Joining the enemy: QB Tim Boyle goes from backup in Green Bay to possible starter in Detroit, and reflects on his relationship with Aaron Rodgers

Packers

Aaron Rodgers has seen several backup QB's come and go in Green Bay, and Tim Boyle was not only a sidekick of his on the field, he was also a confidant of his off of it.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 19: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers walks to the field for warm ups prior to their game against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at Levi’s Stadium on January 19, 2020 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(WFRV) – Every team changes roster personnel from year to year, and if you’re a player that was drafted high or has a guaranteed salary, the leash is usually pretty long to stay on the roster. First, second, and third-round draft picks generally have a longer window to justify their selections, but that simply isn’t the case for the players taken during the draft on Saturday, or free agents that sign after the weekend is over. But every now and then, there’s a diamond in the rough that can carve out a solid NFL career, without seeing much game time on the football field. Tim Boyle is one of those players and he will get his chance to be a starting quarterback in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.

“It’s a great opportunity, and I know you guys being in Green Bay have heard me say this, but I’m just going to make the best of my opportunities. And when comes down to it, I’m not in control of the snap counts, or playing time, so my number one focus right now is learning this offense,” said Boyle. “That’s what kind of the past few weeks have been, my grind. Just learning a new offense and try and to learn, and unlearn certain things. That’s always the difficult part, but you know opportunity is always what are you looking for in the NFL. As you know, it’s a production-based industry and if you produce you’re probably going to find yourself on a team, and I have to continue to produce. Obviously, that was a big appeal for me to go to the Lions. It was the opportunity of being able to go in there and compete.”

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Boyle originally signed with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in May of 2018, and following a solid preseason, he made the 53-man roster in September 2018 as Mike McCarthy’s third-string quarterback where he primarily ran Green Bay’s scout team offense. Last year Green Bay drafted Jordan Love in the first round raising plenty of eyebrows as to how it would affect Aaron Rodgers, but few considered how that move might motivate Boyle, who eventually beat Love out for the backup job.

“It definitely gives me confidence. I finally know I belong in this league and I have what it takes. It’s just a matter of continuing to show it, putting it out on the field every single day. It might sound like a broken record, but I took advantage of my opportunities. When you sit back and analyze the draft and depth charts, it kind of stresses you out. And at the end of the day whether the coaches and staff decide to give you as reps, you have to be grateful for those opportunities and make the best of them.” said Boyle. “So last year thankfully I was in a good spot where I was not only being one year in the system with Coach LaFleur, but two years in the league. So I had a good understanding and expectation of what was expected of me, and I think that helped me with training camp. But I think obviously not having a preseason or OTA’s hurt Jordan (Love), and I think Jordan knows that. But with a good off-season this year, and a preseason, he’s going to make some good strides.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

At this point, you could call Boyle the “King of the kneel-down.” He has commandeered the Packers on just one drive where Boyle was 3-4 passing for 15 yards in a 2019 regular season blowout loss against San Francisco. And his career-rushing stats? A whopping 18 “attempts” for -16 yards. But Boyle joins a Lions team that traded away their all-time passing leader Matthew Stafford and brought in Jared Goff. Boyle was given a one-year, $2 million contract, and believes he has a legitimate chance at becoming their starter. He also likes the direction the franchise is headed with Dan Campbell in his first season as head coach in Detroit.

“He’s just an intense guy, I mean he played tight end in the league and was one of those guys who just want to put his hand in the dirt in and get physical with people. I think that mentality has carried over in his coaching style. As you guys heard in his first press conference, I love where it came from. I love the mentality. I love the thought process of ‘hey we’re gonna do this thing right. We’re gonna work. We’re gonna do it tough. We’re gonna do it physically,” said Boyle. “And I am completely on board with his whole philosophy when it comes to coaching. He still has this physical alpha presence around him that I think the team would love. A wonderful human being, and he’s a family man and he hired a great staff in Detroit. So I can’t begin to explain how excited I am to get into the facility and start being around the guys and hitting the ground running.”

Boyle won’t be alone in his move to Detroit, fellow former Packer RB Jamaal Williams signed with the Lions and the tandem will be reunited in the backfield. “I have talked to him. As the deal was kind of getting finalized, I reached out to him and said, ‘Hey this could be a possibility,’ and we just exchanged some fun texts, because Jamaal is just a great human being,” said Boyle. “As you guys know in the media, he always has something fun to say. He always has a smile on his face. He’s always dancing. As a human being, who wouldn’t want to be around that? The fact that I had a great relationship with him when I was in Green Bay, it’s awesome that I get to extend that with him in Detroit. And we have that comfort level, so we’re not the new kids on the block. We kind of have that presence in the backfield when we’re together. We have that comfort in that trust.” Williams isn’t the only player to trade the green and gold for the silver and honolulu blue. “Another guy I’m excited to work with is Geronimo (Allison). I know he didn’t play last year but he’s in Detroit and we’ve talked as well. Obviously, it’s huge having chemistry, quarterback to receiver, but I’m excited to get to work with both of them.”

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Despite earning the backup quarterback job in training camp last season, he became an unrestricted free agent that the Packers did not tender. But letting Boyle walk was the only choice for the Packers to justify Love’s selection, and realistically give him a chance to be a starter. At this point, he’s played in 7 different offenses in the last 9 seasons of football, but he’s learned from the best when it comes to studying film, reading defenses, and re-calling plays.

“I think off the field, it was just his preparation and how it didn’t change from week to week. I mean he was an absolute machine when it came to his preparation and he would pull me aside and asked me to do certain reports, ‘hey can you do a little bit extra film on this guy,’ so I could just help contribute during game time for him. Essentially he uses the term ‘cerebral,’ and he loves re-calling certain things. I think the fact that he prepares so hard week in and week out, it’s inspiring. Because as a college kid, you come in and you get to see Aaron Rodgers go to work every week, and it’s consistent every week. No matter who we’re playing,” said Boyle. “That’s inspiring and it makes me want to do the same thing and it pushes me, so the past three years being his back up, I’ve prepared every week like I was the starter. It’s tough being a backup when you’re preparing to be a starter and you’re studying, and you’re hoping to contribute, and then on game day, there’s not a whole lot for you other than helping Aaron, and helping him win the game. But it’s been an unbelievable opportunity being behind him. I think on the field, it’s just he’s just so smooth and he understands where the ball should go based on coverage and he doesn’t panic. He’s just always under control, he’s always smooth, calm, cool, and collected. And that’s something that I think stayed with me. It’s football. Just find a completion. It’s OK to make a check-down. It’s OK to take shots when they’re there. But Aaron is the best at doing what he does, and I firmly believe that. And I’m glad I was behind him for three years. I learned a lot.”

Spending three years with someone in the same meeting room or on zoom calls will build comradery between teammates, but off the field, Boyle has also built a bond with Rodgers. And right now he understands the quarterback conundrum everyone involved has in front of them in the not too distant future.

“That’s tough. I know Aaron wants to play football for a long time. He said multiple times that he wants to be in Green Bay. But you know I’m going to let him answer those questions. I think my opinion is that he wants to stay in Green Bay. He wants to win a Super Bowl in Green Bay. I think he wants to go out on top. But I think time will tell. I think what he saying in the media is true. It’s kind of out of his control. He’s going to do what’s best for the team and himself,” said Boyle. “But at the end of the day, he’s a competitor and he wants to win a Super Bowl. So, we all have to trust that Aaron is going to do what’s best for the team and himself. But whatever that may be, I support him 100%. He knows what he’s doing. He knows what he wants. And he knows he still has a lot left in the tank. Being first hand and seeing it every day? Trust me he does. He’s got a lot left. And I hope he can win another Super Bowl. I really do.”

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