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» San Francisco 49ers Road Game
Vince Young wins No. 2 QB job; Packers trim roster to 75-man deadline; sign another kicker
By CHRIS HAVEL
It was disappointing to see Aaron Rodgers quarterback just one series Friday night. It was even more disappointing to see Graham Harrell direct yet another handful of ineffectual drives.
Harrell, who was trying to win the backup QB job, was released in the wake of the Packers’ 17-10 loss to Seattle on Friday night in a Week 3 preseason game at Lambeau Field. That means NFL veteran Vince Young, 30, is going to be the Packers’ backup to Rodgers.
Joining Harrell on the waiver wire are WR Alex Gillett, WR Omarius Hines, RB Angelo Pease, DT Gilbert Pena and WR Justin Wilson. The Packers also signed kicker Zach Ramirez while keeping both incumbent Mason Crosby and challenger Giorgio Tavecchio on the roster for now.
Harrell directed 14 preseason drives that produced just three points. Against Seattle, the offense was out of sync with Harrell at the controls. Several tipped passes and offensive penalties killed any chance for the Packers’ No. 2 offense to put up points.
While Young is clearly an upgrade over Harrell, it remains to be seen exactly where the Packers’ No. 1 offense is at in its preparation for the regular-season opener at San Francisco. Rodgers hit 4 of 7 passes for 41 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He may not need the extra work, but the rest of the offense appeared to need a dose of confidence. The Packers committed eight penalties and the running game went nowhere.
With the 49ers looming, it’s a fair question to ask: Are the Packers – especially the offense – ready to go on the road and face the 49ers? Packers head coach Mike McCarthy seemed irritated when asked. Clearly, the coach feels like his quarterback will be ready. Rodgers echoed that sentiment.
“I do (feel ready),” he said. “I’ve played a lot of football. I’ll make sure my conditioning is where it needs to be for the first game and we’ll be fine.”
Undoubtedly Rodgers will be ready. The concern is for his teammates. Do they feel ready and confident to take on the 49ers? Certainly, the Packers did little offensively to think they can go to San Francisco and put up a lot of points. Eddie Lacy and Alex Green looked great against St. Louis, but had nowhere to run against Seattle. Green had a nifty 31-yard run on a toss play that probably sewed up his roster spot.
Last year, the Packers started the season 2-3 and the offense struggled. That same feeling exists this year.
Clearly, McCarthy feels like Rodgers will be ready for the opener. That doesn’t mean his teammates have had a chance to get in sync with him. There is a reason New England’s Tom Brady and Denver’s Peyton Manning saw extended action in Week 3 of the preseason. It wasn’t simply to get the QBs prepared to play. It was to get their teammates ready to roll with them directing the show.
That hasn’t happened in Green Bay. It is asking a lot to think Rodgers will be on the same page with Jordy Nelson (knee), if the receiver is healthy in time for the opener, or Randall Cobb, who has seen limited time with a right biceps injury. Again, Rodgers doesn’t seem concerned.
“Hopefully we get Jordy back next week to get some work in (and) Randall the same,” Rodgers said. In regards to if they play or not (Thursday at Kansas City) it would be good to get some reps with them, but we’ve played a lot of football together. Jordy and I had a lot of success, and Randall (and I) obviously had a lot of success last year.”
The Packers better hope their quarterback is correct. It also is a leap of faith to think starting tackles David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay are entirely and adequately prepared to handle the 49ers. Factor in the Packers’ still unproven running game and it shapes up to be an incredible challenge going into San Francisco.
Defensively, the Packers racked up four sacks, including three of the elusive Russell Wilson, who was 11 of 17 for 126 yards and two interceptions. The defense appears ready, although safety Morgan Burnett, cornerback Casey Hayward and inside linebacker Brad Jones all incurred hamstring injuries. It remains to be seen if any are serious.
Meantime, the Packers’ offense has one more preseason game to find its groove. The question is this: How does an offense get in sync with the starting quarterback standing on the sidelines?
Friday from 4-6 p.m. CDT on WDUZ FM 107.5 The Fan, or on AM-1400, as well as Fan Internet Radio (www.thefan1075.com). Havel also
hosts Event USA’ MVP Parties the evening before home games.