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Concerns raised in Green Bay about backup QB Graham Harrell

Graham Harrell, Mike McCarthy

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy watches quarterback Graham Harrell throw a pass during NFL football training camp Saturday, July 30, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)


Graham Harrell has never played in an NFL game, but if Aaron Rodgers gets hurt, Harrell will step in as the Packers’ starting quarterback. And that may be cause for concern in Green Bay.

The departure of Matt Flynn in free agency means that the Packers have gone from having a backup quarterback they’re confident they can rely on to having a backup quarterback who was undrafted coming out of college and didn’t even sign anywhere as an undrafted free agent, ultimately opting to sign with the CFL and not doing anything of note there, either.

That’s why Rob Reischel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that if Harrell doesn’t perform well in training camp and the preseason, the Packers may search for a veteran backup. In that scenario, Harrell would either be demoted to No. 3 or released. B.J. Coleman, a seventh-round rookie from Tennessee-Chattanooga, is the Packers’ No. 3 quarterback at the moment.

If the Packers are forced to turn to their No. 2 quarterback at any point this season, it will be a significant blow -- Rodgers isn’t the reigning MVP for nothing. But the Packers want to feel confident that if Rodgers goes down, there’s a backup in place who can play well enough for the Packers to be competitive, the way Flynn did the last two years. The company line in Green Bay is that the Packers are confident in Harrell, but if Harrell doesn’t do much to inspire confidence this summer, he may not be the No. 2 quarterback for long.