In one respect, he was correct.
Even though the practice snaps on Sunday indicated he has now assumed the job of backing up Aaron Rodgers, Young still must figure out how to absorb coach Mike McCarthy’s massive playbook in time to be effective if he had to play early in the regular season.
“It’s still a learning process,” Young said. “Nothing’s really changed.”
To review, Young was out of football for 11 months until the Packers signed him on Aug. 5. By the time he arrived for his first training camp practice, McCarthy and his offensive coaching staff already had presented seven of the eights part of their playbook to the players.
Young, 30, has played seven series combined in the first three preseason games, but his performance on Friday against the Seattle Seahawks was enough to convince McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson that the former first-round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans would be a better option than Harrell, who had been with the Packers since 2010.
“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 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 (backup) quarterbacks.”
While McCarthy insisted that Young and B.J. Coleman, who spent last season on the practice squad, are still competing for the backup job, the reality is that Coleman appears to be at least another year away from making a serious run at it.
“I really feel like the job is still up in the air right now,” Young said. “I feel like me and B.J. are still competing. Overall, it’s not about us, really, it’s about the team and pushing each other so we can bring the talent out of both of us as well as Aaron. Just pushing each other. That’s what it’s all about.”
Both are expected to receive extensive playing time in Thursday’s preseason game at Kansas City, meaning Young’s playing time will increase significantly. It also means Young will have to take an increased number of plays into the game. The first three games, Young has been limited to mostly play-action bootlegs, which play into his strengths as a mobile quarterback, and short-to-intermediate passing routes.
While Young has completed 12-of-19 passes, his passing yards (74) and yards per attempt (3.89) indicate how limited his play selection has been. Also, Young often has relied on his scrambling ability, rushing for 58 yards on six attempts.
“You want Vince to be able to take as much as he can and, it has increased each week,” McCarthy said. “And we’ll definitely try to do that this week."