Brett Hundley Is In, and for Mike McCarthy the Pressure Is On

How the Packers can approach what was once unthinkable: a prolonged stretch without all-world QB Aaron Rodgers. Plus, a wild football Sunday in Week 6, including two mammoth upsets and the last unbeaten falling
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From the latest episode of The MMQB: 10 Things Podcast, hosted by Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling. Subscribe here and have it in your feed early Monday morning every Monday morning . . .

ANDY: Where do they go from here then, Gary? What do they do? And you might have to do the talking because Brett Hundley is not someone I’m familiar with because, until today and I obviously haven’t seen the film of the game yet, he has not taken any meaningful NFL snaps. Can they redefine the offense? They’re gonna have to do something, how much can they do? I mean, they’re in a tough spot here. You and I have a different philosophy, I know, you kind of like it when the backup QB is different than the starter stylistically. I prefer to have them be similar. There is no one similar to Aaron Rodgers, so I guess you win this round.

GARY: I mean, ideally you want a guy who is good and similar to your starter. I prefer the sort-of playground creator-type of guy if you’re talking about, like in Dallas, if you’re talking about a Kellen Moore-type or Cooper Rush, whoever is No. 2 in Dallas right now, or you have a Mark Sanchez-type as your No. 2. I prefer a guy who maybe has some unique skills that don’t necessarily translate to a traditional pro-style offense. That’s kind of what Hundley is. Hundley came out of UCLA in [2015], a fifth-round pick of course, he’s been in the system for a while. Yes, he hasn’t been on the field, maybe he’s had a chance to improve a little bit, obviously he hasn’t gotten a lot of practice reps either since Aaron Rodgers has not missed any time since Hundley came into the league. He’s mobile, he can run around, and you cross your fingers and hope he’s developed as a passer. But I guess the question is, can you take a guy like this, can Mike McCarthy just go to work and pull a couple all-nighters this week and maybe reinvent the run game and put some creative designs in there. And that can be something they can buy some time with at this point. And, again, Rodgers might be out for the year and the Packers are not going to win the Super Bowl with Brett Hundley in all likelihood, especially with this defense, but can you get a couple of weeks where you can roll out some new things that no one has seen on film in the run game, and sort-of build it that way.

ANDY: Yeah, that’s gonna be Part A of that discussion. And Part B of the discussion is what do they do in the passing game. Because at the end of it, the only time I’ve ever seen a team just run the ball and do nothing else over the course of a season was the Tim Tebow Broncos that year. And that didn’t work. It worked for a little while, they got to the playoffs, that was a nice season they had, but that was not sustainable over the long haul. And I guess we’re not talking about sustainability past this season, but let’s assume they can’t run the ball 35 times a game for 200 yards. Let’s just set it there, and then we say, Well, what do you do in the passing game? And the interesting part, I think there are two parts that are interesting here Gary, one is that it’s not an overly complex offense. We’ve been over that before. Slants and flat routes and those things mixed together usually, that’s the backbone of the offense. The other thing you mentioned is, the runaround guy, the sandlot type of guy, if Hundley can be that type of guy this is a team that practices that stuff. And they don’t just practice it like, O.K. run around now everyone get comfortable with Aaron making a play, they have some very specific rules in their scramble drills. Their scramble drills are basically extensions of their offense, the way they play. They have very specific rules that they practice and that guys have learned over time, and the new guy, Martellus Bennett, he told our Jenny Vrentas the other day, he said he went up to Rodgers on the field after his big catch [in Dallas] and said, Hey Aaron, I finally got the scramble drill figured out! It’s a mental thing. So, they’re set up to just plug in somebody and let him run around. That will not disrupt the offense the way it would with a lot of other teams.

GARY: Another problem here is that the Packers just lost three offensive linemen in this game: Bryan Bulaga with a concussion, David Bakhtiari with a hamstring and Lane Taylor with an ankle injury. So, even if you were gonna say, Maybe we can do the Jaguars-type of thing where we’re just gonna hammer away with the run game and set up some easy play-action stuff and hopefully protect some leads here, that seems like it probably went out the window with all the injuries up front. So, Mike McCarthy . . . [unintelligible grunt] . . . there’s a little bit of sensitivity in Green Bay about how Mike McCarthy is perceived, and everyone sort of heaping the praise on Aaron Rodgers all the time and overlooking McCarthy a little bit . . .

ANDY: Here’s his chance!

GARY: This is kind of a Mission: Impossible so I don’t want to be like, Oh, yeah, see this guy can’t coach, he can’t win games with Brett Hundley on short notice here with no offensive line. But yeah, this is . . . this is rough.

ANDY: It sounds like they’ll have to do that scramble drill, they’re gonna have to do it then if they’ve got all that offensive line issues as well. We’ll see, they’re 4-2, they have some cushion, maybe we find out the injury’s not as bad. I mean it’s a broken bone, but what kind of break, we’ll see. Let’s keep the optimistic side open, but, you gotta keep playing football too. You can’t just stop the season. They’re 4-2, they’re in first place still, they’re tied for it, Minnesota’s got the tiebreaker obviously. Minnesota’s got a quarterback who’s hurt as well, so this is not an exclusive Packers issue.

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No matter what Andy claims, Week 6 was mind-bending. The show’s outline and time stamps are below, so you can re-live it all through the magic of podcasting.

But really, you should subscribe to The MMQB: 10 Things Podcast! That way, you’ll have it in your feed early Monday morning every Monday morning (for non-subscribers, there is a lag).

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This week’s show:

1. Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, what now Mike McCarthy?—1:30

2. Roethlisberger finally catches a break and the Chiefs finally lose a game, Martavis Bryant reportedly requests a trade—11:39

3. Mind-blowing upset No. 1: Overmatched Giants cruise to victory in Denver—22:29

4. Mind-blowing upset No. 2: Dolphins fall behind 17-0 in Atlanta and decide to win anyway—32:08

5. Adrian Peterson leads the Cardinals’ 2008 All-Stars—35:31

6. Derek Carr and the Raiders look like a shell of themselves, Chargers win one late!—39:18

7. Patriots survive East Rutherford with the help of a controversial rule which Andy and Gary then fix—44:48

8. C.J. Beathard leads the 49ers to another moral victory, this time in Washington— 54:43

9. The Lightning . . . ish . . . Round! (Saints D does it again, loading up on points in high-scoring win over Detroit, Rams-Jaguars score a ton of points early then punt a lot then Rams win, Trubisky manages the Bears to an OT win over hapless Ravens, Deshaun Watson held to three TD passes by Cleveland, NaVorro Bowman should go to Oakland which he did after we taped)— 1:00:02

10. Weekly Awards—1:07:47

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