GREEN BAY – Scott Tolzien felt he’d made the right decision already, so his promotion to the 53-man roster Wednesday didn’t validate his turning down a spot on the Cleveland Browns’ roster to stay on the Green Bay Packers practice squad a few weeks ago.
Nevertheless, with starter Aaron Rodgers sidelined by a broken collarbone and veteran No. 2 quarterback Seneca Wallace set to start Sunday against Philadelphia, Tolzien was ecstatic about his opportunity. And while the Packers did give him a significant pay raise to stick around on the practice squad before Monday night’s turn of events, Tolzien said he’d have felt good about his decision even if he’d have spent the rest of the year on the practice squad.
“I was comfortable here with the whole organization, top to bottom, from the front office to the players and the coaches. I’m pumped for the opportunity. It’s up to me to prepare and perform,” the former University of Wisconsin quarterback said Wednesday. “You don’t want to say this is how you draw it up, but this is something that, and I don’t want to be cliché, but you live for a moment like this. It’s fortunate circumstances, but my focus right now is just to prepare, first and foremost. That’s my priority. Putting in the time to be right when Sunday comes.”
To this point, Tolzien’s most extensive work has been in rigorous pregame workouts with quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo. But now, he’s one snap away from running the Packers’ offense in a game that counts in the standings.
“I think every day counts, and that’s whether it’s Week 9 of the season like it is now, or Week 3 of OTAs, the 19th day of training camp. You really try to have tunnel vision in that regard and really trying to make the most of each day so that when an opportunity presents itself that you’re ready to go,” Tolzien said. “You just look at life in general and, really, each person can pick out different moments where you say, ‘Man, that was a great opportunity.’ I know, I’m aware that this is an opportunity here right now, but my focus is to simplify things and really focus on the preparation, and it all shoots out from there. That’s my focus right now: preparing and putting in the time.”
Tolzien, who spent the past two seasons and this summer’s training camp with the San Francisco 49ers, said his understanding of the Packers’ offense is a “work in progress” but praised Rodgers for spending extra time to help him get acclimated.
“He’s been in this offense for a number of years so he knows it as well as anyone. At the same time, he knows the game through the quarterback’s lens, which is huge, too. His perspective is of the utmost priority for me,” Tolzien said. “He’s been great for me and Seneca. … That’s why we think so highly of him because he’s the consummate leader.
“He congratulated me (on the promotion), but, really – and I’m honest here, he’s always treated me (and) all these (practice-squad) guys like a member of the 53-man roster. That’s why he’s such a great leader. He treats the stars of our team the same way he treats the equipment staff. It doesn’t matter. That just speaks volumes about Aaron as a leader.”
Return to: Jason Wilde Blog