The Green Bay Packers might have dodged a big bullet.
After missing almost two weeks with an injured left ankle, Brett Hundley reinjured the ankle on the Packers’ third offensive snap of the second quarter. After Hundley threw a pinpoint-accurate back-shoulder pass to Davante Adams for a gain of 31, Raiders star defensive end Khalil Mack hit Hundley from behind, with the ankle caught under Hundley as he fell to the turf.
Hundley hopped off the field and was tended to on the bench by Dr. Pat McKenzie. His night was over after completing 5-of-7 passes for 67 yards.
“Brett Hundley’s doing good,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in an upbeat tone after the game, a 20-12 victory over Oakland. “I just saw him in the locker room. He reinjured the ankle, same injury as the first time, but they don’t think it’s as bad as the original. Don’t have a timeline and we’ll see how he is in the morning.”
The good news is, if the early indications are correct, Hundley should be ready for the regular season, if not sooner, meaning general manager Ted Thompson might not have to go shopping for a quarterback. The bad news is Hundley again missed out on vital reps.
Hundley was anointed the top backup for Aaron Rodgers after the team’s decision to let Scott Tolzien sign a free-agent contract with Indianapolis. Hundley was sensational last summer, leading the NFL in passer rating last preseason after struggling through the offseason practices and start of training camp. From arm strength to athleticism, intelligence to work ethic, Hundley is almost the total package. At age 23, about the only thing Hundley lacks is experience. That made this training camp – and the five-game preseason – a key part of Hundley’s learning curve. Instead, he was injured early in training camp and would have missed the Hall of Fame Game had it been played, and did miss last week’s preseason opener vs. Cleveland.
That Hundley is missing critical playing time is “stating the obvious,” McCarthy said.
“He’s a young player, a second-year player. There’s an opportunity to be our No. 2 quarterback,” McCarthy said. “So, yeah, these are valuable reps. But, hey, injuries are part of the game.”
In Hundley’s place, undrafted Joe Callahan completed 9-of-17 passes for 65 yards and added 23 yards on the ground. After his first drive ended on a failed fourth-and-1 when he didn’t see Richard Rodgers wide open for what should have been an easy 25-yard touchdown, Callahan’s next three possessions ended in three-and-out punts. In the third quarter, however, he guided the team to a touchdown and a field goal.
“I felt good – definitely better the second half,” he said. “It was a pretty bad start for me after Brett went down, but luckily the team rallied around me and we were able to put a couple scoring drives together.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.