Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Brett Hundley's scouting report didn't lie, the Packers are now discovering

The Packers are on their bye-week, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing to talk about after Brett Hundley’s horrible passing game in last weekend’s 26-17 loss, which could have been a lot worse had it not been for early New Orleans’ mistakes (the Saints nearly doubled the Packers' yardage production in the game). Hundley—who told reporters that he expects to be a “Hall of Famer” someday—said that “we” needed to get better as a team, while coach Mike McCarthy took the blame for not making the right choices in utilizing Hundley. Few on the major sports networks were willing to criticize Hundley too much after just his first start, but others were less sanguine. Rob Reischel of The Sports Xchange pointed out that while Hundley made plays with his feet, his passing acumen was sorely lacking:

Hundley never seemed to trust his protection and was shaky in the pocket. Once he was on the move, his accuracy was poor. And he never got into any type of rhythm with a group of pass-catchers that are typically in sync with Rodgers.

Even though the trio of Adams-Nelson-Cobb seemed to benefit from match-up problems throughout the Saints game, combined they only caught five passes for minimal yards. Others pointed out that Hundley never found the “sweet spot,” with all of his throws past the line of scrimmage either overthrown or underthrown. His late interception sailed five yards beyond the intended receiver. What is fascinating about this is that Hundley boasts about “learning” from the best—meaning Aaron Rodgers—yet what exactly it is that he “learned” is not exactly clear. Certainly not performance in live game situations, where the other team is actually trying to win the game and not just sitting back evaluating their roster. 

There is a reason why Hundley went from a Heisman Trophy candidate at UCLA to a fifth-round draft pick in less than a year. While draft scouts noted his athleticism and arm strength, there were grave doubts about his decision-making and ability to process at the line of scrimmage. Don’t believe me? This is what the scouting report from NFL.com said about Hundley before he was drafted:

Hasn't shown an ability to win from the pocket yet. Protected by play action-based short passing game that held linebackers and cornerbacks at bay. Internal clock is a mess. Has marginal anticipation, and appears to be lacking in ability to read defenses and create a pre-snap plan. Slow getting through progressions, taking 125 sacks in three years. Inconsistent weight transfer on throws, which affects accuracy (throws sail) and velocity. Needs to reset feet when swiveling from side to side while scanning for next target. Gets crowded in pocket rather than sliding to open space. Short-arms too many throws. Ineffective, inaccurate passer outside of pocket with lowest completion percentage in Pac-12 when scrambling (32.6 percent). Misses opportunities to climb pocket while keeping eyes downfield rather than taking off as a runner.

Wow. Anything else we Packer fans should know? There were those who said that he wasn’t going to get the help he needed to improve those deficiencies in college; he needed NFL-level training for that. And what better place than Green Bay, which has produced two Hall of Fame quarterbacks since 1992? Well, you have to be really good to begin with. Yes, we heard that Rodgers was a bit lazy in his first two seasons, realizing that Brett Favre was the starter no matter what. But in 2007 when called upon, he played every part of the talented passer he was supposed to be against Dallas, and the following year as the starter for good, it was clear that Rodgers was just an experience or two away from being an elite quarterback. He had the tools to begin with. Hundley apparently does not, or at least we see little evidence of it yet.

And McCarthy was supposed to fix this? He must have been reading that scouting report when he set-up last Sunday’s game plan for Hundley. Surely he must have learned something after more than two years behind Rodgers and all that “training.” The only thing we know for sure is that at least Hundley thinks he is a “Hall of Famer.” Or is that “Flamer”?

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