- Rob Demovsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Vince Young will compete for the Green Bay Packers’ backup quarterback position.
But will he have enough time to make a legitimate run at the job?
After ESPN’s Josina Anderson reported on Monday that Young will sign a one-year deal with the Packers, that’s worth asking, considering last year Young spent almost the entire offseason with the Buffalo Bills and still couldn’t win their backup job. Signed by the Bills in May 2012, Young was released in late August after he struggled in a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He threw two interceptions and completed only 12 of 26 passes for 103 yards while playing the entire second half.
“Vince, I don’t want to get into what he can do and can’t,” Bills general manager Buddy Nix told reporters at the time. “It just didn’t work out.”
With the Packers, Young will have less than a month to prove he’s better than current backups Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman. The Packers had actually planned to go into training camp with four quarterbacks, but undrafted rookie Matt Brown of Illinois State was waived last month after sustaining a knee injury while working out on his own.
With three quarterbacks in camp, the Packers had been dividing the backup reps evenly between Harrell and Coleman. It’s unclear how the reps will be divided when the Packers return to practice on Tuesday morning. Even if Young takes a good portion of the reps after starter Aaron Rodgers, he might not be ready to play in the preseason opener on Friday against the Arizona Cardinals.
The Packers had hoped to see improvement from Coleman, a seventh-round pick in 2012 who spent all of his rookie season on the practice squad. But Coleman struggled in Saturday’s scrimmage, throwing two interceptions. Harrell, who was the backup last season, has shown some improvement so far through the first week of training camp, but hasn’t done enough to convince general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy that the Packers could function at a high level if something happened to Rodgers.
Young, the former No. 3 overall pick by the Tennessee Titans in the 2006 NFL draft, has a 31-19 record as a starter but has never lived up to his potential. After the Bills released him, Young spent the rest of last year out of the NFL. He last threw a pass in a regular-season game on Dec. 1, 2011, when he started for the Philadelphia Eagles in a 31-14 loss at Seattle. In that game, he completed 17 of 29 passes for 208 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions.
There has been some suggestion that the Packers are signing Young in part because he can simulate the read-option offense that gave the Packers’ defense so much trouble in the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. But all indications are that the Packers are signing Young to give him a legitimate shot to be Rodgers’ backup.
49mDana Wakiji / Special to ESPN.com