill Huber was the first – that Tolzien had agreed to terms. The source said it’s a one-year deal, one that Huber reported is worth $1.35 million. Assuming he makes the team as the backup to Aaron Rodgers, that would represent more than double what Tolzien played for last year, as he made $645,000 last season as the No. 3 behind Rodgers and Matt Flynn.
“I’d like to think that I was getting better each and every week. I feel good about that,” Tolzien said on Jan. 19, as he cleaned out his locker after the team’s season-ending loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game the day before. “I love it here. Great organization, great locker room. But I also know that as far as getting better, that’s an every-year thing. Now, that goes straight into this offseason and trying to get stronger and do anything I can to get better.”
The Packers’ decision to re-sign Tolzien is likely – but is not necessarily – the end for Flynn in Green Bay. An NFL source said that while the team is unlikely to bring Flynn back, it cannot be ruled out. If the Packers don’t add a quarterback in the April 30-May 2 NFL Draft, Flynn would still be an option if he’s available, the source said.
McCarthy was asked last month whether he made the decision to keep all three quarterbacks – Rodgers, Flynn and Tolzien – on the 53-man roster coming out of camp, considering the team hadn’t brought three quarterbacks into the regular season since 2008, when Rodgers was in his first year as the starter and rookie draft picks Flynn and Brian Brohm backed him up.
“We’ve been spoiled here. We’ve had unbelievable No. 2s. Hell, Aaron was a No. 2, for God’s sake, for his first two years,” McCarthy said. “So we’ve done that part right [most of the time].
“[Last year], the three-quarterback deal, really Scott and Matt had a role in that. We weren’t keeping three to keep three. … Would I love to have three quarterbacks? Yeah, it’s the most important position in football. Really, technically, you’d like to have three and a developmental [young quarterback on the practice squad].
“If we would have had three quarterbacks trained going into [the 2013 season], I think we would have won more than eight games. Those are the things you look to apply to the future.”
Tolzien, 27, completed 38 of 56 passes for 477 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions (112.0 rating) in preseason play but was still No. 3 behind Flynn (18 of 38, 232 yards, three touchdowns, one interception, 82.3 rating).
Pressed into duty in 2013 after injuries to Rodgers (collarbone) and veteran journeyman backup Seneca Wallace (groin), Tolzien, who’d been signed to the practice squad after spending training camp with San Francisco, Tolzien was 55 of 90 for 717 yards with one touchdown but five interceptions (66.8 rating) in three games that year.
“Scott and Matt obviously fit in our room and do a very good job of [doing] what they’re asked,” McCarthy said last month. “I think Scott is definitely an ascending player. I still think he has more growth in front of him.”