Packers Enduring Historic QB Odyssey

Flynn (Jonathan Daniel - Getty Images)

Has the quarterbacking situation ever been so bleak as it's been this year? We've scoured the history books to add some additional context.

Maybe Aaron Rodgers will return to the starting lineup to face Atlanta on Sunday.

Maybe Matt Flynn will start his second consecutive game.

Or maybe it will be back to Scott Tolzien.

Whoever lines up at quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, it will be the continuation of a season unlike any other in franchise history.

For 22-plus seasons, the Packers had only three quarterbacks start a game. This season, they're the only team in the league in which four quarterbacks have thrown a pass.

Rodgers has thrown 251 passes this season, followed by 90 for Tolzien, 56 for Flynn and 24 for Seneca Wallace.

The Packers haven't had four quarterbacks throw a pass in the same season since 1995. Combined, Ty Detmer, T.J. Rubley and Jim McMahon threw 23 passes that year behind Brett Favre. Combined, Tolzien, Flynn and Wallace have thrown 170 passes.

In fact, this is only the fourth time in the last 40 years in which four quarterbacks have thrown at least one pass for the Packers, with one of those years being 1987, when they played three games with replacement players.

Since the team began keeping individual stats in 1940, not once had the Packers had four players throw at least 24 passes.

During Favre's ironman run as the Packers quarterback, nine other quarterbacks threw a combined 282 passes. (Doug Pederson threw 77 passes, followed by Craig Nall with 48 and Matt Hasselbeck with 29.) That was an average of 17.6 per season.

With Rodgers starting from 2008 through 2012, two other quarterbacks combined to throw 136 passes. (Flynn threw 132 and Graham Harrell four.) That was an average of 27.2 passes per season.

This season, the backup quarterbacks have thrown 170 passes.

Not surprisingly, the season has disintegrated without Rodgers. Rodgers is the highest-scoring quarterback in NFL history. In 76 games spanning the start of 2009 through the injury in 2013, the Packers failed to score 20 points in six games. In the five games played without Rodgers this season, the Packers failed to score 20 in three games.

Tolzien (five), Flynn (one) and Wallace (one) have combined for seven interceptions. Rodgers threw six in 2011 and seven in 2009.

On third down, the Packers are 15-of-59 the last five games, or 25.4 percent. They were below 25.0 percent in four of five games. In the red zone, they've scored five touchdowns out of 15 possessions, or 33.3 percent. With Rodgers, the Packers were 45-of-97, a gaudy 46.4 percent, on third down. In the red zone, they scored 14 touchdowns out of 28 possessions, or 50.0 percent.

Green Bay won time time of possession in six of seven games with Rodgers but one of five without him.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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