WHEN Aaron Rodgers went down on Sunday and didn’t return Packers fans feared the worst. Understandably the majority of them feel like their season is over because their SuperBowl hopes rested on his shoulders and now one of those shoulders has a broken collarbone attached to it. However, fear not Packer fans for a lost 2017 may not be the case, even if Aaron Rodgers fails to return. There is a blueprint for success that can be drawn up to help third year pro Brett Hundley succeed in Wisconsin.
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IF you haven’t heard of Hundley before let me give you a quick history lesson. The former Arizona native was a highly ranked dual-threat quarterback when he declared he would join UCLA in 2011. After redshirting his first season he entered the 2012 season as a team captain and showcased his skills by running for a 72-yard touchdown on his first play as a Bruin. What transpired from there was a great career in California where he went on to become the school’s all-time leader in touchdown throws (78) and passing yards for a single season (3,740) that led to Green Bay drafting him in the 5th round of the 2015 draft (147th overall).
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SINCE then Hundley has only thrown 44 career passes with 33 of those attempts coming last Sunday against the Vikings. It was clear that Hundley struggled mightily against Minnesota throwing three picks, being sacked four times and recording a QBR that ranked as the 163rd worst performance by a quarterback this season (out of 185). You can’t really judge him on that game alone though with Hundley thrown into the fire in a game plan based on Rodgers strengths.
FOR him to succeed Mike McCarthy will need to help put the second string QB in a more comfortable situation. To do that they may opt to build a concrete plan around his preferred passes, style of play and his strengths. One of his strengths is his ability to be a dual-threat player under center and run the ball himself. In college Hundley showcased that he can move the chains with the ball in hand totalling over 1,700 rushing yards and 30 career rushing TD’s. He has shown that skillset in the preseason too illustrated by this impressive 13-yard scramble just a few months ago.
IN fact, when it comes to the preseason, Hundley has dominated. Considering the fact that nobody plays for a big length of time he has made the preseason his own throwing for 315 yards and two scores against the Eagles in Week 3 of the 2015 preseason and one game later putting 236 yards and four touchdowns on the board versus the Saints. Clearly, the preseason is an entirely different ball game, but the numbers are still impressive and noteworthy.
ANYTIME a starting quarterback goes down a popular game plan is usually adopted. Run the ball, play good defense and rely on your kicking game. Luckily for Hundley, he has all three of those things at Green Bay. Ty Montgomery has shown he can be a versatile back with the former receiver turned halfback handily followed up by rookie Aaron Jones (who put up 125 rushing yards in Montgomery’s absence in Week 5). The defense has been great early on too, tying for the league lead in sacks and generally keeping offenses in check. And you all know about Mason Crosby who even at 33 remains one of the best kickers in all of football, having not missed a single field goal all season so far.
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LET’S not be mistaken, Brett Hundley isn’t Aaron Rodgers. In Rodgers last full game against the Cowboys, he passed for more yards than Hundley has in his entire young NFL career. However, there is a chance for him to shine in Green Bay with a talented receiving corp surrounding him. Even if he can play a role as a game manager the Packers could still storm to the NFC North title with the division’s other quarterback situation under just as much scrutiny. Sam Bradford has played a total of 89 snaps, Mitch Trubisky has just two career games under his belt and Matthew Stafford has been visibly hurting and remains banged up heading into Week 7. Don’t lose hope just yet Green Bay.
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