With Aaron Rodgers out with a broken collarbone, the Green Bay Packers will have had a full week to prepare for their next opponent when New Orleans visits Lambeau this Sunday. The Saints (3-2) have won three straight following an 0-2 start and suddenly look like one of the better teams in the NFC. They also have that one guy, Drew Brees, who has 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions on the season.
Ultimately, what should be expect from the Packers this Sunday sans No. 12?
“I think they’ll respond with a terrific effort,” NFL Network and NFL on FOX analyst Charles Davis said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “I think they felt a little (shellshocked) in Minnesota when the leader went down. People were looking at each other. Randall Cobb and Davante Adams have never played with another quarterback when it’s counted, and there was a shot of them on the sideline just kind of staring at each other. No one was saying anything. And you now how it is with cameras. I’m in the TV business. Sometimes a shot doesn’t tell you what it really should tell you. I thought it was an interesting look after Aaron and gone down, those two just looking at each other. You could put that little meme or a capsule like, ‘Oh, boy. What now?’ Because this is uncharted territory for them. Aaron Rodgers has taken a lot of shots over time. He’s always gotten up.”
This time, however, he didn’t. Rodgers had played in 15+ games in eight of the previous nine seasons. The one time he didn’t was 2013, when he, yes, broke his collarbone.
“Here’s the other part, too,” Davis said. “In the past when Aaron has gotten hurt, the guys that were behind him often hadn’t been with the team. Seneca Wallace was the first guy to come in when Aaron broke his collarbone in 2013. He wasn’t with the team when the season began. Matt Flynn was the one who kind of stabilized things. He went 2-2 before Aaron made it back. This situation is a little different.”
The Packers are turning to their homegrown talent, Brett Hundley, a 2015 fifth-round draft pick who is in his third season in Mike McCarthy’s system. Hundley didn’t look great last Sunday in Minnesota, going 18-of-33 for 157 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, but that performance should be taken with a grain of salt.
“I don’t care how Hundley looked on Sunday,” Davis said. “That’s a tough situation to get thrown into against one of the better defenses in the league. He’s been with this team for three years. He’s been in the system. He knows all the play calls. He’s worked with Mike McCarthy.”
On the flip side, Brett Hundley’s solid preseason numbers should be taken with a grain of salt as well.
“Preseason is a whole different animal. We know that,” Davis said. “I’m seeing all these incredible numbers he put up in preseason, and I’m kicking them out the door. I don’t care. That means nothing to me. The Seattle Seahawks decided to sign Charlie Whitehurst off of preseason tape. How did that work out?”
Terribly. Whitehurst went 84-of-155 (54.2 percent) for 805 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions in nine games for Seattle in 2010-11.
“I get why you do it,” Davis said of preseason. “You do your scouting. You find guys. It’s not that it’s good, bad, or whatever. But in this case, I don’t think it applies. What’s going to apply is how (Hundley) plays from here on out. Mike McCarthy knows who this kid is, he knows Mike, and I think this is one of those things where a team, even without saying it, they want to show that they can play, too – because it’s always about Aaron Rodgers. There’s a big school of thought that Aaron Rodgers covers up for deficiencies of this team, but if there’s a chance to show that those deficiencies aren’t what you think they are, here’s your opportunity.
“The biggest problem they have (is) their offensive line is so dinged up,” Davis continued. “Is David Bakhtiari going to be able to play? He didn’t finish last week. Bryan Bulaga didn’t finish last week. Lane Taylor didn’t finish last week. Can those guys come back and play a high level? Because Brett Hundley is going to need their help.”
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.