QB B.J. Coleman shows better command of Packers offense : Packers Insider

QB B.J. Coleman shows better command of Packers offense

May 12, 2013 by  
Filed under News

By Tom Silverstein, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

~GREEN BAY – This is how different things are for Green Bay Packers second-year quarterback B.J. Coleman:

During a rookie orientation camp practice Friday inside the Don Hutson Center, Coleman came up to the line of scrimmage, got his receivers lined up in the right place, barked out the signals and then did what he couldn’t do a year ago at this time.

He dropped back fluidly, read how the safeties had split wide, spotted that his tight end had bent his route to the post and then fired a shot down the middle of the field that dropped right into the fingertips of undrafted free agent Jake Stoneburner.

At this time a year ago, Coleman, a seventh-round pick out of Tennessee-Chattanooga, was up at the line mostly hoping he knew the play that was called in the huddle.

B.J. Coleman hopes to push Graham Harrell for the Packers' backup QB job.

“From Year 1 to Year 2, you’re making that jump from doing it to why you did it,” Coleman said Saturday. “Sometimes when you get thrown into that rookie camp for the first time, it’s like, ‘I’m trying to survive. Where’s the open guy?’

“This year, it’s Cover-2, guy splits the seam, get the ball up and down over the top, get the ball to the tight end, give him a chance to catch and carry.”

Right after Coleman high-fived with a teammate, there was coach Mike McCarthy, up in his face.

Only this time, he wasn’t telling Coleman what he should have done. He was asking him why he did what he did. Justify your throw and talk about what you would have done had things been slightly different.

“He was like, ‘If this happened, what would you have done?’ ” Coleman said. “It’s what you have to prepare yourself for because really and truly in this game you have to expect the unexpected.

“Anything can happen. (There could be) a blown coverage and sometimes if you’re too robotic you get upset because you’re like, ‘You’re supposed to be here.’ But that’s the beauty of the game.”

And it’s the advanced position Coleman finds himself in entering his second season.

Eligible to practice with the rookies because he was on the practice squad last year, Coleman is relishing the role of knowing the offense better than any other player on the field. Instead of running the opponents’ offense, which is the job he shared with backup Graham Harrell all of last season, Coleman is running the offense Aaron Rodgers runs.

If you were to pick between Harrell and Coleman based on physical talents, Coleman would win in a landslide. He’s 6 feet 3 inches, 231 pounds with a chiseled body and a big arm. Size and strength just aren’t the 6-2, 215-pound Harrell’s forte.

But what Harrell has and Coleman wants is a keen understanding of the offense, quick decision-making ability and the footwork that allows the ball to come out of his hand almost as quickly as the decision is made.

“I think the biggest thing for me, the biggest jump that I’ve felt other than obviously diving into the X’s and O’s, is synching myself up with the wide receivers and tight ends and running backs, so I can put ourselves in the best chance for success,” Coleman said. “That’s what it really comes down to. You have to play fast, make good decisions and think on your feet. That’s kind of the whole game.”

Coleman has benefited from watching Rodgers for a year and said he has tried to be like a sponge, sopping up every bit of knowledge he can from the veteran. Known as a film-room junkie, Coleman has had to spend a lot of time there catching up on some of the things he missed playing at a small college.

More of a pocket passer than Rodgers and Harrell, Coleman has to prove he can be elusive and throw on the run to do the things McCarthy expects. There will never be any question about his arm strength or toughness, so it’s just a matter of refining his game.

McCarthy said after practice Friday he expected Coleman to be way ahead of the rookies given his experience and would have been disappointed if he wasn’t correcting other players and making sure the offense was running smoothly.

“I thought B.J. exhibited that today as far as his command in the huddle, where to go with the football and doing things because obviously he’s been here going through the off-season program with the rest of the team,” McCarthy said. “Based on what I saw, I was pleased.”

Coleman said he has not wasted the time he has spent with Rodgers. He knows it’s an opportunity to learn about the offense that few quarterbacks get and he doesn’t want to squander it.

The one thing he is careful not to do is copy too much.

“You don’t try to be (him), but you try to take the things that he does that you like that fit your game and you incorporate it,” he said. “You don’t want to be someone (else). You want to say, ‘I like this, I’m going to add this to my arsenal.’

“But when you go out there, you have to be relaxed and have fun. I think that’s the difference, too. I feel comfortable to where I’m going out there and I’ve got the guys laughing and relaxed and that’s important.”

When organized team activities begin in a week, Coleman will be back to going head-to-head with Harrell for the spot behind Rodgers. Harrell didn’t distinguished himself in the preseason or in the little action he saw last year, but he’s only a year ahead of Coleman and is aiming to sharpen his game, too.

Harrell got more playing time than any of the three quarterbacks during the 2012 preseason, throwing a team-high 78 passes to Coleman’s 18. Harrell’s passer rating was 78.2, and Coleman’s was 29.2.

This year, it’s likely the repetitions will be spread more evenly between Harrell and Coleman so the coaches can set up a fair competition. Coleman has to show that he’s capable of handling the full offense.

“I think the most important thing is to …   full story here

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