Vintage Young bids for Packers backup QB job
Running for first downs and extending plays, the seven-year NFL veteran looked Friday night as if was scrambling around again in a Texas Longhorns uniform.
He'll settle for the green-and-gold outfits of the Green Bay Packers. Young made a strong bid for the backup quarterback job behind Aaron Rodgers with an impressive outing in limited time during the 17-10 preseason loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
"As a quarterback, you want to lead your guys out there. You want to convert on third downs, you want to make first downs and know you're going to make the right throws and call the right plays," Young said. "I really feel like as a second- and third-team unit, I think we took a step forward, but we still have a lot to do to work."
Playing in the third quarter, Young finished 6 of 7 for 41 yards and a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Amosa to tie the game at 10. He also ran for 39 yards on three carries, including a 21-yard scramble on a second-and-7 to the Green Bay 44.
Young's second series went three-and-out, but a high snap that led to a 15-yard loss was mainly to blame. All in all, Young seized the opportunity presented by coach Mike McCarthy, who's looking to sort out the three-way competition for the backup job between Young, Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman.
"Vince Young, the dimension of running, that's something that we really wanted to see. I think you're just seeing Vince get more and more comfortable with what's asked of him ... very instinctive with big plays," McCarthy said. "I think Vince is definitely one of the players who took advantage of his opportunities tonight."
Young has only been in camp since Aug. 6. Before that, he was out of football for a year after being cut by the Buffalo Bills.
Drafted by the Titans, Young has had a checkered career as a starter for the Titans and a backup to Michael Vick with the Philadelphia Eagles. He's been to two Pro Bowls, and has a 74.4 career passer rating.
Young has said he's grown up off the field while getting married and trying to fix financial problems. On the field, he's trying to make the Packers while picking up their complicated offense on the fly, with Harrell and Coleman having had a lengthy head start.
Rodgers, who finished 4 of 7 for 41 yards in one series against Seattle, liked how Young was progressing.
"This is a wordy system and a difficult system to pick up," Rodgers said. "He obviously came in after seven installs had been put in already. So he was behind, but he's been picking it up and showing improvements."
Harrell, the incumbent backup, finished 6 of 13 for 49 yards, while Coleman was 2 of 7 for eight yards. Playing in the fourth quarter, Coleman was also sacked twice.
Flush with experience, Young showed off the elusiveness Friday night that harkened back to his collegiate days. Even Pete Carroll was on the opposing sideline coaching Seattle, just like Young's last college game when Texas beat the Carroll-led Southern California Trojans in the 2006 Rose Bowl for the BCS title.
"That's his game right there, being able to make plays when the pocket breaks down or when they're only rushing four and playing a lot of man coverage," Rodgers said. "Vince obviously is still a great athlete, and he was able to get us down there and get it in the end zone."
NOTES: Starting RB DuJuan Harris left Friday's game after appearing to reinjure his right knee after being flipped over by a defender while trying to lunge for extra yardage. It was Harris' first preseason action. CB Casey Hayward, who had an interception, re-aggravated a hamstring injury. McCarthy also reported that S Morgan Burnett and LB Brad Jones had hamstring injuries. "We'll see how these guys feel in the morning. Maybe it's not as bad as we may think right now," the coach said ... WR Randall Cobb (biceps) returned to practice this week on a limited basis but also missed Friday's game. WR Jordy Nelson and CB Tramon Williams, starters who each have knee injuries, also sat out as expected. ... Green Bay finishes the preseason schedule with a visit Thursday night to Kansas City.
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