Cory's Corner: Big tests for Brett Hundley and Mike McCarthy

It has been hard to gauge just how good Hundley is by playing the role of the backup. He never started a game until Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone this year.  

Monday night is the litmus test for both Brett Hundley and Mike McCarthy.

It has been hard to gauge just how good Hundley is by playing the role of the backup. He never started a game until Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone this year.

And as far as coach McCarthy, he is the famed “quarterback whisperer.” But just how much of that reputation is from the foundation of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers? McCarthy has coached 183 regular season games as the Packers head coach and of those, 86 percent have been started by a Hall of Famer and a future Hall of Famer.  So the obvious question is, can McCarthy develop talent or has he just been blessed with talent?

Is it fair to put so much pressure on Hundley’s shoulders in a nationally televised game? Maybe not. But when the Packers kick off against the Lions on Monday, it will be 15 days since Hundley put up a dreadful line of 12-for-25 for 87 yards and an interception in the first start of his pro career.

An NFL team’s best friend is time. That gives injuries a chance to heal and it allows for more preparation. Many were upset that McCarthy didn’t take the training wheels off against New Orleans, but he didn’t want to throw him into the deep end so quickly.

Well, at 4-3, the Packers need Hundley to swim immediately. And they need McCarthy to trust him. Remember, this is a Lions team that is very good at stopping the run. That unit is sixth in the NFL in rushing yards a game by allowing only 91 yards a game. Le’Veon Bell is one of the best running backs in the league and the Lions held him to 76 yards on 25 carries.

With the sudden rise of Aaron Jones, the Lions will opt to keep him grounded first. Which means that Hundley has to be an actual NFL quarterback and throw the ball downfield. Against the Saints, Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb combined for five catches and 40 yards. That can’t happen. This isn’t the best group of receivers in the league, but it’s still pretty good and if Hundley is going to have a respectable showing, he’s going to need his best characters in play.

What we don’t know about Hundley is how well he does when things go sideways. Can he improvise? How good is he on the run? We will find all these things out.

If Hundley fails on Monday is that it for him? No, but you have to ask some questions about his preparation. And does McCarthy do a proper job of piloting his quarterbacks through the rigors of the NFL?

Everyone is about to see how important McCarthy is not only to the Packers but to the quarterback position. And if Hundley doesn’t look like a relaxed and confident NFL passer, the Packers have a problem brewing.

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (46)

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The TKstinator's picture

November 04, 2017 at 06:19 am

I studied real hard for a blood test once. Paid off too, they said I was a B+.

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dobber's picture

November 04, 2017 at 07:32 am

You had me at "B+".

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The TKstinator's picture

November 04, 2017 at 07:44 am

Touché, señor!

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KenEllis's picture

November 04, 2017 at 10:18 am

Come on Cory, what happen on Monday night is not a test for Mike McCarthy because “Let’s just state the facts: [MM is] a highly successful NFL head coach,” just ask him.

If the Packers don't win a single game without Rodgers it will be due to injuries, bad luck, tough opponents, etc., etc., etc.

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al bundy's picture

November 04, 2017 at 08:05 pm

Moon phases, tidal activity, soo nami and of course Trump

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LASVEGAS-TOM's picture

November 04, 2017 at 02:30 pm

Think I'm Type 0. What does that mean?
LVT

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The TKstinator's picture

November 05, 2017 at 07:25 am

Means you have 0 problems.

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Packer_Fan's picture

November 04, 2017 at 07:46 am

I studied real hard for a blood test too. I got a A+. Just saying.

I think this is a test for the coaches. MM needs to get Hundley playing well with plays that Hundley can make, to use Hundley's athleticism to get some first downs and to scheme plays to provide mismatches and get the receivers open. How MM manages the games and makes the right calls will be big Monday. Then Capers. I know you need talent to run a great defense, but you can have a competent defense if each player play his position, play together and communicate well. This is coaching. To get the players playing together and have an attitude to never give up. Hope Capers can get them to do that. Perhaps Burnett will help.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 04, 2017 at 10:59 am

A+? Over achiever!

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Flow49's picture

November 05, 2017 at 01:52 am

MM can make the greatest calls in the history of football. If Hundley doesn’t make the reads it’s not going to matter. Hopefully he got his first start jitters out and comes to play relaxed and confident on Monday. He’ll have to put up points to keep us in this game.

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Savage57's picture

November 04, 2017 at 08:05 am

Famed "QB whisperer?" That made me laugh. Favre already had his Canton ticket punched when MM got to Green Bay, and then he had arguably the #1 pick in the draft fall in his lap.

He might have developed Matt Flynn a bit, but other than that, there's no proof he's been good at anything in the QB development world other than being really, really fortunate.

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Samson's picture

November 04, 2017 at 05:54 pm

Don't say that too loud. -- There are some here that think MM also played a part in Montana's development as a QB. ( or was that Marino or maybe Unitas or maybe Y.A.) --- Who knows anymore?

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Spud Rapids's picture

November 06, 2017 at 08:24 am

Savage57 you're grossly mistaken... look at Rodgers mechanics coming out of college. McCarthy worked with to completely change is throwing motion. Read this article that talk about how McCarthy got Rodgers to stop throwing the ball from his ear hole:

http://thesidelineview.com/columns/nfl/can-quarterbacks-mechanics-be-alt...

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TommyG's picture

November 04, 2017 at 09:04 am

I have yet to figure out where this QB whisperer description came from. As was already states, AR fell into this team’s lap. While we could argue that Flynn did okay, the man didn’t amount to anything outside of Green Bay. With a description like this one for MM, the packers should be a QB machine pushing out NFL starters. Maybe this isn’t a complimentary description. Maybe MM actually whispers to them and that freaks them out.

Does hundley need to be a world beater this Monday? No, but he must show vast improvement. And not just BH, MM better have a game plan suited for his abilities.

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NickPerry's picture

November 04, 2017 at 09:14 am

As I watch some of the offenses around the NFL I always end up asking myself WHY don't the Packers run that play or this play. Why don't they use that formation or this formation. Instead the Packers will trot out the same 11 personal grouping and run the same formations they've used for YEARS.

The Packers offense used to work so well because they could trot out 4 Wide Receivers who were always better than the opposing teams 4 Corner Backs. Those days are long gone. Jennings has never been replaced. Nelson is getting old. Adams in a nice #2 but he's not a true #1, and Cobby has fallen of a cliff and isn't coming back up to the top. Now to top it off the O-line has gotten considerably worse and the defense is still lead by Capers 1990 defense. That defense is as old as his hair piece.

IN 2017 the Packers offense was working because of Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers can throw a WR open, Hundley can't do that. Rodgers is capable of putting a ball in a 6 inch window from 40 yards away, Hundley is not. Rodgers will go down as one of the GOAT in the NFL. Hundley might not even be in the Top 3 at UCLA.

IMO these next few weeks will be Mike McCarthy's worst nightmare. Without Rodgers the offense is barely average. Without Rodgers the defense will be on the field at least another 5 to 8 minutes a game. Without Rodgers McCarthy is going to be exposed as a coach who's been in one place a little to long. I'm not saying McCarthy isn't a good coach, I'm saying his offense has grown old, stale, boring and even more predictable.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 04, 2017 at 09:35 am

"The Packers offense used to work so well because they could trot out 4 Wide Receivers who were always better than the opposing teams 4 Corner Backs. Those days are long gone. Jennings has never been replaced. Nelson is getting old. Adams in a nice #2 but he's not a true #1, and Cobby has fallen of a cliff and isn't coming back up to the top. Now to top it off the O-line has gotten considerably worse and the defense is still lead by Capers 1990 defense. That defense is as old as his hair piece."

Nice job NP. Sadly, that is about as accurate and concise a summary as possible., This is our team! At its least imaginative state. Praying they come out of the coma. Change is needed.

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Qoojo's picture

November 04, 2017 at 10:14 am

Nice job. You saved me the effort of repeating myself.

...and the offense is worse because so many high end draft picks have been devoted to the continually bad defense. As far as good QB coach goes, I don't see it. I think the talent is predisposed to being good. I think most of it is MM being a beneficiary. If MM was an actual good HC, the defense would not be horrible year after year. Being HC is more than coaching just the offense.

I remember one year Bill Belichek ran out of CBs and he convert a WR named Brown I think to CB. I thought Brown played a better than half the packers CBs at the time (Sherman era?). Brady goes down in the first game of 2008, and the pats still win 11 games. Pats just traded another backup for draft picks. Kind of reminiscent of Holmgren QB factory, only holmgren had a lot more. Pointing to better drafting and coaching.

Without Rodgers, MM would have been another 3-4 year HC failure in the NFL. I think HC Bart Starr's teams had better defense.

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Packer_Fan's picture

November 04, 2017 at 11:21 am

Nick Perry, you are right on. The plays have been all predicated on what Rodgers can do. MM has to work plays in the get guys open so Hundley doesn't have to be Rodgers-like to complete them. That is coaching. That is designing plays to make yours players successful. Hope MM does that.

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Tundraboy's picture

November 04, 2017 at 09:23 am

Throw him into the deep end, in fact throw all the rookies into the deep end. M Adams, May's....

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Rossonero's picture

November 04, 2017 at 09:31 am

McCarthy should take a page out of the Texans playbook and call plays that Hundley ran successfully at UCLA, much like Houston did with DeShaun Watson.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 04, 2017 at 11:00 am

Watson played at UCLA?
~

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Rossonero's picture

November 04, 2017 at 11:56 am

Perhaps I awkwardly worded it, but my intent was that the Packers should call college type plays like the Texans did (when Watson was at Clemson).

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The TKstinator's picture

November 04, 2017 at 01:00 pm

I know, amigo.
Yanking chains is a full time job!

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Rossonero's picture

November 04, 2017 at 04:56 pm

Haha, understood!

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Lphill's picture

November 04, 2017 at 09:36 am

At this point I just want to see Vince Biegel in action. Maybe he will be a surprise .

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pilot67's picture

November 04, 2017 at 10:23 am

After McCarthy leaves GB he will be a coach for another team but not as head coach. He has been lucky to have BF and AR. If he starts winning with the team he has now I will eat my words.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

November 04, 2017 at 10:56 am

Everything is obvious this week for McCapers, so let's see if he still blows it.

1. An elite pass-blocking line is now fully healthy.

2. Detroit is a highly-ranked run defense that will stack the box and press coverage, opening big gaps for intermediate passes.

If McCapers pounds early-down runs and screen passes into this wall, he'll wreck Hundley's confidence while putting him in 3rd down holes.

Also, if McCapers fails to bench Williams and activate Mays, he'll deprive his team of a Mays-Ripkowski backfield in short yardage situations.

Never has a gameplan been more obvious. If McCapers can't get this right and win handily, it's time for a shake-up.

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stockholder's picture

November 04, 2017 at 11:00 am

I believe you guys just expect to Much. In other words your full of your own BS. First MM and TT run a system. If that player does not fit that system, he isn't drafted or picked up. The system works. You have Zone Blocking. Something that takes good offensive Lineman. How many have stayed on the field? The packers should be moving the ball is your bitch. But look at the product on the field. Back-ups and Wrs that take to much time to get into the fold. Running backs that are more or less rookies. But Yet TT never drafted RBs when he should Have. Regardless, players that are patches don't fair well in a West coast offense. This team has had to much turn around. Something any head coach would be fed up with. Where is the field position? Something a good defense gives the offense. Blame capers here. He's the problem and everyone knows it. MM and TT must force him out. The players need a simple system to let them show their talent. TT drafted a lot of defensive players. Even got some good looking FAs. But their having to much trouble too. If the guy makes it on other good defenses, Why aren't they making it in GB. Their not weak minded. They just don't get Capers system. When it comes to this team, it just makes sense to get rid of Capers now.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

November 04, 2017 at 11:36 am

There's blame to go around, and you make valid points blaming the GM over the coaches.

But I don't agree that McCapers's system works.

I saw a great article this week detailing how Capers's sytem relies heavily on limiting big plays and grabbing INT's. The upshot was this: INT's are down dramatically league-wide over the past 5 years, because teams have gone more to safer, lower-risk offenses. Because of this, the Capers system plays right into helping the league-wide trend, making heroes of far too many opposing QB's.

It was a brilliant, statistically detailed piece, and I agree with it.

Now, will our defense improve with greater health? Of course. But Capers's system is so opposite of what works best against today's offenses, that it will limit effectiveness.

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stockholder's picture

November 04, 2017 at 12:38 pm

MM just threw some comments at Capers scheme on ACME/Sb Nation too. Not Good. This has been going on since 2010. The Defensive ratings every year tell the story. Capers must go.

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Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

November 04, 2017 at 01:10 pm

Yep. Sad.

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Finwiz's picture

November 04, 2017 at 06:16 pm

So WHAT did he say??
I'd be very surprised if he ever said anything critical about his "outstanding defensive coordinator".

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 04, 2017 at 07:59 pm

“We have some outstanding individual performances going on over seven games, but our unit statistics and production performance is not what it can be,” McCarthy said when asked about Blake Martinez.

I suspect this is true every year for 15-1 teams and 0-16 teams. It seems a reach to assert that he was damning Capers, but not impossible. If MM had said that the D's stats and production SHOULD have been better, that would be a clear indictment of the coaching, but he didn't say that.

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Samson's picture

November 04, 2017 at 06:05 pm

What's kinda funny (however), is that GB is capable of taking the next two games (Lions and @ Bears) and moving to 6-3.-- Hell, the Bears & the Lions are, well, the Bears & the Lions.-- The comments will change dramatically on this site. --- Can the Pack take the next two? -- I have no idea.

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dobber's picture

November 04, 2017 at 08:42 pm

Bears are almost credible at home. I think it's more of an indictment of the NFL this season than anything else. I don't believe there's an elite team in the league this year...makes #12's injury all the more painful.

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pacman's picture

November 04, 2017 at 07:48 pm

While I've been dumping on MM for a while, it's still wait until Monday night time. At least publicly, he's practically staked his career on Hundley.

As far as DC goes, he's well past his time. Defense has shown flashes over the years but he doesn't seem to be able to get more than that.

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al bundy's picture

November 04, 2017 at 08:14 pm

Ditto. Monday is show time. Hundley has three years of playbook, pre season etc and now its time to see what he can do. No more no less.

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EdsLaces's picture

November 05, 2017 at 08:32 am

This is the NFL. A player is either good or he is bad. MM can't make the throws for the freakin guy. I think we wanna blame coaching cause that means we always have hope that the player is good...well maybe Hundley just sucks ...

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Point-Packer's picture

November 05, 2017 at 09:15 am

Mike McCarthy is the most overrated coach in the NFL. For years I have been saying that MM is the main deterrent to Rodgers getting another SB. This period without Rodgers will only validate such criticism. Lions 30. Packers 10.

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MarkAlan's picture

November 05, 2017 at 09:54 am

Mike McCarthy wouldn't be a head coach today if it wasn't for Aaron Rodgers

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DD's picture

November 05, 2017 at 10:01 am

Monday night. Story will be told, perhaps the final chapter. If we are no shows on offense and defense then major changes must happen. You say Rodgers and others will have to learn a new offense with changes? Good, they're pros and smart. Defense will show us their true colors and coaching. Does anyone have faith in Capers run outfit anymore? If you do then youre not watching their games. Always hokding our breath aren't we? Seem to always be missing in action when needed most, like 3Rd and 9, or 12. Monday night is the true telling test for our coaches and TT. Win or Packer nation will be wild!

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AK Cheese's picture

November 05, 2017 at 02:20 pm

Too much hype. It takes an average of 16 starts to actually see what you have in hand. This is #2. Get over it.

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HankScorpio's picture

November 06, 2017 at 07:11 am

It might take 16 starts to know if a guy is truly good but you can know he's not far more quickly.

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Brian Lee's picture

November 06, 2017 at 07:54 am

Personally, if I am going to lose I want to go down swinging. I would rather lose from making mistakes than to lose because we did not try to do what was necessary to win. The Saints game felt like McCarthy avoided mistakes by not trying to win.

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Johnblood27's picture

November 06, 2017 at 10:34 am

Dont ever forget...

McCarthy is a product of Marty Schottenheimer's tutelage.

He kept Schottys boy as ST coach waaaaayyy too long as well as sooooo many other coaching staff mistakes.

He hasn't learned a GD thing and is still operating the exact same way he did when he started.

Passed By.

AR has propped up this bum since his 2nd year starting.

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billybobton's picture

November 06, 2017 at 01:33 pm

evidently nobody took a math class

so in addition to the really bad observation that trouble 'was brewing' when we are all being broiled alive it turn out MM had a HOF or future HOF QB in 86% of the 183 regular seasons starts .....

nobody catches it ? is there a point to facts at all?

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