For the past several months, head coach Mike McCarthy has gone out of his way to tell Packer Nation how QB Graham Harrell has improved, not only physically, but also in terms of understanding the offense of the Packers.
However, as the Green Bay Press Gazette reported after the final minicamp practice, the big test for Harrell would be getting the job done in preseason games.
That has NOT happened. In two games, Harrell is 27-51 for 235 yards and has one TD pass vs. two picks. I'm sure that production and those stats don't exactly make McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson feel warm and fuzzy.
Veteran Green Bay beat reporter Bob McGinn wrote a story today that illustrates the whole Harrell situation. It's yet another fine piece of reporting by McGinn. Bob ends the story by saying, "Competent quarterbacks, some young and some old, will be available in the next few weeks. You can rest assured that the Packers are scouting them all."
Adding to the soap opera, McCoy got to play against the Packers Thursday night in a backup role. McCoy was much more impressive than Harrell, that's for sure, as he was 4-6 for 58 yards in leading the Cleveland Browns to a TD.
Harrell played much longer than McCoy that night and could only lead the Packers to a field goal.
Add to all of that the speculation by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that a trade for McCoy would make sense for the Packers. Especially if all we are talking about is a 5th round draft pick.
McCoy has had a so-so career in the NFL thus far in two seasons, as he has started 21 games and has thrown for 4,309 yards and has 20 TD passes vs. 20 interceptions.
Still that is much better once again compared to Harrell, who has never appeared in a NFL game.
The Packers hope obviously that their MVP QB Aaron Rodgers doesn't go down with an injury for some time. Except for concussion issues in 2010, Rodgers has never missed a game since becoming a starter because of injury.
McCarthy did give Rodgers the last game of the season off last year, as the Packers were resting a number of key players getting ready for the playoffs. That was the game where former backup QB Matt Flynn threw six TD passes and also threw for 480 yards.
The Packers were hoping that Harrell would give them the comfort of having a backup like Flynn this year, but so far, the jury is most definitely out on that one.
Harrell doesn't have a lot of time to prove his critics wrong either. Rodgers and the rest of the starters will most likely play into the 3rd period in the next preseason game at Cincinnati. That will give Harrell less than half a game this week and probably most of the last preseason game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau to start showing something on the field.
Rookie B.J. Coleman is not an option yet either as the No. 2 backup, as he is still too raw. Coleman is just trying to make the roster.
Depending on what happens, I'm sure Thompson will be talking to his old friends in Cleveland (Mike Holmgren) and Seattle (John Schneider) about the availability of McCoy of the Browns and Tavaris Jackson of the Seahawks.
Time will tell how this all ends.
Bottom line, Harrell needs to start producing when he is out on the field.