Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vince Young Defeats Graham Harrell

Based on their performances on Friday night, this news should come as no surprise.
Vince Young was more effective, he led them on a touchdown drive and was their leading rusher for the game, but what really stood out was Harrell's 3.8 yards per attempt. Among quarterbacks last season who attempted over 224 passes, the worst yards per attempt belonged to Blaine Gabbert at 5.98, and Harrell wasn't anywhere near that good. The best thing I can say is that at least he didn't turn the ball over.

And Harrell played that poorly with the first team offense. Granted, it was against Seattle's first team defense and Harrell was without Cobb and Nelson at receiver. Phil Simms gave Harrell some cover by noting that none of the receivers were getting open. However, injuries are part of the NFL (especially for the Packers) and that can't be an excuse.

This also is another example of how GM Ted Thompson operates. He doesn't value experience over potential. Harrell knows Mike McCarthy's offense while Young barely knows it, but that didn't save his roster spot after three poor to awful preseason games. Thompson wasn't going to keep a lesser player just because he has a comfort level with him.

Young was the better quarterback, though he's still very much a work in progress. He did complete six of seven attempts (that one incompletion should have been intercepted) but his yards per attempt was only 5.9, which means he completed only a lot of short passes. However, he did look more comfortable against the Seahawks than the Rams, having a full week of practice under his belt obviously helped, and the coaches are far from opening up the entire playbook for him. So it wasn't perfect, but he made it look like he could actually do something in a regular season game while Harrell hasn't shown anything.

Unfortunately I think this means the end of Harrell's NFL career. If he couldn't beat out Young in this situation, which was as close to an ideal one as any player could ask for, I don't see how he could make it on another team.

Young is now the unquestioned backup. B.J. Coleman is no competition, he had the same number of sacks as completions (two) against the Seahawks, but he can hide on the practice squad, unlike either Young or Harrell. They still need three quarterbacks but they've rarely kept them all on the 53-man roster in recent years. Releasing Harrell now probably opens up a lot of playing time for Young against the Chiefs (and in practice too), which he'll need to get ready for the regular season.

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