Green Bay Packers Week 7 report card: Packers' Brett Hundley off to poor start

By Rob Reischel, The Sports Xchange
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley (7) scrambles away from Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Howard Jones (44) in the third quarter of the Steelers 24-19 preseason win at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley (7) scrambles away from Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Howard Jones (44) in the third quarter of the Steelers 24-19 preseason win at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

GREEN BAY, Wis.-- Brett Hundley was discussing his first NFL start last week, when he dropped a 10-word sentence that left many jaws agape.

"I want to be a Hall of Famer one day," Hundley said.


That day certainly wasn't Sunday. Not even close.

And based on the performance of both Hundley and the Green Bay Packers' offense, the odds of that day ever coming seem long.

After serving a 2 1/2-year apprenticeship behind Aaron Rodgers, Hundley showed he wasn't ready for prime time.

Hundley completed just 12 of 25 passes for a paltry 87 yards, threw one interception and didn't have a touchdown pass. Hundley's disappointing outing and the second-half collapse of Green Bay's defense helped New Orleans roll to a 26-17 win.

The Packers lost their second straight game, fell to 4-3 and head to their bye week one game behind NFC North division-leading Minnesota. And considering Rodgers won't return from his broken right collarbone before Week 15, things look awfully bleak in Green Bay.


"(I) got it under my belt. Didn't win, obviously," Hundley said of his first career start. "We've got to be better, and we will, but we got the first one out of the way. It didn't go the way we planned, and we've got to look at the film and make some adjustments."

For the past 25 years, Packer Nation has been spoiled watching Hall of Famers Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers play the position as well as the all-time greats. Sunday provided a reality check and a reminder how the other half lives.

Rodgers has made 157 starts while in Green Bay (regular season and playoffs). The only time Rodgers had fewer than 87 passing yards in a game that he both started and finished came at Denver in Week 7 of 2015 (77 yards).

Favre started 275 consecutive games in Green Bay between 1992 and 2007 and had fewer than 87 passing yards just once in a game he completed. That came during a wet and rainy 33-6 win in Chicago in 1994, when the Packers built a big lead and ran the ball at will.

Granted, comparing Hundley to Favre or Rodgers is extremely unfair.


But there is a standard of excellence that has been set, and 87 passing yards doesn't come close to meeting it. Hundley's passer rating of 39.9 was also an eyesore, and virtually the same mark that he posted against Minnesota the week before (39.6).

"I don't expect us, with the first time working together, for Brett to throw up 50 points," Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga said. "But you know we definitely have to be more productive. I think everybody expects that and everybody wants that. We'll go back to work tomorrow, correct this."

Hundley made plays with his feet, running three times for 44 yards, highlighted by a 14-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. But Hundley never could get comfortable in the pocket or in sync with his receivers.

Green Bay's leading receiver was tight end Martellus Bennett, who had 17 receiving yards. Pro Bowler Jordy Nelson had one catch for 13 yards, Davante Adams had just two catches for 12 yards and Randall Cobb had two receptions for 15 yards.

"The in-the-pocket stuff, he wasn't comfortable," Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said. "Frankly I was uncomfortable when I was probably calling some things.


"We've got to kind of find our way there. I need to do a much better job with him in the drop-back passing game. He tried to do a little too much. We tried to guard against it, but he's competitive, he made some big, big plays with his feet and we'll grow from that."

The Packers had just 65 net yards in the second half after compiling 195 in the first half. Green Bay also went 0-for-4 on third downs in the second half after going 4-of-7 in the first half (57.1 percent).

"The coaches did a great job of preparing us for this game, and my biggest thing is I didn't play as well as I wanted to," Hundley said. "Especially, I don't care if I throw for 10 yards or 500, if we don't win the game it doesn't matter. So I obviously didn't play good enough today.

"And obviously, it's a first start, offense (is) probably a little different. But at the same time, we still have to execute, and that's the name of the game. We've got to put points on the board, especially when we're playing a big-time offense like New Orleans, we know we're going to have to score, and unfortunately, we just didn't get it done today."


Hundley never seemed to trust his protection and was shaky in the pocket. Once he was on the move, his accuracy was poor. And he never got into any type of rhythm with a group of pass-catchers that are typically in sync with Rodgers.

Hundley also didn't take many shots down the field, even though Green Bay seemingly had some matchup advantages on the outside. That may have been by design, though, as McCarthy tried keeping things as simple as possible for Hundley.

"He did a good job out there," Packers right guard Jahri Evans said of Hundley. "He commanded the huddle, he got the plays in and we've just got to go out there and execute. And we've got to continue to get better every day. It wasn't like we were thinking about doing anything differently. We've just got to go out there and execute the plays that are called."

Green Bay now has 15 days to regroup before it hosts Detroit on Nov. 6. And Hundley knows both he and the offense have to be light years better if the Packers have any chance of surviving without Rodgers.

"I think obviously when 12 (Rodgers) goes out, he's a Hall of Famer, he's a once in a lifetime player and it stinks as an offense to lose a great quarterback like that," Hundley said. "But as a backup I've been learning from him for three years and all I have to say is, don't write us off. I think that's the biggest thing.


"We've got to get better and we will get better, but we're not out (of it). Just because this game (was lost) and we're 4-3 now, we still have everything in front of us. We've got our division games in front of us and we could still win the division and make the playoffs, and down the road if Aaron is healthy and comes back and we're still rolling, he'll be available. But we've got to just win games and keep the season rolling."

For that to happen, better quarterback play is a must.


Strong safety Morgan Burnett has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury and the Packers' defense has missed his leadership and savvy.

"I mean, there's no question Morgan's been our quarterback," Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "He's been around here the longest. You've seen us play him at three different positions.

"You know, before he went down he was our signal-caller and so, all the guys on the defense, I always correlate that with the quarterback position. Guys have confidence, you know in Morgan. And if there's any gray area he's going to try and take the gray area out if it. And so, we'll look forward to hopefully getting Morgan back here after the bye week."



Left guard Lane Taylor missed the game Sunday with an ankle injury. If Taylor can make it back for Green Bay's next game on Nov. 6, the Packers would have their starting offensive line together for just the second time in 2017.

"We've talked about this on a regular basis: The best offensive lines are the ones that line up and play each and every week, and more importantly practice together," McCarthy said. "Yeah that will definitely be a boost just to have the continuity of those five."


Defensive tackle Kenny Clark has gigantic 10 1/2-inch hands. Clark used those big paws to block a Saints' extra point early in the third quarter, which helped Green Bay protect a 14-13 lead at the time.

That was the Packers' first blocked extra point since Datone Jones did it at Cincinnati in Week 3 of 2013.

"Me, Dean (Lowry) and Q (Quinton Dial) got good pressure on the guard, and just looking at the scouting report and knowing where to attack and got a good block on it," Clark said.

NOTES: RB Aaron Jones played 44 of Green Bay's 55 offensive snaps (80.0 percent), while Ty Montgomery played just seven (12.7 percent). ... OLB Ahmad Brooks (back) missed his second straight game. ... ILB Joe Thomas (ankle) missed his third straight game. ... CB Damarious Randall has an interception in three straight games. The last Packer to accomplish that was Casey Hayward from Weeks 5-7 in 2012.



--PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Green Bay's 87 passing yards against one of the NFL's poorest passing defenses was embarrassing.

--RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Green Bay's 181 rushing yards were a season-high. Rookie Aaron Jones led the way with 17 carries for 131 yards and his 46-yard touchdown run on the Packers' opening drive was the Packers' longest since James Starks' 65-yarder against San Diego on Oct. 18, 2015.

--PASS DEFENSE: D -- The Packers intercepted Drew Brees two times, but he threw for 331 yards and completed 71.1 percent of his passes.

--RUSH DEFENSE: D -- New Orleans' Mark Ingram II (22 carries, 105 yards) and Alvin Kamara (9-57) punished the Packers all day.

--SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Packers punter Justin Vogel had a net average of 46.2 and defensive tackle Kenny Clark blocked an extra point.

--COACHING: F -- Green Bay had 10 men on the field on Ingram's 12-yard touchdown run. The offensive game plan was uninspired.

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