GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Packers coach Mike McCarthy is sticking with Brett Hundley, but he’ll have some more new more faces around his quarterback for the regular-season finale at Detroit next Sunday.
If ever there was a time to give Joe Callahan his first NFL start, this would have been it after the Green Bay Packers were shut out Saturday night for the second time in Hundley’s eight starts since Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone.
“Not sure why you’d want to pull the quarterback,” McCarthy said Sunday, a day after the Packers’ 16-0 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. “There’s a lot more going on than just the quarterback.”
Injuries and dropped passes were of greater concern to the Packers coach.
He lost another right tackle, Jason Spriggs, to a left knee injury on the first play of Saturday’s game. Spriggs sustained what McCarthy termed a “serious injury.” Spriggs is the fourth player to start a game at right tackle for the Packers this season. The primary starter, veteran Bryan Bulaga, was lost for the season to a torn ACL in his right knee on Nov. 6.
Spriggs is expected to be placed on injured reserve.
“When he gets back here Wednesday, we’ll probably talk about the potential of him going through the procedures and following the rules to put a player on IR,” McCarthy said with an obvious reference to the ESPN report about teams claiming the Packers violated injured reserve rules pertaining to Rodgers.
The Packers also appear likely to be without running back Aaron Jones, who left Saturday’s loss with a knee injury. McCarthy said it was a similar injury to the one he sustained on Nov. 12 at Chicago, where he sprained the MCL in his right knee. But this injury is to his left knee.
The Packers already were without five starters on Saturday night – not including Rodgers, who’s on IR. The inactive list featured receiver Davante Adams (concussion), linebackers Nick Perry (ankle/shoulder) and Clay Matthews (hamstring), cornerback Damarious Randall (knee) and guard Jahri Evans (knee).
Although Hundley completed just 17 of 40 passes for 130 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions -- and in the process set an NFL record for most pass attempts at home in a season without a touchdown -- McCarthy said the coaches assigned seven dropped passes after watching the film. (ESPN Stats & Information counted six, which was the most by the Packers in a game since the 2015 season.)
“I thought he competed at a very high level,” McCarthy said of Hundley. “That’s important. We should have had the ball ran a few more times, if we’re being critical. But really, I look at [other than] the interception in the red zone, our issues were more with other positions. I felt the dropped balls were a big part of our inability to continue drives, because a number of them were either big-play opportunities or first downs. I don’t know how you put that all on your quarterback.
“I did not lose confidence in Brett during the course of the game. Obviously, I’m right in the middle of what he’s experiencing. You lose Richard Rodgers, all your two-tight-end offense goes out the window. That could have helped us there, particularly they were fitting their force with their safeties and so forth in the run game and the things you can do off that.
“Every game has challenges, no excuse. But he had to play uphill in some spots. But I was not considering a change. It never crossed my mind.”