There’s a lot of good roster battles coming up in training camp. Cornerback is getting most of the attention (with good reason) and the backup battles for offensive line, running back, and outside linebacker are all wide open. There’s another important position battle going on that isn’t getting a lot of attention – and hasn’t really gotten attention here in the last 25 years.
We all know who QB1 will be on opening day and we might not even see him play in at least three of the four preseason games this year.
QB2 belongs to Hundley and he’ll probably be out there just long enough to show other teams that he’s worth trading for.
With Hundley’s contract year coming next season, the future may already be here for the next QB2 battle between Joe Callahan and Taysom Hill.
Callahan looked like a throwaway camp arm when his name showed up on transaction wire last year. But with Rodgers in a glass case and an injury derailing the Summer of Hundley, Callahan got a lot of playing time and made the most of it. He didn’t look like a future All Pro, but he showed more skills and athleticism than anyone (except for maybe himself and his mom) expected.
He earned a roster spot the hard way and won admirable words from the coaches.
This year, undrafted Taysom Hill is a bouquet of athleticism entering with a lot more fanfare than his competitor.
At 6’2″ 235, he has a size advantage over Callahan and his 4.44 40 and 38.5″ vertical both led the position at the combine this year. With numbers like that and a 121.4 career college quarterback rating, how could he go undrafted? Two reasons.
1. He had four season-ending injuries in college (that’s a lot).
2. He’s 27 (we went to BYU).
He’s a rookie at an age where he’s older than a lot guys in the league who are already a year or two into their second contract.
However, that also brings maturity with it, which isn’t a bad thing for a quarterback – a position with an increasingly long shelf life thanks to the sissification of the rulebook. His injury history shouldn’t be as big of a deal as it would be at other positions. As a QB, he’ll be wearing a red jersey in practice and since he’d be holding a clipboard on game day, it should be hard for him to get hurt.
So who makes the cut? The younger buck with one flashy preseason under his belt or the old rookie with eye-popping measurables?
My bet is on Hill. Not because I think Hill is the next best thing or because I’m down on Joe-C, it’s just, that with so little to go on at this point, my shot in the dark is based on what happened last year after preseason. Callahan made the team, got cut, bounced around to the Saints and Browns and then came back. When a guy gets cut three times in a season and then his team brings in competition at a developmental position, it’s not a good sign.
That’s not to say there isn’t a place in the league for Joe Callahan (I think he can grow into a solid backup option and pinch starter), but I would expect the Packers to go with the model with more features this early in the conversation.
Now, when they actually start playing, that could very well change.