DeShone Kizer, Tim Boyle show signs, but is it enough for Packers?

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- There was one summer when the Green Bay Packers' backup quarterbacks were so bad that by the end of training camp, the team had dumped them all.

This isn't 2013, when the Packers cycled through Graham Harrell, Vince Young and B.J. Coleman by the preseason's end and were wholly unprepared when Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in early November. (Remember, they tried Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien before they brought back Matt Flynn).

But just because DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle combined for three touchdown passes in Thursday's 28-26 preseason-opening win over the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field, it doesn't mean the Packers should feel great about their chances if anything were to happen to Rodgers.

Rodgers and 25 other players sat out in Matt LaFleur's head-coaching debut, which meant it was impossible to tell what this new offense will look like. Kizer started and played the first half, and Boyle took over for the third and part of the fourth quarter.

"More than anything else was the command," LaFleur said when asked what impressed him about Kizer and Boyle. "That's what we were looking for. I thought they commanded the huddle. I thought, it seemed to me that the communication was on point. Like I said, we didn't have any delay of games. I thought we got up to the line just like I've been talking about, with urgency, and I just thought the operation was clean. They did a nice job executing when the plays were there."

But would it be good enough to win when it mattered?

Kizer's numbers -- 8-for-13 passing for 102 yards and a touchdown -- didn't show everything.

He could have gotten receiver Darrius Shepherd seriously injured on the touchdown pass by forcing him to outstretch to catch it in the end zone. Shepherd took hits to the shoulder and head at the end of the play.

"I probably missed 4 or 5 inches higher than I would like to in that situation," Kizer said.

Then there was the swing pass that Kizer sailed over the head of fullback Danny Vitale and the crossing route he threw behind J'Mon Moore.

But at least it wasn't a turnover-fest like Kizer's 0-15 rookie year in Cleveland, or the inaccuracy that marked Kizer's only extended performance last year -- the 16-of-35, 132-yard game in the season finale against the Lions after Rodgers left with a concussion.

"I think the next step for me is making sure I can consistently be a guy that they know exactly what they're going to get when I step out on the field," Kizer said. "I've had quite a few outings in a short career so far, and within that we've seen a couple of different guys. We've seen a guy who's run a bunch, we've seen a guy who’s turned the ball over a bunch, we've seen a guy who throws a bunch of a checkdowns and has a high completion percentage in certain games.

"It's about making sure that I can consistently show exactly what I want to show, and that's a guy who's going to keep the ball out of harm's way, keep the chains moving forward and end each drive with a kick."

Boyle only threw five passes and completed three of them, but two were touchdowns: a 1-yarder to Moore shortly after he dropped a touchdown and 27-yard laser to Allen Lazard.

"It's interesting: When our media guy told us the stat line -- 3-for-5 with two touchdowns and 40 yards -- 40 percent of my passes were touchdowns," Boyle said. "It's kind of funny, but when things are clicking like that, it's fun to go out there. A couple were called back, penalties and a couple PIs helped us out. ... But yeah, it's fun when we're out there and everything is clicking. The same thing happened with DeShone. We both came off the field and said the ball was coming off our hands well today. It felt good to be out there. It was just clicking for us. It was good."

Good would not be the word to describe the backup quarterback play so far in training camp, so the Packers will have to decide whether to put more stock in two weeks' worth of shaky practices or one solid game showing.

Perhaps LaFleur will ask general manager Brian Gutekunst to find him an available quarterback who has experience in his offensive system; after all both Kizer and Boyle were brought in to play under former coach Mike McCarthy.

For now, Kizer is the backup. Boyle is No. 3 and rookie Manny Wilkins No. 4.

LaFleur got a long look at Kizer against the Texans, but he indicated that he needs to see more.

"It's consistency on a daily basis, and not just in the game, but in practice," LaFleur said. "It's one game. And I thought he did a nice job tonight, but it's got to be each and every day."