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Thompson comments on Harrell, upcoming roster cuts

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 21, 2012 – 10:31 am

In his weekly training camp briefing with reporters on Tuesday, Packers GM Ted Thompson was asked what he’d like to see from Graham Harrell in the third preseason game, and Thompson acknowledged that a backup QB doesn’t have it easy in the preseason.

“Just continued improvement,” Thompson said. “There’s been a lot of criticism. I think Mike mentioned he graded out much better than you might expect. It’s not always easy during the second half of a preseason game and the chaos is coming at you pretty good.

“He’s a very hard worker. He really likes playing the game of football. He knows the nuances of playing that position. We have faith in a lot of our guys.”

Thompson and the Packers must make the first mandated roster reduction of the preseason by Monday, trimming the roster from 90 to 75 players. The final roster cut, to 53 players, is after the fourth preseason game.

Thompson has spoken often in the past about how much he dislikes releasing players, particularly because he entered the league as an undrafted free agent and was always on edge at cutdown time. Thompson managed to survive and put together a 10-year career in the league, but he knows that’s the exception, particularly for undrafted players.

“Any sort of mandated cuts are always difficult, because you have people that are trying hard to make an impression, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out,” he said. “It’s a hard time.”

That said, Thompson added that he liked the offseason roster expansion from 80 to 90 players this year, even if it means more hard decisions down the road.

“I think it’s good to be able to put your hands on 10 more players in terms of developing,” he said. “You don’t get to have them a whole lot, but you can have them from draft time going forward. I think it’s helpful.”

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Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 55 Comments »

55 Responses to “Thompson comments on Harrell, upcoming roster cuts”

  1. By Dustin on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    Ok so idk if you guys listened to me when I said to get Cedric a few months ago. But that’s tight. So now I have a few more fill in’s. Places we need depth an just straight talent. Phillip Buchanan and Bob Sanders are still in the free agency. Our back field needs help. Sign both. We can use Buchanan as a forth cb also a SS fill in on a rotation with Sam shields. Just think about it. Bob sanders is a FS. He can help the guys we have, an still take us from 28th to 10th in passing defense. With bishop being a slight hurt. Get Shawne Merriman. We run the 3-4. Clay, hawk, Shawne, an a rotation with DJ until bishop is 100%. We have great opportunity to steal players for cheap. Lee Evans is the last steal to grab he can lighten the load on Driver an still give Cobb experience. Just give someone a try. Benson will help like I said a few months ago. Thanks for hearing me out

  2. By Justin on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    Lee Evans? Shawn Merriman? You honestly think we should bring in these free agents? You obviously know nothing about Packers philosophy or the depth we have. Dustin, please think before typing such outrageous comments.

  3. By Doug on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    No Dustin they didn’t make their decision to pickup Cedric Benson because you “said so”. They make their own decisions and I’m sure their thought and planning goes much more in depth than yours does. You just say “hey! let’s pick up every free agent!” even morons like Evans and Merriman. The Packers are above players like that, and management makes their own decisions. There’s a reason they didn’t make that decision for a few months. At the time, Starks and Green were the best options.

  4. By Tarlam on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    The master of talking a lot and saying nothing! Man, as a shareholder, I speak: I am so thrilled my company has TT in charge of ops. By gum. Thanks Packers brass! Great job from my humble vantage point!

  5. By Dustin on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    give me reasons y they shouldn’t sign big talent like Shawne an Lee. An think hard about what Lee has had for a quarter back vs rodgers an compare strength. Shawne man where to start with him. You know y the bills got Mario. It’s because they needed to fill in what Shawne was doing.

  6. By Justin on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    The Packers definitively have more depth at WR than any other team in the league. Although I loved Lee Evans when he was a Badger, there is absolutely no rationale to bring him to GB as we are already having a difficult time deciding which WR’s will make the final roster due to the talent we have..

    Shawne Merriman – is washed up and continues to get cut due not being the same player he once was… This is a young man’s game Dustin, and Merriman will never get to the statistics he did when with the Chargers.

    Are you aware of the Packers philosophy and their approach to professional football? Your comments make you sound incredibly uneducated.. Perhaps jumping ship to the Vikings make sense for you…

  7. By Dustin on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    i’m not going to vicar with fellow packer fans. I’m just stating a case so we dnt have late season problems like we did last year. And no I’m saying to sign every free agent. Because there are reason’s y they are free agents. TT’s plan has always been draft picks. Sometimes we need 5 year players to help develop what we draft. Cheap talent is hard to find. But there are always sleepers….

  8. By MATT on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    JEZZ GUYS GIVE THE GUY A BRAKE, HE WAS JUST PUTING HIS OPINION OUT THERE…THERE’S NO NEED TO SAY SOMETHING LIKE TELLING HIM TO GO TO THE VIKINGS…WE’RE CLASSIER THAN THAT….that being said we should just put our worry’s on TT back, besides we’re lucky to have such a devoted crew attached to our awesome program that is THE GREEN BAY PACKERS!!!

  9. By Robert on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    I think Harrell will improve vs bengals. It’s just a matter of time and I understand there is no much time left. I belive in MM and A-Rod. I see him (GH) trying to impress, but he first needs to go to fundamentals to take pressure out step by step. Also, his teammates need to help him on the field. At the D-force, I still see the same errors at secondary. House was going up, but then he got shoulder injure. I hope Hayward acquire all the concepts fast and apply them on the field. GO PACK GO!!!

  10. By woodiepacker on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    come on harrell been around 3yr almost,and to me he have not got it yet,why whole on to him and everybody know if a-rod go down he can;t get the job done than what trade him off like flinn go get a vet

  11. By Dustin on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    Like who??

  12. By Ross on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply


  13. By Robert on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    So, Harrell has been playing since 3yrs ago? If you remember, Flynn was the backup QB and too many pp thought he couldn’t get the job done if A-Rod was down too. In the way I see Harrell, he is a “rookie” but with concepts knowledge, not with field expertise. Im not saying he is the future star, Im just saying he needs the oportunity to acquire field experience in “real games.” Time in coming out, so his oportunity to show what he has too. He has a lot of pressure in his shoulders to get good and quick results.

  14. By Nathan on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    How nice would it be to steal Jones-Drew from JAX? (I know that would never happen)

  15. By Dustin on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    bicar. Sry

  16. By Chris on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    Nathan, stealing MJD would be amazing but like you said that will never happen. Dustin, I underdstand that you are having fun playing hypothetical GM but you forgot one important fact. Cap space and the financial aspect of the game. The Pack are already facing some tough choices on who to re-sign at the end of the year and bringing in the free agents you mentioned would cost them too much cash. I also wanted to mention that we don’t need a guy like Merriman when we have DJ Smith who proved last year that he is more than capable of filling in for Bishop and we added Nick Perry in the draft.

    I will agree with one of your comments though. Bob Sanders could be a nice pick up for some veteran leadership and depth at a safety position where we are very week and very young.

  17. By Ross on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    Are you trying to say “bicker”? verb- 1. to engage in petulant or peevish argument

  18. By imko4t on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    Time to ask Farve if he well play backup for Rodgers!

  19. By Dustin on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    We dnt need MJD. Cap space isn’t a problem picking up ppl that want to be on a winning team or that have been sitting around for a while. Nick Perry makes # 4 in a 3-4 scheme. And I’m only saying until Bishop comes back from surgery.

  20. By Robert Guensburg on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    To Packer Fans!!!

    Green Bay Packers need to start getting better on defense. Yes! They might be young but you still need leaders on both offense and defense.

    Seems to me that the offense are making to many mistakes! Defense is not playing to their potential.

    I know that too many key players from last year are gone do to injuries or are retired!!!

    Defense still needs more help!!! I mean more pressure from front without tipping of hand as to whether rushing limbackers.

    I think a start to a running game would help the offense.

    Sure, this is not regular season yet!!!

    I think that Shawne Merriman would give Green Bay defense another option but should not be at cost of francise!!!

    I’m a little disappointed in the effort on the defensive side of ball as well as offense. Yes, Matt Flynn would have been good to keep but still should play with heads into game and are not playing college ball. Emotion needs to be in check after making good plays on defense. My other concern is that the defense needs to be at it’s best every game.

    No sense in beating the defense but need to have veterans help the younger players learn from mistakes.

    At this point need to improve on at least putting the defense in less time on field. The offense needs to improve and step up and give the defense some rest!!!

    Regardless, the player being young or a veteran, and you are playing for your jobs. At least play with some emotion or pride.

    Packers have been Winners and the standard for other teams to follow. At the least put more effort in getting to the next level which is to get a win or two under your belt. To see how it is to win instead of lose!!! Play with some heart in the next to pre-season games. The start of season is just around the corner!!


  21. By Bob Wassom on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    I’m a great fan of Graham Harrell. I watched him all through college and know he is a very good player. He hasn’t shown up well in preseason, but in my opinion the offensive line is not helping him a whole lot. They definitely need to pick up their play..I believe if MM & TT will have patience they will be rewarded by Graham. I think with more experience he can match Aaron who is great.

  22. By Bob Wassom on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    During daily updates by MM & TT there are a lot of one-sided comments due to not being able to hear the questions being asked by the reporters. What would be the possibility of the reporters going to a central mike to ask their questions. Sometimes the responses that are given by MM and/or TT are confusing because you don’t hear the question. MM and TT do a good job of explaining, but one sided conversations can be very confusing. Bob…

  23. By Rory on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    Dustin. You are the man. Hey I saw Cullen Jenkins fighting with Andy Reid last night. Do you think there is a chance to trade and get him back. Also I can’t believe that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is charging us to read their article. Guess I will have to rely on Packers.com this season.

  24. By ps on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    Rumor has it that Maurcie Jones Drew may be available? That would be a nice fit.

  25. By Rory on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    MJD would be cool. I laughed when Thompson said he wanted to get his hands on 10 more guys. Pervert! Just kidding I love you man.

  26. By Joanne on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    MJD would be an awesome addition….please!!!

  27. By spike on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    mjd would be a huge mistake, tt is too smart to let that happen, plus no one needs that type of selfish player in the locker room, a short fuse on benson too because he fumbles too much i am surprised we signed him at all + has had character issue in the past, note to dustin the packers do not sign selfish or character issue players you will learn this as time goes on, i like the looks of this boykin kid i am thinking he will make the final 53, as a result we have 6 wrs this year w/ 2 others on the practice squad. looking forward to tomorrow nights game. go pack!

    spike a central florida green bay packer backer.

    ps: graham will be just fine as our back up qb.

  28. By ps on Aug 22, 2012 | Reply

    Spike, your drinking the coolaid that MM and TT are trying to sell us. As if you didn’t notice we have too many receivers and not enough quality in the back field. MJD is not selfish, deserves what he is asking for. They all are overpaid, but if anyone deserves it it his him. Wake up we are in trouble in the backfield. Defense is poor. Don’t care how many receivers we have, it will be the same result as last year if we don’t do something now!

  29. By Sockettuem on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    If we need talent, it’s on the offensive line, not in the receiving corps. We need a solid running back and a pass rush on defense as well. Little doubt there will be arguement over the need for a decent backup at the QB position. TT is defending Harrell (and I am loathe to question him) but so far, the guy is downright awful.

  30. By ryan on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    Evans and Merriman are washed up. Merriman has not even been clost to the same player and would be a waste of a roster space. MJD is interesting but by the time he is in camp, and the money he would be paid I just dont see that working out.

    Harrell will be molded into a solid backup just like the last 6 ….. hasselback brooks detmer flynn brunnel rodgers…… they were all capable after a couple years with the pack.

  31. By Perry West on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    Wow some of you guys have some strange ideas. Shawne Merriman? I’m not going to say the guys washed up but he only could play in 5 games with Buffalo on account of injuries. Don’t care what the guy has left in the tank. Thats just not good enough.
    Comments like Bob Sanders could take our defense from 26th to 10th is just insane. There is not one player in the league that could do that. Maybe Reggie White could have an impact, but i’m pretty sure he’s not available. I know tt is a miracle worker but hey he’s not that good!
    Come on guys we were 15-1 with last years defense. We are not that far away. Hayword & Worthy and N. Perry will help the Packs defense get better. Quit complaining about the cooking.
    MJD would be a terrible pick up for the Pack, he thinks he’s more important then the rest of the team. He’s got two years left on his contract and walked out on the team. Thats a problem. A-Rod could do the same thing but he don’t.
    Last thing, please leave Graham Harrell alone. He’s going to be fine. Last week he played with the 2nd string o-line that played like crap, the w.r are dropping his passes plus he’s playing with w.r’s he’s not seen before. I’m not saying he’s perfect but good lord man cut the guy some slack! If he was that crappy don’t you think mm and tt would have dumped him by now or traded for Colt McCoy? Thanks for reading

  32. By Sockettuem on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    Sorry, Perry, can’t leave Harrell “alone” until he shows us something. “Will be” isn’t good enough in this league. It’s must be. Agree on Merriman and MJD, they would be a waste, but we need to be in the hunt for a reliable, half decent back up at QB. Harrell is not that guy in my opinion. He never will be, even if TT believes something magical is about to happen with the guy.

  33. By Rodell on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    Geeze guy’s he was just stating his opinion, wow. Anyways i agree with this game and maybe the next one being the last chance Harell will get to prove himself to be a viable backup. If he stinks it up then he’s either demoted to third string or he may even be cut, and TT may look to bring in a proven vet like say Mcnabb or Jeff Garcia which as of right now wouldn’t be a bad ideal.

  34. By geewiz kid on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply


  35. By drom9090 on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    Its the running game and defense that’s killing the Pack right now. Not backup QB. Even Matt Flynn doesn’t look like Matt Flynn in the Seahawk offense right now. Harrell probabily’d look better throwing to Finley and Jennings rather than hand the ball off at all. And there’s nothing Harrell can do about the defense.

  36. By drom9090 on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    FAVRE? Bring back the not interested in being backup or in mentoring Aaron Rodgers Favre?. What kind of **** move would that be?

  37. By drom9090 on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    Bring on MJD… I concur if that the money can be squared. Otherwise, at least give CB a chance.

  38. By drom9090 on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    No trade for dd #80… ever. He deserves to retire a Packer.

  39. By Perry West on Aug 23, 2012 | Reply

    “that’s killing the Pack right now” 15-1? what?

  40. By Sockettuem on Aug 24, 2012 | Reply

    Horrible Harrell is living up to the moniker. All excuses aside, folks. We’re in big trouble with this guy as our primary back-up. Pray Aaron stays healthy.

  41. By Jeff on Aug 24, 2012 | Reply

    We could use some help on Defense still – and if there is a veteran free agent that can still play at a high level I trust that TT and MM are looking at them as options. We signed Benson who has a somewhat troubled past so they’re not opposed to picking up players in key positions, but it has to be the right move.

    One thing to note – our Defense will be better at the fundamentals this year. We lost against the Giants because we were trying to make a big play on every down – we need to tackle and get the offense back on the field… not just look for Int’s or Force Fumbles.

    All in ill – 12-4 this season takes the division and puts us in the driver seat for the playoffs.

    Of course that only happens if Rodgers stays healthy or we go get McCoy or even T. Jackson as a back-up. I agree we should keep Harrell and try and develop him – but we can’t count on him to win games!

  42. By cheeseheadzone on Aug 25, 2012 | Reply

    Packers need to make a move and go with Colt McCoy. It would be good for the Packers and good for Colt McCoy. I get into detail why at http://cheeseheadzone.com/colt-mccoy-green-gold/

  43. By mark hirtreiter on Aug 25, 2012 | Reply

    trade or release driver?!. must of slept with a viking hag!

  44. By gbpfan4life on Aug 25, 2012 | Reply

    o-line needs to pass and run block better!. saw a-rod running too much, with running backs running into walls. savy vets like a-rod, and benson make o-line look better than they actually are. holes to run through were not there. bensons vision saw cut back lanes when the play design broke down. our offense still is our BEST defense. keeping a-rod vertical passing, with benson improving our running game enables us to both score huge points and play clock control keeping opposing offenses off the field. even if the defense improves slightly, the road to the super bowl rests on our o-line to do their jobs so the skill players on offense can do theirs. go pack go. rest of league, start calling 911. were coming!

  45. By zangwhang on Aug 25, 2012 | Reply

    Repeat after me: IN TED AND OUR COACHES I TRUST.

    And watch & enjoy.

    Ted Thompson, in my opinion, has done a terrific job of maintaining excellence in this organization. Think about losing a “marquee” player like Brett Favre, and replacing him with someone who’s doing even better? What are the odds? Slim to none. This is excellence in front office staff and coaching.

    Our defense will improve, they spent our picks where we needed it. Just enjoy the ride.

  46. By Bob Wassom on Aug 25, 2012 | Reply

    I’m a big believer in letting the coaches make 100% of the decisions regarding their players. They know 100% of what is going on in their camp and they don’t need a lot of outside help from busybodies. Example…There are way too many suggestions about going for Colt McCoy. I watched Colt and Graham play against each other for 4 years in college and they are both very good….just about equal in my opinion. Colt made it to the pros first so he has an little more NFL experience, BUT GRAHAM HAS WAY MORE EXPERIENCE WITH THE GREEN BAY PACKERS SYSTEM. Please back off on Colt McCoy and LET THE COACHES DECIDE WHAT IS BEST FOR THE GREEN BAY PACKERS. Thanks, Bob…

  47. By Sockettuem on Aug 25, 2012 | Reply

    Agree with Cheeseheadzone. Horrible Harrell has got to go. I trust Ted and Mike, but not Harrell. Ted and Mike shouldn’t trust him either. Believe me, when he is cut nobody will be racing to snatch him up.

  48. By animal lover on Aug 25, 2012 | Reply

    I agree that there is reason to be concerned with Harrell but I don’t really see any exciting choices out there to replace him. Hopefully with the first string O line and receivers he can do better. I wished we picked up Russell in the draft. I loved watching him in Wisconsin and he may take the 1st spot in Seattle over Flynn! The O line also needs to give Aaron the chance to throw. Aaron’s rushing for 2 TD’s was impressive but if his O line would give him the protection he needs, he’d have the chance to throw the ball and wouldn’t have to become the team’s lead rusher. The D is also not stopping the rush as well as they need to.

  49. By Bob Wassom on Aug 25, 2012 | Reply

    The offensive lines have Aaron on the move and the second and third string line have Graham on the move as well. With the new defensive folks the team will be better…now they may need to work on the offensive lines as well. Have a little more patience with Graham…he is a much better QB than he has shown in the 3 pre-season games. Bob…

  50. By Deacon Dave on Aug 26, 2012 | Reply

    Starting o-line did not impress at cincy game. Backups look horrid, especially at tackle. Need to protect our franchsise qb. Look for a vet who may not make final cuts because of cap space or odd man out.

  51. By Sockettuem on Aug 27, 2012 | Reply

    Harrell has a QB rathing of 53.7? Those are not numbers you want from a QB who is just an ankle sprain away from taking over your offense. Bob declares he is a big believer in letting the coaches make the decisions and that is fine but they still make mistakes as we have seen. Being a stockholder, not a busybody, I will offer my opinion. Harrell is horrible and at some point even the coaches need to look at the guy and admit it. With an offensive line that has zero depth, you need a back up QB who is at least not going to throw a TD pass per game to the opposition defense.

  52. By Bob Wassom on Aug 27, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Sockettuem…as I remember it Aaron threw a pass to the opposition in the last game. Sure, he is a great QB, but he is not perfect and neither is Graham. As far as that goes neither is Colt McCoy in case you are one of those on his bandwagon. Even with all the cat calls recently, I’m still pulling for Graham as I know he is a very good QB. Bob…

  53. By Sockettuem on Aug 28, 2012 | Reply

    Bob, 0ne might be able to forgive Harrell the horrible if he didn’t have a record of providing the opposition a TD in every game and had a QB rating that even approached the two thirds mark of Rodgers. He doesn’t and never will. The guy is a dud. Does anybody believe Harrell is suddenly going to have an epiphany and do a marginally credible job? You can defend him till cows fly but it will not change the fact he suffers from a fatal flaw: He can’t play professional football. Should we have to replace Rodgers with somebody like him, even if it is just for a few games, it’s a season ender. I am not endorsing anybody else, that will be Ted Thompson’s call, but Harrell is not the guy for the job.

  54. By Bob Wassom on Aug 28, 2012 | Reply

    Sockettuem….I respect your opinion and disagree with it. I don’t know Graham personally, but have been pulling for him for a long time. My hometown is Lubbck, TX. where Graham played his college ball so I’ve seen him in some up & down times and still believe he can make the grade. I will definitely back MM & TT decisions, but I hope he breaks out of the doldrums and plays like he is capable.

  55. By Sockettuem on Aug 29, 2012 | Reply

    Bob, loyalty is a good thing, indeed something to be admired, but in this league it is about performance. The man in the most critical position can either make or break the team. Harrell had a QB rating of 49.3 in the game against the Bengals. If there had been some tangible improvement game to game, one might be able to say “OK, lets be patient with this guy, he is coming along.” Reality however, has shown us otherwise. Maybe there is a place for Harrell on the practice squad or NFL Europe. But judging from what I have seen up to this point, his progress meter is pegged at zero. Just how long is long enough? Three games, six games, a dozen? There comes a point when you have to admit the guy is not cutting it. Think of it this way, it’s akin to saying I did a good job for my last employer when pleading to keep your current job after repeated failures.

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