AFC Contender Eyeing Former Packers QB as Roster Addition

Benkert Titans Workout

Getty Head Coach Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans watches his team warm up before a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Buccaneers 13-3.

The Tennessee Titans are taking a look at a former Green Bay Packers quarterback for a potential depth role behind veteran starter Ryan Tannehill.

According to the NFL’s official transaction wire for August 26, the Titans hosted former Packers backup quarterback Kurt Benkert for a roster workout on Friday as they prepare for their preseason finale against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network also reported that Benkert “threw well” in his workout.

Benkert spent the past season in Green Bay as a third-stringer on the practice squad behind Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love, but the Packers — knowing they wouldn’t have a place for him on their 2022 active roster — cut him loose on June 17 to give him a chance to latch on with another team before the start of the regular season. He has also worked out with the Houston Texans at the beginning of August.

The Titans’ interest in Benkert could suggest they are looking to move on from current No. 2 quarterback Logan Woodside. He has gotten fewer reps in practice as of late, and while head coach Mike Vrabel explained it away as them wanting to put more energy into developing rookie third-round pick Malik Willis, it would make sense if they are losing confidence in Woodside after watching him throw three interceptions in his first two preseason games.

Alternatively, the Titans could be eyeing Benkert as a potential piece for their practice squad once initial 53-man roster cuts are made at 4 p.m. ET on August 30, especially if they do away with Woodside. Either way, Benkert’s free agency interest should pick up a bit as teams build their rosters for Week 1 of the new season.

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Etling Has Earned QB3 Job With Packers

The Packers might have already believed that Danny Etling could become their new third quarterback in the rotation when they released Benkert earlier this summer, but Etling has certainly done his part to confirm that role for himself this preseason.

Etling — a 2018 seventh-round pick for the New England Patriots — played in all three exhibition games for the Packers over the past month and went a combined 17-for-22 passing with 220 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions on 27 dropbacks. He also showed off his impressive speed as a runner, scrambling nine times for 73 yards with a breakaway 51-yard touchdown run in the second game against the New Orleans Saints.

The Packers most likely will not need Etling for anything more than scout-team, practice-squad duties as their third quarterback in 2022, but it doesn’t hurt to have someone around who showed more positives than negatives in the preseason. The only thing they might have to worry about is another team trying to scoop him up when he (presumably) gets waived during 53-man roster cuts; although, he could just hold off on going elsewhere if the Packers indicate they want him back on the practice squad.

Love Impressed Packers in Preseason Finale

Despite some fan angst, the Packers seem more confident than ever in Love after watching him go through his second preseason. He went 41-of-75 passing for 437 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions across his three performances this August, which isn’t exactly an impressive statline on its own, but it’s the details of his game that have had the Packers and Rodgers both talking about his growth.

Looking specifically at the Chiefs game, Love only led one touchdown-scoring drive that ended with Tyler Goodson finding the end zone on a 24-yard run and caught some flack for throwing an interception into heavy coverage while trying to force a play at the end of the first half. He also struggled to keep plays alive as the Chiefs battered his offensive line and kept him under regular pressure.

Love’s response to the adversity, though? That’s what impressed Matt LaFleur.

“I think early on there wasn’t really a lot open for him and he was under some duress,” LaFleur said at the beginning of his postgame press conference. “The one thing I loved about it is, when the game doesn’t start out the way you it to, how do you respond? I thought he showed a lot of resiliency, and I think that just shows the maturation process that he has done over the last couple years. I thought there was a lot of good things out there. I always look at the numbers at the end of it and I am like that doesn’t make sense. I thought he did a lot of good things, but we will take a look at the tape. I am sure there is always something to clean up, but all in all, I thought Jordan did a lot of good things out there.”

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