Category Archives: Graham Harrell

17

July

Ten Packers Training Camp Topics: #8 — Backup QB Competition?

Graham Harrell has played in Green Bay's system longer than B.J. Coleman. But will Coleman's physical tools win him the backup quarterback job?

Graham Harrell has played in Green Bay’s system longer than B.J. Coleman. But will Coleman’s physical tools win him the backup quarterback job?

Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. And as long as he’s under center in Green Bay, the Packers will be in good shape at football’s most important position.

But behind Rodgers, incumbent Graham Harrell and 2011 seventh-round pick B.J. Coleman leave the team with a training-camp battle between a pair of unknowns.

Harrell has been in the system longer than Coleman, but the duo has combined to attempt just four regular-season passes.

Between garbage time and briefly filling in for a shaken-up Aaron Rodgers, Packers quarterback Graham Harrell played all of 32 snaps in 2012. But everyone remembers one of those 32 plays in particular.

On the first play after Rodgers was poked in the eye by Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, the Packers faced a first-and-goal on the Saints’ two yard-line. Harrell came in for one play–a handoff to Cedric Benson.

But in the process of handing the ball off, Harrell tripped on Jeff Saturday’s foot and fumbled. The Saints recovered, making an already close game even more nerve-racking for Packers fans.

But despite the generally low perception of Harrell, there’s been some good Graham the past two preseasons.

Last summer in the preseason finale against Kansas City, Harrell posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3. He completed 13 of 15 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns without turning the ball over.

In Week 2 of the 2011 preseason, Harrell completed seven of nine passes for 81 yards and a touchdown–good for a 141.2 passer rating.

After losing Matt Flynn as an unrestricted free agent last summer, the Packers backup quarterback position has been a question mark. They still had Harrell but decided to spend a seventh-round pick on B.J. Coleman in hopes of adding some competition at the position.

Coleman was never a serious threat to Harrell for the backup spot a year ago, but this summer will be different.

Question: Will Graham Harrell back up Aaron Rodgers, or will B.J. Coleman?

Physically, Coleman (6-3 231) has the edge, but another year within the Packers system may be exactly what Harrell needed to be a solid NFL backup.

17

June

2013 Green Bay Packers: An Early Look At The Depth Chart

Green Bay Packers huddle

Who are your 2013 Green Bay Packers?

With the off-season activities now officially over with, we now turn our attention to the upcoming training camp and preseason.  The big question is:  What will the 2013 Green Bay Packers look like?

I’m taking a look at each position and listing who I think are the likely starters, as of today.  Training camp always tends to change that list quite a bit so this is obviously as of today, as it stands, and without having really seen many of these guys play.

Quarterback

Starter:  Aaron Rodgers

Backup: BJ Coleman

Bubble: Graham Harrell, Matt Brown

Quick hits: Rodgers is the league’s highest-paid player and let’s not forget he’s pretty good at what he does.  No question there and so the biggest debate is whether Coleman can leapfrog Harrell and will the team carry three active quarterbacks?  My thought is that if Coleman wins the backup spot, they will likely cut Harrell.  Illinois State’s Matt Brown could be a good candidate to land on the practice squad, much like Coleman did last season.

Running Back/Fullback

Starter:  DuJuan Harris

Backup:  Alex Green, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin

Bubble: John Kuhn, James Starks, Angelo Pease, Jonathan Amosa

Quick hits: Harris came on and was effective late in the season for the Packers.  He didn’t participate in much of the team’s offseason due to having a cyst removed near his lung.  He is expected to be ready for training camp.  Green will get every opportunity to remain a part of the team’s plans but will face very fierce competition from rookies Lacy and Franklin.  Still, I see the team keeping all four.  James Starks is likely all but out of Green Bay after being largely ineffective during his three-season stint with the team.  And we may have seen the last of John Kuhn, which will make the team’s decisions at this position easier.

Wide Receiver

Starters: Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb

Backups:  Jarrett Boykin, Charles Johnson

Bubble:  Jeremy Ross, Kevin Dorsey, Alex Gillett, Terrell Sinkfield, Myles White, Tyrone Walker, Sederrick Cunningham

2

June

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

I had an idea for a new Packers offseason gameshow while driving home from work today.

The first nine years of my adult life I had a job where I took a city bus to work. It was nice to not burn gas and spend half my salary on parking, but I always had to stay alert so I wouldn’t get stabbed. There are some, ahem, interesting people that rode the city bus on my route.

Now I have a job where I drive 30 minutes to work, in my own car. Yes, I’m burning gas (free parking, thankfully), but I don’t have to worry about getting stabbed. This frees up my brain and allows me to think of all kinds of silly things, like my idea for a Packers offseason gameshow.

I’ve already filmed the pilot episode, and am ready to share the transcript with all of you today. I brought back the ghost of Richard Dawson to host my show, mainly because I crack up whenever I see old Family Feud episodes when Dawson tries to make out with all the female contestants.

The name of the show is Will Johnny Jolly Play for the Packers Before…

Enjoy.

Richard Dawson: Welcome ladies and gentlemen to everyone’s favorite new favorite game show! The object of the game is to guess if Johnny Jolly will play a regular season snap for the Packers before another player currently on the Packers roster. It sounds confusing, but it’s not.

Even people who read Packers blogs should be able to understand it and play along at home. Let’s get started.

Female Contestant No. 1: I’m ready, Richard.

(Dawson leans in and gets a smooch)

Dawson: Will Johnny Jolly play a regular season snap for the Packers before running back James Starks?

Female Contestant No. 1: Oh, that’s a tough one. I wish Jolly participated in OTAs this week so we at least knew what kind of shape he’s in. But the injury-prone Starks could be on the chopping block with with Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin on the team. I’m going to say yes, Jolly will play for the Packers before Starks because Starks won’t make the team.

Dawson: That’s a logical answer. Time will tell if you’re right. And if you are right, you win an even longer kiss from me!

12

April

NFL Draft prospect profile: QB/WR MarQueis Gray, Minnesota

Minnesota quarterback Marqueis Gray with his fiancee, Alley Behr, and their three children -- Tessa, top left, and nine-month-old twins, MarZell, left, and MarShawn, right. (Photo from Pioneer Press)

Minnesota quarterback Marqueis Gray with his fiancee, Alley Behr, and their three children — Tessa, top left, and nine-month-old twins, MarZell, left, and MarShawn, right. (Photo from Pioneer Press)

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: QB/WR MarQueis Gray

Player Information:

MarQueis Gray, QB/WR Minnesota
6-3, 240 pounds
Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

STATS

NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.73 second
Bench press: 15 reps
20-yard shuttle: 4.30

News and Notes:

I like to torture myself by following the Minnesota Gophers football team, so I thought I should do a draft profile for one of its players. … Highly recurited out of Ben Davis High School in Indiana as a dual threat QB. … Moved between QB and WR at Minnesota. … Has worked out some as a TE at the NFL combine and at his pro day. … More of a running threat than a passing threat at QB. … Ran for 11 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons. … Had some buzz as a possible slot WR type of player, but slow 40 time at the combine has hurt him. … Gray says he’s been bothered by an injured ankle. … The Colts hold the last pick in the draft. Could Gray’s Indiana ties make him a candidate to be this year’s Mr. Irrelevant as the last player chosen in the draft?

What they’re saying about him:

  • CBS Sports (from last year): ”At 6-4 and 250-pounds, Gray looks the part and has very good athleticism for his size, flashing the arm strength to push the ball downfield. However he is very erratic and immature as a passer with poor decision making, mechanics and is in need of extensive development before he is ready to lead an offense at the next level. And because of his weaknesses at quarterback, several teams view Gray as more of a wide receiver prospect, a position he played his first two seasons at Minnesota. Regardless, Gray is an intriguing prospect because of his combination of size, athleticism and raw talent, but he is extremely unpolished and will need a much improve senior season to be drafted next April.
9

April

2013 Packers Position Group Analysis: Quarterback

Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers

Thanks to Aaron Rodgers, and the guidance of Mike McCarthy, the Packers are set at QB.

Packers quarterbacks:  That Aaron Rodgers guy is pretty good. Should he ever get hurt for an extended stretch (God forbid), things could go south in a hurry. Most teams are in the same boat as the Packers when it comes to quarterback. If the starter gets hurt, they’re screwed. Fans like to get all worked up over the backup quarterback. “Bring in a good backup,” they yell. “I want someone with experience,” they cry. Well, if the backup QB was good, he probably wouldn’t be a backup in the first place. And bringing in a veteran? I’ll take a low-cost young guy with a high ceiling over someone with experience who is overpriced, washed up, and probably no good, anyway.

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects;

Aaron Rodgers (1st round)
Graham Harrell (7th round)
B.J. Coleman (7th round)

Listen to expanded coverage of this topic using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

Listen to internet radio with Packers Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio

Aaron Rodgers: The most physically gifted quarterback in the game. By now, we all know what Rodgers is good at. If we wanted him to be even better, I suppose we could point to his tendency to hold the ball and ignore underneath receivers. Sometimes it feels like Rodgers is almost too talented for his own good. He’s always trying to wriggle around the pocket and keep his eyes downfield, hoping a receiver comes open deep for a bomb. Sometimes you want to shake Rodgers and tell him that there’s nothing wrong with a “normal” five-yard pass every now and then. That’s getting really nit-picky, though. It’s not like Rodgers never throws underneath and always holds the ball too long.

Graham Harrell: Is Harrell the young QB who can be developed into something useful that I was talking about in the introduction? It didn’t look like it in 2012. Harrell’s arm strength is below average and he looks clumsy. But he’s still young. Real young. Matt Flynn didn’t look like much, either, at first. Don’t count out Mike McCarthy’s ability to make a bad young QB into a useful young QB. I wonder how long of a leash Harrell has. If he doesn’t show significant improvement over the summer and in training camp, do the Packers go with B.J. Coleman, or take another flyer on a QB late in the draft?

25

February

Packers Graham Harrell: 2012 Player Evaluation and Report Card

Graham Harrell

Graham Harrell

1) Introduction: Was Harrell’s 2012 season the best ever by a backup quarterback? The second-year player from Texas Tech held the clipboard with perfect form. His posture and facial gestures while watching games from the sideline was second to none. His bored-to cup-to pour time — aka the amount of time it takes Harrell to snap out of staring straight ahead and being bored, sprint to the water cooler, grab a cup, fill it, and deliver it to Aaron Rodgers without spilling — was the best in league history. I can think of no other quarterback that is better suited to back up Rodgers than Mr. Graham Harrell.

2) Profile:

Graham “Mr. Wonderful” Harrell

  • Age: Ageless
  • Born: to play backup quarterback
  • Height: He’s bigger than the game
  • Weight: Harrell doesn’t wait for anything or anybody
  • College: School of Hard Knocks
  • Rookie Year: Doesn’t matter. Harrell has played like a veteran ever since setting foot on the field
  • NFL Experience: Watching Harrell play is an experience we all should cherish.

Career Stats and more:

3) Expectations coming into the season: Stay the hell off the field. The Packers kept extra beer in the coolers at Lambeau just in case Harrell ever had to enter a game. It is unclear whether the beer was intended to distract the fans from Harrell actually being in the game, or to calm the nerves of the Packers coaching staff who had to try and make sure Harrell didn’t injure any teammate by hitting them in the nuts with an errant pass.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Starr’s QB sneak in the Ice Bowl, Favre sprinting down the field after a TD with his helmet off in the Super Bowl, Kevin Greene telling Clay Matthews that “it’s time,” Harrell tripping over himself and fumbling at the 1-yard line after he entered the Saints game for an injured Aaron Rodgers. These are the greatest moments in Packers’ history (in no particular order).

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Being from Brownwood, Texas, I bet Harrell grills a mean steak. The offensive linemen probably appreciate that. I bet McCarthy does, too.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Harrell did just as good of a job tackling Colin Kaepernick as the entire Packers defense.

Season Report Card:

(A+) Level of expectations met during the season (Harrell exceeded my wildest dreams)

23

January

Packers Stock Report: End of Season, Full Roster Edition

CB Tramon Williams and S Morgan Burnett fight for an interception against the Saints

Packers CB Tramon Williams found himself in the falling category. Safety Morgan Burnett was steady.

The Packers end of season, full roster stock report is upon us. Below are over 2,300 words of insight, analysis, opinions and nonsense about every player currently on the Packers roster.

Read closely and enjoy, because many of these players likely won’t be around in 2013.

I incorporated each player’s performance from this season, and their future outlook while categorizing. Please agree or disagree in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading the weekly stock reports. Onto the last one:

Rising

Aaron Rodgers
It wasn’t as great as his MVP campaign, but it was still damn good. With chaos and injuries swirling all around, Rodgers kept the Packers offense moving forward and limited mistakes. A fine all-around performance and no reason to think it won’t continue in 2013.

Randall Cobb
With Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson hobbled most of the season, Cobb broke out and turned into the Packers most dangerous weapon. I worry a little about his durability, but his production when healthy was great. Oh, and he needs to drop fewer passes.

DuJuan Harris
Is this too much praise for the 5-foot-7, 210-pound rolling ball of butcher knives? Maybe. But if I’m buying Harris stock, I want in right now. I think he’s going to stick with the Packers and get a chance to make some noise.

Casey Hayward
Lost in the disastrous playoff loss and grumbling about the Packers lack of physicality was Hayward’s dynamic rookie season. I don’t care if the read-option sticks or not, stopping the pass will still be a defense’s top priority and Hayward can do it.

Sam Shields
He’s on the rise now. Will he remain on the rise if the Packers pay him? Or will he morph back into the timid and non-aggressive cornerback of 2011? There’s no denying his raw talent, and I’d like to see him develop that talent as a member of the Packers.

Clay Matthews
Microsoft. Apple. TRowe Price. Fidelity. With the contract that Matthews will get from the Packers, he’ll be able to buy all the stock he wants.

Nick Perry
How can a guy who was hurt most of the season land in this category? The same way Matthews landed in the rising category when he was injured. The Packers can’t afford another season with Erik Walden as the primary outside linebacker opposite Matthews. Perry is rising by default.