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Coleman making big adjustment to NFL offense

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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At this point it's hard to see B.J. Coleman making the Packers' 53-man roster, but it also looks like he has NFL traits that make him almost a sure bet for the team's practice squad. The NFL trend is for teams to keep only two quarterbacks on the final 53 so they can open a spot for another position, and then retain on their practice squad a developmental quarterback as their No. 3. That appears to be the fate for Coleman, the seventh-round draft pick from Tennessee-Chattanooga. The Packers have used most of the quarterback snaps in training camp to get Aaron Rodgers ready for the season and evaluate whether Graham Harrell should be their No. 2. Coleman has been a distant third in snaps at practice, and in the first three preseason games has thrown only 11 passes (18.7 rating, 5-for-11 for 44 yards, no touchdowns and one interception). Coleman has had more bright moments in camp than he did in offseason practices, but his snap counts limits his development because the Packers' offense is exponentially more sophisticated than Tennessee-Chattanooga's, and even the fundamental skills are coached differently. "Heís coming out of a school where you take your drop and you chatter your feet until guys come open," said Ben McAdoo, the Packers' quarterbacks coach. "Weíre more of a rhythm-type outfit here. We try to bring out the best ballroom dancer of each guy and try to keep him in rhythm and try to time up their feet with the throws they have to make. Thatís different for him, and that takes time. Itís going to take longer than weíve had together. Thatís something heís working on along with the protections and the adjustments and everything we do with the runs and making changes (at the line of scrimmage) in all of those phases. Itís encompassing." Coleman's size (6-feet-3 and 231 pounds) and arm strength are good by NFL standards, and he's shown a little more mobility than advertised coming out of college. How far he goes depends on how much he can †slow the game in his mind over the next couple of years. Last week at Cincinnati in a play emblematic of where he is at this point, Coleman ran a roll out to his left on third and one, and had a window to hit rookie receiver Curesnski Gilleylen but air mailed the throw. "He was just playing a little too fast," McAdoo said. "He had his juices flowing a† little bit, had just gotten in there, and we wanted to come off a play-action fake. He could have sold the fake a little bit more, bought a little bit more time and let it develop. He was just playing too fast, thatís all." It's uncertain how much Coleman will play in the preseason finale Thursday night against Kansas City. Rodgers probably will play only one series, but that doesn't mean Coleman will get more than a couple series. Coach Mike McCarthy probably will want to take a long final look at Harrell to determine whether he can be the backup or the team needs to acquire its No. 2 from another team. "(Coleman's)††just young, and it takes time," McAdoo said. "You canít rush development. Heíll be ready when heís ready."  

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