For the past couple of seasons, the Packers have had the luxury of having a backup quarterback who, if needed, could come into a game and play like the team has not lost a beat.
Now, with Matt Flynn in Seattle competing for a starting position, the Packers have to figure out who will back up Aaron Rodgers in case of injury.
The most likely candidate is unproven quarterback Graham Harrell. In college, he was on a pass-happy offense that revolved around him. Though he had insane passing yard and touchdown numbers, the argument has always been made that it was because of the type of offense being run at the school. There have been other quarterbacks who have come from pass happy offenses like Texas Tech or Houston that have never made a mark in the NFL and many believe Graham Harrell is just another product of an air attack offense in which any quarterback could succeed.
As a result of all these critics, Harrell was undrafted when first pursuing an NFL career and nobody even bothered to sign his as an undrafted free agent. With no takers in the NFL, he went to the Canadian Football League and signed a contract with the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2009. With little success there, he was released in 2010. Shortly afterward, The Packers signed him to the practice squad as an emergency quarterback in case Rodgers and Flynn both went down with injuries.
He has seen zero playing time in a regular season NFL game so far but 2012 could be his season to finally earn redemption. With the Packers making no major moves involving bringing in a proven backup quarterback, Harrell is poised to take over that role which was left vacant by Matt Flynn’s departure earlier this year. In a recent interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Harrell talked about the real possibility of taking control of an NFL offense this season if Rodgers was injured.
“As a quarterback, you better be confident in yourself and believe in yourself.” Harrell said. “I believe in myself. We have a great support staff and a great group of people in Green Bay. They get quarterbacks ready to play and train quarterbacks. I’ve learned from some of the best in the business.”
It was rumored that the Packers, during the 2012 NFL Draft, were considering making a move for Browns’ quarterback, Colt McCoy. The move was never completed but it is still believed that the Packers may eventually try and bring in a veteran to back up Rodgers.
Harrell will have all of training camp to prove himself, however, and maybe he can finally prove people wrong and play at an efficient level in the NFL.