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Green Bay Packers' Graham Harrell a potential for practice squad

Aug. 30, 2010
 
Green Bay Packers quarterback Graham Harrel throws a pass to running back Korey Hall during Monday's training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon. M.P. King/Press-Gazette
Green Bay Packers quarterback Graham Harrel throws a pass to running back Korey Hall during Monday's training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon. M.P. King/Press-Gazette

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The Packers arenít going to keep a third quarterback on their roster, but they finally have one worth keeping around.

Somehow, undrafted free agent Graham Harrell has turned out to be more worthy of a spot than second-round pick Brian Brohm, who was abysmal in training camp in 2008 and 2009.

Matt Flynn isnít in any danger of losing the backup job, but Harrell will be on the practice squad if he doesnít get claimed off waivers by another team after the Packers cut their roster to 53 on Saturday.

More than any other skill position player, Harrell has made the biggest improvement in camp. He began the summer playing tentatively, opting for the check-down pass or short throw whenever possible. But over the past couple of weeks, Harrell has exhibited a confidence that has transformed his play. Heís just as likely to throw down the field as he is to dump it off.

With his improved confidence, he has shown off arm strength that wasnít evident when the Packers first signed him during the organized team activities. He zipped a pass to rookie tight end Andrew Quarless for a touchdown during a red-zone drill in practice Monday.

Despite setting all sorts of passing records at Texas Tech, no one drafted him coming out of college. He spent last season in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who didnít play him but stashed him on the injury list even though he wasnít hurt. Only the Packers and Cleveland Browns gave him tryouts this offseason.

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General Manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy keep insisting the punting job remains wide open despite the fact Tim Masthay has seemingly broken the tie with his recent kicks.

If thatís the case, then Chris Bryan did nothing to help himself Monday.

They didnít punt in practice after a lengthy session that Masthay dominated on Sunday, but Bryan did work as the holder for Mason Crosby during an eight-kick field goal period. After Crosby made his first five kicks ó from 28, 33, 36, 40 and 43 yards, all downwind ó he missed wide left from 45 and 53 yards, both from the left hashmark.

After the second miss, special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum yelled at Bryan about the spot of the hold. Crosby then finished the drill by nailing a 57-yarder.

One of the downsides of dragging out the punting competition for so long is Crosby has had to work with two holders. Whoever wins the punting job is expected to be the holder.

Did you notice?

♦ Mondayís practice was originally scheduled to be in full pads but at the last minute McCarthy changed it to just helmets and shorts. Tuesdayís 10:15 a.m. practice is the final one open to the public this season.

♦ Cornerback Jarrett Bush was back on the No. 1 kickoff team after losing his spot last week. He replaced cornerback Brandon Underwood, who is out because of a shoulder injury.

♦ Keeping five tight ends seems unlikely, but the fact Tom Crabtree remained on the No. 1 kickoff return and punt return teams suggests itís possible heíll stick. Veteran tight end Donald Lee also is on both units.

♦ Jason Chery, who will get all the punt and kickoff returns in Thursdayís preseason finale at Kansas City, fumbled a punt off the JUGS machine.

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