Before I have you all up in arms about the possibility of Aaron Rodger’s backup breaking out next season, consider what happened to Matt Flynn.
Flynn had shown improvement each preseason under Mike McCarthy and showcased his quarterback skills against the New England Patriots on national television during the 2010 NFL season. Ever since then, Flynn has been one of the most talked about backup quarterbacks in the league. During the previous offseason, Flynn had been talked about potentially going to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a second-round draft pick. Instead, he will likely leave the Packers during free agency for a chance to compete for a starting job elsewhere (Seattle?).
Now Harrell, in my mind, was arguably one of the most improved Packers’ backups since the end of the 2010 season. Even without an offseason to work with quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy, Harrell still was able to post a comeback victory against the Indianapolis Colts during the 2011 preseason. Even though the Colts look like they could be beaten by a college football team at this point, it’s still impressive that a former system QB in college could transition this well into the NFL.
In terms of importance to the Packers, he has beaten out every QB he has faced since he joined the Packers outside of Aaron Rodgers and Flynn. Also, during the course of the past two seasons, the team activated him late in the season to avoid the chance of another team scooping him up off the Packers’ practice squad.
If something were to happen to Rodgers in 2012 (God forbid), I have faith that Harrell will be able to step up and keep the Packers in ball games and potentially lead them to victories on more than one occasion.