GREEN BAY, Wis. – Mike McCarthy didn't come right out and say it at last month's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. But between the excitement in his voice about second-year quarterback Brett Hundley and the way he used the past tense in speaking of free agent Scott Tolzien, the Green Bay Packers head coach certainly left the impression that the depth chart behind Aaron Rodgers could have a different look in 2016.
The Packers traded up in the fifth round of last year's draft to take Hundley with the 147th overall pick. While Hundley had a strong preseason -- he completed 45 of 65 passes (69.2 percent) for 630 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception for a 129.7 passer rating -- the Packers went with the more proven Tolzien, who'd been terrific the previous summer and shown flashes of his potential while Rodgers was out with a fractured collarbone in 2013.
Tolzien, who had been the No. 3 quarterback in 2014 behind Rodgers and Matt Flynn, returned last season on a one-year, $1.35 million deal that he signed before the free-agent market opened. The Packers decided not to re-sign Flynn, then added Hundley in the draft. With the new league year set to officially begin Wednesday at 4p.m. ET, Tolzien will be hitting the open market this year.
And based on McCarthy's remarks at the combine, the team might be saying goodbye to the former University of Wisconsin standout, even though he's become one of Rodgers' closest confidants on the team.
Asked about his backup quarterback situation at the combine, McCarthy replied, “First off, Scott Tolzien did a great job for us. I can't tell you how much he was a part of not only our quarterback room, but our locker room. His work ethic is exceptional.”
Then McCarthy segued into his rave review of Hundley.
“I'm excited about Brett,” McCarthy said. “I think if you go back and watch him play in the preseason, it speaks volumes. He did a heck of a job. He's really come on fast. He's doing what you're supposed to do. He's taken every note from Aaron and Scott. He has really dove into the offense. Very bright young man. Very athletic.
“Boy, I'm glad we have him.”
Asked how quickly Hundley got up to speed in his offense, McCarthy gushed some more.
“I think the first [preseason] game was probably normal for a rookie quarterback. He just got comfortable [after that] and was out there making plays,” McCarthy said. “[He] plays very systematic as far as staying in clean plays when he was given a run-pass option. Brett Hundley has a very bright future.”