GREEN BAY – Brett Hundley is once again the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.
Less than an hour after Aaron Rodgers was placed on season-ending injured reserve, Head Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Tuesday Hundley will again assume the No. 1 reps during practice leading up to Saturday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.
The decision was made after the Packers were eliminated from playoff contention following Atlanta’s 24-21 win over Tampa Bay on Monday night.
“I think it’s in everybody’s best interest,” McCarthy said. “I’m not going to sit here and fake who your quarterback is going to be. It’s important for Brett Hundley to get all the reps."
Hundley has completed 161-of-252 passes (63.9 percent) for 1,534 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions in nine appearances and seven starts this season.
Before Rodgers' return last week in Carolina, Hundley threw for a career-high 265 passing yards and three touchdowns to guide a comeback 27-21 overtime win in Cleveland to keep the Packers’ playoff hopes alive at the time.
Sunday’s game will be the first time Hundley has seen an opponent twice in his NFL career. He replaced an injured Rodgers against the Vikings in October, completing 18-of-33 passes for 157 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in his first extended NFL regular-season action.
“Very important for Brett Hundley. He’s excited,” McCarthy said. “These are opportunities you can’t get in the preseason to play against a high-caliber opponent this time of year. This will be his first cold game under 10 degrees or 15 degrees, whatever comes in. This is a great experience for him.”
McCarthy said Rodgers was disappointed in the decision to place him back on injured reserve, but reiterated the decision was in everyone’s best interest. Rodgers threw for 290 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in Sunday’s 31-24 loss in Carolina, his first action since breaking his right collarbone on Oct. 15 against Minnesota.
The Packers used Rodgers’ roster spot to re-sign quarterback Joe Callahan, who was released Saturday to make room for the two-time MVP on the active roster.
"Aaron’s effort and everything he put in to getting back to play shows you the will and the character of the football team," McCarthy said. "He’s the leader. I think he did a lot of really good things in the Carolina game. To come back, that was a challenge for him. They’re an excellent defense. I think it shows you his competitive spirit and his will to be a champion. ... He’s a special player. That's stating the obvious. But he laid it out there for us."
While the team didn’t practice Tuesday, the Packers were required to submit an injury report, adding linebackers Clay Matthews (hamstring) and Vince Biegel (groin), and guard Jahri Evans (knee).
Cornerback Davon House, who missed Sunday’s game with a back injury, was estimated as a limited participant Tuesday and could practice Wednesday. Linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder/ankle) probably will be in the rehab group.
McCarthy said he didn’t have an update on any of the players listed on the injury report, but confirmed Davante Adams remains in the concussion protocol after leaving Sunday’s game following a blind-side block from Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis.
“He looks good, sounds good,” McCarthy said. “He’s frustrated because of the way he feels. But there’s no, you’re not halfway in the protocol or halfway out. You’re either in and unfortunately he’s in it and he’ll just continue to listen to our medical staff.”
The Packers will finish the season with back-to-back games against NFC North opponents, Minnesota and Detroit.
“We have a chance to finish strong with two division games – two teams that are playoff teams,” McCarthy said. “We’re an established program but we’re no different than any other program. We have to find ways to improve each and every year, whether it’s player instruction, player acquisition, player finance. That’s what the evaluation period is for after the season.
"Unfortunately, we’ll start our process earlier than we have in prior years. At the end of the day, we need to finish strong these next two weeks.”