With the release of Graham Harrell, Vince Young’s spot on the Green Bay Packers’ roster essentially is assured.
Young, however, knows the battle isn’t over.
“Nothing’s changed,” he said following Sunday’s practice. “It’s still a learning process. Nothing’s really changed.”
That means more of the same for Young, who’s spent less than three weeks in a Packers uniform – compared to three-plus years for Harrell -- and has been in the midst of an endless crash course on the diverse offensive scheme.
“Get here, stay overtime and just grind it out,” Young said of his mind-set. “It’s football, it’s what I love to do. It’s my craft. I want to put in the work so I can continue to catch up with the guys and get better each week.”
“You can’t do nothing but study, study, study, stay in the book, ask questions. That’s pretty much all you can do,” he continued. “When you get the reps, you want to learn from it and get in the film room and watch it over again and listen to Coach Benny (quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo) tell you some things you can get better at with your feet or your progressions. It’s about film work and more reps and getting more plays and getting more comfortable with the offense.”
Coach Mike McCarthy said it was hard to part ways with Harrell, the record-setting Texas Tech triggerman who he had been mentoring since May 2010. Still, Harrell’s play was obviously lacking. In a results-oriented business, Harrell led the team to a field goal on 14 possessions. The feeling was he had maxed out his ability.
“Tough decision to release Graham, more so on a personal level,” McCarthy said. “Graham’s been with us for three years. Very fond of him. He was developing and he was getting better. At the end of the day, we talk about creating opportunities and performance and we feel at this particular time we’re going in another direction with the two remaining quarterbacks.”
For what it’s worth, McCarthy said the No. 2 spot “hasn’t been assured” between Young and B.J. Coleman, though that seems about as accurate as McCarthy saying he hasn’t chosen Don Barclay as his right tackle. They’ll play the “majority” of Thursday’s game against Kansas City, McCarthy said.
For Coleman, the focus this week will be on playing well and impressing someone, whether it’s McCarthy and Ted Thompson or some other coach and general manager.
“I’ve really tried to focus on what I can control,” Coleman said. “That’s kind of been my theme throughout the whole preseason is continue to stay the course, keep getting better every day, handle yourself like these gentlemen in the locker room do and lead by example by being a professional, and you do the best you can. That’s been my main focus. There’s a business side and there’s a personal side to this business. It’s tough to see like a guy like (Harrell), who I’ve known for a year, move on, but at the same time, it creates opportunity and you’ve got to continue to compete and really put your best game forward and put your resume out there. That’s where my mind-set is right now: continue to work hard, control what you can control and keep pushing.”
New injuries: CB Jarrett Bush (ankle), RB DuJuan Harris (knee), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), S Morgan Burnett (hamstring), LB Jarvis Reed (ankle), LB Brad Jones (hamstring).
Burnett and Hayward will not play against Kansas City. Jones, who took part in some of the walk-through, hasn’t been ruled out. The news isn’t as good for Harris; McCarthy said the team is gathering information on the “extent” of his injury. For what it’s worth, a smiling Harris said he was fine after Friday’s game against Seattle.
Old injuries: CB James Nixon (knee/ankle), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Tramon Williams (knee), OL J.C. Tretter (broken ankle), LT Bryan Bulaga (knee), OT Derek Sherrod (leg), DE Jerel Worthy (ACL).
Returning from injuries: WR Randall Cobb (bicep), WR Jordy Nelson (knee).
McCarthy said he was “hopeful” Nelson and Cobb would be available for Thursday.
-- The Packers signed Zach Ramirez, an undrafted rookie from Portland State, to make it a three-man derby at kicker. With a strong wind at their backs, Mason Crosby and Ramirez went 10-for-11 and Giorgio Tavecchio went 9-of-11. Crosby’s miss came from 53 yards, Ramirez and Tavecchio missed from 45. The final kick was from 63 yards. Crosby kicked it over the net and might have been good from 75. Tavecchio had the distance but missed to the left. Ramirez also converted, though not quite with Crosby’s distance.
-- Other than feeling he’s in “very good shape” at right tackle, McCarthy would not declare a winner between Barclay and Marshall Newhouse. Barclay has taken just about every rep with the No. 1 offense the past two weeks. Newhouse, however, is listed No. 1 on the depth chart that the team released on Sunday evening.
-- The roster stands at 85 players but must be reduced to 75 by Tuesday afternoon. Some tough decisions remain. “When you get down to this situation, the cutdown to 75, we don’t really like to practice a player who might not be here for the game,” McCarthy said. “That’s something Ted (Thompson) and I talk about every year. This year is different. We really don’t know … we have a couple of decisions we have to make. We don’t know who 13, 14 and 15 are, so that’s kind of where we are.”
-- The final two practices of training camp will be held on Monday (11:30 a.m.) and Tuesday (11 a.m.).
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.