Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy would have had every reason to criticize quarterback Graham Harrell’s play after the dismal performance in the team’s loss in the first preseason game. In fact, there was plenty to be disappointed about as the team as a whole failed to impress. Even though McCarthy admitted Harrell must play better, he did not exactly throw him under the bus.
“Did I give him a lot of opportunities to go down the field? No, no, I did not,” McCarthy said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “So that’s something you could look at in hindsight, as far as creating opportunities. Graham has to play better, and it’s tough. Playing quarterback in the preseason, it’s never clean, and it’s been like that as long as I’ve been in this league. You’re going to have things go wrong. You’re going to have guys run the route too deep and your guy who doesn’t get off the press and they run into each other, then you have to go on to the next receiver. It’s those types of things where you have to play through odd looks.”
Basically, McCarthy understands the media and the fans want the team to get all over Harrell. The fact is the backup quarterback from last season has been a colossal disappointment. Even though he has not been given much playing time, he has had every chance to develop into a decent quarterback over the past couple years. At the very least, there needs to be some improvement from one preseason to the next, which there clearly was not.
I do not like the fact that McCarthy is kind of making excuses for Harrell’s performance. I appreciate a head coach sticking up for his player, but Harrell needs someone to get in his face and tell him to improve immediately. Obviously, signing Vince Young is a solid wake up call. However, it is clear he may need even more than that to motivate him.