QB Scott Tolzien, Free agent
HT: 6-3, WT: 205, Born: 9-4-1987, College: Wisconsin, Drafted: ---
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2013 Game Summaries
Week 10 - The Green Bay Packers promoted quarterback Scott Tolzien from the practice squad on November 5th. Five days later he was under center at Lambeau Field against the Philadelphia Eagles. All things considered, he really did quite well and might have made an argument for holding the job until Aaron Rodgers comes back or he implodes. Backup quarterbacks rarely get much in the way of practice time with the starters, so Tolzien’s occasional misfires and bad throws were as much due to a lack of familiarity with his receivers as it was due to his inexperience and lack of development. He was uneven early—he completed two in a row early, but then was slow getting the ball out and was nearly picked off by linebacker Najee Goode. The throw was just too slow and Tolzien waited too long to deliver it. The rookie followed that up with a fairly nice pass to wide receiver Jarrett Boykin along the sideline for 36-yards. The pass was a bit high and Boykin had to jump up to get it, but it showed Tolzien has plenty of arm strength and decent accuracy when he has time. The earlier near interception came on a throw which was thrown too late and not hard enough, a problem which resulted in a terrible interception a short time later in the end zone. On the play, the Packers were on the Philadelphia five yard line on a 3rd down with three yards to go. The Packers lined up with two receivers to the left and one on the right side, with fullback John Kuhn and tight end Brian Bostick in the backfield. Jordy Nelson is lined up inside, and runs a short route which looked a lot like a “fade” route Rodgers loves to hit him on. Normally, the sort of pass you would see would be a lob towards the back of the end zone, where only Nelson would be able to catch it. However, Tolzien tried to thread the pass past the defender, who cut underneath Nelson, but the throw didn’t have enough zip on it to get past cornerback Brandon Boykin, who stepped in front of the pass and returned it 76-yards to the Packers 27 yard line. Tolzien and the Packers got lucky, as the Eagles cannot get the ball in the end zone and then miss a 39 yard field goal, resulting in no points but it was a costly error. Tolzien’s second interception was a pass which probably never should have been thrown, especially on a 1st-and-10 play when you have two more downs to get the first. On the play, Tolzien had a little pressure at first, but the offensive line ended up giving him plenty of time. Between the time the ball snapped and when Tolzien finally threw it, nearly four second elapsed—plenty of time to make a decision and either run, deliver a pass or throw the ball away. Worse, Tolzien had two receivers underneath who were much more open than his intended target, James Jones. The icing on the cake was that it was a very poor throw—high and behind Jones, almost right at the defender, who tipped it up. Tolzien was unlucky in that Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans made a ridiculous dive for the interception and a ball which could have fallen incomplete was instead picked off. Tolzien was pressured initially but the offensive line held off the rush—unfortunately, Tolzien felt pressure that wasn’t there and appeared to panic a bit, resulting in an interception. Both interceptions can largely be blamed on a lack or practice, a lack of experience, a lack of polish or all of the above and you saw as much, if not more good from Tolzien than bad considering the situation. He made some really nice passes and looked cool in the pocket most of the time. He showed he could see the field well, such as on his 22-yard touchdown throw to Bostick. On the play, Tolzien initially pump-faked to Bostick right off the line. The coverage bit and stumbled a little, giving Bostick time to get to the sideline and turn upfield where Tolzien hit him. Thought the pass was a tad high, there was plenty of time for Bostick to haul it in and continue on for a touchdown. It wasn’t always pretty for the undrafted rookie, but all things being equal he showed a tremendous amount of promise and a lot of upside.
Week 11 - It was a rough day for the undrafted free agent quarterback. Tolzien started off with a completion negated by an penalty and then two straight incompletions, both of which were poorly thrown, though the second (a short pass to Jordy Nelson) should have been caught. His third pass was beautiful throw for 25 yards to Nelson, where Tolzien did a great job looking off the defense before delivering the throw. The result was a wide open Nelson and a big gain. That was immediately followed up by another great pass by Tolzien, this time a 45 yard bullet down the middle of the field to James Jones. Jones did a great job getting position on Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara. Tolzien executed a nice playaction fake, looked to his right, then turned to check out Jones and delivered the ball perfectly, inside and away from Amukamara. The throw was just a bit log, so Jones ended up falling instead of running with it, but it was a very nice pass. Late in the second quarter, the Giants began to get pressure more consistently and Tolzien began to struggle a bit. He came out strong in the second half, with another long bomb, this time to Nelson again and while the ball was ahead of Nelson, the receiver made a nice catch and it was a well thrown ball. Unfortunately, the very next throw was intercepted by linebacker Jon Beason. On the play, the Giants rushed six players, but Beason held off. Tolzien didn’t see him hanging in the middle of the field, nor did he see Beason drop back into coverage a split second before throwing the ball. Tolzien saw James Jones free across the middle and delivered a nice pass, but Beason reached up and made a great grab and picked the ball off. To his credit, Tolzien bounced right back and his next three passes were sharp completions. He definitely has a short memory and continued to be fearless in his passing, though not in a reckless way. He was just not shy about going deep when the opportunity was there. For example, on the first play of the fourth quarter, Tolzien saw that receiver Jarrett Boykin get great separation from cornerback Trumaine McBrode and without hesitation, delivered a perfectly thrown ball down the sideline, for a 52 yard gain which set up an Eddie Lacy touchdown run a few plays later. Unfortunately after that, with his team without a touchdown of tying the game, Tolzien made his second—and far more costly—mistake. You can’t completely fault Tolzien for the pick-six he threw to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who made and incredibly athletic play to pick the ball off. He didn’t quite throw the ball high nor quick enough, but tight end Andrew Quarless was open and again, Pierre-Paul made a ridiculous play to pick the ball off. However, it was pretty much the nail in the coffin for the Packers. Tolzien did throw one more interception which was a bad decision by a rookie desperately trying to “make something happen.” Tolzien was scrambling and had time, but chose to try and finesse a ball to a perfectly covered Boykin. The ball sailed well over Boykin and his outstretched hand and was caught by Antrel Rolle. Overall, the rookie did a fairly good job and, with the exception of the final interception, made good decisions and showed both poise and ability under pressure.
Week 12 - It was a pretty rough day for Scott Tolzien, who was yanked for backup Matt Flynn in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. Tolzien just looked out of sync for most of the day. Aside from the second Packers offensive drive of the game, everything that went right during his first two outings seemed to go wrong. Receivers dropped passes, the offensive line struggled and Tolzine just made some bad choices. On his one touchdown drive—an 11-play 87-yard drive in the first quarter—was capped off by an impressive 6-yard touchdown run. On the play, Tolzien found himself under immediate pressure with all his receivers well covered. He dodged the first, leaping, defender, then took off for the end zone. Tolzien spun once to make another defender miss, then dove into the end zone. As much as it was impressive to make something happen with his feet, he later chose to do so at a bad time near the end of the first half. On the play, with the clock winding down, Tolzien found nobody open and scrambled to gain some yards to make things easier on kicker Mason Crosby. He needed to get down and then try and spike the ball to stop the clock, but instead he ran for too long and time ran out. Tolzien’s first two passes of the second half were off target and nearly picked off, resulting in head coach Mike McCarthy making the move to Matt Flynn.