The Green Bay Packers got what everyone might have expected from Brett Hundley in his first career start. That is, not much: 12 of 25, 87 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and not enough points on the scoreboard in a 26-17 loss to New Orleans.
But if the Packers are going to still be around and relevant this season if or when Aaron Rodgers does return from that broken collarbone, it’s really not up to Brett Hundley. It’s up to coach Mike McCarthy.
Brett, he’s not Aaron. I know that’s easy to say. But if you talk to Mike McCarthy he’s going to say, “No, Brett can do this. I’ve trained him for three years and he can make this thing happen. We just have to stick with him and everyone else has to raise their level of play around him.”
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I agree with all of those statements. But I think there’s more that the coaches can do. I think they can adapt the offense to fit Brett and gain a competitive advantage over teams that are used to seeing it.
This is an opportunity to be creative.
Really, I was disappointed in the Packers last week because it was the same offense that I’ve seen Aaron run forever. There’s nothing wrong with that, when Aaron is out there. Aaron is a great player. He can transcend X’s and O’s. But from a creative standpoint, out of 32 teams in the league, I’d put them in the bottom half and that’s being nice. They line up in the same sets all the time, and it works because Aaron is just better than everybody. He’s able to play at a higher level.
With Aaron out, I think there’s a great opportunity there and it’s on the coaching staff, 100 percent.
They saw what they had last week, trying to do it the old-school way, and they just have to tweak it. Mike, he’s a professional football coach. He’s considered by a lot of guys as one of the better head coaches in the league. He has a solid system. He just has to add a couple of wrinkles to keep defenses on their toes, and involving Brett in the run game will get him in the flow early. I think it would go a long way.
If the Packers are going to still be around and relevant this season if or when Aaron Rodgers does return from that broken collarbone it's really not up to Brett Hundley, it's up to coach Mike McCarthy.
Bill O’Brien down in Houston, he was looking for a quarterback to fit his system forever and in all that time he was trying to make these guys do what Tom Brady does. It’s like Aaron. There’s not another Tom Brady floating around out there. He’s a special player.
But as soon as Deshaun Watson stepped in for the Texans, they changed a lot of what they do. Coaches involved him more in the run game, which is exactly what Brett Hundley can do for Green Bay. The quarterbacks have similar skill sets. Deshaun is probably more dynamic, but I don’t think that it’s that significant to where the Packers couldn’t do a lot of the same things.
The run-pass options, they are way up in Houston and the Texans’ point total is way up.
The Packers are at a point that they have to create offense for Brett and the game has moved in such a way that the run-pass option, the zone read involving your quarterback in the run game, it’s in Tennessee, it’s in Houston, it’s in Carolina. Kirk Cousins runs it in Washington. I don’t know that I can name a team that doesn’t involve the quarterback in the run game other than the Patriots. Dallas has Dak Prescott running for a touchdown every other game.
The Packers don’t have to revamp the whole system; they don’t have to tear up the playbook. They can still run that stuff, but they can also be a little more cutting edge and they can make it easier on their quarterback.
After a bye this week, they should come back and do something that showcases Brett, that gives him more of a chance.
Are the Packers going to win the Super Bowl with Brett? I don’t think so. It would have been tough with Aaron, too, with the way they’ve had to bounce around guys up front on the offensive line.
But they do have talent outside. They have a talented running back. Obviously, Ty Montgomery was a good one, but this young kid, Aaron Jones, has come in and given them a spark in the run game. Now, involve the quarterback in the run game and let’s get a couple of easy throws to the outside with one-on-one situations to Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams and let those guys go make plays.
Aaron is going to push as hard as he can to get back on the field as soon as he can before the season gets away from them, but this is a crucial time.
The Packers have the weapons. They can still make something of this and I think they will, but it’s on Mike.
Question of the week
From Sharon Strong: If you are small for you age in junior high, you love your sport but you want to be bigger, should you stay behind one year in junior high hoping you will grow so you can be bigger and stronger when you get into high school?
We do get that a lot now. I’m in that boat where I want to give the kids as much of an opportunity as possible, just as long as it doesn’t effect anything they’re trying to do in school. When you get to some sports that are age-based, it’s not really a big difference, but once you get to high school it does make a difference because there’s a huge difference between a freshman in high school and a senior in high school, in a kid that is 14- or 15-years-old and a kid that is 17- or 18-years-old.
That’s such a big difference and being in that world now, coaching at Bakersfield Christian, I see how big a difference that is competitively.
If you can give them a little bit of a head start, it’s not a bad thing, as long as you don’t have a kid showing up to high school when he’s 17 years old.
I don’t see a lot of negatives to it as long as you do it the right way. As long as it doesn’t affect the child, as long as he’s not upset about it or doesn’t have any emotional issues with it, then I think you can go ahead and feel good about it.
Unfortunately, I see people all the time that abuse it, especially at the younger levels. Let’s not go crazy with this and try to get our kids scholarships when they’re freshmen in high school. I think you can be smart about it if your child is going to be on the young side and he’s maybe a little underdeveloped or maybe you were a late bloomer, then I think you can go ahead make that decision and it won’t affect anything.
David Carr is a former Fresno State quarterback, NFL No. 1 draft pick and Super Bowl champion. Now he’s an analyst for the NFL Network and writing a weekly column in collaboration with The Bee’s Robert Kuwada. The column is sponsored by Valley Children’s Hospital.
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