Packers’ Matt LaFleur Hypes Preseason Debut of Unexpected QB

LaFleur on Benkert

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers speaks with Jake Dolegala #18 during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field on June 09, 2021 in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin.

Jordan Love won’t be the only Green Bay Packers quarterback in the spotlight during the return of the NFL preseason this August.

While the Packers will undoubtedly have some big questions to answer about Aaron Rodgers’ status with the team between now and the start of training camp on July 27, head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters Thursday that newcomer Kurt Benkert will also have an opportunity to show “what he’s capable of” during their three preseason games.

“Kurt’s had a couple of years in the league in Atlanta and he can really throw the football,” LaFleur said Thursday in his end-of-OTAs press conference. “It’s going to come down to, again, being able to do that in the preseason games to really show us what he can do and what he’s capable of. But (I) love the guy, he’s just been a sponge in that room and always asks great questions, and I think he definitely has a chance to show what he can do this preseason.”

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Benkert Looking to Win Roster Role

Benkert is coming off a strong first few weeks of practice with the Packers after making an impression in OTAs and mandatory minicamp. While Love took a bulk of the competitive reps during camp and Benkert was forced to split the scraps with Blake Bortles and Jake Dolegala, the fourth-year quarterback impressed with his accuracy and big arm during open-to-media practice sessions and put himself on the conversation to be Green Bay’s QB3 next season.

Throwing good-looking passes in shorts is only the beginning of Benkert’s proving grounds, though. He spent the past three seasons with the Falcons trying to earn a spot on their active roster and each time was forced to settle for a practice-squad role. Benkert’s last preseason showing was also quite underwhelming, completing 28 of 64 passes for 347 yards with zero touchdowns and four interceptions over his four exhibition appearances in 2019.

LaFleur: QB Picture Could be ‘Adjusted’ for Camp

Benkert may finally get the chance to redeem himself in August, but the extent of his opportunity will depend on how the rest of the Packers’ quarterback picture shakes out in the coming months. Rodgers will obviously have a huge barring on how the Packers approach the position in general, and LaFleur admitted Thursday the team “potentially could make an adjustment” at quarterback once his status becomes clearer.

“There’s so many more components than just the 11-on-11 team drills or the 7-on-7s,” LaFleur said, explaining why the team has signed three quarterbacks since May. “You’re throwing routes on air, and as good as I’d like to think I could throw the ball or (quarterbacks coach) Luke Getsy can throw the ball, you want NFL quarterbacks throwing those to the receivers, backs, whoever it may be. So, you need those arms.

“I’m sure as we get closer to training camp and things become a little more clear for us, we potentially could make an adjustment there. But you’re right, it is tough to get four quarterbacks the reps that they need. That’s why when they get those opportunities to go in there and play, they’ve got to take advantage of them and be ready.”

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