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Cory's Corner: The backup job is Joe Callahan's

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Cory's Corner: The backup job is Joe Callahan's

Nobody expected much from Joe Callahan.

He’s an undrafted free agent out of Wesley College. Callahan did win the Gagliardi Trophy, which is the Division III version of the Heisman, and amassed a 33-7 record in three years as the Wolverines’ starter.

But did he have the chops for the next level?

“You got to be very pleased with what Joe’s accomplished really in all four games,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy following Green Bay’s 17-7 loss to Kansas City in the final preseason game on Thursday. “He played a lot of football — unexpected to play that much. Very proud of him. And I thought he took full advantage of his opportunities.”

Callahan has been called everything from Brett Favre 2.0 to the Dover In The Rough. But those things don’t matter, because he can play. He’s got a great arm, is very intelligent, can throw in and out of the pocket and most importantly, can own a huddle very quickly.

Callahan was 37-for-54 with 358 yards, two touchdowns and was sacked four times in all four preseason games. Brett Hundley was 9-for-17 for 65 yards and sacked twice in only one game, while he dealt with chronic left ankle issues that dated back to an Aug. 1 practice.

And it’s because of those things that Callahan not only needs to be kept on the 53-man roster, but placed above Brett Hundley on the Packers’ depth chart. And if that means that Hundley becomes a cut-down casualty, so be it.

The Packers have reloaded once again. Eddie Lacy looks energized. Jared Cook looks unstoppable.  And as long as Jordy Nelson is 100 percent by Week 1, this team is the best team in the NFL — on paper.

Now, what good does that do if your backup quarterback has lingering health issues? Hundley has shown plenty and raised his own legion of preseason eyebrows, but let’s face it, he’s only a fifth round pick. If it comes down to a guy that has consistently made all the throws in camp by mostly throwing to receivers at the bottom of the depth chart, then you have to keep him.

It shouldn’t matter if he played Division III ball or NAIA. If he can play, he can play, and Callahan has most definitely proven that he can play.

Because if the Packers think for a second that they will be able to sneak him onto the practice squad, that’s when another team will come in and scoop him up and make him their backup. Teams like Dallas, Minnesota and Kansas City immediately come to mind.

If it truly is about putting the best 53 guys on the roster, then Callahan not only belongs, but he belongs right behind Aaron Rodgers. And if Rodgers went down for a game or two, Callahan could steer the ship confidently, but most importantly, prevent it from being swallowed by doubt and despair.

Hundley was a nice pick by general manager Ted Thompson. But his uncertain health, coupled with Callahan’s remarkable preseason, puts a large red target on his back. 


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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (77) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

marpag1's picture

Yes, aside from the fact that Mark Twain is almost certainly NOT the source of the quote....

But other than that, yeah.. this article would seem to betray a complete lack of sensibility.

PETER MAIZ's picture

It's "it's better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and reveal all doubt", one of my favorites by that great humorist, ha, ha.

DrealynWilliams's picture

See, I tried to tell y'all that Cow has his moments. Lol.

Tuh....and some of y'all wanted him banned.

Chad Lundberg's picture

I'm at the point where Cory Jennerjohn will write ANYTHING as long as it gets this kind of reaction from cheesehead tv readers. Seriously, I actually think he's doing this intentionally now, no one can seriously be this ridiculously WRONG!!!

Cory, your logic is that because Callahan did a good job in the preseason, he deserves the back-up job over injury prone Hundley. So Hundley has an ankle injury and he deserves to be cut for it???? That alone is INSANE, but it gets worse! If you honestly think Callahan was that good in the preseason, then why in the world would you write off what Hundley did last year in the preseason??? The guy had 4 touchdown passes in the final exhibition game alone! HOW CAN YOU HAVE SUCH REVERSED LOGIC???

4thand1's picture

C'mon Cory. You can't be serious. Hundley is the backup hands down, but I'm glad they kept Callahan. I do agree some other team would have grabbed him immediately if put on the practice squad.

Burton Whitlow's picture

Ummmm...put down the crack pipe and step away from the lighter.....

getchasome's picture

Listen, there is a reason 32 teams passed on him for 7 rounds (including Green Bay). He is a great story, but no one is going to put him on their 53. Ted will have to pay him a bit more, but will ultimately land and stay on our practice squad. Surpassed Hundley SMDH.

croatpackfan's picture

Joe Callahan can be Packers back up QB only if Brett Hundley is injured...
Cory, I can understand crush for player that comes from unbelievable performance for his previous status and level of competition, but he is not ready to win NFL game. Period. Brett is another story.
I respect your football knowledge a lot, but this time, your article is little bit hilarious... On the bad side...
If Callahan continues to improve, I can see next preseason Brett Hundley to be traded...
And your argument that Brett Hundley is ONLY 5th round pick, I will put argument to you - Joe Callahan is ONLY UDFA!

Turophile's picture

Hundley should be ready to go week 1, this is just the Packers being very careful as per normal.

I still think that QBs that show as much as Callahan has, should not be risked on the PS (and it IS a risk). It is so tough to get good QBs in the NFL that if you have a sniff of someone who may become one, then you keep him for an extended period.

gr7070's picture

That last paragraph is spot on.

dobber's picture

"I still think that QBs that show as much as Callahan has, should not be risked on the PS (and it IS a risk). It is so tough to get good QBs in the NFL that if you have a sniff of someone who may become one, then you keep him for an extended period."

But when you've got two QBs who are locked up for a couple years and are just plain better, you can't let that complicate your roster management. I really like this kid, too, but there's no room for him on the 53. Take a shot at the PS, give him a little extra $$ to try to get him there, but if he goes...well, you can't keep everyone.

Turophile's picture

............and to many peoples surprise, Callahan makes the final 53 (although its not really final yet, not for a week or so.

gr7070's picture

I routinely disagree with Cory, but this time I'm in full agreement with regard to putting him on the 53.

He will not make it to our practice squad. Not going to happen.

He showed way to much current ability with excellent upside. He's as good as gone if he's cut.

I'm not sure he should be the backup, but I'd be ok with that if Hundley is hurt.

Bearmeat's picture


I'm trying to find a nice way to say that you are nuts, but I can't think of one.

That. Viewpoint. Is. Crazy.

gr7070's picture

I couldn't disagree more with the statement that this team is the best team on paper!

That to me is laughable today.

They could show that they are later in the year, but they had too many issues to prove are no longer issues.

egbertsouse's picture

Is it April Fools Day already?

lmills's picture

Sorry Cory, I can see your on point most things but this one is asinine. He played above our expectations due to coming out of a small school and playing well against 2nd/3rd and 4th stringers and vanilla defenses. That is not evenly close to enough to unseat Hundley. Carry on! goPackgo

scullyitsme's picture

Don't get the man crush everybody has on this kid. To me he's a little better than graham Harrell. Certainly not back up material unless your desperate. I honestly thought marquis looked more poised and nfl caliber material worth the time and effort. I hope another team takes him so you all will stop talking about him. Won't happen. But I can dream.

mcduff67's picture

Moved to NM last year, WI football not readily available however, Badgers-LSU @ Lambeau will be on my air-TV
Bring the beer & pizza - Go Badgers!!

Spock's picture

What Cow said.
Corey is this just click bait? I can't believe you are serious with this article.

Mags's picture

What the f**k are u smoking?

Tarynfor12's picture

Cory, I hope you knew when you posted this article that that brainwashed in regard to Hundley will jump all over you.
We got Hundley in the 5th rd after trading up when we likely could of had him in the 6th. The fact that he also comes from GB of the west UCLA, with those other really fine specimens of Datone Jones, Carl Bradford, Richard Rodgers, he must always be the better backup. Therefore, in order to justify the Thompson and Mora drafting deal, we cannot move any of their guys until their rookie deals are up.
I spoke up for Callahan the first time he played and said he can play QB ...period.
Hiwever, we'll go with Hundley and his seemingly growing weak ankles.
People screamed at my support for Starks at his drafting and keeping, then with Janis, this year with Fackrell two months before the draft and now with Callahan.
Glad to see another not cave to the wash board brainwashing as like so many others.

Spock's picture

Wow, "brainwashing" for Huntley? Did you watch him play in last years preseason games? There is a reason the COACHES have him as the number 2 and let Scott Tolzien go. Don't know why all the hate for the UCLA players. For the record I like Callahan A LOT, but he's a long way from being the primary backup (which, hopefully, we won't need this year!). I'm also a big fan of Starks -as the 2nd back-. I'm just bummed that I have to wait (still) to see the NFL channel's rebroadcast of Thursday nights game at 1pm local time here in Arizona (i.e. 3pm in Wisconsin) which will be just about the time all the cuts will all be in! Should be an interesting day. think happy thoughts :)

Tarynfor12's picture

Tolkien was nothing more than homer - ism and Hundley was an instant up grade before he even threw a pass in GB. Callahan, coming from nowhere has already equalled what Hundley has acquired in his time here.
I stand by my thought as like all others I made and haven't missed yet.

zeke's picture

Tolkien is sort of an acquired taste, but not nearly on the level of Homer (IMHO).

"I stand by my thought as like all others I made and haven't missed yet."

Well said.

Oppy's picture

Callahan has made an impression as a DivIII kid who stepped into the pro arena and handled it without the awe, nerves, or jitters you'd expect.

He digested a play book very well.

He has good feet and makes some throws.

His two minute drill vs. CLE to end the half was very encouraging.

I think he can play in the NFL, perhaps a back up someday, maybe even a starter, who knows. He has potential.

But he is raw, raw, raw and lacks the arm talent of Hundley.

There have been a few days where Hundley has out-thrown Rodgers in terms of deep accuracy, and Hundley's velocity is damn impressive too.

Side note, you might be crazy if you think you're a flawless talent evaluator.

Tarynfor12's picture

Flawless better than many that come here.

jmac34's picture

Neither Bradford (ASU) or Rodgers (Cal) went to UCLA....

marpag1's picture

Details, details.... why do you have to pee all over a perfect good conspiracy theory?

croatpackfan's picture

Tolkien os wrter. Je White Lord od the ringa and Hobbits etc...
Planer you are talking aboit os TOLZIEN, Scott.
get iz?

Tarynfor12's picture

Sorry....they play like it though.

dobber's picture

Callahan has showed better than anyone expected. He seems to have good awareness and is instinctive in avoiding the rush. I think that's what has us excited about him, but he hasn't played all that well from the pocket and hasn't played much against guys who are actually going to be more than just deep subs or role players on Sundays. He hasn't played well enough to unseat Hundley.

It's a QB league and it's very possible someone will give him a boatload of cash for their PS or even try to put him on their 53. I think Callahan, given a choice, will likely come back to the Packer PS if it's just a choice of practice squads. The Packers have to try to get him to the PS.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Lol, come on, Taryn, you're better than that. I know that you're only here to stir up debates, but why does someone have to be "brainwashed" for liking who they like? Don't act like the players you've been taking up for are perennial Pro-Bowl players. In fact, none of the players you go to bat for are starters. Could they go to any other team and start? Ahhhh - don't think so.

The Callahan hype is so strong because QB3's don't usually progress into much throughout TC and Pre-Season. So when one does show SOMETHING -- it's eye opening.

Be bold and make the claim that Callahan (if he makes the final cut) will be QB2 behind Rodgers.

Say it. Do it. Make it. Go ahead.

(Btw, no one is saying Callahan ISN'T good. I know how some of you try to twist statements.)

Tarynfor12's picture

Most players I stand up for give us solid contributions and players I had from the drafts I see have given what I expected or failed.

I don't toss many names on either list but have been correct on nearly all to date.

Sherrord, Worthy, Perry, Jones for their draft rds or expected fail. Perry has a chance, slim, to redeem somewhat and Jones may end up being a value at outside, but their original slots were as I said fails.
I had even said. When Gabe Carmi was on many fans radar, I wouldn't take him with the Bears 1st rd pick if they gave it for free. They took him and splat.
I didn't want R Rodgers, Bradford and thought Adams was taken to soon.
Many in the day thought Nelson should be cut before J Jones. May deny it but Jersey All archives would offer truth.
I'm not a guru or claim it, but when I do offer opinions on certain players. It's because I see something if real value to the team, whether he can or cannot start elsewhere.
Many just hate being wrong or simply hate those that go against the flowing agreement in cliques and I rouse debate and never get nasty till utterly provoked. : )

DrealynWilliams's picture

I respect it.

But I still need you to go on record and say that Callahan will (at ANY point) become QB2 behind Aaron Rodgers =)

Tarynfor12's picture

I have in a way, if Callahan had as much time in GB as Hundley has to date, Callahan would be ahead. If Hundley loses to much time via ankle injuries now or future this season, say tata to him and hello to Callahan as #2 and Hundley traded. Naturally Hundley will need some blowout scores to get play time unless......the oh no happens.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Ah. Ah. Ah.

That's not what I meant and you know it

Will Callahan beat out a healthy Hundley?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

She is quoting herself, Drea. Seems fair to me, btw. I don't expect a rookie QB to beat out a 2nd year QB who was pretty well thought of straight up. Callahan needs a year like most QBs not taken early, and even most of those. I don't agree with Taryn - I think Hundley simply has more talent than Callahan, who IMO should have been cut and signed to the PS - but much of QB play is determined by what's between the ears, so who knows.

DrealynWilliams's picture

I don't expect Callahan to beat out Hundley ever. Taryn can believe Callahan can do so whenever. I respect her opinion(s). I just want her on record, lol.

It can be this year
Next year
The following year after next

I just need something to refer back to when it doesn't happen.

Tarynfor12's picture

If the Packers trade Hundley after this season even though neither played any significant snaps other than mop up if applicable, would you consider that being beat out. I don't think a straight up competition will happen, but I do believe Callahan will prove valuable as to allow a Hundley trade sooner than later and that doesn't mean Hundley was better at the time to acquire a draft pick.

DrealynWilliams's picture

"If the Packers trade Hundley after this season even though neither played any significant snaps other than mop up if applicable, would you consider that being beat out."

No. Because some QB desperate team might offer something too good to pass up (in Ted's eyes). Ya see what the Vikings just did.

" I don't think a straight up competition will happen..."

We've had QB2 battles before. It happened with Tolzien and Hundley. The year after Hundley's rookie season Tolzien was gone.

" but I do believe Callahan will prove valuable as to allow a Hundley trade..."

Of course he will be valuable (if he continues to progress). A decent backup QB is hard to find. Again, I don't think Callahan is bad. He's just not a QB I'd bet the season on if #12 goes down. The Offense will look closer to a #12-led Offense with Hundley than it would with Callahan starting.

Alex Tallitsch's picture

This is the worst take I've read on CHTV since 2007.

zerotolerance's picture


al bundy's picture

Why dump hunley? Callahan aint that good if he goes somewhere else the world ends. To me he is too short.

Tarynfor12's picture

So was Brees, Russell Wilson, Flutie but....

dobber's picture

I don't care about the height. He's not someone who will ever be a starter (barring injury to #12) in Green Bay so you're not planning on needing him except for short spells. I think he's got developmental potential, but my guess is that his ceiling is journeyman backup.

4thand1's picture

That's what everyone said about Brady.

marpag1's picture

True. But it's also what everyone said about hundreds and hundreds of NFL hopefuls who actually never did become anything more than journeyman backups... if even that.

I'd say Tom Brady was probably a bit of an aberration, wouldn't you?

4thand1's picture


Ferrari Driver's picture

I like the youngster, but think the Packers will stick with Hundley as the backup.

I'll leave the decision on Callahan to TT who makes a living at those calls. I do like what I saw in the preseason and he is a fan favorite.

Since '61's picture

Cory - I respect your enthusiastic support for Callahan but let's remember he has only played on the preseason. Yes, his play improved over 4 games, but it was 4 preseason games against vanilla defenses and mostly unproven 2nd, 3rd and 4th stringers. To give up on Hundley because of a minor injury (as far as we know) would be a mistake because while Callahan may be poached as a backup, Hundley would be poached to be a starting QB, probably by the Viqueens at this point. I would consider making Callahan our holder since that opens a world of possibilities for opponents to consider on fake place kicks but it also wastes a spot on the 53. I'm afraid we'll just take our chances with the PS for Callahan. And now back to articles which are at least loosely connected with reality. Thanks, Since '61

Spock's picture

Since '61 you may want to edit that to say "I'm afraid we'll just take our chances with the PS for CALLAHAN." Based on your dialog before that.

Since '61's picture

Spock - thanks for taking the time to catch my error. I have made the correction to Callahan per your note and a few other typos that needed to be corrected as well. Since '61

jmac34's picture

Do you remember the Raiders game? In 1 1/2 series Hundley was moving the offense with ease. As soon as Callahan came in, the offense was off the field in just a few plays. The gap between the two was pretty obvious even from just that short drive.

Tarynfor12's picture

The change of QB in game often has the offense hiccup.

4thand1's picture

He came in without even having to throw a warm up pass the sidelines.

sheppercheeser's picture

So what's next Cory? Keep Barclay and toss Bakh? Keep Davante and toss Abby?

hawk's picture

Not a serious article. Had to be written as a joke to see how many would fall for it. "He's got a great arm" ............hmmmm. Had me going until that statement. Nice try Cory, it appears that you generated a little traffic at your site.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Sam Bradford traded to the Vikings for two draft choices. So it will be the same Vikings or actually better now.

Spock's picture

Link to this?

marpag1's picture

Reportedly, the Vikes gave up a first rounder and a fourth rounder. Oh my goodness.......

Oppy's picture

First and fourth?

Holy balls, those purple morons actually think they are winning the super bowl this year.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agree, but I believe Bradford signed a 2 year deal on March 5, 2016, and is signed for 2016 and 2017. FWIW.

dobber's picture

That's interesting...will take him a couple weeks to really settle in. An injury waiting to happen.

Tundraboy's picture

Lingering health issuses???!!!!

Guy hurt his ankle twice over a period of a few weeks. That's an injury, not lingering health issues. Jeez

Hows Adam btw????

zerotolerance's picture

OK if so so sad.

dpjossart's picture

Hundley has a sprained ankel, not a heart defect. Cory, you have shown us why you are a journalist and not a football coach or personnel guy. I don't know if you are just looking for people to react, or if you really believe this, but this kind of nonsense belongs in Mad Magazine, not on a usually responsible Packer site. Please be serious in future columns.

marpag1's picture

I totally disagree with the "you have shown us why you are a journalist" part, but the rest of your comment is spot on.

zerotolerance's picture

I have not posted for years. Wow. Your opinion is ridiculous. I.e. Worthy of ridicule.

GVPacker's picture

The Queens just struck a deal with the Eagles for Sam Bradford!

PETER MAIZ's picture

It should be noted that Callahan was playing with tier 3 and tier 2 players, not the starters. He did well. Hundley did really well in last year's pre-season. Let's not all get all carried away.
Hundley shows more athleticism. Callahan may or may not be scooped from the practice squad. There will be other udfa quarterbacks coming in for 2017. The ball keeps on rolling, don't despair about a guy that possibly wouldn't really perform with the real starters on the field. But he seems to have a future and he is a good scrambler and seems to have accuracy.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Keep it up, Cow.

Graham Crackah's picture

Just saw on Rotoworld that Carl Bradford was cut. PS again for him?

Nelson Cobb's picture

I don't know where you got your numbers from, but they are very wrong.

Callahan was 54-88, 61.4%, 499 yards, 5.7 YPA, 3 TDs, 88.2 passer rating and sacked 10 times.

Hundley was 5-7, 67 yards, sacked 0 times.

Was this article meant to be a joke?? His 1 drive n 7 passes looked miles better than Callahan. I don't get this love affair for Callahan. He put up 7 points in 10-11 possessions vs KC's backups, and those 7 were a result of a blocked punt setting him up inside the 15. We punted 8 times that game. Callahan barely completed 50%, for barely 5 YPA. Sorry dude, but he has nothing on Brett Hundley. His debut preseason wasn't half as good as Hundleys debut preseason, yet you wanna drop Hundley because of an ankle issue that has limited him?? GTFO!!

4thand1's picture

The game was 14-7 when Callahan completed two really nice passes to Abby and whoever, who promptly fumbled and killed the drive.

LambeauLife1143's picture

Sitton to be released or traded, per NFL sources....

Shaun Clark's picture

Joe Callahan has made us proud. Wesley Strong #thedub... We are Wesley.... We are Wolverines.. GO JOE GO!!!!

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