GREEN BAY – Brett Hundley admits he can’t wait for the preseason games to get here.
Judging by his practice on Thursday night, he’s more than ready.
The Packers’ top backup quarterback found his rhythm inside the Hutson Center in the sixth practice of training camp, connecting on all types of throws with all kinds of different targets.
It was Hundley’s best workout of 2017, and his comfort level, knowledge of the offense and awareness of the defense were all evident. The fans weren’t able to see it due to the inclement weather, but they’ll get their chance soon enough as the third-year pro looks primed for a strong preseason.
“I’ve been waiting since, shoot, my first year,” said Hundley, whose summer action a season ago was severely curtailed due to an ankle injury.
“I played a little bit last year and a little bit during the season, but these are the moments where I get to start and actually play (a lot), instead of a drive where I’ve been sitting the whole game. So I’m really excited.”
The most impressive thing about Thursday night’s practice was how Hundley spread the ball around. He wasn’t just locked in on one guy and taking advantage of a certain matchup. He was also accurate from the pocket or while scrambling.
In team (11-on-11) and pass-under-pressure (11-on-9) periods, he completed passes to five different receivers and three different tight ends. While some of that is a function of going through reads to find the open man, some of it is intentional on Hundley’s part, too.
“Especially now before next week’s game, you want to see who you need to work with, who you’re good with, and develop that relationship with your receivers,” he said.
His best throws were a pair of deep balls to Jeff Janis and Geronimo Allison, and a Rodgers-like dart of a back-shoulder throw down the sideline to Max McCaffrey for a gain of 20-plus yards. It’s that type of timing throw – being on the same page with a receiver running a go route with the option to cut it off along the way – that Hundley said is “really progressing” in his game.
The long one to Allison was right on target but knocked out of his arms at the last second by cornerback Damarious Randall. Not wanting his young receiver to get down, Hundley came right back to Allison a few plays later on a cross to the other sideline.
He had a chance to cap his night in the final team period with another big gain, but he missed Davante Adams deep over the middle after Hundley’s hard count drew the defense offside.
“They’re free plays, you just have to give your receiver a chance,” he said. “I missed it. They’re not all going to be perfect. Even with that, I still felt really good about practice. Just have to keep stacking it day by day.”
The daily work of rookie running back Jamaal Williams is getting noticed, too.
Camp began with a wide-open competition at the position, featuring three draft picks and two additional rookies behind Ty Montgomery.
Williams became the first one to take some snaps with the first-team offense on Thursday night, a sign that he has the early lead amongst the rookie group.
The call to run with the ones for a series is an exciting moment for any rookie, but Williams said the key is to “just keep it chill, go in there, and be another teammate.”
In addition to running the ball with a purpose, Williams has shown a decent aptitude for pass protection. He’s also been picking up tips on route-running by watching Montgomery, the former receiver, execute his reps.
“You just have to stay humble and keep grinding, and do whatever you can to get up there,” Williams said, regarding the depth chart. “And once you do get up there, keep improving.”