Scott Tolzien continued his over 100 passer rating in his first preseason action of 2015. Going 10/16 for 107 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions was proof that Tolzien is growing in the Packers’ system. But if you look at quarterback rating alone, Brett Hundley had a better day with a rating of 138.9 as compared to Tolzien’s 102.9. But as we all know, passer rating isn’t everything (though Hundley’s performance was a joy to watch), and there are many other characteristics that make a quarterback. Scott Tolzien showed me something last night…he proved to me that he is the kind of quarterback that could start on some teams in this league. Here are three reasons why:
1. Scott Tolzien’s release is on par with other starting quarterbacks
One thing that jumped off the screen to me in watching Scott Tolzien’s performance last night was his quick, almost Rodgers-like release. This is in part due to Tolzien’s adaptation of the Packers’ left-foot-forward stance. It is also partly because Tolzien is a workout warrior and showed that he has improved his arm-strength and therefore his release. But Tolzien’s mechanics overall took a major step forward and are seriously good from what I saw. A lot of people were impressed by Tolzien’s touch-pass to Janis in the endzone on 4th and 1, and I loved to see that touch too. But I also loved to see a guy who does not have the physical gifts of some other quarterbacks putting the ball on a line and sending a laser downfield between defenders. Tolzien showed that he has the quick release to do that in last night’s preseason game. So his repertoire of passes is now complete.
2. Tolzien’s inside out game has improved
So if Tolzien can now make all the throws…what about his feet? McCarthy and Rodgers have said and Tolzien verified Thursday night that his transition game from inside to outside has truly taken a step forward. Tolzien can now use his feet to get clear while keeping his eyes downfield and still fire a strike. This is very difficult considering the size and speed of defensive linemen and linebackers nowadays. Tolzien’s advance in this area is not insignificant. We all know that Aaron Rodgers is great at using his feet to get outside while still looking for recievers downfield but now Tolzien has shown the same ability (Hundley did well in this regard as well). This bodes well for Tolzien moving forward even though Packernation hopes he only gets reps during the preseason.
3. Tolzien commands the huddle
Scott Tolzien has had to be on the field to replace Aaron Rodgers before (knock on wood and heaven forbid that it happens again) but the last time…he was supplanted by Matt Flynn. But last night’s Tolzien was not the same. He showed control and poise and was able then to use his newfound skills with his feet and a quick release to command an offense as high-powered as the Packers offense. And thus, a great performance was born.
So Packernation still hopes that Scott Tolzien will be back watching and learning come September and the Bears game, but in the meantime, it is good to know that Tolzien has become the kind of backup that we can rely on. And in my opinion, Scott Tolzien has done more than that…he has become the kind of quarterback that could be a starter in the right situation. For now, I like him right in the situation he is in now…on the Packers…as the backup to Aaron Rodgers.