From the Far Hash: Musings About the Vince Young Workout
By now, it’s no secret that the Packers are working out Vince Young this morning as a backup quarterback candidate. But, why now? Didn’t the Packers have all off season to look at him?
Yes they did. But, now everything has changed. It has changed for the worse.
It’s no coincidence that they are looking at Young the immediate Monday after the Family Night scrimmage. This tryout is due to equal parts of B. J. Coleman stinking up the joint during Family Night and putting the offensive line on notice after Bryan Bulaga’s season-ending ACL tear.
We keep hearing about how this year’s training camp is different. Specifically, we are hearing about this new “sense of urgency,” with the defense. But, this sense of urgency also extends to the offensive line.
After the 2010 magical Super Bowl run, I think the Packers had a little bit of complacency. All the starting positions were basically assumed and there was no real competition to replace them. I mean, there aren’t too many holes to fill after winning a Super Bowl, right? Well, so it would seem. But, complacency leads to playoff losses, and the Packers had two early exists during the 2011 and 2012 playoffs.
That is where this year’s sense of urgency comes from. The defense is supposed to “nastier” with a new defensive end and an athletic safety duo. But, the offensive line has an equal sense of urgency to protect Aaron Rodgers from the meat wagon and to open up running lanes for their two running back draft picks. Mike McCarthy flipped the left and right sides of his offensive line in an attempt to make things better. By all accounts, things were improving until one fateful play during the Family Night scrimmage.
Bryan Bulaga tore his ACL. He was supposed to protect Aaron Rodgers’ blind side this season. He was supposed to protect the franchise, which was something Marshall Newhouse couldn’t do very well over the last two seasons.
So, now the Packers are back to the drawing board in finding ways to keep Rodgers upright.
This is where the Vince Young tryout comes into play. It has to do with complacency. It has to do with putting people on notice.
At first glance, this seems to be a public vote of no confidence in B. J. Coleman after his shaky scrimmage. He does have one more year of eligibility for the practice squad, so it’s possible the Packers may opt to develop him that way. Or, perhaps it has always been the plan to opt Coleman to the practice squad and rely on Graham Harrell to be the top backup. So, maybe the Vince Young tryout is more of an indictment of Graham Harrell.
It may all be a case of finding the best backup quarterback. Or, it could be a more nefarious head game.
It could be putting the offensive line on notice. It could be Mike McCarthy publicly stating he doesn’t believe his current Bryan Bulaga-less offensive line can keep Aaron Rodgers out of the infirmary for 16 games. It could be an even more desperate sense of urgency.
The reality of it is Bryan Bulaga is lost for the season. Marshall Newhouse is, well, Marshall Newhouse. David Bakhtiari is a rookie, and Derek Sherrod may never take another meaningful snap in his life.
So, what are the options? Sign a street free agent left tackle? If there was one worth signing, Ted Thompson would have done so already. Trade a draft pick for another team’s backup left tackle? We all know how much Ted Thompson values draft picks more than any other football currency.
What’s left to do?
You have to motivate your current team to step up. You have to make them improve. You have to make them man-up.
But, how can NFL coaches get their professional players to man-up? We all know that professional players are much different than college players. Pep talks, tongue-lashings, and public scoldings simply don’t work. The egos are too big and nothing positive comes from them.
However, there are two major ways to motivate professional players.
First, through money. Just look at how well players play in their final year of their contract. They are auditioning for a pay raise. We often see their finest years as professionals when they are playing for their new contracts.
The second is to question their manhood. We all remember when Bill Parcells referred to Terry Glenn as “she.” Terry Glenn went on to a very productive professional career. Negative reinforcement isn’t nice, and we shouldn’t do it with our children. But, it works in the NFL. With paychecks in the millions, it’s hard to feel sorry if some egos get bruised a little.
So, there you have it. By bringing in Vince Young for a tryout, the Packers are simultaneously accomplishing two things. They are putting the backup quarterback battle on high alert, hopefully to elevate the performance of both B. J. Coleman and Graham Harrell.
However, more importantly, they are putting the “new-new” offensive line on notice. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy are questioning their offensive line’s manhoods. They are publicly saying they need a new viable option to win football games when Aaron Rodgers is mending his injuries.
If you think about it, it’s the last play they have. There’s no other player to insert there. They have get the most out of their current players, and saying someone isn’t man enough might just do the trick.
It has to do the trick. Or, this could be a very difficult season to watch. Let’s hope for the best, but fear for the worst.
Featured photo by Elaine Y (Creative Commons)