When Aaron Rodgers hit the turf under the weight of Anthony Barr, the entirety of Packer Nation held their breath. Rodgers was clearly upset with the tackle, uttering profanity at the Vikings’ linebacker, and as he was being carted off, the worst possible image crossed the screen—as backup QB Brett Hundley went to high five the two-time MVP, Rodgers couldn’t even raise his right hand, forecasting the inevitable—the face of the Green Bay Packers was going to miss significant time.
Now, naturally, rumors surfaced about potentially signing Colin Kaepernick or Tony Romo (Romo was born to be in the broadcast booth, keep him there)—both viable options, but Mike McCarthy has already dismissed the notion of bringing in another QB option, stating, “I’ve got three years invested in Brett Hundley, two years in Joe Callahan, the quarterback room is exactly where it needs to be.” There’s been a lot of talk about how the Packers are “doomed”, and the season is down the tubes, and these talks are probably warranted. Rodgers’ play hid many of the Packers weaknesses, and now that he’s gone, it’s up to McCarthy and the rest of the team to keep moving forward.
But if any quarterback is going to lead the Packers to a successful season, it has to be Hundley—yes, his performance against Minnesota was subpar, but expectedly so—being thrown onto the field against an elite defense with no offensive preparation would trouble any backup quarterback. With a week to prepare, Hundley will be better—he’ll make his first start in the comforts of Lambeau Field against a notoriously quarterback-friendly Saints defense. Hundley won’t bring everything Rodgers brought to the table, this much is certain—but the third-year quarterback out of UCLA is no slouch. His athleticism rivals that of Rodgers, and has shown signs of accuracy over the course of the preseason and last week versus the Vikings.
Hundley’s physical attributes are not what will win the Packers games—it’s his attitude. He knows who he is replacing, stating “Aaron’s a Hall of Famer, and I want to be a Hall of Famer one day. I will lead this team.” (quote courtesy of ESPN) Not “I CAN” lead this team, but “I WILL”. This is exactly the sort of confidence that a young quarterback needs—will it translate to the field? Time will tell, but this team must run through Hundley now.