Green Bay Packers: 8 Backup Quarterback Options They Must Explore

Zach KruseSenior Analyst IAugust 22, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 26: Graham Harrell #6 of the Green Bay Packers listens to head coach Mike McCarthy before taking the field during an NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Packers won 24-21. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell may have the most important snaps of his NFL career on Thursday in Cincinnati

Handed the No. 2 job after Matt Flynn bolted for a starting opportunity in Seattle, Harrell has struggled mightily during two preseason games in 2012. He's now in position to potentially be replaced as the team's backup quarterback. 

Despite leading all preseason passers in attempts (51), Harrell has thrown for just 235 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He's completed 52.9 percent of his passes for an overall rating of just 55.6, and the Packers have just 10 points in 17 possessions with Harrell at the helm. 

Yet the Packers organization, from top to bottom, has continued to support Harrell, showing little to no indication that an eventual roster move will be made to fix the quarterback position. 

With the team's final preseason game just eight days away, Green Bay would have to undergo a major change of heart over the next week for Harrell to lose his backup job. Even if the struggles continue, it remains unlikely that Harrell isn't the backup quarterback to start Week 1 of the regular season. 

However, that doesn't mean the team isn't at least exploring other options at the backup position. There are names available that Green Bay will likely be taking a long look at over the next couple of weeks. 

Below, we list some of the names the Packers should explore. Keep in mind, the term "explore" is much different than "sign" or "trade for." By no means am I suggesting that Green Bay should pursue acquiring any of the following players. 


Colt McCoy, Browns

McCoy is the most talked-about name in terms of available backup quarterbacks. The two-year Browns starter is now stuck behind 2012 first-round pick Brandon Weeden, leaving an opportunity for Cleveland to move McCoy. 

In Green Bay a week ago, McCoy played just one offensive series but led the Browns to an impressive touchdown drive. He certainly has value on the trade market, although few seem confident in what Cleveland would ask in return at this point.


Tarvaris Jackson, Seahawks

The Seahawks have yet to trot out Jackson for a preseason snap, instead choosing to protect their current third-string quarterback in hopes a needy team sends a pick Seattle's way in a trade. 

Jackson does have 34 games of starting experience in the NFL, including 14 a season ago for the 7-9 Seahawks. He suffered through a pectoral injury that limited his effectiveness late, finishing with over 3,000 yards passing and 14 touchdowns. 

Getting Jackson away from Seattle would likely only cost a late-round pick, and he's willing to restructure his $4 million base salary in 2012 if traded.


Trent Edwards, Eagles

Edwards is currently stuck behind Michael Vick and Nick Foles in Philadelphia, so there's a chance he's released before the start of the 2012 season. Mike Kafka is also on the Eagles quarterback depth chart. 

Over two preseason games in 2012, Edwards has completed 58.1 percent of his passes for 165 yards and one touchdown. He also has 33 career NFL starts with the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars

However, Edwards' career touchdown-to-interception ratio is not great (26-30), and he has just four career games over 250 yards passing. 


Brady Quinn/Ricky Stanzi, Chiefs

It's possible that the loser of the Chiefs' backup quarterback battle could be an option for Green Bay. Quinn and Stanzi appear to be neck and neck right now, but the loser likely gets cut. 

Quinn is a career 66.8 passer on almost 400 attempts, while Stanzi couldn't beat out journeyman quarterback Tyler Palko last season. Neither represent great options. 


Stephen McGee, Cowboys

The Cowboys signed Kyle Orton to back up Tony Romo in 2012, so there doesn't appear to be a solid opportunity for McGee on the Dallas roster. He hasn't been good this preseason either, completing just 56 percent of his passes for 134 yards and a pick (54.4 passer rating). 

McGee has played in three regular-season games (one start) in his NFL career, throwing for three touchdowns and 420 yards on 56.1 percent passing. 


Adam Weber, Broncos

Many will remember Weber's name after he was "ahead" of Tim Tebow on the Broncos depth chart for a time last season. In 2012, the former Minnesota quarterback is a potential roster cut. 

Peyton Manning will be the obvious starter, and Brock Osweiler has begun taking hold of the backup spot. Caleb Hanie is also on the roster, meaning Weber could be on his way out. However, he has zero regular-season attempts and limited preseason experience. 


Greg McElroy, Jets

There's certainly no guarantee McElroy is cut, and it's probably more likely he sticks around.

But McElroy had some pre-draft buzz two Aprils ago, and he has the mind to pick up McCarthy's offense. It's possible McElroy has the ceiling of a Matt Flynn in the Packers quarterback system.