GREEN BAY — Brett Hundley goes back to the No. 2 spot on the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback depth chart happy for Aaron Rodgers and knowing he did his part to make sure his buddy had a potential playoff team to come back to.
“I feel really proud of what I accomplished. I kept us in the fight. Not just myself, but ‘we,’” Hundley said this week, having gone 3-4 as the Packers’ starter after Rodgers broke his right collarbone Oct. 15 at Minnesota. “Where we’re at, what we did, and the opportunity we still have in front of us … I knew I could play. It was just a matter of getting in a rhythm — having fun and finding my game out there.”
Although Hundley’s numbers weren’t out of this world — he goes back to the bench in advance of Sunday’s game at Carolina having completed 161 of 252 passes (63.9 percent) for 1,534 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions (78.0 rating) — he did lead the Packers to back-to-back overtime victories with fourth-quarter performances that showed he could do the job at crunch time.
“He’s clearly a better quarterback today than he was when he stepped on the field in Minnesota. I think that’s obvious,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “The experience that he gained is incredible. You can’t simulate those types of experience through practice. I think he’s better all the way around.”
Added Rodgers: “It’s been fun to watch Brett up close. He’s definitely improved throughout the seven games. He’s getting more comfortable out there. He’s made some plays in the fourth quarter when they’ve mattered the most. He’s done a nice job in most of the games of taking care of football. That’s important in this day and age of quarterback play. It’s all about taking care of the football and not turning it over.
“He’s made some big throws and some big-time checks, as well. It’s just a matter of experience. The more experience you get at quarterback, the more comfortable you are and you can just go out and relax and play.”
Hundley said while he believed he could be effective as a starter, the experience confirmed that for him because of what was at stake.
“Obviously preseason is one thing, where you say, ‘All right, I can play in this league.’ But in-game experience (in the regular season), it’s completely different,” Hundley said. “These seven games, I have a lot of confidence coming off it. I know I can play in this league.”
Depleted at cornerback, the Packers sure could use LaDarius Gunter, who served as the team’s No. 1 corner down the stretch last year but was cut in September in a surprise roster move. The Panthers claimed him on waivers and have had him on the 53-man roster all season, even though he’s seen action in only three games and hasn’t played a single snap from scrimmage.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera chalked that up to Gunter coming into a new system and said the team likes Gunter’s potential — just as Packers cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt did. Whitt was very disappointed when Gunter was cut.
“We like who he is. The hard part is, he really didn’t have a chance to learn what we do when we got him,” Rivera said.
“We’ve used him sparingly, but we like him in practice, we like the things that he brings to the table. The nice thing is, we’ve had a chance to sit down and talk to him about Green Bay, the things that they do, the way they do it. So we’ve got a little bit of a feel for that. But he really is an interesting guy and we think he’s got a chance to help us in the future.”
The Packers added starting right tackle Jason Spriggs to the injury report with a hip injury that apparently flared up during Thursday’s practice. Spriggs is starting for veteran Bryan Bulaga, who is done for the year with a knee injury. If Spriggs can’t go, versatile backup Justin McCray would get the call. … Outside linebacker Nick Perry, who didn’t play at Cleveland last week because of foot and shoulder injuries, practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day. … Inside linebacker Jake Ryan (knee) practiced on a limited basis after not practicing Wednesday. … Rookie safety Josh Jones returned to practice after missing Wednesday because of the birth of his child.