I’m not one to point the blame at a team’s successes or failures at one individual. This past Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, however, it became clear that Brett Hundley simply isn’t playing well enough to lead the Green Bay Packers' offense down the field. Let’s go to the tape.
Let’s put some positives out here first. After spending 3 years on the Green Bay bench, it’s pretty clear that Hundley has learned some of the finer details about the offense. On several occasions, he was able to make adjustments at the line of scrimmage based on what he saw in the Ravens’ defensive formations. He even managed to, with the help of his offensive line, draw a free play in the red zone. (Volume is highly recommended).
Brett yells out the hard count, recognizes that Terrell Suggs jumped offsides, and gets the quick-call of “go” off in time for the free play. It’s clear that this is a coached skill and doesn’t apply to just Aaron Rodgers, as David Bakhtiari - who you can clearly hear yell “here you go” - recognizes the offsides while Corey Linsley quickly snaps the ball after the “go” call. While the play wouldn’t happen without Linsley snapping it, Hundley set this one up well.
While Brett’s decision making on the day was, as you’ll see later on, generally awful, he did manage to make up for a mistake by deciding to tuck and run. With 6:58 to go in the third quarter, the Ravens came out with cover 1 coverage; man underneath, Tony Jefferson in a spy coverage to dissuade Hundley from running (which we think should happen more), with Eric Weddle as the lone safety help over top. The Packers line up in a spread look with three receivers to the left and Randall Cobb by himself to the right. Davante Adams is open on the slant, and it’s Hundley’s first read; for some unknown reason, the ball isn’t thrown. This is a mistake. Let me repeat myself; Adams is open, Hundley is looking directly at him, and the ball isn’t thrown.
The next decision, however, is the correct one. Instead of lowering his eyes and focusing on the collapsing pocket in front of him, Hundley realizes that the receivers have run their defenders away from the middle of the field leaving an open running lane. Hundley tucks the ball and scrambles for an easy first down.
As for his throwing ability, Hundley did occasionally flash some ability here as well. Halfway through the fourth quarter, the Ravens again came out with cover 1 coverage with C.J. Mosley in the spy position. Jimmy Smith, covering Davante Adams, gets caught peeking in the backfield and lets Adams get over the top of him.
Hundley delivers a perfect throw over the top of Smith and underneath Weddle. Had Hundley held on to this ball, Weddle would have been there to break it up, and if he hadn’t put enough touch on the pass, Smith would have had a chance to break it up.
I’m not going to mince words here, or try to sugarcoat things. Brett Hundley has played poorly, and it’s due in large part to a lack of decisiveness. Time and time again he will hesitate on a throw, resulting in a throwaway, a scramble for minimal yardage, or a sack.
In the next clip, pay attention to Davante Adams towards the bottom of your screen.
Adams runs a stick route; a short, timing-based throw where he should have received the ball as soon as he turned back toward the quarterback. Adams is open but Hundley hesitates which allows coverage to catch up. Fortunately, Hundley avoided disaster and found Lance Kendricks on the outside for a short gain.
This time, look at Jordy Nelson in the slot to the top of the screen.
As soon as Hundley sets in the pocket, Nelson has room between the linebacker and cornerback, who has the flat zone coverage on the edge. C.J. Mosley, who has the middle zone coverage, opens his hips up to his left and turns back toward the middle of the field, following Hundley’s eyes and heading toward Richard Rodgers.
If Hundley trusts his arm at all, he can easily make a completion to Nelson behind Mosley. From there, Nelson has 2 defenders to beat. He was bailed out here by Jamaal Williams underneath, but this was a big missed opportunity.
This next play looks good on the stat sheet; 33 yards to Davante on the opening drive? Excellent! Progress! Unless you actually saw the play...
That’s a touchdown missed, plain and simple. He did a good job of staring down the safety until the last second, but he felt ghost pressure. Williams made an excellent block on the edge, and Bakhtiari was holding his own. Set your feet and step into the throw and you’ve got 6 points on the opening drive against a top-tier defense.
Indecision reared its ugly head again in the fourth quarter, this time resulting in the worst possible outcome.
At the top of his set, Hundley has - and is looking directly at - Randall Cobb in the middle of the field. Cobb runs a post route, and settles in-between the zone defense. Lance Kendricks has run a deeper post in the middle of the field, which takes his defender with him for a few steps, creating even more room.
There’s no reason this ball shouldn’t have been thrown to Cobb here.
But it wasn’t.
Compounding the issue is that even as Cobb finds himself wide open in the middle, Kendricks’ initial cover man drops him in order to retreat to Cobb once he sees Hundley’s arm raise to make a throw. This leaves Kendricks running over the top of the short zones and wide open as the lone safety on this play - Jefferson - was shifted toward Cobb’s side of the field as he too began to shift based on Hundley’s arm motion.
While I’ll admit that the pocket wasn’t completely clean at this point, Kendricks has at least a long gain, if not a touchdown, had Hundley fired it deep. Instead, it wound up as a strip-sack and a turnover. If you want to be the checkdown king and become a game manager? Fine. At least game managers get rid of the ball in time and avoid turnovers.
If there are other plays, players or schemes you would like to see covered by Bob in his film breakdowns, leave a comment below!