Big week ahead for backup QBs Young, Harrell

Aug. 12, 2013
Harrell struggles, Bakhtiari shines in Packers pre...
Harrell struggles, Bakhtiari shines in Packers pre...: Pete, Mike and Wes recap the Green Bay Packers' 17-0 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in their preseason opener at Lambeau Field. (Aug. 9, 2013)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Vince Young (13) scrambles during Friday night's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field. Lukas Keapproth/Press Gazette Media


Coach Mike McCarthy gave no indication how heíll divvy up the backup quarterback snaps in practice this week, though Vince Young likely will get plenty of work so the Green Bay Packers can get the best possible read on his abilities at age 30 and after a season out of football.

Young is facing a huge challenge trying to beat out Graham Harrell for the Packersí No. 2 quarterback job.

Young, a seventh-year pro, signed with the Packers only last week and has but three more weeks to show McCarthy enough potential and production to warrant keeping over Harrell, who is in his fourth season working in the Packersí offense.

McCarthy figures to give Young as much work as is possible for a backup in preparation for next Saturdayís preseason game at St. Louis. Young can learn only so much of the offense in his limited time before the start of the regular season, but the Packers are hoping he can assimilate enough to show whether heís still an athletic playmaker. In Friday night's preseason opener against Arizona, he played two series and was 1-for-3 passing for yards, one sack. He also scrambled twice for 12 yards.

Harrell, on the other hand, has command of the offense but has to show he has the physical ability to make plays even while operating with the No. 2 offense, where there usually are more assignment errors because many of the players are relatively new to each other and the scheme.

Going back to last year, Harrell has played in five preseason games. In four of those heís struggled (13 points in 30 series, a 53.7 passer rating) and in one he was lights out (21 points in three series and a maximum rating of 158.3).

Against Arizona on Friday night, Harrell didnít put any points in six series and had a 49.5 rating.

ďGraham has to play better, and itís tough,Ē McCarthy said Saturday. ďPlaying quarterback in the preseason, itís never clean, and itís been like that as long as Iíve been in this league. Youíre going to have things go wrong. Youíre going to have guys run the route too deep and your guy who doesnít get off the press and they run into each other, then you have to go on to the next receiver. Itís those types of things where you have to play through odd looks. Play through situations that someone gets beat and throw the ball away, and things like that.

ďItís a challenge for any of those guys that get in there at that time because youíve got some guys playing in their first NFL game, youíve got some guys playing right tackle that havenít even practiced there. Thatís the way the preseason goes. For quarterbacks particularly, you have to play above that.Ē

Second-year pro B.J. Coleman also remains on the roster but is well behind in the battle for the backup job. He is eligible for the practice squad again this year.

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