Rookie quarterback Brett Hundley of the Green Bay Packers has been lights out this preseason under center. No. 7 has put together an unbelievable stat line.
Hundley was 16 of 23 for 236 yards and four touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints last night in a 38-10 victory at Lambeau Field. That adds up to a 142.4 passer rating.
Last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, where he played the entire first half versus the No. 1 defense of the Eagles and then another quarter against the reserves, Hundley threw for 315 yards and two more touchdowns.
The former UCLA Bruin also threw a pick-six against the Eagles, but that was because tight end Richard Rodgers fell down as the pass was heading his way.
All told, Hundley has posted a passer rating of 129.7 based on 45 completions on 65 attempts for 630 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception this preseason.
Head coach Mike McCarthy is impressed with the rookie, as he talked to the media after the game.
“We knew when we drafted him there was a lot there to work with,” said McCarthy. “He has a lot to learn, but it’s been exciting watching him get off to a good start.”
At UCLA, Hundley put up some terrific numbers. In three years as a starting quarterback, Hundley threw 75 touchdown passes versus 25 interceptions for 9,966 yards.
Besides the great numbers through the air, Hundley also ran for 1,747 yards and 30 touchdowns.
With stats like those, one would expect Hundley to be a sure-fire first round pick in the NFL. But Hundley lasted until the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft, when Ted Thompson of the Packers selected him.
Why the drop off?
Hundley had some serious flaws in his fundamentals. He needed changes in footwork for one thing. He also had to learn new terminology, plus be able to make reads, which was not a strong point of his in college. Basically, Hundley needed an overall change in his mechanics.
In addition to all that, Hundley had never taken a snap under center in all of his time at UCLA.
I talked to Landry on Wednesday, which was the day before the game against the Saints, but the game versus the Eagles was there for Landry to review.
“He looked well [speaking of Hundley’s performance against the Eagles],” Landry said. “But he’s a major project for pocket presence and awareness. He’s got a long way to go.
“But he’s working with a couple of the best quarterback teachers around and not much is expected of him. It’s a great situation to be in to learn from one of the best quarterbacks [Aaron Rodgers] in the league, if not the best. And to be able to be brought along slowly is the key.
“You learn things the right way. The Big Dog [Duemig] taught golf for years and was an assistant pro, and he would tell you that sometimes it’s better to start over and break it down and do it correctly.
“You can build off that foundation. I think Brett’s one of those guys whose fundamentals need to be corrected a great deal. Could you imagine if he was somewhere where he was having to compete [to be a starting quarterback]? I think that would retard his progress because he would revert back trying to do things the way he was always taught to do.”
Landry brings up some excellent points there. Unlike Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Bucs and Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans, Hundley will not have to be the starting quarterback this year.
Hundley can learn from his coaches about the right way to do things in the NFL. He can also learn a great deal from watching the play of Rodgers, just as Rodgers did while he watched Brett Favre for three years as a backup quarterback.
Plus Hundley can also learn from second-string quarterback Scott Tolzien.
Rodgers was taught the same way by McCarthy and his coaches. Some of the tendencies that he had as a quarterback for Cal were changed as No. 12 learned the correct way to play in the NFL.
The coaching staff made similar changes with Tolzien and his mechanics as well.
Rodgers has become the highest-rated quarterback in the history of the NFL. He has also won two NFL MVP awards, as well as being the MVP of Super Bowl XLV, when the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Time will tell what type of future Hundley will have in the NFL when it is his time to start. Even with the excellent beginning of his career in Green Bay, No. 7 still has a great deal to learn.
But the future definitely looks bright for Hundley, that is for sure.