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Packers keeping the faith in Harrell for now

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted Aug. 24, 2012 @ 12:31 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

The Packers continue to publicly support backup QB Graham Harrell, despite his three obviously uneven outings this preseason, claiming that he continues to show progress with each performance.

But there’s reason to believe Harrell’s preseason numbers with one exhibition game remaining (.508 completion percentage, 53.7 passer rating with 1-2 TD-interception ratio) will keep the Packers’ front office busy behind closed doors at least seriously considering backup QB alternatives.

One particular concern with Harrell, according to some daily team observers, is his skittishness under pressure, which was frequently on display in the third preseason game against the Bengals. Both Packers starting QB Aaron Rodgers — who no doubt had to make Mike McCarthy very nervous with six scrambles for 52 yards vs. Cincy — and Matt Flynn, Rodgers’ previous backup, have instead tended to elevate their games with pressure bearing down on them.

While Harrell has strengthened his arm and made steady improvement, he continues to have his share of detractors. That's likely to keep trade rumors for another QB (Tarvaris Jackson?) brewing — possibly right up to the trade deadline. “The coaches like him,” one team insider said of Harrell, who is likely to see considerable action in the Packers’ preseason finale. “But he still reminds too many people of (disappointing former Bears backup QB) Caleb Hanie.”

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