Packers May Seek Experienced Backup

The Packers might not be set in stone behind Aaron Rodgers. Three weeks of OTAs and the mandatory minicamp will determine where the Packers go with Graham Harrell. If the Packers want to add a veteran, it's slim pickings beyond a bunch of over-the-hill big names.

As we broke down by word and number, the Green Bay Packers are in a precarious position at quarterback behind MVP Aaron Rodgers.

As Matt Flynn proved against New England in 2010 and Detroit in 2011, he could play at a winning level when pressed into service. There is no proof whatsoever that Graham Harrell can do anything more than play the position at a caretaker level should he be forced into a game for a brief period or, heaven forbid, be needed for an extended period.

Tuesday's organized team activity is far too small a sample size to make any concrete observations, but Harrell just doesn't spin the ball – to put it in vogue scouting lingo. While Flynn wasn't immune to the occasional "wounded duck" at practice – especially during offseason workouts and early in training camp – Harrell's passes too often fluttered from his hand.

Coach Mike McCarthy and offensive coordinator Tom Clements are masters with quarterbacks, but there's a reason why Harrell wasn't deemed good enough to sign with anyone after the 2009 draft and didn't sign his first NFL contract until joining Green Bay in May 2011. There is no doubting Harrell knows how to play the game and sees it better than many at his position in the NFL. But if it's third-and-10, does Harrell have the arm strength to "throw a receiver open," to borrow one of McCarthy's favorite terms? Probably not.

Moreover, while seventh-round pick B.J. Coleman has the arm talent to be the No. 2, quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo on Tuesday said Coleman has plenty to learn, both in the playbook and fundamentally. In other words, he's a project.

With that said, it's not surprising that The Sports Xchange national writer Len Pasquarelli reported that the Packers may look for a veteran backup.

At this stage of the offseason, it's slim pickings, not surprisingly. Kyle Orton (Dallas), Chad Henne (Jacksonville), Jason Campbell (Chicago), Vince Young (Buffalo), Shaun Hill (re-signed by Detroit), Matt Leinart (Oakland) and Rex Grossman (re-signed by Washington) have found their 2012 homes.

Donovan McNabb, Jake Delhomme, Jeff Garcia and Mark Brunell are the big names who are available, though they're all well past their prime, as is Billy Volek and A.J. Feeley, who are 35. Patrick Ramsey (33), Kyle Boller (31 next month) and J.P. Losman (31) all bombed as early-round picks. So did Brodie Croyle (29), who announced his retirement this week.

Another option would be a trade. As we reported before Day 2 of the draft, the Packers engaged in talks with Cleveland about Colt McCoy after the Browns used their first-round pick on Brandon Weeden. Those talks fizzled and the Packers got the guy they coveted before the draft, Coleman.

At this point, there's little urgency to make a decision one way or another on adding a quarterback. The Packers figure to go forward with Harrell to see how he does in three weeks of OTAs and the minicamp. If the results are encouraging, they'll stick with the status quo. And if they're not? It's worth noting the Packers have one open roster spot.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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