Green Bay Packers Should Look to Matt Hasselbeck to Back Up Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is currently backed up by Graham Harrell and rookie B.J. Coleman. Neither of those options is advisable for a Packer team that has the Super Bowl in its sights in 2012 and beyond. If Rodgers goes down, Harrell won't be able to put this team on his back (regardless of its talent) and win games.
Harrell is not Matt Cassel, who came in for Tom Brady in 2008 and helped the Patriots achieve a 10-win season. Harrell is not Matt Flynn, who subbed in for Rodgers in Week 17 last year, crushing the Detroit Lions' weakened secondary. Harrell is not even Charlie Batch—a savvy veteran who has been a fixture for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the past 10 years.
Harrell went undrafted in 2009, and he was undrafted for a reason.
His elite college production was acquired in Mike Leach's Air Raid offense. When you take Harrell out of that QB-friendly atmosphere, his warts begin to show. Before the draft, Sports Illustrated came to this conclusion: "Proficient college signal-caller with marginal physical skills for the next level."
What a player does in college may be evidence in the case for his NFL projection, but many elite college QBs don't have the required physical tools to succeed in the pros.
Harrell isn't the only one—Gino Torretta, Joey Harrington, Kellen Moore and Colt McCoy are just some of the many who weren't able to parlay college dominance into NFL stardom.
Who should be the Packers' No. 2 QB?
Now, McCoy is back up in Cleveland after the Browns drafted Brandon Weeden in the first round this past April. Once the starting job was handed to Weeden, speculation started that McCoy could find his way to Green Bay. Months later, McCoy is telling the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "There's no place I'd rather be than Cleveland."
McCoy's feelings aside, the move doesn't make sense for the Packers, either.
Why go from Harrell—a low-upside college stud who doesn't have NFL tools—to McCoy, who basically has the exact same profile? Is McCoy an upgrade over Harrell? Sure, but that isn't saying much and long-term, it puts the Packers in the exact same situation.
What about Coleman?
The Chattanooga QB was a favorite of many draft experts this past spring. He's got an NFL-sized frame and enough arm strength to succeed at this level. Coleman has a lot of work to do, but he could end up the perfect backup for Rodgers down the road and maybe even become the latest in the long line of Packers backup QBs to leave town for starting jobs.
That isn't going to happen in 2012, however, and the Packers are in the business of winning. Harrell, McCoy and Coleman are not who any team wants under center if that team wants to win football games.
Hasselbeck has been in the NFL long enough to know how to engineer wins. However, he's a long way from the kid that left Green Bay to stardom in Seattle.
At 36, his skills have eroded to the point where he is no longer a long-term option for anyone. The Titans were wise to move to their 2011 first-rounder, Locker, but that doesn't change the fact that Hasselbeck still has some NFL talent and has been the guy the Packers want Harrell to become.
So, why would the Titans want to get rid of him? Maybe they wouldn't:
Will #Titans trade Matt Hasselbeck now? Hearing it's not the plan. Locker is athletic, scrambles & could get hurt. Hasselbeck is insurance— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 20, 2012
Yet, Hasselbeck is making over $10 million the next two seasons—a lot of change for a rebuilding team to spend, especially when that team is playing in the Nashville media market. A call from Green Bay could change Tennessee's plans in a hurry.
Green Bay is not a rebuilding team; it's in the Super Bowl now and likely will be as long as Rodgers, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy are roaming Lambeau. Rodgers needs a backup who can fill in if he goes down (for any length of time).
Hasselbeck, more so than any other available option, would give the Packers that valuable piece of the puzzle. It would be a wise investment, an investment the Packers need to make.
Michael Schottey is the NFL National Lead Writer for Bleacher Report and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Find more of his stuff alongside other great writers at "The Go Route."
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