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Point of Veau: Packers May Have to Return to "Square 1" at Backup QB

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Point of Veau: Packers May Have to Return to "Square 1" at Backup QB

The 2013 season is about survival in regards to the backup quarterback situation in Green Bay.

It's actually been like that for some time in Titletown, hope and pray that Aaron Rodgers doesn't get hurt. But at least with Matt Flynn, you were confident the Packers could get by for a short amount of time if anything were to happen to Rodgers––knock on wood.

Those days are long gone with Flynn now at the helm of his own team out in Oakland. Meanwhile, the backup quarterback situation in Green Bay is arguably the worst in the entire NFL.

Between Graham Harrell, Vince Young and B.J. Coleman, it's possible that that Packers may not have a viable NFL quarterback in the group and will perhaps have to go back to "Square 1" in the offseason.

Looking at how the Packers got to this point, when Coleman looked abysmal in the Packers' intra-squad scrimmage back on Aug. 3, the Packers decided add Young to the equation.

Young might get the benefit of the doubt simply because he's only been a member of the Packers for less than three weeks and has get to get a good grasp on Mike McCarthy's offense, but there's also a chance he never really picks it up, or at least to the extent you'd hope.

There was once a time when Young was the No. 3 overall player in the NFL draft and a Pro Bowl quarterback, but those days are over. He's now 30 years old, and in the world of professional football, he's an old dog being taught new tricks.

If this is the same Vince Young that threw four touchdowns and nine interceptions in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform in 2011 and couldn't hang with the Buffalo Bills beyond training camp in 2012, he might not be worth the time investment that could be spent into developing a younger quarterback.

The incumbent backup to Rodgers is Harrell, who's now entering his fourth season in Green Bay and has yet to inspire confidence in his abilities.

While he might have decent accuracy and know-how, Harrell just doesn't have NFL caliber arm strength, and there's only so long the Packers can wait on someone whose ceiling is as a career backup.

Coleman is the one trigger-puller for whom the Packers might still hold some hope. Granted, he hasn't taken the step from Year 1 to Year 2 that they had wished, but he's still young enough for the light bulb to go on.

With Coleman, the raw tools are there. It's just that the entire puzzle has yet to come together. The decision making and the accuracy aren't there.

But he has the arm and the desire to succeed. The touchdown throw he made in the fourth quarter of the game against the St. Louis Rams to tight end Jake Stoneburner was the finest play made by a Packers quarterback this preseason, and that includes Rodgers.

It would be extremely difficult for the Packers to hang onto Coleman as their No. 2 quarterback, however. The trust level isn't quite what it needs to be, but neither is it with Harrell or Young. And as long as Rodgers is healthy, they won't need a backup quarterback except in mop-up time.

The Packers more than likely have two choices ahead of them, and neither is particularly appealing.

Plan A is to just get by with what they have in 2013 and go back to the drawing board in 2014. That would entail adding a quarterback in the offseason, most likely a mid-round draft choice but perhaps a veteran free agent.

Plan B is to grab a castoff from another NFL team when the league's final cutdown date occurs on Aug. 31 and hope he's better than what the Packers have now.

What makes Plan B especially difficult is that no matter who the Packers were to sign or be awarded on waivers, it's nearly impossible for that player to be ready to be Rodgers' backup by Week 1. They'd almost certainly have to keep one of the quarterbacks currently on the roster as insurance, even if only temporarily.

Any way you dice it up, it's not looking like the Packers' backup quarterback in 2014 is currently on their roster.

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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (55) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Franklin Hillside's picture

Fine. I'll do it myself.

WisconsInExile's picture


QOTSA1's picture

I'm not ready to give up on Coleman just yet. I think another year on the practice squad will do him good.

I would rather have Young than Harrell as the backup this year. I know Young has been bad as of late, but he has proven in the past that he can win an NFL game. I just can't see Harrell coming in and winning a game for the Packers.

Tony's picture

I think Young offers more than Harrell. Young's been with the team for what... two weeks? And he's about even with Harrel? I think they should PS Coleman and roll with Young. At least Young has starting experience.

Rich's picture

Carriveau, there is way too much estrogen flowing throgh your veins. If I want to read about the kind of nonsensical drama you're trying to sell, I'll turn on some stupid soap opera. If the coaches and staff "know" that Harrell can come in and win a game with the first team offense, what the hell is everybody else's problem. Flynn went to the Seahawks and sat on the bench as a No. 2 again. He still hasn't locked up the No. 1 in Oakland, but you guys think he was God's gift when he was in Titletown. What's he proven? 2.5 NFL games of experience. Seriously? There is no drama in Packerland at the QB position other than that created by the emotional, effeminate pundits and readers who crave their daily dose of it. Young was brought in to add more competition for Harrell and Coleman because they were getting complacent, and it's worked. Give it a rest.

Evan's picture

Mr. Harrell, I do not think Mrs. Harrell would appreciate your misogyny.

Point Packer's picture

This ^^^^

Rich - How many Confederate flags do you have flying from your F-350 super diesel? That was a great UFC fight the other night. Oh and by the way, how many guns has Obama personally taken away from you?

mudduckcheesehead's picture

Hey, there's no need to insult ignorant rednecks by comparing them to Rich.

murphy's picture

This comment was petty, offensive, and unrelated to football. Apparently, if you gaze for long into the troll, the troll also gazes into you?

z-pack's picture

I agree the comment by Point Packer was offensive, was way out of line, and has nothing to do with football.

I have been reading this blog for years, I have never read any comment this bad before and it's sad that this it is allowed.

Lars's picture

A little harsh on BC. And, not completely accurate. Young was brought in for the reason BC said---Harrell struggles under C (and not in the shotgun) as witnessed last year when he tripped over the guard and fumbled on the 5-yard line. He's a dink and dunk non-entity. Seems like a nice guy, but he's not Flynn and Flynn isn't all that either as you implied.

Which brings us to the guy who GB wants to win the job---Coleman. He has the arm, the leadership potential, but just isn't quite ready yet. Has has improved since Young was added to the mix.

Brian mentioned Young was a former pro bower. True, but what a joke. Six QB's had to beg off for Young to even sniff the PB. As for learning the Packer offense---he had a WDLic score of six. Good luck with that!

Afrenchpackerfan's picture

Apparently, Rich has some personal questions he has not solved yet...

Hands's picture

Coleman has one more year to prove he can make it. So he goes on the PS. To compare Harrell to Young at this point is moot. Young was brought in to be the back-up. Harrell doesn't have the skill set nor the experience that VY can bring to the table. I believe Young will be the 2nd string and learns the system as quickly as possible. Hopefully, neither will be needed this year.

Evan's picture

"Harrell doesn’t have the skill set nor the experience that VY can bring to the table."

I'd say Harrell has the experience that matters most - in the Packers system and with their playbook. And "as soon as possible" might not be soon enough for Young.

alfredomartinez's picture

any way we can get a hold of Nall?

Point Packer's picture

What's Anthony Dilweg up to these days?

Lou's picture

Great comment, Nall shined in every exhibition game he played and in 7 games at QB for the Packers he was 30 of 48 with 5 TD passes and no interceptions. Big tough guy as well in the pocket - how did we let him get out of town ?

jim's picture

let nall get out of town because you cannot keep that many quarterbacks... do you remember how many good qbs the pack had at that time?

Evan's picture

From 2002-2005? Not that many (the Doug Pederson, JT O'Sullivan era). I assume he left when they drafted Rodgers.

Nerd's picture

I have a theory that Harrell could actually HELP the offense.

Aaron likes to throw deep all the time. Aaron and Mike don't care about WCO fundamentals, like time of possession or high percentage passing. They want to score as many times as possible in as short a time as possible.

Harrell's not worried about wiping Favre from the record books. He's more concerned with winning games. Adhering to fundamentals might help him do that.

MarkinMadison's picture

You and my 12-year-old daughter are the only two people I know who think that Aaron Rodgers makes this football team worse.

Nerd's picture

Let's just say I think the team could consistently perform better than it does.

Evan's picture

Sure. But to say Rodgers is more concerned with breaking Favre's records than winning is nonsense.

Nerd's picture

Would you say he feels "sleighted" by the whole affair?

Evan's picture

I'd say Rodgers feels slighted if a restaurant overcooks his burger.

zeke's picture

You need to have a talk with your daughter.

MarkinMadison's picture

She's in love with Matt Flynn. So that's her excuse. What's Nerd's excuse? Wait a second...

Stroh's picture

Sorry but that's Ridiculous!

Darrin's picture

Harrell can't even take a snap and hand the ball off without fumbling. Rodgers is arguably the best QB in the entire league. But I suppose Doug Pederson would have helped the offense by not throwing interceptions like #4 did. If that is the theory at work here. I guess arm strength, mobility, accuracy, decision-making, intangibles, etc are simply over-rated in the league. We need more dink and dunk!

Nerd's picture

I think they hang the defense out to dry on a regular basis. Mike and Aaron just plain out don't CARE about time of possession.

In fact, they want to score as FAST as possible. That way they can get the ball back sooner and get more stats.

More importantly, I'd like to see more high percentage plays. We've got guys who can runs screens now. Think we'll use them?

Tommy G's picture

For QB2, the question isn't who's in, but rather who's out. The Packers will carry three QBs this season; Young will be one of them and I think Coleman will be the other.

PackerNation's picture

I concur, and would also add that Coleman is still practice squad eligible.

Simple question: It's November, the Packers are ahead 10-7 in the second quarter, and Rodgers takes a sack and doesn't get up. He's helped off the field. Who would you rather see coming in to take over, Young or Harrell? Young is a bigger, better, more experienced QB who has won games in this league; Harrell is a guy that you hold your breath when he takes the snap.

Go with Rodgers, Young, and Coleman on the PS. Next season, spend a premium pick on a good QB that can be a backup for the next few years.

Evan's picture

Bigger and more experienced, sure, but at this point is Young really better? I haven't seen it yet.

Stroh's picture

Than Harrell? No doubt about it, Young is MUCH better than Harrell. And he's been a winner at every level of football. He isn't the prototype Packers QB but I would absolutely take Young over Harrell at this point!

Evan's picture

I said that before last night's game. I'm officially on board with Young.

Nononsense's picture

I think we can all agree that Harrell has hit his ceiling in his development, hes 28 and he is what he is. So why not keep Young who could step in for part of a game and give us a better chance to win than Harrell would.

Keep Coleman on the PS and if Rodgers goes down for more than a game or 2 than elevate him to the 53 and let him take over if Young fails to deliver.

Evan's picture

"So why not keep Young who could step in for part of a game and give us a better chance to win than Harrell would."

I think that's far, far from settled.

MarkinMadison's picture

If that is your plan then just give Coleman the QB2 job and let him get the reps.

Stroh's picture

Harrell is what he has always been! A poor excuse for an NFL QB. It still baffles me that he has been in the NFL this long. Kinda speaks to the lack of alternatives I guess. Harrell is no better now than he was a couple years ago. Just better knowledge of the offense, not better skills!

Stroh-Hater's picture

YOU are a poor excuse for a Packer fan Stroh. STROHMAN GO AWAY.

LDickey's picture

Keep Coleman and sign a vet that is better then Young. Seneca Wallace was just waived by the Saints and the 49ers added him to their roster with 4 other QBs. He might be worth a look if he doesn't make the 49ers 53.

Cuphound's picture

I often wonder how we got saddled with Harrell. McCarthy is supposed to be a legendary QB-Builder. He sure did wonders with Rodgers. He's come a long way from that kid with the broken foot that we met in that awful New England shut out in 2006!

So far, Harrell seems rather unmoldable. Kinda wonder how he got picked on a team that prides itself as a QB school.

Stroh's picture

Harrell hasn't got the NFL tools to be a good NFL QB. You cant make Harrell more talented, just more knowledgeable in the offense.

Coloradopackerfan's picture

Here we go again with the harrell hate. Harrell has had a sold camp. He didn't preform well in the first preseason game, but neither did the other backups. He's still getting all of the second reps and stood in for Rogers earlier in the week. If the pack was planing on cutting him young or bj would be taking more snaps.

Stroh's picture

Harrell can be as good as he wants in practice. Young has already passed him on the field of play, where it matters. Harrell had about 4 drives w/ mostly 1st string and regular contributors and couldn't score. Young scored w/ backups. That's what matters...

Stroh-Hater's picture

OMG Stroh shut up you suck.

Al Fresco's picture

I agree that possibly Mac has made his mind up by letting Harrell play most of the snaps. Mac is stubborn but if he keeps Yound, Harrell has to go. BJ should be shipped out as well but Harrell isn't going to any ps.

Ct Sharpe Cheddar's picture

I'm starting the Bring Back Brett for a Backup movement. That's 4 Bs instead of 3

Jamie's picture

Might as well be the Bring Back Brett for a Bowel movement.

Rymetyme81's picture

The dilemma with Harrell and VY is that they're both so different.

Harrell relies on accuracy and timing to compensate for his weaker arm.

VY relies on his legs and ability to extend plays to compensate for his slow progressions and well-documented inaccuracy.

Historically, the Packers would definitely choose the former over the latter. I think they like VY because he's a tricky wild card to play should Rodgers have to miss a game or two.

If AR really does get injured we will have to *gulp* rely much more on our defense and run game.

Lucky953's picture

Sign Lindley off the AZ ps. Harrell is not an NFL QB. Sorry. Young can make plays with his feet and complete 60% of sub-10 yd passes. He has the potential to move the football. Harrell does not. Coleman needs another year on ps before judgement day.

Al Fresco's picture

Square 1 is right. After last night I would keep only Young and I cannot believe in my wildest dreams I would want him in a Packer uniform. But the truth be told, he at least was able to run when he got into trouble.
If he had to take over you have that factor that if nothing is there he can run and make something happen.
I just think we've seen the absolute best the Harrel has to offer and its not enough to be a backup and Coleman I think lacks the talent between the ears. He physically can throw the ball, at both defenders and receivers equally, that's the problem.

Evan's picture

Schefter just tweeted that Harrell is getting released.

My condolences, Rich.

bogfan's picture

Vince Young is secretly rehearsing another 'Dream Team' diatribe for the local media

dawg's picture

Harrell is now gone!!!!!

Was never on board with GH, and frankly could not understand what TT or MM saw in him as backup QB last yr!!

Congrats VY!

We are now in better hands at QB!

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