In some cities, the backup quarterback is the most popular guy in town. In others, he’s the most forgotten.
It’s the latter in Green Bay. In five years as a starter, Aaron Rodgers has missed two games. One due to a concussion, and another due to coach Mike McCarthy hoping to prevent a concussion or any other injury for many of his starters in a meaningless Week 17 game.
But with Rodgers taking plenty of sacks (51 last year), the risk of injury is always there, and the Packers need to feel good about the next man up.
They may not feel as good as they’d like to about Graham Harrell; as explained by Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Packers are giving B.J. Coleman “every opportunity” to become the No. 2 quarterback.
On Wednesday, Coleman was indeed the backup to Rodgers in practice. Unfortunately for Coleman, he threw two interceptions.
McCarthy downplayed the gaffes.
“I would throw those mistakes in the area of experience, recognition and something that all quarterbacks need and he can’t get enough of it because this is where he is,” McCarthy said of Coleman.
He’s getting more experience than his rookie season.
“Last year I might get a rep or two at the end of each period,” Coleman said. “This year I’m getting five a period but also really getting the chance to feel comfortable in there and get a little bit of a rhythm.”
Still, Harrell isn’t slinking away and accepting a demotion. Per Nickel, Harrell stepped up with his limited reps on Wednesday, throwing a 50-yard bomb to receiver James Jones, who broke free on a double move.
“It’s a competition and you have to go out there and put your best foot forward,” Coleman said.
The competition undoubtedly will continue through camp and into the preseason. And possibly beyond, up until the moment the Packers dread most — a reason for Coleman or Harrell to play because Rodgers is injured.