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McCarthy explains decision to release Harrell

Posted Aug 25, 2013

New kicker heightens drama on windy day

GREEN BAY—Vince Young’s running ability was the difference maker.

“Vince Young made plays with his feet. It’s something that was a huge asset of Vince’s. He’s getting better,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said in explaining the decision to release quarterback Graham Harrell. Harrell had been in competition with Young and B.J. Coleman for the Packers’ backup quarterback job.

“Tough decision to release Graham, even more so on a personal level. I thought he was getting better. At the end of the day, we felt it was time to go with the other two quarterbacks,” McCarthy added.

The popular belief is that in leading the Packers to their only touchdown of the game in Friday’s 17-10 loss to the Seahawks, Young nailed down the backup job. McCarthy, however, said on Sunday that the job is still open to competition between Young and Coleman.

“We have two quarterbacks. The No. 2 question hasn’t been answered. Vince and B.J. are going to compete,” McCarthy said in his post-practice press conference.

That competition will reach a climax this Thursday in the Packers’ preseason finale, in Kansas City. The kicking drama, however, might be just beginning.

The Packers added Zach Ramirez to the mix on Sunday, which means the Packers are taking three kickers into the final week of training camp.

“It’s something we look at all the time,” McCarthy said of street free agents, which is what Ramirez was. “Ramirez is someone we worked out in the past. He kicked this morning in a workout. The second time around, we felt we needed to take a closer look. I felt all three kickers did a heckuva job in practice today.”

Ramirez, Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio  participated in a competition on one of the windiest days of training camp. Field goal attempts ranged in distance from 34 to 63 yards, with each kicker’s final two attempts coming from 60 and 63 yards. Crosby was 10 of 11, missing from 53. Tavecchio was nine of 11, missing from 45 and 63. Ramirez was 10 of 11, missing from 45. They kicked with a significant wind at their back.

“There’s a job available and somebody needs to jump through the door and take it. That hasn’t happened yet,” McCarthy said.

Does a third kicker confuse the situation?

“I don’t think it confuses the situation, it heightens it. Mason had one of his best days. Giorgio kicked the ball well. I like the competition aspect of it,” McCarthy said.

Punter Tim Masthay remains an option on kickoffs. He boomed a touchback in Friday’s game.

“It’s something you feel good about as a coach having in your back pocket,” McCarthy added.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson returned to practice for the first time since undergoing a knee procedure early in training camp.

“Jordy’s been ahead of schedule since the first week. I hope he’ll be able to play this week,” McCarthy said.

Additional coverage - Aug. 25
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