Earlier in the week, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy didn't know if the newly signed Vince Young would be ready to play in the team's preseason opener Friday night against the Arizona Cardinals.
But by Thursday, McCarthy acknowledged that he'd like to see Young and all four quarterbacks play in this evening's exhibition game.
"My goal with Vince is to play him in the game tomorrow," said McCarthy. "He's definitely playing uphill right now. That's just from the mental transition that he's going through. Frankly, it's the responsibility of the coaching staff, particularly myself calling the game, to get him comfortable where he can just go play. That's what we'll be working on here the next thirty-plus hours."
The Packers have been forced to give Young a crash course in the team's offensive schemes and systems since bringing him in to compete for the No. 2 quarterback job on Monday.
Not everything has been smooth in the early going, with Young throwing four interceptions in just three days of training camp practice and in limited opportunities at that.
As McCarthy alluded to, however, the expectations will be modest for Young in his first game in a Packers uniform.
"I just want to make sure I got the right plays, I want to make sure I get the guys out of the huddle, don't want no delay of game or things like that," said Young. "So that's the biggest thing about the quarterback, just getting guys into the right position, running the right routes, things like that."
The Packers are using every opportunity available to get Young caught up on the Xs and Os he'll need to know to operate the Packers offense, and that goes beyond the practice environment. It includes position meetings, it includes watching video, things they'll be doing right up until kickoff at 7:00 p.m.
But part of the reason they're giving Young playing time in Friday's game is his track record in the NFL. Even though he's had varying degrees of success, he's started 50 games and helped his team win 31 of them since entering the league in 2006.
McCarthy could have played it safe and waited until preseason Week 2 when Young was more well-versed in the team's playbook, but barring a change of mind, the former Titans and Eagles quarterback looks to see the field tonight.
"It's just to show I've been in the league for a little while, and I've seen a lot, ran a couple different offenses and things like that, so he definitely understands that," said Young. "He definitely knows about quarterbacks, how if you feel comfortable with this play, let us know, so we make sure we run things that you're comfortable with. But overall, I respect his decision."
How much Young plays remains to be seen, but there's a good chance it won't be any more than a series or two. The same goes for Aaron Rodgers.
As of Thursday morning, McCarthy said he didn't know how much the starters would play but confirmed that they, indeed, would.
In a meaningless preseason game, it's doubtful the Packers want to expose Rodgers to injury for long, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him exit after just a few plays.
The bulk of the playing time figures to go to Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman as they continue their competition for the backup quarterback gig.
Coleman will look to put last week's two-interception performance in the annual Family Night scrimmage behind him, and he'll need to if he has any chance of winning a roster spot this season.
As for Harrell, he would figure to be the de facto No. 2 quarterback until proven otherwise, but he's no lock considering they brought in Young.
How Rodgers performs this evening doesn't really matter, but for the rest of the three quarterbacks, it means everything.
Their performances could go a long ways towards either solidifying or hindering their chances to stick in Green Bay for the 2013 season.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].
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