It seems logical that Vince Young will be the Green Bay Packers’ No. 2 quarterback heading into the regular season.
But after Young turned in a subpar performance against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday in the preseason finale, not even Young sounded convinced he was a lock to make the final roster and serve as the primary backup to starter Aaron Rodgers.
“I don’t really want to think ahead like that,” Young said after the game when asked if he was a good fit for the Packers’ offense. “That’s nothing on my mind right now. My only thing is hopefully I can make the team first and then just take my time every day and stay behind the scenes, watching the guys, how the tempo is, different defenses doing different things, how Aaron is checking out of plays and getting guys into better routes.”
The Packers released Graham Harrell last week and don’t appear ready to hand the backup job to B.J. Coleman, who struggled more than Young did during the preseason and seems likely to land on the practice squad.
The Packers would be starting from scratch if they pick up another quarterback to replace Young so close to the start of the regular season.
But Young isn’t taking anything for granted.
“That’s the whole part about right now if I make the team, I just want to continue to learn,” he said.
Young started against Kansas City in place of Rodgers, but the Packers scored just six points during the 11 series he directed the offense.
Young completed 14 of 30 passes for 144 yards and posted a 61.0 passer rating. Young lost one of his two fumbles and rushed three times for 12 yards.
“We were not as sound as we would have liked,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy when asked after the game to assess Young’s performance. “As far as getting the ball on the perimeter, extending plays, we didn’t do a very good job of that as an offense. With that, it obviously affects the quarterback’s play and the ability to overcome that was definitely a challenge for Vince tonight. We’ll take a hard look at it, and it will be part of our decision-making process.”
During four preseason games Young completed 26 of 49 passes (53.1 percent) for 218 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His passer rating was 71.6.
After signing with the Packers on Aug. 6, Young received a crash course in the offense. He mostly has played with backups, so nothing has come easy. He didn’t sound too dissatisfied with his performance in Kansas City.
“They’re trying to get a look at different guys on the offensive line, running backs, tight ends and understanding the situation, and all I can do is do my job,” Young said. “I really felt like I did OK. I could’ve had some better throws and things like that, but overall I think I did OK.”
Any quarterback available to the Packers on waivers wouldn’t be well-versed in their offense. Harrell signed with the New York Jets and even if he gets cut, the Packers likely wouldn’t re-sign him.
Harrell completed 23 of 42 passes for 169 yards, no touchdowns and one interception before the Packers released him. His passer rating was 54.6.
Coleman completed 2 of 7 passes against the Chiefs in three series and threw a bad interception. Coleman, who spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad last year, completed 14 of 34 passes (41.2 percent) for 128 yards with one touchdown and one interception in four preseason games. His passer rating was 49.6.
Young admits it’s been a whirlwind the past 3½ weeks.
“It’s been tough,” he said. “I think I’ve been handling it pretty well. I’ve just been taking my time and picking the guys’ brains. I’m taking my time really. I really feel like the guys have definitely been helping out a lot. Aaron definitely, B.J., Graham, guys definitely have been helping out.”
Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo said earlier this week that Young has been carrying an iPad with him everywhere he goes so he has easy access to study the offense.
“It’s been tough for him to come in and learn this offense,” said Packers guard Josh Sitton. “I would think it is one of the harder offenses to learn. There is a lot of terminology. He has gotten better every day. He has learned more and more and continues to grow.”