Why 2nd-string Packers QB's are important
Colleen Brenton, Packers contributor
Quarterback Graham Harrell.Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GREEN BAY - Peter King has a blog at Sports Illustrated called 'Monday Morning Quarterback.' The title is a reference to the analyzing (some might say overanalyzing) that football fans, commentators, and reporters typically engage in the day after Sunday's slate of games have been played.
No team's fans show more commitment to analyzing their play than fans of the Green Bay Packers. We pay close attention to every little detail, nothing escapes our scrutiny no matter how minute.
I only half joke about wanting to give Mike McCarthy my notes after observing practice. Packer fans are always hungry for information, and have (and will freely share) strong opinions on everything. As one of my best friends says, one of our problems is we're so close to the team we care who the second string quarterback is.
I, for one, absolutely do care who the backup QB is.
It has become somewhat of a joke to point out that since Brett Favre took the field as the Packers starting quarterback in week 4 of the 1992 season, the Chicago Bears have started well over a dozen different QBs; famous names like Peter Tom Willis, Erik Kramer, Steve Stenstrom, Cade McNown, Rex Grossman, Craig Krenzel, Jim Miller, and Kyle Orton are just a few that come to mind.
While he may be among Packers fans favorite targets to mock, Jay Cutler is easily the most talented QB to put on a Bears uniform in two decades.
Meanwhile in Wisconsin, we celebrate the good fortune that has seen three, count them, THREE quarterbacks start a regular season game for the Packers since week 4 in 1992. A great accomplishment, yes, but eventually that ironman like run of success will run out.
Let's face it, in Aaron Rodgers we have a quarterback who has had a history of concussions. That concerns me every time he steps onto the field, special helmet be damned.
I thought Graham Harrell was a solid backup choice last year...I tend to trust Mike McCarthy these days. Unfortunately, Harrell is known more for fumbling the ball against the Saints last year deep in red zone territory when Rodgers was sidelined, albeit briefly, after getting poked in the eye. If you can't trust your kid not to set fire to the house when you go out to the mailbox, maybe it should make you think twice.
So, I've done just that. My pick this year is B.J. Coleman.
I spotted him last year in training camp, when many people thought he wouldn't make the team. I was surprised the Packers took a quarterback in the draft to be honest, even if it was in the 7th round. Obviously, Aaron Rodgers is a perennial MVP candidate, and perhaps the best overall player in the NFL who, unless the aforementioned concussions become a major concern, isn't going anywhere for the next eight to nine years.
Coleman was very raw in his play, but he had a zip to his passes and a spring in his step that looked oddly familiar.
Watching training camp last weekend, I saw even more of this quality in Coleman. A year under a coach like Mike McCarthy, who develops quarterbacks has already begun to pay off. He is looking, dare I say it,...Favre-esque.
I mean that in the most refreshing way. He's having fun out there. He's fast. He can throw. He looks like a kid out there. HE IS A KID OUT THERE. There's an untapped potential in him that demands to be developed.
It's true, you never know with a quarterback. Brian Brohm was supposed to be the high draft choice (2nd round, pick #56 overall) who would be a solid backup quarterback the Packers could turn to in case of emergency, but instead turned out to be something else.
Meanwhile Matt Flynn, who'd won a national championship, and was supposed to be "just a guy", became the only quarterback not named Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers to start a game (two actually) for the Packers since '92, and in both cases (a loss at New England in 2010, and a record setting win versus Detroit in 2011) acquitted himself very well, to the point it earned him a nice free agent contract with the Seahawks prior to the 2012 season.
The odd situation in Seattle aside, Flynn has a chance to be a solid starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders this year.
Graham Harrell seems like a fine young man, 'Packer People' for sure and he may legitimately win the backup QB spot in the next few weeks.
But in young Mr. Coleman, I see a player who seems to have the tools, the temperament, and yes the exuberance that should make for a solid backup QB, and someone who could comfortably step in and run the offense should the need arise. And, perhaps...be something more.