Packers free agents Mason Crosby, Scott Tolzien, James Jones, B.J. Raji and James Starks reflect on the season and discuss their futures. (Jan. 18, 2016)
Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Scott Tolzien knew he’d be facing a different kind of blitz Monday.
This time, instead of edge-rushing linebackers and hard-charging safeties, it was a media horde bearing microphones and notebooks and all asking the same question of the 28-year-old pending free agent:
What are your thoughts about your future?
“It’s funny you say that because really, I woke up this morning and I was like, ‘Oh man, the media is going to come to my locker and ask me about that,'" Tolzien said while clearing out his locker at Lambeau Field. “Because you don’t think about that stuff. You’re focused on each week and the preparation and the next game. So, in complete sincerity, I haven’t spent much time thinking what’s ahead and obviously I’ll do that now. But we were so caught up in the moment, which I think you should be — that’s the fun in what we do.”
Tolzien’s third season with the Packers was much like the previous one: He barely saw the field. The former Wisconsin standout threw only one pass, a four-yard completion during a garbage-time stint at the end of the Packers’ 38-8 regular-season loss Dec. 27 at Arizona. During the 2014 season, Tolzien was a game-day inactive for the first 15 games and dressed but didn’t play in the finale.
It was during the 2013 season — his first in Green Bay after spending two years with the San Francisco 49ers — that Tolzien got a chance to show what he could do. Pressed into service after injuries to starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and backup Seneca Wallace, the former Wisconsin standout played in three games and started two, completing 55 of 90 passes for 717 yards and a touchdown with five interceptions.
Tolzien, who inherited the job as Rodgers’ main backup for the 2015 season after Matt Flynn departed, now is set to hit the free-agent market in March. And so came the question: Do you feel like this could be your opportunity to go somewhere else and get a chance to start?
“Yeah, I’ll take a step back and start evaluating that and seeing what I feel,” Tolzien said. “I just finished my fifth (NFL) year, which I can’t believe … that time just flies. I’ve had some awesome experiences: five seasons and five times to the playoffs, three NFC championships, a Super Bowl ... I’ve been extremely lucky and fortunate. And so, like I said, I really haven’t thought much about the future, I’ve been so caught up thinking about what just happened.”
Although Tolzien rarely has played other than during the preseason these last two years, he believes he has benefited from being Rodgers’ understudy.
“I’m in the unique situation where I get every day to be around the best player on the planet,” Tolzien said. “You can’t put a price tag on that experience, what I’ve learned from just being around Aaron and observing him in a practice week leading up to a game. You learn a lot about how to prepare for a game and how to lead a team."
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Stucourt