The Packers fell to the Saints 26-17 in Brett Hundley’s first NFL start. New Orleans dominated time of possession by 13 minutes and out gained Green Bay for more than 200 yards. And yet the most lopsided facet of the game was coaching. Mike McCarthy’s play calling and clock management were abysmal. He approached the game with a “try not to lose” mindset rather than opening up the playbook to allow the young QB to make plays. Or even a mistake for that matter. Hundley impressed early with an inaugural Lambeau leap following a 14-yard scramble to give Green Bay a 14-7 lead. Hundley’s mobility was maybe the only positive takeaway from the Packers new starting QB. It certainly was not his arm as he finished the game 12/25 for 87 yards and an interception.
Aaron Jones was the only bright spot for the Packers offense on Sunday. The rookie out of UTEP rushed for 131 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. Jones leads the team with 215 rush yards despite playing in four out of seven games. His 4.8 yards per carry really sticks out next to Ty Montgomery’s 3.2. Montgomery is still recovering from broken ribs causing his play to suffer. He has rushed for 34 yards on 14 attempts in the last two games. Now could be the time to shelve Montgomery until he is fully healthy.
Rarely has the Packers defense created turnovers this season, however yesterday was an uncommon phenomena. The Packers forced Drew Brees to throw two interceptions in the first quarter. One to Damarious Randall who has three straight games with a pick and the other to Davon House. The Packers drastically needed the defense to make plays and they did for half of the game. The two turnovers were huge momentum boosts yet the offense failed to capitalize with any points.
McCarthy all but held Hundley’s hand on the field. The Packers took essentially no shots downfield and anything over the middle was a no fly zone. One of the few passes Hundley threw over ten yards resulted in an interception.
When asked by a reporter after the game if he felt shackled Hundley responded, “We were just running our game plan.”
“The emphasis today was making plays with my legs,” Hundley said. “1..2..3 get out and make something happen.”
I don’t know if McCarthy thought Hundley was still at UCLA because in the NFL a quarterback makes a majority of his plays using his arm. With a bye week on the horizon, coach should have amble time to get used to the idea of Hundley dropping back and slinging it. Coddling the three year pro is laughable.
This stretch with Hundley will reveal how good McCarthy is as a coach. He was fiery in sticking up for his back-up and it is time for him to prove why. When Belichick lost Tom Brady for the year in 2008 he won 11 games with Matt Cassel. Cassel had been in the organization for four years. A year more than Hundley has with the Packers. Cassel threw for 3600 yards and 21 touchdowns with no true running back. McCarthy has a better than solid rushing attack and a more talented group of receivers than the ’08 Patriots. He needs to show why he is one of the best offensive minds in football.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.