GREEN BAY – A night that began poorly for the Packers was salvaged by several of the team’s young players.
Rookie quarterback Brett Hundley rallied from a pick-six interception early in the game to throw for 315 yards and two touchdowns, as the Packers turned a 25-0 deficit at the end of the first quarter into a 39-26 loss to the Eagles at game’s end.
“That was an eclectic football game for us this evening. That’s not the way you want to start a football game. From that point on, there were a number of opportunities created for our younger players. They really benefitted from it tonight. There will be young men that will leave our team Tuesday evening. I think we have a lot of very good information,” Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said in capsule assessment of the game.
The Packers defense struggled against quarterback Sam Bradford and the fast-paced Eagles offense. The Eagles’ first three drives of the game all resulted in touchdowns.
Punctuating the Packers’ first-half woes was a shoulder injury wide receiver Randall Cobb sustained in the first quarter. No other information was offered by the Packers, but McCarthy assured media Cobb’s injury is not to be compared in severity to the season-ending knee injury Jordy Nelson suffered in Pittsburgh last Sunday.
“I just came down on my shoulder the wrong way. I’m just taking it day by day right now. Going to run some tests tomorrow, and we’ll see from there. I don’t think it will be (long term). We’re just taking it day by day right now. We’ll find out more tomorrow,” Cobb said in the locker room following the game. “We have to play football. We have to get ready for the season.”
Defensive back Micah Hyde left the game with neck spasms and tackle Bryan Bulaga sustained an ankle injury McCarthy described as being a bruise.
“We all have to be practical about this,” McCarthy said in addressing the injury scare that has dominated the preseason discussion. “The health of your players is at the forefront. Every decision is weighed with an amount of risk. There are a lot of moving parts, but you have to play; you have to play football. It’s not practical to not play your starters in preseason football games. We all signed up for four preseason games.”
The Packers have one game remaining in this preseason, next Thursday against visiting New Orleans. Starters are not expected to play long, if at all, in that game. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not dress for the Eagles game, which means his preseason stat line may be final at 15 of 24 for 174 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions and an 84.4 passer rating.
Hundley was playing to convince the Packers to keep a third quarterback on their 53-man roster. He might’ve done that by rallying to complete 22 of 31 passes for 315 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a 111.6 passer rating.
“I told him trust your preparation. I thought he had excellent command in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage. He trusted his feet. He seemed pretty natural a number of times extending plays. I thought Brett did a lot of nice things, and Matt (Blanchard) kept it going. I’m very proud of our young quarterbacks,” McCarthy said.
Blanchard got his chance in the fourth quarter and he completed eight of 11 passes for 87 yards, one touchdown, one interception and an 88.1 passer rating.
In the battle for the No. 3 wide receiver job, Myles White might’ve taken the lead. He caught nine passes for 89 yards. Jeff Janis caught three passes for 72 yards and one touchdown, and rookie Ty Montgomery grabbed two throws for 71 yards.
“That’s what you’re looking for from Myles tonight. You’re talking about a young man who’s busted his butt,” McCarthy said.
On the down side, Packers “special teams were poor,” McCarthy said. “I’m not going to sugar coat that. Special teams did not have a good evening at all.”
The Packers must reduce their roster to 75 players by Tuesday, then to 53 a few days later.
It’s almost time to begin playing games that count.
Watch: McCarthy Postgame Press Conference
Watch: Packers-Eagles highlights