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Why the Packers Must Avoid Vince Young, Keep Graham Harrell as Backup

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Why the Packers Must Avoid Vince Young, Keep Graham Harrell as Backup
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The Green Bay Packers are in a conundrum.

Still needing a more experienced and established backup quarterback to Aaron Rodgers, Vince Young isn't the worst of ideas.

After all, the man has a good amount of experience under center and a winning record when starting as well.

That said, if the Packers do try to find another backup instead of sticking with Graham Harrell then the team is veering away from their recent philosophy of developing quarterbacks.

Young is certainly an appealing option for Green Bay, but here's why the Pack must not bother with the former No. 3 overall selection.

 

Development Takes Time

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When Rodgers was the backup to Brett Favre, he held that spot for three seasons  after being a first-round selection in 2005.

Once given an opportunity to shine, Rodgers simply took control and hasn't looked back. Similarly, Matt Flynn backed up Aaron Rodgers from 2008 through 2011. That's one more year as a backup and he earned himself a chance with the Seattle Seahawks, but that's another story.

As for Harrell, the 2012 season will be his third season if you include his time on the practice squad. It's not like a real backup opportunity arose until this past offseason. Had Flynn stayed put, Harrell would be fighting for third string, so his minimal development from the preseason is attributed to lack of snaps.

Still, Harrell has gone 32-of-63 for 261 yards which isn't too bad considering the inexperience.

Young on the other hand, entered as the expected franchise quarterback for the Tennessee Titans in 2006. Unfortunately, he never truly developed or lived up to the hype and the past few seasons have been nothing but change (recently let go by the Bills, per the Associated Press via ESPN.com).

Given plenty of time to polish his game in Tennessee, Young rarely saw the field in Philadelphia and was even worse for Buffalo this preseason. Therefore, Green Bay should remain in-house and focus on Harrell.

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System Doesn't Fit

Young isn't a pro-style quarterback from under center or shotgun and the spread only enhances the difficulty.

Yes, shotgun bodes well as does his mobility and strong arm, but he was never able to spread the field consistently. By no means has Harrell proven that field of vision either. However, he is more of a pocket passer and has been part of the system.

At this juncture in Young's career, if transitioning under center hasn't happened yet then it's extremely unlikely now. Harrell, though, is younger and doesn't have another option than to sit in the pocket.

His mobility is basically irrelevant, which counter-intuitively allows Harrell to put more emphasis on mechanics and pre-snap reads. In turn, Harrell will be able to read deeper through the progression and recognize the shift in coverages.

For Green Bay, the ability to spread a defense is crucial to execute plays. Utilizing all the receiving weapons must happen. If not, then turnovers excessively occur, which Young's been prone to with 51 picks to 46 touchdowns and 19 fumbles through his career.

 

Long-Term Future Implications

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It's about looking forward, because Harrell is 27-years-old and Rodgers is just 28, whereas Young is 29.

Even if the Packers decide to address the backup quarterback position, going older wouldn't help. Young's well past his prime after playing early in his career and we can bump Rodgers' back some since he didn't start until his fourth year.

Also, Green Bay added rookie B.J. Coleman (6'3", 231 pounds) via the 2012 NFL draft. The Packers are planning inside development to compensate for longevity regarding success.

They aren't in a dire need to immediately fill the backup role and bringing in Young would simply slow the process for Harrell and Coleman. Green Bay's philosophy of looking ahead has paid off with guys like Rodgers and Flynn in terms of learning the system.

Harrell and Coleman are just the next ones in line and there's no reason to disrupt that rhythm with Young, whose development opportunities have already passed.

 

Follow John Rozum on Twitter.

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