In the Green Bay Packers' 27-13 win at Cincinnati, Harrell completed 5-of-12 passes for just 26 yards. He was sacked three times as Bengals defenders poured through Green Bay's No. 2 offensive line like water through a colander.
Harrell's six positions ended: punt, punt, fumble, punt, punt and field goal. Diondre Borel dropped what should have been a third-down conversion in the third quarter. On Harrell's lone scoring drive, Borel couldn't make a play on what could have been a touchdown on another third down. The Packers moved the chains on fourth down, but a scrambling Harrell threw the ball over Dale Moss' head for what should have been a touchdown — no small feat considering the 6-foot-3 Moss was a college basketball player.
"I thought Graham improved tonight," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We had some protection adjustments that didn't go right in the protection unit. We had some free runners a couple times, he was able to make them miss and step out of a couple of them, but had the one sack that he couldn't. He's in command of the offense, whether you're aware of that or not. It's part of the preseason football. We're not putting a Band-Aid on it. He's trying to play above it. I thought he definitely improved. We'll take a look at the tape and that'll tell the true story.
Thus far in the preseason, Harrell has led the team to four scores and 20 points in 24 possessions and failed to get a first down in 14 series. He's 27-of-51 (50.8 percent) for 235 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. His passer rating is 53.7.
At this point, there's no evidence to suggest anything other than Harrell being the No. 2 quarterback to enter the season. Rookie B.J. Coleman has barely played and it's getting awfully late to bring in a veteran. It will be interesting to see if McCarthy gives Harrell a series or two with more front-line players when Green Bay hosts Kansas City in the preseason finale next week.
"It's tough. A lot of missed assignments," Aaron Rodgers said of Harrell's night. "He's out there fighting. He's taken some flak, obviously, from you guys. I know it's frustrating for him. It's frustrating for me being his buddy and spending every day with him to see him not get the same kind of opportunities. He's going to keep plugging away. Next week will be a good week for him. Hopefully those guys will figure it out and give him some time because he's going to get an opportunity to play a lot. Kansas City, I believe, likes to play their starters a little more than maybe most plays. It'll be another opportunity and hopefully those guys give him some opportunities to make some plays."
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.