GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Earlier on Saturday, the debate was whether the Green Bay Packers would value Vince Young’s dynamic playmaking ability enough to overlook the fact he may not have a firm grasp of the playbook for weeks or possibly even months.
By making the decision to release Graham Harrell, the Packers’ backup last season, coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson essentially admitted that Young’s talents outweighed Harrell’s knowledge of the offense. When Young was signed Aug. 5, the Packers had already installed seven of their eight parts to the offense, while Harrell had been with the team since 2010.
The Packers surely were waiting for a sign that the 30-year-old Young could offer them more than the steady-yet-unspectacular presence of Harrell. That sign came against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday, when Young led an impressive 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive during which he made plays with his feet (scrambles of 21 and 18 yards) and his arm (a 16-yard completion to tight end Andrew Quarless and a 1-yard touchdown pass to fullback Jonathan Amosa).
Now, it will be up to McCarthy, offensive coordinator Tom Clements and quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo to get Young to the point where he knows enough of the offense that he could function for a full game if something were to happen to starter Aaron Rodgers.
“It’s going to take a lot of work behind the scenes,” Young said after Friday’s game. “Me and Benny and Coach Clements, we’re doing a lot of hard work behind the scenes. I’m trying my hardest to catch up with the guys, but they’re more advanced right now.”
Note: The Packers made at least two other roster moves Saturday. They released receivers Omarius Hines and Justin Wilson, the agents for each player told ESPN.com. Teams have until Tuesday to reduce their rosters to 75 players. The final cut to 53 is Aug. 31.