Did we see the Green Bay Packers back up quarterback playing in Green Bay last night? We saw two backups playing, Graham Harrell and Colt McCoy. Which one will be Green Bay’s backup QB this season?
When you’re coming off a 15-1 season as the Green Bay Packers are, preseason games are not meant for veterans to log playing time. They are a time for evaluating younger players and getting those younger players experience in game conditions. This preseason several players are playing themselves into jobs with their performance and while some are playing themselves out of jobs. Graham Harrell may be one of those on the outside looking in after this preseason concludes.
Playing most of both preseason games Harrell’s stats look like this:
at San Diego: Passer Rating 81.6 | 15 of 27, 135 yds | 1 TD 0 Int
Cleveland: Passer Rating 26.4 | 12 of 24, 100 yds | 0 TD 2 Int
The San Diego game was marginally ok and understandable as it was the first preseason game. The game against Cleveland was terrible and certainly raises some eyebrows in Green Bay.
Meanwhile in Cleveland the Cleveland Browns drafted a quarterback signaling that McCoy would not be the long term starter. This preseason Cleveland has pretty much handed the starting job to Brandon Weeden, their 1st round pick, (No. 22) in the 2012 draft.
Does it make sense to the Packers, who need a dependable backup this season, to look at Colt McCoy?
Colt McCoy is starting his 3rd season out of Texas. In 2010 he played in 8 games and posted a passer rating of 74.5. Out of 135 completions only 25 (18.5%) went for more than 20 yards.
In 2011 McCoy played 13 games and posted a nearly identical passer rating of 74.6%. His attempts per game went up by 8 (30%), 35.6 in 2011, 27.8 in 2010. His passes completed in 2011 were much shorter when compared to 2010. Of his 265 completions only 31 (12%) were longer than 20 yards.
In contrast, in 2011 Aaron Rodgers completed 343 passes and 22% were more than 20 yards. For his career Aaron Rodgers completes 20% of his passes for more than 20 yards per catch.
McCoy doesn’t have a strong arm and tends to float balls to the sidelines. He does have great accuracy and can put the ball in spots that allows the receivers to get yards after the catch. In a system like Green Bay has, with high quality receivers like in Green Bay, could Colt McCoy prove to be an excellent backup quarterback and develop the skills needed to step in and win games should Aaron Rodgers go down this season or next?
Rumors from ESPN are that Cleveland would be willing to trade McCoy for a 5th round draft choice.
It makes sense the Packers pick up McCoy if they can get him for a 5, develop him and let him back up Rodgers for a year or two as cheap insurance while developing their other young quarterback, BJ Coleman. Coleman is bigger and stronger and ultimately better suited to backup Aaron Rodgers and maybe replace Rodgers in the distant future. In two years when Coleman is ready they trade McCoy to someone looking for a starter or good back up.
For the 2012 / 2013 season Green Bay needs a quarterback with some experience managing and winning games. Colt McCoy gives them much more of what they need than Graham Harrell does and may come as cheaply as a 5th round pick.
8/22/2012 Almost a week has passed since the game against the Cleveland Browns. Tomorrow’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals is a “must game” for Graham Harrell if he want’s stay in Green Bay. If you remember it was before week 14 last year when the Buffalo Bills tried to sign Harrell off the Packers’ practice squad. Thompson promoted Harrell to the active roster and gave him a sizable pay increase to keep him in Green Bay.
Ted Thompson knows the right things to say publicly but it appears Thompson might be wavering a bit in his support of Graham Harrell . He’s not going to come outright and say “We are looking at our QB options right now.” For one that would hurt the team morale. Secondly it would diminish his negotiating position if he chooses to trade for a backup QB. Third, the decision was made to promote Harrell. He’s certainly doesn’t want to look like he made a bad decision and will give Harrell every chance to prove himself.
Here’s what Ted Thompson, Packers GM had to say about Graham Harrell yesterday. “We have faith in a lot of our guys.” Not a strong endorsement of any specific player. Now remember, he was asked about Graham Harrell in particular
The full quote:
“Just continued improvement,” Thompson said. “There’s been a lot of criticism. I think Mike mentioned he graded out much better than you might expect. It’s not always easy during the second half of a preseason game and the chaos is coming at you pretty good. But he’s doing ok.”
“He’s a very hard worker. He really likes playing the game of football. He knows the nuances of playing that position. We have faith in a lot of our guys.”
Graham Harrell and Colt McCoy’s 2013 preseason stats through 2 games.
Passer Rating for Harrell and McCoy. Harrell 55.6 | McCoy 105.5.
Harrell: 27 of 51 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. His passer rating is 55.6. The two interceptions can be discounted, one was a Hail Mary at the end of a half, the other, the wide receiver fell down. If you remove the interceptions from the rating the adjusted passer rating for Graham Harrell is 71.9
McCoy: 10 of 14 for 146 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. That calculates out to a passer rating of 105.5
“My point in saying that is I got drafted here. I’ve spent a lot of time here. I feel comfortable with what we’re doing. I love my teammates. I love this organization. I love this city. We’ve been through a lot of ups and downs and I’m a Cleveland Brown. That’s what I am. I come out here every day and I compete. I work hard. I challenge myself, and if I don’t get as many reps, I’ll go inside and watch tape and get some mental reps and study the game. I’m continuing to compete and continuing to work hard. That’s all I can do right now. I’m a Cleveland Brown and proud to be one. ”
After another poor performance Thursday Graham Harrell still sits on the fence. His offensive line performed terribly that’s for sure. Harrell was running for his life most drop backs. When he did have some time his receivers got little to no separation from the defender giving
Rodgers Harrell very a very little window to throw into. Harrell finished the night 5 of 12 for just 26 yards and a 49.3 passer rating.
Coach McCarthy on Friday refused name Harrell the backup to Aaron Rodgers for the season saying “We don’t make roster decisions today,”
Graham Harrell and Colt McCoy’s 2013 preseason stats through 3 games.
Passer Rating for Harrell and McCoy. Harrell 53.7 | McCoy 116.6
Harrell: 32 of 63 passes for 261 yards and 1 touchdown, 2interceptions and 5 sacks. His passer rating is 55.6.
McCoy: 18 of 24 for 220 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions and 2 sacks. That calculates out to a passer rating of 116.6