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Smallish McBrien Coming Up Large


"You're 5-foot nothin', 100 and nothin'.........And you hung in there with the best college football team in the land for 2 years."

Well, the Green Bay Packers organization is worlds apart from a college team and he hasn't been here for two years, but the aforementioned line from the movie "Rudy" does apply to rookie quarterback Scott McBrien.

McBrien is listed at 6-0, but he may be closer to 5-11, and he tips the scales at 188 pounds. At first glance, he hardly looks anything like a professional football player. That is, until you watch him practice.

The former Maryland star has opened more than a few eyes with his training camp performance. He has shown an above average arm and the ability to make plays on the run, which offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said sets McBrien apart from other quarterbacks.

"I would say that because of his feet and legs he plays fast," Rossley said. "Anytime he takes a snap his play time seems faster than the other quarterbacks."

That endorsement gives an idea of just how much McBrien has progressed this summer.

After signing with the Packers in April, many people thought McBrien was nothing more than a "camp arm" - someone brought in to give the other quarterbacks rest. Although he had a remarkable career at Maryland, including his senior year when he threw for 2,672 yards with 19 touchdowns and only six interceptions, there was the possibility that playing in the NFL was over McBrien's head.

Now, McBrien has a good grasp of the West Coast offense the team runs and is in a battle for a backup spot behind Brett Favre and Doug Pederson. Picking up the offense isn't exactly a piece of cake, which shows just how committed McBrien is to making the team.

"It's new terminology, but at Maryland, Coach (Ralph) Friedgen ran a pro style offense that he used in San Diego," McBrien said. "So, a lot of the things are the same, it's just different terminology and it takes awhile getting used to. The more you are in the system and the more reps you get, the more comfortable you get."

That's not to say McBrien has stopped learning or that the system has come easy to him.

"At times, it's been tough to master the offense," McBrien said. "Surprisingly though, I have gotten it down pretty well. There is a lot of verbiage and a lot of wording. Sometimes I want to put the wristband on and just read it off my wrist, but it's only going to make me better in this offense and moving the chains. The coaches know what they are doing and it's worked so far. It will only get better."

Whether McBrien gets better on the Packers' roster is yet to be seen, however. It's been speculated for a couple weeks that McBrien is a likely candidate for the practice squad if the Packers cut him in their roster reduction this weekend. To some, that might be a victory, but not to McBrien.

"My goal is to make the team," McBrien explained. "I don't think much was expected of me originally, but you have to set your goals high or you're not going to achieve anything. Right now, I just look forward to being a part of this team and hopefully it will continue."

McBrien said he couldn't have made it is this far without the help of Favre and Pederson.

"Brett and Doug have been a great help and that's my job to learn from them and absorb as much as I can from them," McBrien said. "They don't have to do that, but they have been great guys to work with and they have been very helpful."

Still, does McBrien really have a chance to make the Packers final roster?

"I have no idea what the Packers or other teams are thinking. I would like to stay here in Green Bay. What a great program to start with. There's great tradition and great people here and I'd be happy to stay here, but if not, maybe it'd work out somewhere else."

What is clear is McBrien's knack for moving the ball and spreading positive energy to his teammates. Whether it's practice or a game, McBrien seems to super-charge the team and give it a sense of confidence. Those are qualities that a quarterback must possess perhaps over anything else.

"The guys have been behind me 100 percent," McBrien said. "If you are confident on the field and you make yourself believe that, your teammates are going to follow behind you. You will feel that way, too. It's good to go out there and run the offense with them behind me."

McBrien knows he can't change his size. He's been this way for a long time and he's learned to live with it. He said he's used to playing at a high level, regardless of what people think of his stature.

"Well, I've had that my whole life," McBrien explained. "Even in college I weighed in at 150 my freshman year. So I've had to deal with it my whole life but it's never really affected me.

"I've seemed to succeed very well in the past so I don't see it bothering me now. I'm happy to be here and I know people will knock my size, but I am just going to play my hardest and get something done."

McBrien has gotten plenty done in his short time in Green Bay. He said that when he went undrafted in April, only one team showed interest in him and that was the Packers. Now, he's at least gotten GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman's attention.

"He's done a couple of things that are interesting," Sherman said of McBrien. "He's pretty athletic. He's the exact same way he was coming out of Maryland. He was a rhythm- tempo type of passer and has exhibited that to us here."

McBrien has one more game (Friday's preseason finale at Tennessee) to prove that he can play quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Whether he makes the team or not, it's safe to say the smallish McBrien has already come up big.

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