Being that this is, in fact, a Packer blog and that football related things are actually starting to happen now, it seems appropriate to start talking an incredibly early peek at what the 2012 Packers might look like. So over the next few weeks, I'd like to break down the team position by position, taking a short look at each player and where they might fit into the team's overall plans for the season. To me it makes sense to start with the quarterbacks, so that's what we'll do.
First, some general thoughts. As of today, the Packers are carrying three quarterbacks on the roster. The good news is that between the three, they have 62 starts, over 17,000 passing yards, 132 passing touchdowns, an MVP award, and a Super Bowl win. The bad news is that all of those stats and awards belong to Aaron Rodgers. Yes, beyond Rodgers, the remaining Packer QB's. have attempted exactly zero NFL passes. So other than Aaron Rodgers, what exactly do the Packers have? That's the question, and that's what I'll answer. Here's a brief look at the Packers' QB situation as I see it.
Aaron Rodgers - By this point in his career, Aaron Rodgers needs no introduction (but gets one anyway). I briefly touched on his resume in the intro to this post, so I won't bore you with the details. Besides, if you haven't heard of what Aaron Rodgers has been doing on the football field in the last two years, a few words on this blog aren't going to convince you he's good anyway. Just click this link and look at the stats. Thanks.
Having survived the Brett Favre debacle, won a Super Bowl, and posted some of the greatest numbers in the history of the NFL, Rodgers has nothing left to prove to me from a talent or production standpoint. My one question about him relates to durability. Although he stayed upright and healthy last year, the year before he sustained two concussions (against the Redskins and Lions) and missed a start because of it. Obviously he bounced back, but given the NFL's concerns over concussions and head injuries in general, it makes sense to be a little wary of a player with a history of getting his brain rattled around. Tie that to the fact that there's no Chad Clifton at left tackle for the first time in over a decade, and suddenly I'm worried. Time to move on.
Graham Harrell - If you believe what's being written on a few of the various Packer sites around the internet (including a number of articles on Packers.com), this is Graham Harrell's year. He's been bounced between the practice squad and the active roster the past two seasons and has never seemed to be a serious threat to unseat Matt Flynn for the number two quarterback job. Well, Mr. Flynn has moved on to greener pastures in Seattle. Or grayer and rainier pastures, depending on how you feel about the Pacific Northwest. At any rate, the job would appear to be Harrell's to lose. Not only that, but reports indicate that he spent most of the offseason bulking up and adding power to his throwing arm. If that's the case, it could eliminate one of the major concerns about him as an NFL player.
The only other major concern about Harrell is his reputation as a "system" quarterback. There's no two ways about it: Harrell put up ridiculous numbers in a pass-first system at Texas Tech. But those numbers come with the reality that nobody from that kind of system has ever achieved any kind of sustained success in the NFL. Obviously the Packers aren't really in the market for somebody to put up big numbers on a regular basis, so Harrell's heritage may be irrelevant. But if Aaron Rodgers were to be injured for any significant amount of time, things could get real interesting if Harrell had to take the reins. At any rate, Harrell has been in the Packers' program for two years now, so he should have a serious inside track at the backup job.
BJ Coleman - I was not at all shocked to see the Packers take a backup QB in the draft. In fact, I was a little surprised they didn't draft one a little earlier. Coleman comes to the Packers via the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, home of the Mockingbirds (and collegiate stomping grounds of Terrell Owens, believe it or not). From what I've been able to learn, the book on Coleman is that he's got a big arm, was a former D-I recruit (at Tennessee) and...not much beyond that. He spent part of the offseason working out with Brett Favre, for what it's worth. What does it mean? I don't know, but he worked out with Brett Favre, so there's that.
As far as Coleman's aspirations to the final 53 man roster, I see one of two scenarios playing out. First, and most likely, he'll probably play well enough to stick around on the practice squad, much like Graham Harrell has done the last two seasons. He'll get time to grow and develop and work as a practice arm. However, if Graham Harrell struggles and Coleman shows that there's not much of a gap between himself and Harrell, is plausible that the rookie might have a good shot to make the active roster right from the get-go. Having not seen either one play in a preseason game yet, it's really impossible to see where the two are developmentally, but if they're close, it may not be outside the realm of possibility for the Packers to go with three quarterbacks on the active roster in week one.