QB Hundley eager for his chance
GREEN BAY, Wis. — For one training camp practice, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was back on the Green Bay Packers’ scout team. The two-time NFL MVP took every snap, throwing the ball to relatively unknown rookies or undrafted free agents like they were Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb.
“Well yeah, today’s a day where it’s probably the toughest practice that I’ve had all training camp. I took every ‘look team’ rep,” Rodgers said with a laugh.
It was probably more work than Rodgers will get tonight, when the Packers host the Philadelphia Eagles in the teams’ preseason opener. If practice reps were any indication, backup Brett Hundley will get the start.
Don’t expect Rodgers to be hovering over Hundley on the sideline.
“I’m not going to flood him with information. He knows what he’s doing. He’s a smart kid, he prepares really well and he’s going to be ready to play,” Rodgers said.
Hundley, a fifth-round draft pick in 2015 out of UCLA, is going into his second season as Rodgers’ backup. It is a thankless job, because if things are going right for the Packers in the regular season, Hundley will never take a meaningful snap.
So preseason is the time for Hundley to impress coach Mike McCarthy. An ankle injury in August 2016 prevented Hundley from getting extensive experience last preseason.
“It’s a little hard when you get put in at the end of the games and you get a drive or two to get out there,” Hundley said.
“I feel like this is the time I’ll be able to get some rhythm down … and get back out there and have some fun and maybe get hit once or twice.”
The last thing the Packers need is for Rodgers to get hit hard in a preseason game. Developing timing and a rapport with receivers is always important. Still, entering his 13th season in the league and 10th as a starter, Rodgers probably doesn’t need much time to get ready anyway.
An experienced receiving corps led by Nelson, Cobb and Davante Adams has been buttressed by the addition of veteran tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks in free agency. Holdover tight end Richard Rodgers has also had a good camp.
Green Bay is hoping to get off to a better start than last season, when the passing game looked a little disjointed and running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks were hurt. The Packers were 3-2 and 4-6 before closing the regular season with six straight victories to take the NFC North title.
Rodgers said a key is to figure out the right personnel groups from the start.
“And you know we’ve been working on some things, we’ll start to work on some more stuff as a Number 1 group as the weeks progress as we get more playing time in the preseason,” Rodgers said. “But to me it’s all about the identity. I don’t think it’s about reps, it’s just finding how we’re going to start the season and what kind of team we want to be on offense.”