McAdoo Teaches Crash Course

Vince Young doesn't have much time to learn the playbook, so a lot rides on quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo's ability to get Young up to speed so he can start playing and stop thinking.

Vince Young has had a long few days trying to learn the Green Bay Packers' offense.

That means Ben McAdoo has had a long few days trying to teach that complex offense to Young.

"We installed the entire game plan and he and I stayed late every night this week to work through it," McAdoo, the team's quarterbacks coach, said on Thursday, about 27 hours ahead of Friday's preseason opener against Arizona. "He's grasping it fairly well. At this point in time, we haven't talked about play time."

When the Packers signed big Howard Green midway through the 2010 season, defensive line coach Mike Trgovac spent a night in a banquet room at a New York hotel, using chairs to simulate offensive and defensive linemen, to get Green ready for a game the next day against the Jets.

McAdoo isn't rearranging any furniture for Young, but he's relying on more than the X's and O's of the iPad playbook.

"When a guy first comes in, whether it's a 22-year-old kid out of college or someone in their 30s who's been in another system, you try to relate what you have to what they've had in the past so the concepts carry over," McAdoo said. "And the teaching that they've had, there's some carryover there. That's really the starting point at the quarterback position. You try to teach big concepts first before you teach details. Once they get the big picture, they get the big concepts. Then you start to break it down and teach the details there."

Aaron Rodgers' backups, Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman, have experience on their side. Harrell signed in May 2010 and Coleman was drafted in 2012. So, they've gone through the installation of the playbook several times, including again during the first week of training camp. Young missed out on all of that. So, he'll have to learn in a couple weeks what Harrell and Coleman have had the luxury of learning over an extended period.

At least making things a little easier, Young will be learning based on the specific package of plays in that week's game plan rather than trying to digest the whole playbook at once.

"The other guys have had the benefit of getting the installations three times. The hard part is, he's not going to get them," McAdoo said. "He's going to get them by game plan. So, you're going to have to teach everything by game plan. I will say this: When he showed up, he was ready to work and he was excited to work. I think a lot of the guy in the short time he's been here. He's approached it the right way, he's fitting in in the room and he's working to take our terminology and put it into what he knew in the past and merge them so he has something to sink his teeth into and then go out and perform."

This is the biggest challenge of McAdoo's coaching career. He spent 2006 through 2011 as the tight ends coach before moving into the quarterbacks' room, where his group was led by Super Bowl MVP Rodgers. With a 31-19 career record as a starter, including 13 game-winning drives, Young at least has some intangible qualities that give him a leg up on Harrell and Coleman. Now, it's just getting him up to speed as fast as possible.

"You give him everything you've got," McAdoo said. "You give him an honest day's work. You commit to helping him and teaching him your fundamentals, your concepts, the adjustments and then you find out what he does best, what he understands best, what he likes and then you give him those opportunities to run those plays on gameday."

For now, the emphasis is on the playbook rather than mechanics or his quirky throwing motion. The Packers have specific fundamentals for their quarterbacks, which Young will learn during the daily position drills. The last thing, however, the Packers want is for Young to be suffering from information overload.

"Eventually," McAdoo said, "those fundamentals are going to carry you over to practice reps, which will eventually carry you over to game reps. When you're playing the game, you play the game. You don't think about feet and mechanics."

Young, not surprisingly has had some ugly moments during his first few days on the practice field. He threw another interception on Thursday, and a pass intended for a receiver running a 10-yard out barely made it to the line of scrimmage. McAdoo said Young is doing "a lot of thinking" rather than playing.

That will come — if he's a quick study.

"Once he picks up our terminology and our fundamentals," McAdoo said, "I think he'll be exciting."


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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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