GREEN BAY – As soon as Martellus Bennett’s name was mentioned, Brett Hundley’s eyes lit up.
“Oh, yeah,” Hundley said of the Packers’ new tight end and biggest free-agent addition. “He’s going to be a great asset to this offense. Watching him play, he’s a special guy.
“I like the intensity he brings to this game. You can sort of compare him to a Mike Daniels type of intensity, and I really can’t wait to see him, and throw him the ball a little bit.”
That’ll be happening soon enough, as Green Bay begins offseason workouts in two weeks.
In the meantime, Hundley along with teammates Aaron Ripkowski and Jake Ryan and three Packers alumni, embarked on the weeklong Tailgate Tour on Tuesday, the 12th annual community outreach event heading through northern Wisconsin and upper peninsula Michigan over the next five days.
Hundley will be entering his third season as Aaron Rodgers’ backup at QB, but his mind already has been spinning with the possibilities in this Packers’ offense now that Bennett and another free-agent tight end, Lance Kendricks, have been added to the mix.
“I think it opens up a lot, scheme-wise, a lot of stuff we can do on offense,” Hundley told reporters just before the Tailgate Tour bus departed from Lambeau Field on Tuesday morning. “We have the receivers, we have the tight ends, we have everything we need. For us to be able to utilize our guys the best way we can, it’s going to give them a lot of opportunity.
“When we have Martellus, Jordy, ’Tae, Cobb, all these guys, Ty, lining up and moving places, it’s going to be hard to stop. It’s going to be a nightmare for defenses to try to match up with us.”
Head Coach Mike McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson both foreshadowed the Packers adding to their running back stable between now and training camp. Ripkowski is heading into his third year as well, and while he isn’t sure if his role as lead-blocking fullback and occasional ball-carrier will expand, he can’t help but get fired up seeing what the Packers are doing at the tight end position.
“It’s pretty much standard all across the league. It’s a passing league, and any tight end that’s going to catch a lot of balls out of the backfield or over the middle, it just opens everything up,” Ripkowski said. “Anytime you add a key or component to one part of your offense, it helps everything else out.”
The changes have included subtractions from the locker room, too, of course. That’s the harder part of the transition to a new season.
“That’s a new thing that I’m learning,” Hundley said. “I’m going into three years, so I’ve seen a lot of my best friends, gone. Eddie, a good friend of mine, T.J., Micah, all these guys that are gone now. Datone, who I grew up with. It’s a business.
“I’ll come back into the locker room, and it’ll be a completely different set of guys.”
Hundley’s job is no different, though, and that’s to continue his steady development and be ready at a moment’s notice in case he needs to step in for Rodgers.
He’s trying to stay focused on the here and now without getting too wrapped up in the money young quarterbacks are in line to make given the large contract the Bears handed to Mike Glennon last month.
That opportunity might not be too far off for Hundley, though, wherever it may be. He has no illusions about replacing Rodgers, who has talked about following Tom Brady into his 40s as a starting QB.
McCarthy said last week at the owners’ meeting there’s “no question” Rodgers can “mentally and physically” do so, and Hundley sees no reason not to believe that as well.
“I for sure 100 percent think Aaron can play until he wants to,” Hundley said. “How old is he right now? 32? 33. He’s done great things thus far, and last year was again one of his best years. You can see he’s still growing and still Aaron Rodgers, so he’s going to be playing for a while.
“For me, I’m just keeping my head down, learning as much as I can, playing whenever I get my opportunity, making the most out of it, and we’ll see where it takes me from there.”