Since the Patriots managed to escape from New York with a win over the Jets, the big story from NFL Week 6 will be the loss of Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay Packers signal caller was driven into the ground shoulder first by Anthony Barr, resulting in him being carted off the field in Minnesota with what was eventually diagnosed as a broken collarbone. Even if Rodgers does make it back at some point this season, which seems unlikely, the Packers now have a hole to fill at quarterback for the foreseeable future. Even with the loss, the Packers are still 4-2, and are still very much in the NFC Playoff Picture. Unlike most teams who just fold up on the season upon losing their quarterback (looking at you Miami, comeback or not), the Packers have enough talent elsewhere on the field to still compete if they get they right guy under center. From obvious to absurd, let’s discount-double-check out a few of the Packers options as it stands right now.
We start with the Packers current backup quarterback, UCLA product Brett Hundley. A 5th round pick in 2015, Hundley impressed the Packers enough his rookie year to supplant Scott Tolzien as the backup. He’s spent 2+ years on the bench, watching and learning from Rodgers to prepare for this exact moment. But is that enough time to lead a serious Super Bowl contender. I was a fan of Hundley’s game at UCLA, and figured he would eventually end up an NFL starter at some point, but we still don’t know how his game will transfer to the pros. Skill Level: 5/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 1/10.
Who? The former Division Three quarterback is currently on the Packers practice squad, in his second stint with the team. He has the mobility Green Bay would be missing in Rodgers, but everything after that is a question mark. He’s never taken an NFL snap, his biggest stage came in the NCAA tournament in 2013, when he set all-division NCAA playoff records with 633 yards and 8 touchdowns in a single playoff game in a loss to perennial D3 power house Mount Union. Skill Level: 2/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 6/10
Tolzien was let go by the Packers after the 2015 season, after being bumped from the depth chart by Hundley. He is currently Jacoby Brissett’s backup in Indianapolis. However, with Andrew Luck seemingly on the cusp of returning from injury, and Brissett playing well, would the Colts be willing to deal their third string quarterback back to Green Bay? I would expect the Packers to at least enquire, given he knows the system and has experience working with the rest of the offense. Of course, it all hinges on Luck’s health. Skill Level: 5/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 4/10
I think its safe to say that Deshaun Watson has ended the Tom Savage era in Houston. Would Houston be willing to move him if they felt like they could get a boost to help their AFC South chances? If this is the direction the Packers go, they better hope Rodgers is back by January, because counting on Savage in the playoffs is just irresponsible. Skill Level: 6/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 5/10
Yes, I’m willing to drag Jimmy G into this. Garoppolo’s contract is up at the end of the season, and it stands to reason that the Patriots won’t be paying him and Brady in the 2018 season. New England has some glairing needs (wide receiver and defensive backs) in places that Green Bay has some depth and players they could part with. If the Packers can put an offer on the table that Belichick thinks improves his chances of ring number 6, I wouldn’t be surprised if he pulled the trigger. Skill Level: 8/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 8/10
Free Agents Part 1, The Cookie Cutter Quarterbacks
Yates spent training camp with the Buffalo Bills, but was cut after suffering a concussion in early September. The former UNC Tarheel has a history of stepping into new systems mid-season and having some success, but much like Savage, this solution will only get you to the playoffs. Yates isn’t the guy to win you games in January. Skill Level: 6/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 4/10
See above. A slightly worse option than TJ Yates. And I’ll save us all the time; I could make an identical third entry for Matt Barkley. This is the low risk-low reward group. Skill Level: 5/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 4/10
Free Agents Part 2, Now It Gets Interesting…
Let me start by saying this…I am looking at this from an Xs and Os, football point of view only. And when it comes to Xs and Os, Kaepernick is probably as good of a fit as anyone on this list. He can extend plays with his legs, can throw the deep ball, and has playoff experience. However, Kaepernick’s issues have always been mental, not physical, and Green Bay’s offense involves frequent pre-snap reads and adjustments that he never had to deal with in San Francisco. Could he learn all the terminology and assignments coming in cold, 7 weeks into the season? That’s the question the Packers have to answer. If he can, look out NFC. If he can’t, things will get real ugly real quick. Skill Level: 7/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 6/10.
Robert Griffin III
Nope. Skill Level: 0/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 10/10
Ignoring for a second the fact that we don’t know how much, if anything Tony Romo has left in the tank, this would be as juicy a story as you’ll see in the NFL in 2017. I know he wasn’t the starter, but after the Packers-Cowboys duel in the playoffs last year, seeing Romo in Green and Yellow would be an amazing twist. If he plays well? Even better. And if the Cowboys can bounce back and these two meet in the playoffs, with Romo under center AGAINST the Dallas Cowboys? As a former Cowboy once said, “Get Your Popcorn Ready’. Skill Level: ?/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 12/10
You know somebody was going to bring it up. The reason Peyton never wanted to play in the NFC was he didn’t want to face Eli in the playoffs, but obviously that won’t be a problem this year. Roger Goodell is drooling over the thought of one of the league’s most famous faces on the league’s most historic franchise. With a year and a half off to heal, could the Sheriff still sling it? No, probably not. Skill Level: 0/10. Ridiculousness Factor: 18/10
What do you think? Is one of these names the answer in Green Bay? Did I miss anybody? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @The_REAL_Alex_B.
Written By: Alex Barth (@The_REAL_Alex_B)