Debating Young's skill, Harrell's knowledge

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
2:20
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If the Green Bay Packers judge their backup quarterbacks on how effective they have been rather than how much of the offense they know, then Vince Young looks like the favorite for the job.

With one impressive series in Friday’s 17-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Young displayed the kind of dynamic playmaking ability that Graham Harrell has rarely done since he arrived in Green Bay in the spring of 2010.

Young, the former Tennessee Titans first-round draft pick who has a 31-19 record as an NFL starter, showed off his mobility during an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that might have been enough to convince coach Mike McCarthy to make him Aaron Rodgers’ backup.

[+] EnlargeVince Young
Benny Sieu/USA TODAY SportsGreen Bay QB Vince Young showed that he's still a big-play threat on Friday night. Just ask Seattle safety Chris Maragos.
The 30-year-old Young scrambled for 21 yards on his second play. Later on the same drive, he juked his way past Seahawks safety Chris Maragos and picked up 18 yards.

“The dimension of running, that’s something that we really wanted to see,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think you’re just seeing Vince get more and more comfortable with what’s asked of him.”

Since they signed Young on Aug. 5, the Packers have given him a crash course in their offense while knowing it would be weeks or even months before he learned it all. They wisely have given Young a selection of plays that fit into his style. He has run a variety of play-action bootlegs. On his touchdown drive, he hit tight end Andrew Quarless for a 16-yard gain on a play-action rollout to the right. Three plays later, he used the play-action to freeze the defense long enough to throw a 1-yard touchdown pass to fullback Jonathan Amosa.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Young said. “As a quarterback, you want to lead your guys out there. You want to convert third downs, you want to make first downs and know you’re going to make the right throws and call the right plays.”

Young played only one more series against Seattle, but that was doomed after backup center Patrick Lewis sailed a shotgun snap over Young’s head for a 15-yard loss on second-and-3.

In his two series, Young completed 6-of-7 passes for 41 yards. With one touchdown pass and no interceptions, his passer rating was 130.7.

Before Young took over midway through the third quarter, Harrell put up zero points in five series (including four with the starting offensive line). However, one series ended when receiver Jarrett Boykin fumbled. Another stalled when tight end Jermichael Finley dropped what would have been a tough catch on fourth-and-goal at the 2. Harrell finished 6-of-13 for 49 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

“It’s kind of been the same story,” Harrell said. “We moved the ball well at times and we couldn’t get in the end zone, and we’ve got to do a better job of that.”

The Packers aren’t likely to keep three quarterbacks. That means the Packers will have to decide whether Young’s dynamic ability is more important that Harrell’s overall knowledge of the offense.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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