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Mike Roemer, AP Photo

Can Taysom Hill make the Packers' 53-man roster?

By Derrek Ballard, KSL.com  |  Posted Aug 22nd, 2017 @ 8:39am


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SALT LAKE CITY — Taysom Hill has put on a show in his first two preseason games for the Green Bay Packers.

He has led the team in overall rushing in both games and scored two late-game touchdowns. The first two games have shown Green Bay they may have a quarterback controversy on their hands, at least behind Aaron Rodgers.

Hill came into Packers camp as a 26-year-old, undrafted free agent out of BYU. Hill has a hard road ahead of him to try to make the 53-man roster because of the depth that Green Bay has at quarterback, but he has definitely turned some heads in his first two preseason games.

Green Bay has two proven quarterbacks on the roster already with Aaron Rogers and Brett Hundley. The Packers only held two quarterbacks for most of last season but signed Joe Callahan to its opening day roster in 2016. Callahan was later released by the Packers during the season and picked up by the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns last year before returning to Green Bay.

Hill and Callahan are fighting for the third spot on the roster or the practice squad, where they can be added to the roster if the Packers need them. Hill has made the battle more interesting and has been outperforming the Callahan and arguably Hundley.

Hill has tried to gain an edge by looking to Rodgers for guidance.

“Aaron has really helped me from a standpoint of he’s made a few comments going back to when he was a rookie,” Hill told ESPN reporter Rob Demovsky. “He said, don't worry so much about all this other stuff that’s going on. Just get in there and you know how to play football. Go in and make plays.”

In Hill's first two games, he has shown he can make the plays that are required to be an NFL quarterback.

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In his first game, Hill threw for 69 yards, one touchdown and carried the ball twice for 14 yards against the Eagles. Hill showed his experience with a game-ending, eight-play, 82-yard drive that showed off his arm talent. During the drive, Hill placed a perfect, in-stride, 46-yard pass to DeAngelo Yancey and finished off the drive with a fade to Michael Clack for a touchdown with nine seconds left. Hill also finished the game as the leading rusher for the Packers.

Hill showed the coaches that he is more than capable of playing against NFL talent.

“Tay did a hell of a job,” coach Mike McCarthy told ESPN of Hill. “Two big plays, that’s what you like to see from your young players, especially in the first opportunity. I thought it was an excellent first impression.”

Hill's competitor, Callahan, threw for 103 yards on 10-of-16 passing with no touchdowns and a passer rating of 81. Hundley threw for 90 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 66. Hill recorded a passer rating of 158.3 during his time on the field.

Hill started his second preseason game right where he left off against the Washington Redskins. Hill threw for 49 yards in the game, but it was his scrambling and elusiveness that was on show.

He had six carries for 38 yards, again leading the team in rushing and leading a last-series drive for a touchdown. Hill finished the game with an eclectic play that showed his elusiveness with a 23-yard scramble, where he was able to make two defensive players miss tackles. He also showed his strength with a stiff-arm to make it to the end zone.

“Taysom played very well, I feel like I’ve said that seven times already, but he played very well,” McCarthy said of Hill after the game.

Hill also impressed Rodgers.

“We were watching his highlights the other day, actually pulled it up for the group when he hurdled that guy, I think it was against Texas," Rodgers told ESPN. "He's super-athletic and he’s just a great kid. He’s been working really hard. It’s fun to see those guys get out there and play well.”

Hundley had a standout second game, playing all the first half and throwing for 107 yards. He missedonly one attempt and had a passer rating of 144.6. Hundley did get sacked three time during the game, where Hill couldn’t be brought down by the Redskins defense.

Callahan only threw three passes, one of which was caught. Callahan ended the game getting sacked twice and finished with a quarterback rating of 42.4. Hill finished the game going 6-of-11 in passing attempts, which made his quarterback rating drop to a 66.1 for the game.

With his play, the Packers coaching staff could face a difficult decision if Hill keeps impactingthe game like he has been the first two weeks. Hill has a quarterback rating of 105.7 during the last two games, where Hundley and Callahan have ratings of 101.6 and 72, respectively.

If Hill can make the team, it will most likely be as the third-strong option or the team may place him on the practice squad to make sure no team adds him to their roster.

If Hill is released by the Packers, he has put together a decent highlight reel that other teams may be interested in. Hill will continue his quest for a roster spot on Aug. 26 when the Packers take on the Denver Broncos at 7 p.m.

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