GREEN BAY — This much was obvious during the Green Bay Packers’ preseason finale Thursday night: Mike McCarthy & Co. wanted to see more of No. 2 quarterback Brett Hundley.
Whether they wanted to do it for their own edification or to pump up their backup’s potential trade value, goodness knows. But it sure looked like getting the third-year signal caller extended playing time was their biggest priority in the 24-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field.
“I think if you watched closely,” McCarthy said, “it was obvious what we wanted to do.”
Clearly, the Packers wanted to look at Hundley more than they wanted to give their candidates for the No. 3 job — rookie Taysom Hill and second-year man Joe Callahan — an extended opportunity to battle it out for a roster spot.
Hundley played until halftime, Hill took over to start the third quarter and Callahan mopped up.
And clearly, the Packers wanted more work for Hundley more than they wanted to get a long look at their young running backs, who are vying for jobs behind starter Ty Montgomery and presumptive backup Jamaal Williams.
At halftime, Hundley had dropped back to pass 24 times while running backs had carried only six times. The backs got 21 carries in the second half.
“It’s exactly what Brett needed. He needed to play, he needed reps and we got that done,” said McCarthy, who’ll kick off his 12th season as the team’s coach on Sept. 10 against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field.
“He’s the No. 2 quarterback, (so) I think you want to play him the first half. I thought that was normal. As I stated at the beginning of camp, he was a priority for me as far as play time.”
It’s unlikely McCarthy played Hundley so much to give potential trade suitors a long look at him. If Hundley ever is traded, it’ll probably be at or around the 2018 draft, not in the next 48 hours. More likely, the Packers simply wanted to get a longer look at Hundley and get him some additional experience if disaster strikes this season.
With Aaron Rodgers and the other 10 offensive starters getting the night off — as they normally are for the fourth exhibition game — Hundley started behind the second-string offensive line with backups at all the skill positions. So how much of a qualitative judgment there was to be made on him was hard to say.
Hundley completed 11 of 21 passes for 99 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions and two sacks (81 rating). He scored the Packers’ first touchdown on a 13-yard scramble.
“For me, especially not playing last year, just to get back out there and get the feel of it, I’m so happy for as many reps as I got this preseason,” said Hundley, who played in only one preseason game last summer because of an ankle injury, and left that game early when he aggravated the injury after 20 snaps. “I can’t describe what it felt like to get back the feeling of waking up after a game and being sore. It sounds bad but I appreciate it. It was really fun. I had a great preseason. Now, it’s regular-season time.”
It looks like the Packers might be satisfied to carry the No. 3 on the practice squad, whether that’s Hill or Callahan or a matter of keeping whichever one makes it through waivers following Saturday’s final cutdown.
Hill engineered a 17-play, 11-minute, 18-second drive that ended with a 28-yard Mason Crosby field goal. His second series carried over into the fourth quarter andended with Hill eluding the rush and stepping up to hit tight end Aaron Peck for a 25-yard touchdown. Hill finished 4 of 4 for 31 yards and a touchdown (138.5 rating). In three preseason appearances he directed the offense to 24 points.
“At the end of the day, they’re going to have to assess the film, and hopefully I did enough to stick around here,” Hill said. “You guys saw the games. I feel like I’ve progressed and gotten better.”
Callahan took over with 6:37 left in the fourth quarter, and his first series began with two running plays and went three-and-out. He ended up throwing only two passes, both of which he completed.
“We’ll see what happens,” Callahan said. “I definitely wanted to come in and air it out a little bit, but by the time I got in, we were up 24-3 and you’re in that run-out-the-clock mentality to get the win. I just have to make sure I’m doing my job, make sure I’m executing and doing what I’ve been taught.”
L.A. Rams 0 3 0 7 — 10
Green Bay 7 7 3 7 — 24
GB — Hundley 13 run (Crosby kick), 2:08.
LA — FG Zuerlein 27, 11:32.
GB — A.Jones 1 pass from Hundley (Crosby kick), :30.
GB — FG Crosby 28, 2:42.
GB — Peck 25 pass from Ta.Hill (Crosby kick), 11:23.
LA — Mundt 18 pass from Orlovsky (Coons kick), 5:42.
Att. — 74,102.
First downs 14 18
Total Net Yards 210 242
Rushes-yards 24-67 30-132
Passing 143 110
Punt Returns 3-8 4-29
Kickoff Returns 4-63 3-60
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 2-22
Comp-Att-Int 16-30-2 17-27-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-6 4-29
Punts 6-49.3 7-46.9
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 8-76 11-109
Time of Possession 26:58 32:02
RUSHING — Los Angeles, J.Davis 17-55, Green 7-12. Green Bay, A.Jones 8-48, J.Williams 11-31, Ta.Hill 2-19, D.Mays 6-18, Hundley 1-13, Phillips 2-3.
PASSING — Los Angeles, Orlovsky 16-30-2-149. Green Bay, Hundley 11-21-0-99, Ta.Hill 4-4-0-31, Callahan 2-2-0-9.
RECEIVING — Los Angeles, Shippen 7-58, Mundt 2-24, J.Davis 2-21, Rogers 2-15, Wilson 2-14, McRoberts 1-17. Green Bay, Allison 3-27, D.Mays 2-36, Peck 2-27, Ripkowski 2-9, Phillips 2-6, T.Davis 1-11, Janis 1-9, J.Williams 1-6, McCaffrey 1-4, Byrd 1-3, A.Jones 1-1.