Typically keeping a third quarterback seems like an inefficient use of building the roster. In a COVID-19 world, however, the Packers would be wise to consider it
The Packers made a statement when they traded up to draft Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick. Regardless of what the administration says inside the building, Love is the quarterback of the future. He will be the starting quarterback sooner rather than later. It’s a when, not if type of situation.
That said, he will not be the starter in 2020. That title still belongs to Aaron Rodgers. The hope the Packers have is that Rodgers can regain the MVP form that he has not played at since he broke his collarbone in 2017.
Rodgers may not be the same player he was, but still gives the team the best chance to win. That much is obvious.
What else is obvious, to me at least, is that the Packers will have Jordan Love as the team’s backup quarterback. When a team drafts a quarterback in the first round, they can’t have him as a third stringer. That’s true from an optics standpoint at minimum.
In addition, if the team thought highly enough of Love to trade up for him, they have to hope he can beat out Tim Boyle as the team’s primary backup.
Boyle does have some things in his corner to be the team’s primary backup. Training camp remains up in the air. The team has had a different offseason from anything we have ever seen. Love has not gotten the hands on coaching from Matt LaFleur.
That said, Boyle is an undrafted free agent. He’s never played any significant snaps in the regular season. Placing him as the team’s backup means a few things. None of them are good.
That leads to the next question as to how the Packers should handle their quarterback room. The Packers have typically preferred to keep two quarterbacks on the roster. The third quarterback is almost never active on game day. Essentially he sucks up a roster spot for someone that could realistically be a contributor.
The prevailing thought within the Packers organization, though they’d never admit it, is that if the third quarterback has to play the team is in severe trouble so it essentially doesn’t matter who that quarterback is.
Normally, I agree with them. There’s an old quote from Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore that I ascribe to. He was asked why Peyton Manning’s backup didn’t get more reps.
His response was that if 18 went down they were in trouble, not in those words.
We’ve seen it several times over the years. The Packers could barely function without Rodgers at the helm. The last time a Packers’ backup quarterback played significant time for the team, it was DeShone Kizer. Kizer threw more touchdown passes to the opponents than he did to the Packers.
It wasn’t pretty.
This year is different. With the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we don’t know how things are going to look. What we do know is that if a player tests positive for the virus, he will not play that week. He will likely be sidelined at least two weeks.
As Rodgers begins to age, the likelihood his backup needs to play increases. That’s just the nature of the position. That’s even more true in a world where a player that appears healthy can be knocked out because of a virus.
Backup quarterbacks have become even more valuable in this world. That means a third quarterback could provide some value as well. The fact that Boyle could potentially run the offense at the very least provides some value. It certainly provides more value than what he could potentially bring in a trade – likely a 6th/7th round pick.
Normally this isn’t something I would advise. I think backup quarterbacks are typically a little overvalued. There simply aren’t 32 competent quarterbacks in football. The likelihood a team has one good quarterback is unlikely, let alone two.
This year, however, everything is different. That’s the world we live in. Because of that, Tim Boyle likely is going get another year in Green Bay.