Originally written on Packer Update  |  Last updated 11/17/14

Backup quarterback Graham Harrell has struggled all summer

Get ready to read a bunch of stories from the so-called experts about how the Packers need to find a replacement for No. 2 quarterback Graham Harrell – stories that should’ve been written weeks or even months ago. I’m not going to write that story. Instead, I’m going to cut and paste excerpts from some past posts.

—Free agent Graham Harrell is showing why he wasn’t drafted. He seems like a bright and hard-working young man, but he just doesn’t have much of an arm. It’s difficult to believe GM Ted Thompson won’t be able to find a quarterback with more potential later in the summer. (from 8/4/10)

—The one thing I’ve learned from watching Matt Flynn the past four summers is that he will always play better than he practices. Aaron Rodgers‘ backup is off to another relatively slow start, but there’s no reason to be concerned. He’ll find a way to move the offense as soon as the opposition is wearing different colored uniforms. I didn’t see what the coaches saw in Graham Harrell last summer and I still don’t see it. His arm is weak and his accuracy is average at best. The lockout is the only argument I can make for keeping him around. At least he knows the system. (from 8/8/11)

—Flynn is hardly a physical specimen, and that’s why I have my doubts about his ability to win consistently in the Great Northwest. That said, after two seasons in the NFL, he was superior to Harrell in just about every area in which a QB is judged. Flynn was tougher to bring down in the pocket and he kept his delivery consistent – both in and out of the pocket. Harrell has decent size (6’2, 215), but he has a narrow frame that isn’t very sturdy and he tends to carry the ball low on the move and sling it sidearm. Neither player has a big arm, but Flynn’s deep outs didn’t die nearly as frequently as Harrell’s, and his accuracy on the deep ball was better. And while it’s hard to judge in practice and preseason games, Harrell doesn’t appear to be a take-charge leader – a trait Flynn exhibited from day one. (from 4/18/12)

—While it’s true that most teams would be in big trouble if their starting quarterback got seriously injured, it’s also true that most teams have a more proven backup than Graham Harrell. Maybe the former Texas Tech star will develop into the next Matt Flynn, but I could see him just as easily performing like Caleb Hanie. In fact, I think that’s a more likely scenario. Harrell is a smart player, but his arm strength is extremely limited. Could the Packers win with him at quarterback? Well, Houston did OK with T.J. Yates at the end of last season. Then again, the Texans also had one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks and a very stout defense that gave up just over 17 points per game. (from 5/22/12)

 —He’s an intelligent and gutsy quarterback who’ll need 15 to 20 plays to move the ball 80 yards down the field. That doesn’t happen very often in the National Football League. His arm strength is improved from a year ago, but it’s still below-average. Quarterbacks without a big arm need to be extremely accurate, and Harrell is simply not a pinpoint passer. He misses too many open targets. Could the Packers win games in the regular season with the former Texas Tech star under center? Put it this way, pray to God we never have to find out. (from 8/10/12)

Mike McCarthy and Tom Clements are two of the best quarterback coaches in the National Football League, but they’re not miracle workers. It’s time for GM Ted Thompson to do what he should’ve done a long time ago – find a legitimate backup. I think Thompson held off because he believed what the coaches were telling him about Harrell. It’s time for him to stop listening and to start making some phone calls.

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