The Green Bay Packers are 3-0 so far in the 2016 preseason schedule. The Packers have have beaten the Cleveland Browns 17-11, the Oakland Raiders 20-12 (both at Lambeau Field) and the San Francisco 49ers 21-10 at Levi’sStadium.
Green Bay is undefeated despite the fact that starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers has played just two series this preseason (against the Niners) and backup quarterback Brett Hundley has basically played just a quarter.
The majority of the snaps have gone to undrafted rookie Joe Callahan, who hails from Division III Wesley.
Callahan has been helped by a deep roster that general manager Ted Thompson has assembled for head coach Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff.
Callahan has played against the starters from the other teams, as well as second and third string players. No matter what defense he faces, Callahan seems unflappable.
So far, Callahan has thrown two touchdown passes without a pick for 356 yards in three games. That adds up to a passer rating of 89.1.
Callahan’s passer rating would be even higher, if not for some untimely drops by his receivers. In the recent game against the 49ers, Callahan did a nice impression of Brett Favre, as he rolled left and threw across his body to the right deep downfield, only to see Davante Adams fail to snare a perfect pass for a touchdown.
In that same game, Callahan went deep down the right sideline only to see rookie Trevor Davis just miss a pass off his fingertips that would have been another touchdown.
Time after time, McCarthy put Callahan in pressure situations as the Packers went for it on fourth down several times in the 49er game. More times than not, Callahan completed a fourth down pass to keep the drive alive.
Callahan has a strong arm and has excellent mobility, which fits in well with the offensive system which McCarthy implements. Rodgers and Hundley have the same attributes.
Callahan has escaped pass pressure a number of times this preseason and then completed passes to keep drives alive. No. 6 has also rushed for 28 yards.
The knock on Callahan is his size, as he goes 6’1″, 216 pounds.
As well as Callahan has played this preseason, the odds are slim and none that he will make the final 53-man roster of the Packers heading into the season. That may change, if the Packers determine that Hundley has not recovered sufficiently enough from his ankle sprain to be ready for the start of the regular season on September 11.
For now, it appears that the Packers will waive Callahan on the last cut on September 3, as he figures to get the majority of snaps against the Kansas City Chiefs this upcoming Thursday (September 1).
Other NFL teams will have seen a lot of film on Callahan at that point to make a claim on the talented quarterback, who won Division III’s version of the Heisman Trophy.
If he is not claimed by another team, I would expect Callahan to be part of the Green Bay practice squad. I would not be surprised if the Packers offer Callahan the top salary a practice squad player can make, which is a way to entice a player to stay with the team, even if another team offers him a roster spot.
The Packers did the same thing late in the 2015 season with both guard Matt Rotherham and defensive lineman Christian Ringo.
I would expect that Callahan would want to continue playing in the same offense in which he has excelled in so far, plus get the opportunity to continue learning from both Rodgers and Hundley.
If an injury occurred with either of them, Callahan would be a quick call up.
Bottom line, Callahan is definitely one of the many pleasant surprises that the Packers have seen so far this training camp and preseason from their rookie class.