When Matt Flynn left for a shot at the starting quarterback job with the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason, one question immediately rushed to the forefront for Green Bay Packers fans.
Is Graham Harrell ready?
The answer was hotly debated from the day Flynn signed with Seattle and through mini-camp and OTAs with no definitive answer. The Packers reportedly at least considered a trade for Cleveland Browns QB Colt McCoy during the NFL Draft, but apparently decided that Harrell deserved a clear shot at the backup job.
Now that training camp is underway, Harrell’s prospects as the Packers’ second string quarterback may finally be clearing up.
The early reviews seem to be leaning towards the idea that while he hasn’t done anything to change coach Mike McCarthy’s mind as far as penciling him in as the number two, he still has plenty of room to grow. With rookie BJ Coleman showing some promise with his arm but having issues with accuracy, it seems like Harrell has the job by default.
In the NFL, players need to actually win the job and not take it by default. This raises the question: Are the Packers truly prepared for a doomsday scenario in Rodgers not only goes down, but goes down for a long time and they have to ride with their backup for more than one or two games?
The answer is doubtful. If the Packers’ offense is a sports car, then Rodgers is the engine. Remove the engine and the car is going nowhere. Could the Packers really insert Harrell as the leader of the offense and expect the same ridiculous point production they have had under Rodgers the past two seasons, especially given the way the defense performed last season? No way.
McCarthy and his staff are the best in the business at coaching and developing quarterbacks. They took Flynn, a seventh round draft pick, and molded him into an NFL starter. This is not to say that they couldn’t do the same with Flynn, but bear in mind Flynn played for LSU in the SEC and Harrell played for Texas Tech. Though Flynn was taken just before he was looking at the possibility of being an undrafted free agent, Harrell has been considered a bigger “project” at the position than Flynn was.