NFL Nation: Vince Young


BEREA, Ohio -- I might have been a little harsh on Vince Young the other day -- in an attempt to be humorous.

After seeing and hearing him, he might bring something to the Browns if he makes the team. A year ago he didn't make the Packers coming out of preseason. Now he'll have a chance to make the Browns, as the team signed both Young and Tyler Thigpen coming out of minicamp.

Assuming the Browns add another quarterback in the draft, they'll have five heading to the full-team minicamp in June and perhaps training camp.

The Browns had to see something they liked in Young and Thigpen to keep both. On the field during interviews following the final practice, coach Mike Pettine said the team's brass had to meet to decide who would be signed.

Less than two minutes after the media returned to the media room, word had broken that the Browns had agreed with both players.

Not even Don Draper works that fast in meetings.

How the Browns will use the veterans remains to be seen. Perhaps they and Brian Hoyer will all compete along with the rookie. Perhaps Thigpen and Young will compete to be the backup.

Clearly Young is the more interesting story of the pair. Perhaps he will pull a Jim Plunkett and revive his career in Cleveland. He is 31-19 as a starter, but the last time he started a game was 2011. His experience in Green Bay would indicate his climb is uphill.

“You can tell he's very rusty,” Pettine said. “I was joking with him the other day that it was falling off and rust was falling off in large clumps.”

But when Young left college to become the third overall pick in the draft, many predicted he would change the league. He started 28 games his first two seasons, 10 in his fourth -- when he went 8-2.

Things went south the next season.

Young said upon signing that he would cancel his return flight and stay in Cleveland to further study the playbook. Which is a good sign. So was the way he spoke about filling any role and helping any way he could.

The Browns have seen quarterbacks of all sizes, shapes and abilities ramble through the training facility here. Young and Thigpen might not be as good as many, but they are better than some.

The Browns needed a veteran backup, and they needed someone for this camp.

Young and Thigpen provided the arms needed.

Now they get a chance to prove to the Browns that they are needed.

The only thing the Cleveland Browns gain by giving Vince Young and Tyler Thigpen tryouts at this week’s minicamp is arms to throw footballs.

They needed some, with Brian Hoyer probably limited as he comes back from knee surgery and only Alex Tanney on the roster. So Young and Thigpen will get a look-see.

But if these guys are the long-term answer to anything -- either backup or starting -- then so is the Statue of Liberty.

Thigpen
Young
Young and Thigpen have spent years proving they cannot play, and the pair spent the entire 2013 season watching as not a single team -- the Browns included -- chose to sign them.

The image of Young in many minds is the guy standing under the confetti wearing a Texas Longhorns jersey after beating USC for the national title.

The more accurate one should be of Young from a year ago, when he couldn't make it as the Green Bay Packers' backup, even though they lacked a true backup coming out of preseason.

To be fair, everyone deserves a chance, and Young and Thigpen could revive their careers in Cleveland, which needs a backup and/or veteran to compete with Hoyer and the quarterback they probably will draft.

General manager Ray Farmer said he wants to take a look at each, and minicamp is a logical place to do so. In that regard it makes some sense. There’s nothing really to lose.

It would simply be wise to keep expectations realistic on this front.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If the Green Bay Packers do nothing else at the quarterback position this offseason, at least they know they have someone who has proven he can win games as a backup.

That is a better situation than they were in a year ago, when they had no clue whether Graham Harrell or B.J. Coleman could function with a meaningful NFL game on the line.

Flynn
Flynn
And it's a better situation than they were in in September, when they broke training camp by cutting Harrell, Coleman and Vince Young.

By re-signing veteran quarterback Matt Flynn on Tuesday, the Packers renewed an insurance policy that paid off last season after Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. Flynn came back on Nov. 12 after failing to win starting jobs with the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders (and following a brief stint with the Buffalo Bills).

Just 12 days later, he rallied the Packers to a comeback tie against the Minnesota Vikings and went 2-2 in his next four starts to keep the Packers in playoff contention before Rodgers returned to win the regular-season finale -- and NFC North title -- against the Chicago Bears.

Whatever Flynn's shortcomings were (likely a lack of arm strength and an unfamiliarity with new offenses) when he got his chances in Seattle and Oakland, he has proven to be comfortable and effective in Green Bay, where he began his career in 2008 and still holds a share of the team’s single-game passing yards record (480 against the Detroit Lions in the 2011 regular-season finale, a mark Rodgers tied in Week 2 last season against the Washington Redskins).

Perhaps the Packers won't need Flynn or they will decide Scott Tolzien is a better option after he goes through coach Mike McCarthy's offseason program for the first time. But for now, they don't have to worry about the unknown that came with Coleman, who never caught on with another team; or Harrell, who, coincidentally on Tuesday, was hired as an assistant coach at Washington State, according to media reports.
The Denver Broncos have won the offseason title and free agency is not even four days old.

John Elway signed safety T.J. Ward to a four-year, $23 million deal that guarantees him $14 million. He stole cornerback Aqib Talib away from the New England Patriots with a six-year, $57 million deal that guarantees him $26 million. Then he thanked the Dallas Cowboys for their cap woes and unwillingness to pay DeMarcus Ware and signed Ware to a three-year, $30 million deal that includes $20 million guaranteed.

Ware will make $250,000 more with the Broncos this year than he would have with the Cowboys.

Add those three to an offense that will still put up points even if Eric Decker leaves and Denver should be viewed as the favorites in the AFC.

In fact, they might look like a "Dream …" Sorry. Got something stuck in my throat. "A Dream …" Man, there it goes again.

One more time: A dream team.

Could the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles serve as a reminder that a "dream team" doesn’t mean a Super Bowl team?

To refresh: The Eagles loaded up with Jason Babin (five years, $28 million), Cullen Jenkins (five years, $25 million) and Nnamdi Asomugha (five years, $60 million). They traded Kevin Kolb and got Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in return. They added serviceable pieces in Ronnie Brown and Evan Mathis turned out to be a steal.

Then they signed Vince Young, who came up with the dream-team tag.

And Philadelphia finished 8-8.

The Broncos have Peyton Manning, so it’s hard to see an 8-8 season. But what happens if Manning gets hurt?

On drafting quarterbacks regularly

February, 24, 2014
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jake Locker is in line to be the Titans' starting quarterback in 2014.

But he’s going to have competition and Tennessee hopes the group is better overall.

Right now it’s Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tyler Wilson.

Expect a draft pick as well.

“I really think you probably should look at the quarterback position every year,” general manager Ruston Webster told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. “I’d like to take that philosophy moving forward.”

Ron Wolf, the former GM of the Green Bay Packers, believed in drafting a quarterback every year. Hit on them at any kind of decent rate, you develop the most important commodity in the league, give yourself options, make trades and upgrade draft picks.

The thing that makes it somewhat difficult is that to take an approach like that, a team without a clear-cut franchise signal-caller probably has to commit to carrying three quarterbacks.

In the Titans' case, it’d be the presumptive starter in Locker. It’d be the veteran backup in Fitzpatrick or someone like him who could play when needed but not require regular practice snaps. And it’d be the rookie or second-year kid like Wilson.

The loser of that last spot could be rated as a practice-squad talent, but there would be very little practice work for the third guy, let alone the fourth.

Here's some detail on drafting quarterbacks from Michael Bonzagni of ESPN Stats & Information:

In the last 10 drafts (2004-2013), there have been a total of 126 quarterbacks taken.

Most QBs taken in last 10 drafts:
  • Broncos: 7
  • Jets: 6
  • Eagles: 5
  • Packers: 5
  • Browns: 5
  • Ravens: 5
  • 49ers: 5
  • Redskins: 5

The Titans have drafted three in that span, tied for 24th most.

Two of the three quarterbacks the Titans have taken in that time frame have been first-round picks -- Vince Young, third overall in 2006, and Locker, eighth overall in 2011.

That's tied with four other teams (the Broncos, Browns, Bills, Redskins) for the most QBs taken with first-round picks.

Tennessee is the only team in the last 10 drafts to use two different top-10 picks on QBs.

There have been a total of 28 quarterbacks taken in the first round in the last 10 drafts, 16 with top-10 picks.

The Titans also took Rusty Smith with a sixth-round pick in 2010.

The case for Seneca Wallace

September, 2, 2013
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- In the NFL, so often coaches and general managers rely on the familiar.

Such is the case with 33-year-old Seneca Wallace, who, as Ed Werder first reported Monday morning, was signed to be the Green Bay Packers’ newest backup quarterback.

Take a look at Wallace’s career path. In 2003, he was a fourth-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who at the time had Mike Holmgren as their coach and general manager. Wallace had an unusual career in Seattle, where sometimes he played receiver when he wasn’t needed at quarterback. When he did play quarterback, he went 5-9 as a starter, with his most extensive playing time coming in 2008 after Matt Hasselbeck sustained a knee injury. Wallace started eight games that season, going 3-5.

In 2010, Wallace was traded to Cleveland, where Holmgren had become the Browns' president only a few months earlier. Wallace started seven games over the next two seasons, but won just one of them.

Wallace hasn’t played in an NFL regular-season game since 2011 and his most recent stint with an NFL team was a week-long stay with the San Francisco 49ers, which ended last week in bizarre fashion, with coach Jim Harbaugh saying Wallace would retire and Wallace later denying that.

Which brings us back to the Packers, whose general manager, Ted Thompson, was Holmgren’s top personnel man in Seattle from 2000 to '04. So Thompson not only knows Wallace well but has seen him play in an offense that is similar to what Packers coach Mike McCarthy runs.

Still, familiarity doesn’t always breed success. There’s been little in Wallace’s history to suggest he could keep the Packers afloat in a playoff race if something happened to Aaron Rodgers.

Thompson has been in a scramble mode with his backup quarterbacks ever since he signed Vince Young on Aug. 5 after Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman got off to shaky starts to training camp. Thompson released Harrell on Aug. 24 and Young on Saturday. The Packers briefly had Coleman as the only quarterback behind Rodgers. To make room for Wallace, the Packers released Coleman.

With Wallace, the Packers now expect to have two quarterbacks with ties to the 49ers, their Week 1 opponent. They plan to sign Scott Tolzien, who was released by San Francisco last week, to their practice squad.

But for those who think the Packers signed Wallace to help with preparation for the 49ers, it should be noted that he spent only a week there this summer, and as a vested NFL veteran, the Packers would be on the hook for his entire 2013 base salary (likely the league minimum) if he’s on the Week 1 roster.

Taking the blame for Vince Young

September, 1, 2013
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After the Green Bay Packers released veteran quarterback Vince Young on Saturday, it was worth discussing -- as we did here -- whether more time in the system would have made a significant difference in his bid to be the team’s backup.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson, the man who waited until Aug. 5 to sign the 30-year-old quarterback, thinks that perhaps it might have done just that.

[+] EnlargeTed Thompson
AP Photo/Morry Gash"I probably should have had him in here earlier," Packers GM Ted Thompson said about Vince Young.
In discussing his roster moves on Sunday, Thompson placed the blame on himself for not acting sooner to bring in the former first-round draft pick.

“Quite frankly, it probably wasn’t fair to Vince,” Thompson said. “We threw a lot on his plate, and the fault is probably mine. I probably should have had him in here earlier.”

Thompson praised Young for being a good teammate and a humble guy.

“If there was fault, it was probably mine,” Thompson said.

The decision to release Young left B.J. Coleman, who spent all of last season on the practice squad, as the only quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers. Coleman’s shaky play early in training camp was one of the reasons Thompson turned to Young in the first place.

The Packers no doubt are exploring all of their options at quarterback, but the list of those available was far from impressive. They were expected to add a quarterback to the practice squad -- Scott Tolzien, the former University of Wisconsin starter who was released by San Francisco last week.

“We’re actively pursuing everything there is in the National Football League at every position,” Thompson said. “I’m not just making this up. At every position, we’re looking to see if we can get better.”

If the Packers stick with Coleman, it wouldn’t be the first time in recent years that they went into the season with an inexperienced backup. They did so last season with Graham Harrell, who like Coleman had previously been on the practice squad. And they did so in 2008 with rookie Matt Flynn.

When asked if Coleman, who completed just 41.2 percent of his passes this preseason, would be an adequate fill-in if something happened to Rodgers, Thompson said: “Well, we think he has a good chance to do that. Again, there’s a lot of things that he hasn’t seen yet. He’s played in preseason games but never played in a regular-season game. We’re getting ready to tee it off, so we’re getting ready to play.”

Note: The Packers have not announced their practice-squad signings yet. But in addition to Tolzien, they are expected to add receivers Charles Johnson and Myles White, tight end Jake Stoneburner and cornerback James Nixon, according to multiple media reports. Those four all were released by the Packers on Saturday. The Packers had hoped to bring back center Patrick Lewis to the practice squad, but he was claimed off waivers by Cleveland. Four others released by the Packers on Saturday were claimed off waivers: running back Alex Green (by the New York Jets), tight end D.J. Williams (Jacksonville), linebacker Dezman Moses (Kansas City) and linebacker Terrell Manning (San Diego).

New York Jets cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
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Most significant move: It wasn't a surprise, but the New York Jets waived Greg McElroy, their only quarterback not named Mark Sanchez who has started a game in the NFL. Granted, McElroy has only one career start, but the move is significant because it underscores the lack of experience at the position. If Sanchez (shoulder) doesn't dress for the season opener, it leaves the position to Geno Smith, Matt Simms and Graham Harrell, who have a combined total of four career pass attempts -- all by Harrell. The former Packers backup made the final cut despite having spent only three days with the Jets. McElroy was waived with an injury, so he wouldn't have been ready for Week 1 anyway. Still, this is a precarious situation to say the least.

Not much depth on offense: Aside from quarterback, the Jets are perilously thin at a few spots. They have only five receivers, one of whom (Santonio Holmes) is a question mark because of his surgically repaired foot. The group includes a rookie free agent, Ryan Spadola. They also don't have an experienced backup at tackle. Jason Smith was supposed to be that guy, but he was atrocious in the final preseason game. Vladimir Ducasse can play some tackle, but that's not his best spot. Rookie OT Oday Aboushi (fifth-round pick) isn't ready to play. They have low numbers in the backfield -- only four backs, although Mike Goodson will be eligible to return from his suspension in Week 5.

What's ahead: The Jets need help on offense. You can't go into a season with Aboushi as your No. 3 tackle, so look for them to address this over the next 24 hours. Anybody up for a Wayne Hunter reunion? The wide receiver situation is interesting. Right now, the Jets have only three healthy and experienced receivers. They're either confident Holmes will return for the opener or they have plans to add a veteran. The quarterback situation bears watching, too. If Sanchez is sidelined a few weeks, it might behoove New York to import an experienced backup. A couple of former Marty Mornhinweg-ites are available -- Vince Young and Trent Edwards.

Jets cuts: QB Greg McElroy (injured), RB Mossis Madu (injured), WR Michael Campbell, WR Mohamed Massaquoi, WR Ben Obomanu, WR Zach Rogers, TE Chris Pantale, C Erik Cook, OT J.B. Shugarts, OT Jason Smith, DL Junior Aumavae, DL Lanier Coleman, DL Tevita Finau, DL Antonio Garay, LB Troy Davis, LB JoJo Dickson, LB Jacquies Smith, DB Royce Adams, DB Mike Edwards, DB Rontez Miles, PK Dan Carpenter.

Placed on reserve/suspended: RB Mike Goodson.

Green Bay Packers cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
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Most significant move: After the Packers released Graham Harrell on Aug. 24, the backup quarterback job was Vince Young’s to lose. The former first-round draft pick on the Tennessee Titans lost it. After an unimpressive performance in the preseason finale at Kansas City on Thursday, when Young led only two field goal drives in 11 possessions, the Packers released him on Saturday.

Perhaps he was fighting a losing battle from the start, considering he wasn’t signed until Aug. 5. That was 11 days after the Packers opened training camp. He missed the first seven practices and a scrimmage.

It leaves an unsettled situation behind starter Aaron Rodgers. For now, the only other quarterback on the roster is B.J. Coleman, who spent all of last season on the practice squad. Coleman opened training camp as the No. 3 quarterback but slipped to fourth string after Young was signed and before Harrell was released. In the preseason, Coleman completed just 14 of 34 passes (41.2 percent) for 128 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It’s hard to imagine the Packers won’t explore other options over the weekend.

2011 revisited: With running back Alex Green and tight end D.J. Williams among the most surprising cuts on Saturday, it made a strong statement about the 2011 draft class. Packers general manager Ted Thompson drafted 10 players in April of that year. Only three of them – receiver Randall Cobb (second round), cornerback Davon House (fourth round) and tight end Ryan Taylor (seventh round) – remain on the roster. Tackle Derek Sherrod (first round) will start the season on the physically unable to perform list. He still has not returned from the broken leg he sustained on Dec. 18, 2011. Green was a third-round pick, while Williams was taken in the fifth round.

What’s next: Like all teams, the Packers will scour the waiver wire and free-agent lists. Their focus likely will be on the quarterbacks. Even if they find one they like, they might have to use Coleman as the No. 2 early in the season while the newcomer gets acclimated to the offense. The Packers haven’t carried three quarterbacks on their active roster since late in the 2011 season. They also can begin signing players to their eight-man practice squad on Sunday afternoon. Thompson is scheduled to meet with reporters on Sunday afternoon.

Players cut: QB: Vince Young. RB: Alex Green. FB: Jonathan Amosa. TE: Matthew Mulligan, Jake Stoneburner, D.J. Williams. WR: Charles Johnson, Tyrone Walker, Myles White. OL: Andrew Datko, Garth Gerhart, Kevin Hughes, Patrick Lewis. DL: Jordan Miller. LB: Terrell Manning, Dezman Moses, Donte Savage. CB: Loyce Means, Brandon Smith, James Nixon. S: David Fulton, Chaz Powell.

Midafternoon Packers cuts update

August, 31, 2013
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The biggest name among the Green Bay Packers' cuts so far clearly was quarterback Vince Young, who was released on Saturday morning.

But they also have cut a couple of players who saw significant playing time last season in running back Alex Green and tight end D.J. Williams.

Green was their leading rusher last season with 464 yards, and Williams played in 14 of 18 games last season (including playoffs).

With a few hours left before teams have to trim their rosters to 53 players, here’s the latest list of the players who have been released.

Note: This list is a compilation of our own reporting here at ESPN plus reports from the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packer Report, ESPNMilwaukee.com and players with verified Twitter accounts. With 18 cuts already confirmed, the Packers will have to make four more roster moves to reach the 53-man limit.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It’s easy to say Vince Young didn’t have enough time to learn the Green Bay Packers’ offense.

And it would be true.

After all, any quarterback signed to a new team with an unfamiliar system would struggle to pick things up in less than a month. So when Young signed with the Packers on Aug. 5, he was a long shot from the start, making his release Saturday far from a complete shock.

Young
But after watching Young practice for four weeks and play in all four preseason games, there’s reason to wonder whether an entire offseason with coach Mike McCarthy, offensive coordinator Tom Clements and quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo would have turned Young into a capable backup for Aaron Rodgers.

Young’s throwing motion and footwork didn’t match with what McCarthy teaches in his offseason quarterback training sessions. Although he praised Young for trying to incorporate some of the team's fundamentals, the coaches might have had a hard time breaking a 30-year-old quarterback of his old habits.

Two issues Young has had in his career -- accuracy and ball security -- were problematic in his stint with the Packers might may not have changed no matter how much time he had been in their system. A career 57.9 percent passer, Young completed just 26 of 49 passes (53.1 percent) this preseason. Although he didn’t throw an interception, he fumbled twice (losing one). In 60 career regular-season games (including 50 starts) with the Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles, Young fumbled 40 times.

To be sure, most of his playing time this preseason came with second- and third-string players, many of whom also will be released this weekend, but he also played against many players of the same caliber and couldn't take advantage.

The Packers now have to figure out where they will turn for a backup to Rodgers. The only other quarterback they have on their roster is B.J. Coleman, who spent all of last season on the practice squad but never made a strong bid for the No. 2 job this preseason.

Almost any quarterback they bring in at this point -- whether through a trade, a waiver claim or a free-agent signing -- would be in the same position as Young in terms of learning a new offense.

If not Vince Young, then who?

August, 30, 2013
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Vince Young didn’t play as well in Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City as the Green Bay Packers had hoped.

Young
In 11 series, Young managed only a pair of field-goal drives, one which came without the benefit of a first down after cornerback Tramon Williams intercepted Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel on the first play of the game. On Young’s other nine possessions, the Packers either punted (seven times), turned it over (once on a Young fumble) or ran out of time at the end of the game.

In his first preseason start, Young completed 14-of-30 passes for 144 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He was sacked twice and finished with a passer rating of 61.0.

Although he played only one series with the starting offensive line and just two snaps with receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, Young did little to convince the Packers he could play winning football if something were to happen to Aaron Rodgers.

On Friday, ESPN’s Ed Werder indicated that Young could be in trouble.

 
The problem for the Packers is that their options appear to be limited.

B.J. Coleman, who played four series against the Chiefs and completed just 2-of-7 passes for 19 yards with no touchdowns and an interception (45.2 passer rating), is not NFL-game ready. He needs another year on the practice squad before he can make a stronger push for the backup job.

The Packers’ investment in Young is minimal financially -- he’s scheduled to make the veteran’s minimum of $715,000 if he makes the roster -- but they spent nearly a month of training camp giving him practice and game reps. If they were to bring in another quarterback off the street, they would be starting over.

There isn’t another quarterback currently on the market that has any experience in coach Mike McCarthy’s system. Graham Harrell, who was cut by the Packers last Saturday, signed with the New York Jets. Even if the Jets release him, a return to Green Bay is unlikely. Matt Flynn, who was the Packers’ backup from 2008-2011, was competing with Terrelle Pryor to be the Oakland Raiders starter. Even if the Raiders go with Pryor, they may keep Flynn as the backup.

Observation deck: Packers-Chiefs

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
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Green Bay Packers starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not play in Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City, meaning his entire preseason consisted of five series and 45 plays. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews and tight end Jermichael Finley also were given the night off.

The Chiefs also rested many of their key players, including starting quarterback Alex Smith.

The Packers lost 30-8 to finish the preseason 1-3.

Here’s a rundown of the rest of the night:
  • Backup quarterbacks Vince Young and B.J. Coleman split playing time. Young started and played the first two series, and then Coleman came in and played the next two series. They alternated that way the rest of the first half. Young played the entire second half and struggled. He lost a fumble on the first possession of the third quarter and then had five straight drives that ended with punts. Young actually fumbled twice in the third quarter, losing one of them when outside linebacker Josh Martin beat tackle Andrew Datko for a strip sack. On the second one, Ridge Wilson beat Datko and knocked the ball away from Young, but the Packers recovered. Young threw behind receivers several times and completed just 14 of 30 passes for 144 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Coleman finished 2-of-7 for 19 yards and an interception. He was picked off by former Packers linebacker Frank Zombo.
  • On his first – and only – play this preseason, cornerback Tramon Williams came up with an interception, picking off Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel on the first play from scrimmage. Williams missed the first three preseason games because of a knee injury he sustained early in training camp but looks like he will be good to go in Week 1 at San Francisco.
  • Rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari also played only one play. He was slow to get up after the Packers’ first play from scrimmage and did not return, but he did not appear to be seriously injured.
  • Receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson made their preseason debuts but played only the first two snaps, both of which were running plays.
  • Kicker Mason Crosby, who earlier on Thursday agreed to take a pay cut, made both of his field goals, from 48 and 45 yards, and likely solidified his hold on the job.
  • Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly played extensively and likely solidified his spot on the team after missing the past three seasons because of a suspension. However, his personal-foul penalty helped the Chiefs to their only touchdown in the first half. Jolly delivered a late hit after linebacker Nate Palmer had a strip sack of quarterback Tyler Bray. Jolly’s penalty wiped out what would have been a 13-yard loss.
  • Cornerback Brandon Smith, a receiver in college at Arizona State, gave up all the Chiefs’ three touchdowns – an 8-yard pass from Bray to Junior Hemingway in the second quarter, a 43-yard pass from Bray to Josh Bellamy in the third quarter and a 9-yarder from Bray to Frankie Hammond in the fourth quarter. Smith did also have an interception of Bray early in the third quarter.
  • Rookie running back Johnathan Franklin got his most extensive playing time of the preseason and had a couple of good gains – a long run of 7 yards and a long reception of 14 yards – but struggled mightily in pass protection. He whiffed on several blocks, including one that may have caused Coleman to rush a throw on his interception.
  • Receiver Jeremy Ross may have helped his chances. He caught three passes for 50 yards.
  • Rookie linebacker Sam Barrington, who likely will make the team as a special-teams player, sacked Bray in the third quarter for a safety.
  • Chris Banjo, trying to make the team as the fourth safety, sacked Bray in the fourth quarter.
  • Rookie Micah Hyde took four punt returns. He had three fair catches and a 12-yard return.
  • Coach Mike McCarthy turned the play-calling duties over to offensive coordinator Tom Clements.
  • Tim Masthay punted 28 times during the preseason, including nine against the Chiefs.
  • Receivers Tyrone Walker and Myles White both fumbled in the fourth quarter, hurting their chances to make it as the fifth or sixth receiver.
  • The Packers may make a few cuts on Friday but likely will make the bulk of their roster moves on Saturday, when they have to be down to 53 players.
Although he was not one of the pregame scratches, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will not play in Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City, the team announced shortly before kickoff.

The team also announced shortly before kickoff that linebacker Clay Matthews and tight end Jermichael Finley wouldn't play.

None of those three moves was believed to be injury-related.

That means Rodgers’ preseason action will have consisted of just five series and 45 snaps.

The Packers will get a long look at backup quarterback Vince Young, who was elevated to the No. 2 spot after Graham Harrell was released last Saturday.

The following players were ruled out before the game:

What to watch for: Packers at Chiefs

August, 29, 2013
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The Green Bay Packers close out the preseason on Thursday at Kansas City. Starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers isn’t expected to play much, if at all, so here are some other things to watch for:

Backup QBs: Coach Mike McCarthy tried to convince anyone who would listen this week that Vince Young is still competing with B.J. Coleman for the backup job. But the Packers cut Graham Harrell last Saturday not because of anything Coleman did but rather because of the impressive touchdown drive Young put together last week against the Seattle Seahawks. It was the first indication that Young has given the Packers since he signed on Aug. 5 that he’s capable of running this offense with some degree of success. Coleman is at least a year away from being ready to play. The Packers will likely give Young the majority of the playing time against the Chiefs because they need to make him as game ready as possible in case anything happened to Rodgers.

Mason Crosby: I wrote on Tuesday that perhaps the best thing that could happen for the kicker is that there are no field goals to even attempt against the Chiefs, and I was only half joking. After the Packers cut two kickers in less than 36 hours earlier this week, it would seem at this point the only thing that Crosby could do is hurt his chances. After struggling last season and again early in training camp this year, Crosby appears to be in a good groove.

James Starks: After fumbling in Week 2 of the preseason at St. Louis, the fourth-year pro dropped to fifth on the running back depth chart. He played only four snaps -- and did not carry the ball -- the next week against the Seahawks. But DuJuan Harris’ season-ending knee injury suddenly put Starks back in play for a roster spot. The best thing that can be said about Starks, who has missed more games (26) than he has played in (22) during his first three NFL seasons, is that he is healthy. He missed only one practice this summer, and that was because of an illness.

Jeremy Ross: The backup receiver helped his chances of winning the return job with a 33-yard kickoff return and an 11-yard punt return against Seattle last week, but he still has work to do in order to convince the Packers that they should take Randall Cobb off returns and let him focus solely on offense. Ross also is not a lock to make the team as a receiver. He could use one more dynamic kick return to secure his spot.

Players on the bubble: Can Chris Banjo hold on to the No. 4 safety spot? Who is the fifth receiver? Or the backup center? Or the tight ends behind Jermichael Finley? With few, if any, starting spots still realistically up for grabs, it’s these final roster spots that will be determined against the Chiefs.

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