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Green Bay Packers: Mike Sherman talks Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley

By Alex Butler
Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman looks at the scoreboard while playing against the Chicago Bears during the second quarter in 2005 at Soldier Field in Chicago. File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI Photo
Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman looks at the scoreboard while playing against the Chicago Bears during the second quarter in 2005 at Soldier Field in Chicago. File photo by Brian Kersey/UPI Photo | License Photo

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- He might be one of the reasons why Aaron Rodgers is a member of the Green Bay Packers, but Mike Sherman says the team can win without him.

Sherman spoke to UPI on Friday about the Packers' quarterback situation. Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone in the Packers' 23-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 15 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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After the injury, the Packers signed Jerod Evans to the practice squad and placed Rodgers on injured reserve. Green Bay promoted Joe Callahan from the practice squad to back up Hundley on the active roster.

The Packers (4-4) are 0-3 since losing Rodgers. Green Bay was 4-1 in the five games before Rodgers' injury.

"It's hard to replace a future Hall of Fame quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, so the expectation levels that [Hundley] would have to have [are] about that of an Aaron Rodgers at this point in his career," Sherman told UPI. "He has a great opportunity to step out. I'm sure some of the game plan is modified to fit his skill level as opposed to what fit Aaron."

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"They have a great staff of coaches over there. They will figure out the best way to win the football game without Aaron Rodgers. They've done it before and I'm sure they'll do it again. He's a great player however; he changes how the defense plays. He changes how the offense plays. He's a big factor, so like I said, they've got a great group of coaches over there and they'll figure this out."

Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Hundley (7) will make his third career start Sunday against the Chicago Bears. File photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI

Hundley, 24, had never earned an NFL start entering the 2017 season. He was a fifth round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft out of UCLA. The 6 foot 3, 227 pound passer has completed 58.8 percent of his throws for 489 yards, a touchdown and four interceptions in four games this season.

Hundley was compared to former Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell in his 2015 NFL.com scouting report.

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"Someone will draft him, but I don't think he will ever be a starter. He can't read coverages and struggles to process," an AFC scout said of Hundley before the draft, according to NFL.com. "It is going to take a few years before he looks like a backup in my opinion. He has a long way to go."

Sherman, who was the coach of the Packers when the franchise drafted Rodgers with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft despite the team having Brett Favre at the helm, said Rodgers has the same amount of weight on his shoulders as the NFL's most elite gunslingers.

"Someone always steps up when someone goes down," Sherman said. "From wherever they come from players will step up. As I mentioned, Aaron Rodgers has a lot of weight on his shoulders. Now another player will say I gotta do more. And another player will say I gotta do more. Sometimes, even though this adversity is as tough as it is, players rise to the occasion being presented to them. I think the Packers will rise to the occasion they are presented with, that's without Aaron."

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The Packers fired Sherman in 2006, following a 4-12 season. It was his only losing record in six seasons with the franchise. Sherman's Packers went to the playoffs four consecutive seasons from 2001 through 2004.

"I think with any premier quarterback in the NFL there is always a lot on your shoulders," Sherman said. "I don't think it's any more or less for Aaron than it is for some of these other premier quarterbacks. I'm sure Tom Brady feels there Is a lot on his shoulders. Drew Brees feels there is a lot on his shoulders. I don't think there is anymore or any less."

Sherman said he couldn't comment on if the Packers should add a more experienced quarterback to their active roster because he hasn't "studied their depth chart."

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers owns a 94-47 record as a starting quarterback during his 13-year NFL tenure. Hundley is 0-2 in his two starts, since being picked up by the Packers in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Photo courtesy of the Green Bay Packers/Twitter

He also said the Packers knew early on that Rodgers would be a good quarterback. That was despite limited reps in practice behind a seasoned Favre.

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"But you knew he could be a good quarterback, Sherman said. "His ability to escape pressure, being calm under pressure, his running and throwing on the run, his ability to make all the throws outside the pocket as well as inside the pocket."

"I don't know if anybody can say they saw all of those things when he was a rookie, but we knew he was a student of the game. I know he really watched Brett and how Brett did things. I think he benefited from those years of watching Brett and has defenitley capitalized on that, but also his own ability. He has developed his arm strength and abilty to escape. He's just such a tremendous quarterback, not just for the Packers, but historically in the National Football League."

Hundley will make his third career start Sunday against the Chicago Bears, a defense that has allowed the fewest passing touchdowns in the NFC this season.

"When I'm out there I just like chewing my gum and having fun," Hundley told reporters Wednesday. "I just try to have fun. This is a game of football we are blessed to be playing. The name of the game is winning, but at the same time I can't do something that's not me. I'm just to make this thing go. I have to play my game and that's the best I can give to this team. If I do more than me, I'm getting out of my comfort zone and things probably won't go right."

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"When I'm out there I'm myself. I never have and never will try to be Aaron. But I learn from Aaron. So there are small things that Aaron learned from Brett. And there are small things that Brett learned from Aaron. So I'm sure on tape you will see some things that Aaron does, but at the same time it's just those things that I've picked up and implemented into my game. But at the end of the day, I'm still me.

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