The Green Bay Packers released backup quarterback Graham Harrell on Sunday, as the backup quarterback job has been limited to two competitors—2nd year pro B.J. Coleman and veteran Vince Young. Packers General Manager Ted Thompson released Harrell among other players on Sunday, as NFL teams must cut their rosters to 75 players by 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
“It was a tough decision to release (Harrell), even more on a personal level”, Packer head coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday. “I thought he was developing and getting better, but at this moment, we decided to go in a different direction”.
Harrell has been with the Packers over the last three seasons, but he performed poorly (6/13, 49 yards) in the Packers’ 17-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field on Friday. Coleman, who was selected by the Packers in the 7th round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Tennessee-Chattanooga, said it was tough to see Harrell leave.
“He is a good football player”, Coleman said. “I wish him the best of luck, but everybody just has to keep playing”.
In Friday’s loss, Coleman completed 2/7 passes for 8 yards, and he said he was not pleased with his performance. “I made several mistakes and I need to clean those up”, Coleman said. “I need to work hard and continue to get better”.
Coleman, now in a head-to-head battle with Young for the Packers backup quarterback job, said he plans to continue “staying the course” during the remainder of the preseason.
“I try to come in everyday and handle my business”, Coleman said. “I have to continue to get better, and it is all about getting better. It is a competition, and you can only control what you do”.
“As a quarterback, you want to lead your guys out there, make first downs, make the right throws, and call the right plays”, Young said after Friday’s preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
On Friday, Young completed 6/7 passes for 41 yards and threw one touchdown pass, and also recorded 39 rushing yards on three carries. Young, who didn’t join the Packers until ten days into training camp, impressed Rodgers on Friday night.
“(Young) did a good job tonight”, Rodgers said after Friday’s loss. “He is still a great athlete, and his game is being able to make plays when the pocket breaks down. It is a difficult system to pick up, and I think he is improving”.
McCarthy echoed Rodgers, and he said he felt Young “took advantage of his opportunities” in the Packers’ third preseason game. Despite the positive remarks, Young said he believes he has a lot of work ahead of him.
“I’m not happy right now where I am, and there is a lot of hard work I have to put in”, Young said. “I’m not there yet, I have to take it one day at a time. (Quarterback coach) Ben (McAdoo), (Offensive Coordinator) Tom (Clements) and I are doing a lot of hard work behind the scenes, and I’m trying to catch up with the rest of the quarterbacks”.
Young, who hasn’t suited up for an NFL team in a regular season NFL game since the 2011 season, said he doesn’t feel he is playing for his career. “It is something I love to do, and I don’t want those thoughts in my head”, Young said. “Football has taught me a lot, matured me a lot. Whatever happens, I don’t hold any regrets”.
Young, a former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowler, possesses more experience than Coleman, but McCarthy said the competition is even between both potential backup quarterbacks heading into Thursday’s preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs. “The number two spot has not been answered”, McCarthy said. “We have two quarterbacks here who will compete and play the majority of Thursday’s game”.
The Packers will most likely keep two quarterbacks on their final 53-man roster before heading into the 2013 NFL season. NFL teams are required to cut their rosters to 53 players by 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 31.
Other News and Notes from McCarthy: The Packers released kicker Giorgio Tavecchio Monday, one day after the team signed free agent kicker Zach Ramirez, and McCarthy said “someone needs to jump through the door and take” the starting kicking job…Wide receivers Jordy Nelson (knee) and Randall Cobb (biceps) returned to practice Sunday and could both play Thursday…cornerback Tramon Williams (knee) is “making progress” in rehab…defensive lineman Jarvis Reed (ankle), cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring), safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring), and running back DuJuan Harris (knee) will not play Thursday.
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