The Packers’ Backup Quarterback Derby Must Stop

B.J. Coleman and Vince Young were sent packing in favor of Seneca Wallace.

If the Green Bay Packers had their way, no one else but Aaron Rodgers would take a snap at quarterback during the regular season except in mop up duty during a blowout victory.

That said, they need some kind of a Plan B behind the 2011 NFL MVP in case of a doomsday scenario in which Rodgers is out for multiple games (or perhaps even the duration of the season).  For the first few years Rodgers was the starter, they had a solid plan. Matt Flynn sat at the ready and Graham Harrell was on the practice squad learning the ropes. All was well.

Then came the 2011 regular season finale. The Packers were 14-1 and had home field advantage for the playoffs sewn up. There was no reason to risk an injury to Rodgers in a meaningless game, so Flynn got his second career NFL start.  What followed was a record setting performance by Flynn who finished with 480 passing yards and six touchdowns.

Flynn was scheduled to be a free agent after the season and with that performance plus his 2010 game against the Patriots, Flynn seemed destined for a starting job and could have his pick of any team that wanted him.

Flynn joined the Seahawks and then Russell Wilson came along. The rest is history.

The Packers, meanwhile, went through 2012 with Harrell as Rodgers’ backup after he was promoted off the practice squad in Flynn’s absence.  Harrell left much to be desired in the 2012 preseason and was likely headed towards being cut had he not performed well in the preseason finale.  So Harrell it was in 2012.

During last season’s regular season game against the New Orleans Saints, Rodgers got poked in the eye and Harrell came in for one play. He tripped and fumbled the ball one yard from a touchdown.

Not exactly the kind of performance that inspires confidence.

Coming into 2013, Harrell was expected to face competition from 2012 practice squad quarterback B.J.  Coleman.  When neither showed much in the preseason, the Packers brought in former Titans star Vince Young to compete.

Now all three are no longer Packers.



Packers News: Aaron Rodgers signs contract extension

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

According to the team’s official website, the Packers have signed quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a multi-year contract extension.

The move was announced Friday by Packers general manager Ted Thompson. Rodgers is now the highest paid player in league history after signing a five-year extension worth $110 million. Reports are that the contract calls for Rodgers to be paid 40 million in the first year and 62.5 million in the first three years (500K more than Joe Flacco). His salary cap number will never exceed 21M.

“Aaron is a true professional and a special player,” Thompson said, per Packers.com. “He works hard, is humble, and is focused on his actions, on and off the field. He is an excellent teammate and pushes himself and others to be the very best. We are happy to reach an agreement to extend his career with the Packers.”

Rodgers had two years remaining on his previous deal, but the new contract will keep him in Green Bay for the foreseeable future.

Thompson spent his first draft pick as Packers general manager on Rodgers, the No. 24 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. After sitting behind Brett Favre for three years, Rodgers took over as the team’s starting quarterback in 2008.

In his first season as the starter, Rodgers threw for 4,038 yards, 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His 93.8 passer rating was the lowest of his career, as he’s posted a rating of at least 101.2 in each of the past four seasons.

Widely regarded as the best quarterback in the league today, Rodgers was the MVP of Super Bowl XLV. He was named league MVP for the 2011 season.

When the Favre retirement fiasco went down in the summer of 2008, some fans were heckling Rodgers in hopes of the team bringing Favre back for another season. But Thompson and Mike McCarthy stood firm in their decision and remained fully committed to Rodgers.

And the rest is history.

During the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday, Rodgers tweeted to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, “Good things come to those who wait.” It appears Rodgers was absolutely right.


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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.



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)

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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?



Packers QB BJ Coleman and Operation Conceal Coleman

Packers Quarterback BJ Coleman

Packers Quarterback BJ Coleman

The Green Bay Packers have been enamored with BJ Coleman since before the NFL Draft. I was told this by an NFL Scout in the business for many years. He showed me his report on BJ Coleman, and here is just a short except:

SUPER SLEEPER-B.J. COLEMAN, Tennessee-Chattanooga
To me, he’s a poor man’s Philip Rivers, in that he has that moxie to compensate for a few mechanical flaws. Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco went the same route early in his
college career, stepping down from the University of Pittsburgh to turn a stellar career at Delaware into a 2008 first round draft selection. Despite being slowed by a shoulder injury that limited him to just seven games as a senior, Coleman is still projected by many draft analysts as an “under-the-radar” prospect who is an outstanding field general with a great work ethic. Coleman has the athleticism and size that teams covet in a pocket passer. He has the functional mobility to consistently escape pressure. With his raw power, he has done an excellent job of standing tall in the pocket, along the leg drive to carry defenders when he runs between tackles, evident by his seven short area scoring runs for the Mocs. Compares To-MATT FLYNN-Seattle-Coleman is not going to hear his name heard until the draft’s third day, but there is first-day material in this kid waiting for a patient coach to develop. With the Packers history for turning around low draft picks into NFL starters, could this be a match made in heaven?

This, of course prompted me to do some research and watch some tape of Coleman. I saw what he saw, with one difference: I think he’ll be a better QB in a few years than Flynn will ever be. (I’ve never thought Flynn was any more than a career backup, and looks like Russel Wilson has proven that).

In any case, BJ Coleman provides a real dilemma for the Packers – how do they hold on to this kid with a strong arm, who needs a year of schooling RE: mechanics and footwork? The Packers are just not keeping 3 quarterbacks on their roster.  Their M.O. is to keep their two best and always have a third on the practice squad in case of injuries.