Backup Plan: Young, Offense Go in Reverse

There were almost as many punts as first downs with Vince Young in the game on Thursday night. Young wasn't very good, but neither was his supporting cast. Beyond the front-line players, the offense has a glaring lack of depth

There's no denying the challenge that's faced Vince Young.

When he lined up as the Green Bay Packers' starting quarterback against Kansas City on Thursday night, Young had been a member of the team for all of 23 days. In a span of about three weeks, Young has had to learn the finer points of an offense that has evolved with Aaron Rodgers for the past six seasons. Not only was he not given the opportunity to start learning the playbook in the spring, but he wasn't allowed to develop chemistry with the receivers in May and June.

Still, there's no getting around one simple fact: Young hasn't played well, in general, and was terrible against the Chiefs, in particular.

In the 30-8 defeat, you got the feeling that Young could have kept the offense on the field through the Saturday cutdown and not put 30 points on the scoreboard.

Despite getting the bulk of the reps at practice this week, Young completed 14-of-30 passes for 144 yards. He fumbled twice, losing one of them, and was guilty of sloppy ball-security on at least two other occasions while dancing around pressure. His passes arrived too high or too low, or were thrown too late or too early.

In four preseason games, he's completed 53.1 percent of his passes, averaged a paltry 4.4 yards per attempt, thrown one touchdown pass and fumbled it away once.

He led the offense on 11 drives against the Chiefs, with just two field goals to show for his efforts. Other than the opening possession, which started at Kansas City's 35-yard line after Tramon Williams' interception, Young drove the Packers to the Chiefs' side of the field just once. The offense gained 12 first downs but punted eight times.

"That's something that you definitely have to take a hard look at with the videotape," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It was an eight-man front football game. We were not as sound as we would have liked. 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."

Unless Matt Flynn is released by the Raiders and arrives in Green Bay with a healthy elbow, there's really not much of a decision to be made.

Young is the Packers' No. 2 quarterback by default. B.J. Coleman, incredibly, played worse than Young. He completed 2-of-7 passes for 19 yards and an interception. Coleman went 2-for-7 against Seattle last week, too, unable to parlay some impressive practices into productive games. In the four exhibitions, Coleman's ugly tally consists of 41.2 percent accuracy and 3.8 yards per attempt, with one touchdown, one interception.

Much like Graham Harrell last week against Seattle, the Chiefs loaded the box and dared the Packers to throw the ball. Harrell's inability to make the Seahawks pay ultimately cost him his job. Young almost certainly won't suffer the same fate, but he only burned the Chiefs twice, with well-thrown balls of 26 yards to Jeremy Ross and 24 yards to Ryan Taylor. Those came on the same possession and led to the Packers' only true scoring drive of the night.

To be fair, Young wasn't exactly surrounded by a star-studded cast. For all the praise general manager Ted Thompson receives for his keen scouting eye, the offensive cupboard is practically bare beyond the front-line players. After Marshall Newhouse, an argument could be made that none of the other backup offensive linemen deserve a roster spot. Beyond Eddie Lacy, the backfield provides no cause for excitement. Neither of the seventh-round receivers will provide a bit of help. The depth at tight end hasn't blossomed behind Jermichael Finley.

As long as the main characters stay healthy, the Packers' offense will be fine. However, due to injuries to DuJuan Harris, Bryan Bulaga and Derek Sherrod, there's not much margin for error.

Rodgers is good enough to succeed with lesser talent. At this point, who knows if Young is good enough to win with superior talent.

Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.

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

Viking Update Top Stories