How the Green Bay Packers Can Get the Most out of Vince Young

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How the Green Bay Packers Can Get the Most out of Vince Young

The Green Bay Packers are hoping that a second chance at reviving Vince Young's NFL career will help turn the former Pro Bowl quarterback into their answer as Aaron Rodgers' backup in 2013. 

For such a scenario to unfold, head coach Mike McCarthy, offensive coordinator Tom Clements and quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo will have to use roughly 13 practices, four preseason games and less than a month on the calendar to refine the former No. 3 overall pick as a quarterback and get him up to speed with the Packers offense. 

While that task might be difficult for Young, who hasn't played since August of 2012 and also missed Green Bay's first eight training camp practices, the Packers do represent one of the franchises that can get the most out of the former No. 3 overall pick as an NFL quarterback. 

Few in the game are more respected at teaching and developing the quarterback position than McCarthy, who has worked with the likes of Joe Montana, Rich Gannon, Aaron Brooks, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers over a 20-year NFL coaching career. 

His annual "Quarterback School," which preaches fundamentals and aims to raise the awareness and understanding of the position, has become a fixture of the Packers' offseason. Young won't get the chance to sit back and learn from McCarthy in the relatively stress-free environment of a short spring minicamp; instead, he'll be asked to take a crash course in everything quarterbacks during the dog days of summer.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Like McCarthy, Clements (left) has worked with great quarterbacks in the past.

However, Young will also have the benefit of learning under the likes of Clements and McAdoo.

The quarterback of a Notre Dame championship team and a Grey Cup winner while in the CFL, Clements brings a lifetime of experience at the position to the table, including 15 years as an NFL quarterback coach. His role has since expanded from one of the game's top positional coaches to offensive coordinator, but he'll still be a vital part of getting Young up to speed on what the Packers demand at the quarterback position. 

And anywhere Clements or McCarthy can't be, McAdoo will be able to fill in the gaps. 

Now in his second year as the team's quarterbacks coach after six seasons teaching tight ends, McAdoo brings a more versatile look at the offense to the quarterback room. He also helped keep Rodgers on a blistering two-year pace in 2012, his first season after taking over the quarterbacks job from Clements. His main objective will be guiding Young along as he re-assimilates into an NFL quarterback room. 

If there's a trio of NFL coaches who can bring the best out of a lost quarterback like Young, it's likely McCarthy, Clements and McAdoo. 

Of course, getting a chance to soak in what makes Rodgers great—both on the practice field and in the quarterback meeting room—will be another big plus for Young, who has always lacked the kind of structure from the top down that the Packers offer. 

In Green Bay, Young can get fundamental training from McCarthy, positional guidance from Clements and real-time learning from McAdoo. Off the field, he can pick Rodgers' brain while continuing to mature as a quarterback.

However, any kind of progression as a player will be all for show if Young can't quickly pick up the Packers offense. 

His brief stint with Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 provides some of the basics in the West Coast offense that will help Young in Green Bay, but he's still entering a brand-new offense with different language and directive than the one that was in place in Philadelphia with Reid. 

While most quarterbacks get at least a full offseason to learn a new playbook, the Packers are asking their newest addition to know his in less than a calendar month. In fact, he's already missed the installation period of the offense, which helps lay the foundation for the entire season.

The clock is already ticking on Young, who will be hard-pressed to play in Friday's preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals. He could potentially get into the contest late to get a feel for a live-game setting, but it's unrealistic to expect him to be ready to lead any kind of offense after only three practices, especially given his time away from the game. 

However, come Weeks 2, 3 and 4 of the preseason, the Packers should give Young a real opportunity to prove he can be the team's No. 2 quarterback in 2013. Whether that means cutting reps down for Graham Harrell, who the team should have a good gauge on by now, or redividing the reps among the three backups to favor Young, the Packers need to find out fast what they have in the former Pro Bowler as a quarterback in their offense. 

If the playbook comes easy for him, it's very possible that the Packers will have found a superior quarterback—at least in terms of natural ability—in Young. 

At 6'5" and 230 pounds, Young is bigger than any of Green Bay's other three quarterbacks, including Rodgers. Despite a funky throwing motion, the former University of Texas star can fling the football without much effort. 

He's also a superior athlete, as evidenced by his nearly 1,500 yards of rushing offense during his six-year NFL career. Young might not be the same kind of electric runner at 30 years old that he was coming out of college, but he should still have plenty of tread left on his tires. 

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And while the Packers have failed up to this point in successfully developing either Harrell or B.J. Coleman to be the No. 2, neither of the aforementioned quarterbacks comes with as much talent or experience as Young offers. 

Thanks to a lost season with Philadelphia's "Dream Team" (nine interceptions, 60.8 passer rating) and a disastrous preseason with the Buffalo Bills in 2012 (two, 48.2), it is somewhat easy to forget that Young was once a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback for the Tennessee Titans

Never much of a stats or efficiency quarterback, Young helped lead the Titans to an 8-5 mark over his 13 starts in 2006, a 9-6 record over 15 in 2007 and a surprising 8-2 finish over the final 10 games in 2010. 

Overall, Young has started 50 NFL games while throwing 46 touchdowns against 51 interceptions. His career passer rating over 1,304 attempts (or 1,300 more than Harrell has in his NFL career) is 74.4. 

But for the Packers to get the most out of Young as an experienced, qualified backup, he'll first need to master a crash course in quarterbacking from a few of the top positional professors in the game. The timing might not be perfect for Young, but he is entering arguably the best structure—in terms of coaches and situation—that a backup job in the NFL offers. 

McCarthy, Clements and McAdoo now have the rest of training camp and the preseason to revive Young's career and secure an established backup behind Rodgers.

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