The Green Bay Packers fully expect to contend for a Super Bowl championship in 2016. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.
Of course, a big part of that dream rests on the right arm of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He is the face of the franchise and most of the time, the fortune of the Packers rests with him.
But as we all know, nothing can derail a Super-Bowl season faster than an injury or two, especially one to Rodgers.
It’s the job of the Packers to be prepared for this eventuality. However in 2013, when it happened for real, Green Bay was woefully unprepared and it nearly cost the team its season.
This time around, that doesn’t appear to be the case, as the Packers have made the young, but talented Brett Hundley, their backup quarterback for the 2016 season and beyond.
The thing I like about Hundley is his potential. When he entered the draft as a three-year starter from UCLA, many thought he would be an early-round pick. Heck, going into his senior season, many expected him to be a first-round pick.
Unfortunately, for Hundley, the draft didn’t play out that way and he had to wait until the fifth round, when the Packers finally traded up to draft him in 2015. At the time, the move surprised a few people, but in hindsight, it was a move that was both shrewd and calculated.
For one, Hundley is terrifically talented. He’s athletic, has a strong arm and last year in the preseason, he killed it. In his last two preseason outings against the Eagles and Saints, he threw a total of six touchdown passes.
Certainly, it was just preseason, but it was still a very encouraging sign for the Packers organization.
“I want to say he had the best preseason of the NFL last year, he was out there balling,” wide receiver Davante Adams said of Hundley via Packersnews.com. “The sky is the limit for him as well. He is young as well. He has got the wheels and working with Aaron, it’s just a matter of time before he blows up.”
To say Hundley had the best preseason in the NFL might be overstating it a bit. But he definitely did enough to convince general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy, he could be their backup for the foreseeable future or at least the next three seasons.
For years, the Packers seemed to ignore backup quarterback. They seemed to simply cross their fingers and hope, pray even that Rodgers wouldn’t get hurt and if he did, that it wouldn’t be more than a game or two.
In today’s NFL, that philosophy simply doesn’t work. It’s important to invest in a backup quarterback and like many other teams such as the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and others, the Packers chose to invest young and in potential.
Sure, a veteran like Matt Flynn is fine. But a player that like is normally only going to get worse with age, while Hundley, should get better. And now that he will have a full offseason of work in McCarthy’s program, plus all the backup quarterback reps through OTAs and training camp, his quarterbacking skills should grow immensely.
“There was some stuff that he was just out there making plays, which is one of the things we liked about him,” Van Pelt said. “He played a lot of football and it wasn’t too big for him. He made a lot of plays just on ability, which is promising.
“If we can clean it up and get him playing like a Green Bay quarterback with the feet and everything … he has shown tremendous strides since last year.”
Sure Hundley is inexperienced, but experience is something you can gain, talent isn’t.
That’s not to say Hundley is in the same ballpark as Rodgers, that would be foolish, but truthfully, how many quarterbacks are?
Yet, there is no question that Hundley has NFL talent. He has a big arm and with the right coaching, could be a starter someday, although probably not with the Packers.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that if needed, Hundley has all the tools to succeed and if called upon, he may even be able to keep the Packers Super-Bowl hopes afloat for a few weeks, which will be a good feeling to have for the next few years.