His replacement, third-year pro Brett Hundley, believes he can continue what the two-time NFL MVP started. His first start comes Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. The Packers enter that game in a first-place tie with the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North at 4-2, and Hundley intends to keep them there.
“I’ve been doing this my whole life,” Hundley said. “Aaron’s a Hall of Famer, and I want to be a Hall of Famer one day. I will lead this team. We’re all going to have fun, we’re all going to go out there and play football. It’s still football at the end of the day, and our goals are still in front of us.”
Hundley spoke in front of his locker — one stall down from where Rodgers usually holds court with the media on Wednesdays — and admitted it was a different feeling for him. Rodgers was nowhere to be seen by the media, but Hundley said his mentor has been helping him even while trying to figure out when he’ll undergo surgery to repair the broken right collarbone he suffered in Sunday’s loss at Minnesota.
Hundley, the former fifth-round pick from UCLA, spent his off day at Lambeau Field on Tuesday, working out in the morning and then taking part in his first game-planning meeting with coach Mike McCarthy in the afternoon and evening.
“We’re going to keep what we do best, and that’s playing this offense,” said Hundley, who threw one touchdown and three interceptions in relief of Rodgers in Sunday’s 23-10 loss. “Obviously being the starting quarterback now, just like Aaron when he was, he had a lot of choices — what he wanted to do, how he wanted to do it — and same with me. The coaches are doing a really good job with the game plan.”
McCarthy’s task this week is to tailor the game plan to Hundley, who shares some of the same mobility and arm talent as Rodgers but with far less experience at making adjustments at the line of scrimmage, which is one of Rodgers’ strengths.
“He clearly won’t carry the responsibility into the game that Aaron Rodgers carries into it; I think that’s obvious,” McCarthy said. “I’d be an idiot if I asked him to do that. But also, I think that’s really for [all] the other young guys who are playing. We don’t ask all our younger players to do all the things that our veteran players do because they don’t have the experience.”
Part of the plan also will depend on who the Packers have available to block for Hundley. Three of their five offensive line starters — tackles David Bakhtiari (hamstring) Bryan Bulaga (concussion) plus guard Lane Taylor (ankle) — were listed on Wednesday’s injury report. Taylor did not practice while Bakhtiari and Bulaga were limited. All three failed to finish Sunday’s game at Minnesota.
The Packers have 14 players, including Rodgers, listed on their injury report. The Saints have just two.