When now-Packers starting quarterback Scott Tolzien was trying to stick as an undrafted rookie with the 49ers, he actually lived at the team facility for a few weeks, since he was unsure of his future and putting in long hours anyway.
While he hasn’t taken it to that extreme in Green Bay, coach Mike McCarthy did have to send him home Tuesday night around 9:30 p.m., after a day of cramming to learn the offense for his new role.
“He tells me he sleeps well. I’ll take his word for that,” McCarthy said, via Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com. “He’s getting his proper rest. He eats well because he’s here all the time. So I’m not worried about him. The man loves it, and you’ve got to appreciate his work ethic. It’s refreshing, and it’s good for everybody. He’s going about it the right way.”
For players such as Tolzien, opportunities like this one are rare. The Packers bad luck in losing Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone is his open door, and he’s not going to cheat himself of the opportunity.
“The most important thing is that the preparation is where you make your hay. You have to win the week first,” Tolzien said. “That’s where a lot of the wins and losses come, how do you approach the week leading up to the game. The best way to combat pressure is to prepare the right way.
“I think you build your confidence through your preparation through the week. It’s Wednesday right now. Hopefully as the week goes on your confidence builds more and more with your comfort level and your preparation and your plan.”
That kind of attitude has made him a quick favorite among the Packers, and Rodgers compared him to another former backup who capitalized on a chance start, and put a lot of capital in his bank account as a result.
“But Scott reminds me of a young Matt [Flynn],” Rodgers said. “I said that before Matt was here – and I don’t like to make a ton of comparisons – but it is a compliment. When Matt came in, you saw a lot of growth in the way he was throwing it and in his approach. And I think Scott, he’s been throwing it better since the first day he got here, and his approach has been very solid, he’s very detail-oriented.
“It’s been impressive to see him make plays on the scout team, and I’ve always said it, whether it’s the young guys (on the 53-man roster) or guys who are trying to get activated off the practice squad, the way to get people’s attention is to make plays in practice. The way you’re going to have confidence in the game is making those plays in practice, whether it’s the first team or the scout team. And Scott’s been making a lot of plays on the scout team, whether it’s throwing the ball in tight windows, throwing the ball deep, moving in the pocket, a lot of stuff you saw on Sunday.”
If Tolzien can hold them over and win a game or two in Rodgers’ absence, he’ll have a place in the hearts of Packers fans forever. And he’ll certainly have to get a place of his own.