What Packers coach Mike McCarthy had to say at the NFL Combine

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy met with the media on Wednesday afternoon at the NFL Combine as the team begins preparation leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft. Here’s everything he had to say.

Q: Challenges of such a long relationship with quarterback Aaron Rodgers:
MCCARTHY: I think it goes all the way around. The way you interact with everybody in your program. Obviously, you have the 1 on 1 component. We’re both driven and focused on the same thing. As I watch Aaron now compared to his younger years, he’s the oldest guy in the locker room. It’s a different relationship for him in there then it was in the early years. Just staying in tune with that. From a pure football standpoint, as far as the scheme, just continue to grow that too. In specifics, what we’re going through now as an offensive staff is we’re spending a ton of time in the passing game particularly, doing a 12-year study, looking at his first six years compared to the last four, particularly the last three. Kind of breaking it down the first seven and last three and just seeing the differences in everything involved in that. Because this is the time when he goes away but when he returns in April, that initial meeting of these are the things we’ve done, here’s the history, the past, these are the changes and so forth. That part of it is always fresh for him. He likes a challenge so we make sure we continue to challenge him as we grow as a football team.

Q: Have you done similar studies in the past?
MCCARTHY: We have, I would say the last five or six years have been in the four-year realm. So, the chance to go back and take all 12 years, particularly the video of it and watch the origin of the concept, the original installation of it, how it evolved, what we got away from, what we stayed with. In this league, the evolution of scheme is the challenge and the focus that every coach goes through whether it be offense, defense, or special teams. The ability to stay on the front end of that curve and try to hopefully stay a step of so in front of your opponent in that particular challenge is where we’re always focused on. We have tremendous history with both Aaron and Brett [Favre] in ’06 and ’07. It’s really probably been as good for the coaches as it will be for the players when they get back. It’s brought us back to the basics in more ways than one.

Q: On the Free Agency plan for this upcoming period:
MCCARTHY: We like the word ‘aggressive,’ but I think it’s like anything, you have to be in touch with reality of the process. The process of veteran free agency is different today than it was prior to Brian [Gutekunst] being the GM. It’s a whole different breakdown and approach, really. That’s the first part of it, so you have the evaluation stage and then the application of it is really what it’s all about. It’s not just one thing that directly leads to another. We don’t want to lose good players, that’s something we’ve always focuses on, particularly our own. We’ve spent pretty much our 12 years here really focusing on improving from within but we need outside resources, we’ve determined that. At the end of the day it’s a market, it’s a market that every team is involved in and we’ll see what happens.

Q: How has the new front office structure been going?
MCCARTHY: It’s different, different structure, there’s meetings, communication is weekly. The reality of what I’m doing specifically, with new coaching staffs, predominantly, probably the last five weeks have been bunkered down with the offensive perimeter group going through the passing game and Mike Pettine has done the same with the defense. We’re kind of in a ‘year one format,’ kind of what you go through when you go into a place with a new staff. Unfortunately, we had an early start with a couple extra weeks before the Super Bowl. Our approach is the same. We’ve always made sure that when players get back on April 16th that we’re ready to go. Every minute that they’re available they’re our priority.

Q: Is the NFL Scouting Combine a fresh start no matter what happens the previous season?
MCCARTHY: I think more for the interaction for the media and the rest of the world, maybe. Really, you get a little time off, the assistant coaches had a little time off. Obviously, we were involved in staff changes. It really kicked off once we turned that first tape on and started to scheme evaluation for me. That’s really the day that the page is turned and you’re able to move forward. This is part of that new journey of 2018.

Q: On Mike Pettine’s scheme, 4-3 or 3-4?
MCCARTHY: Frankly, if you asked Mike if he plays the 4-3 or the 3-4 he’d say ‘yes.” That’s the reality of what a good defensive system is. The ability to utilize your players. We’ve never had that luxury of saying ‘we need this specific kind of player.’ I think when you’re picking where we’ve picked for as many years as we have, and with our prior focus on veteran free agency, we have to acquire good players. In our system, on offense, defense, and special teams we have to take advantage of those players and make sure we’re playing to their strengths and that’s no different with Mike.

Q: On the running back position and Ty Montgomery’s position:
MCCARTHY: First thing, Jamaal [Williams] and Aaron [Jones] did a lot of good things. Probably the most important statistic for me when evaluating players as far as you move forward to the next season is availability. I have a depth chart board in my office and it has their picture, original tag, number, and play time. Play time is a reflection of availability. None of our running backs this year were available for the whole season. That’s the first hurdle that they need to meet. In Ty [Montgomery]’s particular case, his availability the last three years has been his challenge. He’s a multi-positional player. He’s a running back, to answer the question, but he gives us great flexibility to use him so many different ways, so that won’t change. We’re going to need all those guys next year, so that’s going to be our approach.

Q: How can Mike Daniels benefit from a schematic change?
MCCARTHY: There will be some. It’s important for every coordinator through their positon coach, to play their scheme and more importantly their vision and make sure the play style is consistent. Mike’s playing style is a huge asset to not only our defensive line, but our whole football team. Schematically, I think you really just need to play to Mike’s strengths. Create the opportunities, and I think anytime you can get Mike in a one-on-one situation you’re probably going to see more production. I think it’s important. We’re not scorching the Earth or throwing out the baby with the bath water with our defensive approach. There’s some history there with our past defense that Mike [Pettine] will be able to carry over with his scheme. We’ll build off of that but the specifics of what he’s doing, but more importantly how he’s doing it, and even more importantly than that why he’s doing it, will make all of our defensive players, particularly Mike Daniels, better.

Q: On needing a culture change on defense:
MCCARTHY: I think that’s a big statement. I mean, culture change, I think you have to look at more of the definition of it is, from my perspective, my approach is you have an evaluation that you do each and every year. You have filters that you run your data, conversations, and all the input that you take from within, or even outside the organization in some small level. With that you assess. Obviously, the last nine years I felt that internally we were able to take the resources that we had, build the vision, the plan for the upcoming season. Obviously, I felt differently this year and the result was all of the coaching changes. I don’t get too far away from the reality of how our operation is every day and that is the culture. Our culture is what makes it go. That’s how you sustain success. It definitely has been changed, on a lot of levels it has been adjusted, too.

Q: Assessing Brett Hundley and his evaluation from 2017:
MCCARTHY: I think when you look at Brett [Hundley], like anything, you look at what he was able to accomplish. Now his live reps are on video. We felt that he could have been better prepared as far as our whole operation. You look at the evaluation as far as where he started, how he ended his season. He definitely improved throughout his opportunities there. I feel very good about that. I believe in Brett Hundley. I do fully recognize that he has a lot of football in front of him. He has a big upside and our structure and our coaching staff, we need to make sure that we maximize that. We also need to learn from the other parts of the offense that we didn’t do as good as we would have liked. We’ll learn from that and apply it forward. I do believe that Brett as a big upside and looking forward to getting back to work with him.

Q: On the health of Aaron Rodgers:
MCCARTHY: I can’t answer that. I feel confident that he’ll be ready to go. I had a short meeting yesterday with Dr. Pat Mackenzie and his assessment of everything is that everything looks good.

Last Hits: Lions 35, Packers 11

DETROIT – The Green Bay Packers finished their season with a 7-9 record after falling to the Detroit Lions 35-11 on Sunday afternoon at Ford Field.

Seventeen last hits for the 17-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Randall Cobb in the final quarter of the season’s final game.

1. .This season didn’t go as planned for the Packers. When one of the NFL’s most important players goes down with an injury missing seven games in the middle of the season, things typically don’t go as previously expected.

2. The absence of quarterback Aaron Rodgers did just that for Green Bay. The Packers went from a team that was a Super Bowl contender to one that finished with a 7-9 record on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

3. When Rodgers left the field with his broken right collarbone on October 15th against the Vikings the reins were handed over to Brett Hundley at quarterback. Hundley went 3-4 in the stretch of games Rodgers originally missed. Those three wins came against opponents that will finish the season with a combined record of either 9-39 or 10-38 on the season (as of this writing, Tampa Bay has yet to complete their Week 17 game against the New Orleans Saints). The wins against the Buccaneers and Browns came in overtime.

4. To pin missing the season entirely on Hundley would be silly. While his play is certainly spotlighted because of the stark difference between he and Rodgers, the blame isn’t all his. Rodgers missing time this year showed that Green Bay’s roster has many holes that have been masked by the skill of Rodgers.

5. Those holes primarily fall on the defensive side of the ball. That was on display again as the Packers allowed 35 points to a Detroit Lions squad that finishes the year at 9-7 as rumors fly about whether or not they will fire their head coach, Jim Caldwell. This isn’t a piece being written to try and show how the Packers need to be fixed, but rather show that it does need to happen.

6. Hundley finished the day with 172 yards passing, a pair of interceptions, and a touchdown. One of the picks seemed to be a miscommunication with Geronimo Allison, and the other one was a pass intended for Jamaal Williams thrown behind him. The pass bounced off the hands of Williams into the waiting arms of Detroit linebacker Jarrad Davis.

7. Hundley did not finish the game, as Joe Callahan saw his first NFL regular season action for the final drive of the game. He completed 5-of-7 passes attempted for 11 yards in mop-up duty. Callahan’s appearance was one that doesn’t teach the world much about him. Allowing him to play extended action in a meaningless game may have been wise.

8. The reasoning for playing Callahan over Hundley would have been to see if he has what it takes to be the backup quarterback of this team. Over the past few months, if the Packers have learned one thing, it should be that if something were to happen to Rodgers again next season, they’re not in a position to be competitive with Hundley.

9. Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford finished the day 20/29 passing for 323 yards and three touchdowns. He had receivers open down the field all day, and missed out on plenty more yards with errant throws. Green Bay’s defensive backfield had no answer for him.

10. Three Detroit wide receivers, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr., and Kenny Golladay had 80 or more receiving yards on the day. All three of them found the end zone and had a catch of 50 yards or more, as well.

11. Offensively, the Lions only rushed for 51 yards on 23 carries, but with a defensive backfield as weak as the one the Packers boasted, a successful ground attack isn’t necessary.

12. There’s a different feeling around the team as they failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Many of the men in that locker room have never seen the season end before the calendar changes over to a new year.

13. “A lot of us have never experienced this feeling of not making the playoffs,” Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels said. “We’ve experienced the feeling of not making the Super Bowl but it’s a little different because you end on a high note, okay, you’ve got the Divisional Round, Wild Card, NFC Championship, but when you don’t make the playoffs it stings a little bit longer. It stings harder. It’s definitely a tougher feeling that you have to learn from.”

14. “Obviously, I’m disappointed on the way it went,” said linebacker Clay Matthews on the season. “I don’t think anyone anticipates, at least in this locker room and this organization, not making the playoffs and not playing for the Super Bowl. It’s just the standard we’ve set.”

15. Questions surround the Packers moving forward into the offseason. There was a report out late Saturday night that the Packers would be parting ways with defensive coordinator Dom Capers. A season like this raises questions like that one, including whether or not Ted Thompson should still be the man in charge in Green Bay.

16. Time will tell on all of the questions surrounding the Packers. They have plenty of time to answer them with their next meaningful game not until September of 2018. Until then, 2017 will be looked back at as a wasted year in the middle of the career of one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game of football.

17. If the Packers answer all of their offseason questions correctly, there’s very little doubt that they’ll be contenders for the Super Bowl next season. Even if they don’t, a healthy Rodgers at quarterback has proven to be a magic elixir before, and it may be once again.

Vikings 16, Packers 0: 2-minute drill

GREEN BAY — On a frigid night at Lambeau Field, Minnesota held Green Bay scoreless in a 16-0 win, earning a season sweep and handing the Packers their second home shutout of the year.

Play of the Game

With Green Bay trailing 10-0 just before halftime and sitting at the Minnesota 15-yard line, Vikings’ safety Harrison Smith read the eyes of quarterback Brett Hundley and cut in front of tight end Lance Kendricks for a drive-ending interception. The Packers would get back in the red zone later in the game, but that was their best chance to get on the board and put some pressure on Minnesota.

Game Balls

Offense: Offensive line

In the first matchup of the season, the Vikings terrorized a beat up offensive line to the tune of four sacks and constant pressure. This time around, and just as beat up, the Packers held their own. Despite losing right tackle Jason Spriggs on the first play of the game, Hundley was sacked just once and had a ton of time to throw much of the night. On the ground, Green Bay piled up 113 yards, nearly 30 more than Minnesota was allowing coming into the game.

Defense: Kenny Clark

Green Bay’s defense played well for the most part and Clark was a big reason why. The second-year defensive lineman had five tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks and two more quarterback hurries. He was part of a unit that held the Vikings to a season-low 236 yards.

There were few positives on that side of the ball this year but Clark, along with fellow defensive linemen Mike Daniels and Dean Lowry give the Packers some hope moving forward.

Special Teams: N/A

In their own words

“We didn’t put the ball in the end zone. It’s as simple as that. We had opportunities and missed on [those] opportunities. [I’ve] never felt more defeated, more embarrassed about a performance. We had opportunities and we didn’t connect when we did.”

— WR Randall Cobb on the offensive performance

“It’s so frustrating. Just because of the fact that I know what I can do. I know what my expectations of myself [are]. They’re higher than a person watching TV at this moment, any coach. I’m putting in the work. I’m doing what I have to do. But to go out there and not be consistent, which is my number one goal, and just give our team an opportunity to win each game, that hurts.”

— QB Brett Hundley on his struggles

In Case You Missed It

— It was 10 degrees at kickoff and it felt like 0 degrees with the windchill.

— Green Bay’s offense didn’t cross midfield until there were 4:00 left in the second quarter

— Quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed his eighth game of the season after being put on injured reserve earlier in the week once Green Bay had been eliminated from the playoffs.

— Injuries continued to pile up for Green Bay

  • RT Jason Spriggs (knee)
  • RB Aaron Jones (knee)
  • TE Richard Rodgers (shoulder)
  • WR Jordy Nelson (shoulder)

— Wide receiver Jeff Janis third-quarter catch was his first of the year.

— Wide receiver Michael Clark caught the first pass of his career in the fourth quarter. He finished with three catches for 36 yards.

Inside the Numbers

0 — That’s the number of points the Packers scored on Saturday, the second time they’ve been shutout at home this season.

0 — That’s the number of teams that had been shutout twice in the same season since the last time the Packers had it happen to them in 2006.

0 — That’s the number of touchdowns Brett Hundley threw in five starts at Lambeau Field.

239 — That’s how many yards the Packers had, the second-fewest they’ve managed in a game this year.

What’s Next

Green Bay (7-8) travels to Detroit (7-6) next Sunday (12 p.m.) for the regular season finale.

Packers beat Tampa Bay in overtime

The Green Bay Packers snapped their two-game losing skid Sunday with a 26-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Lambeau Field.

The win pushes the Packers to 6-6 on the season and keeps their playoff hopes alive for the time being.

Green Bay led 17-10 at the half, but gave up 10 straight points in the second half before rallying to tie the game on a 22-yard field goal by kicker Mason Crosby with 2:01 remaining in regulation. The Packers then forced Tampa Bay to punt before going three-and-out at the end of regulation.

The Packers won the coin toss to start overtime and received the ball. They proceeded to go on a 72-yard touchdown drive, culminating on a 20-yard touchdown run from running back Aaron Jones on his only carry of the day.

Quarterback Brett Hundley threw for only 84 yards on the day, the fewest in a Packers win since the 1994 season. Green Bay did rush for 199 yards on 29 carries. Hundley had 66 yards on the ground, Jones had 20, and rookie Jamaal Williams had 113 yards.

Green Bay’s defense was able to reach Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston seven times on the day, one sack shy of the team record for a single game.

The Packers return to action next weekend in Cleveland against the Browns.

Packers lose heartbreaker to Steelers 31-28

PITTSBURGH — The Green Bay Packers lost their second consecutive game on Sunday night. They fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28 at Heinz Field.

The Packers were able to tie the game with 2:02 remaining on a Jamaal Williams four-yard touchdown run, but the Steelers were able to go down the field and Chris Boswell kicked a career-high 53-yard field goal as time expired to win the game.

Green Bay did see an improvement out of quarterback Brett Hundley. He went 17-of-26 through the air for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Hundley’s performance against Pittsburgh was his best since he took over as the starting quarterback when Aaron Rodgers was placed on injured reserve with a broken collarbone.

Defensively the Packers struggled to stop the Pittsburgh offense. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 351 yards and four touchdowns on the night, although he was intercepted twice. Wide receiver Antonio Brown had 169 yards receiving and two touchdowns on ten catches. Running back Le’Veon Bell had 95 yards rushing on 20 carries as well as 12 catches and 88 yards receiving.

The loss drops the Packers to 5-6 on the season. They return home to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Ravens 23, Packers 0; Quick hits

GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers fell to 5-5 on the season with a 23-0 loss at home to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field. This was the first time in 11 years that the Packers have been shut out. The last came on November 19, 2006 against the New England Patriots.

Baltimore took advantage of Green Bay’s carelessness with the ball throughout the afternoon, forcing five turnovers. They also were able to get to Packers’ quarterback Brett Hundley six times on the day.

Here are 14 quick hits for the 14 first downs picked up by the Baltimore Ravens Sunday afternoon:

1. The Packers let Hundley throw the ball early. On the first play of the game he opened up with a 17-yard completion to Jordy Nelson. Two plays later he hit Davante Adams down the right sideline for a gain of 33 yards setting on a first and goal situation. After a handoff and an offside penalty against Baltimore, Hundley took to the air from the five-yard-line. The result was not what Green Bay wanted. Baltimore’s Jimmy Smith came up with the ball in the end zone with the interception.

2. The second drive for the Packers offense was much of the same. Hundley looked comfortable in the pocket, but was a half second too late in his decision making. He nearly threw an interception on a pass intended for Nelson, then did throw one two plays later to Eric Weddle of the Ravens.

3. While the Packers defense was stout early on, holding the Ravens to just three points off the first two turnovers, the offense couldn’t get out of its own way. On the third possession of the game, running back Devante Mays took a pitch to the left side for his first carry in the NFL. He fumbled the ball and was credited with a loss of four yards on the play. His second career carry came in the fourth quarter right before the two-minute warning. He fumbled on that play as well, luckily that one was recovered

4. The defense stood up again, moving Baltimore backwards on that drive. The Packer defense has certainly been suspect at times, but only allowing three points off three turnovers is no small feat for any defense.

5. In total, they only allowed six points in a first half that was poorly played by both offenses. That was certainly a positive for the Green Bay defense and gave them hope as they went to the locker room. The points from Baltimore came on field goals of 32 and 39 yards to book end the second quarter.

6. As the second half opened, the Ravens offense found a spark, driving down the field for the game’s first touchdown on a 21-yard Mike Wallace touchdown grab. Green Bay’s defense was out of sorts and the drive only took four plays to cover 56 yards.

7. Heading into today, the Packers had scored in every game they’ve played for the past 11 years. The last time they failed to score was November 19, 2006 when the New England Patriots came to town.

8. That day Brett Favre left the game with an injury and Aaron Rodgers was forced to fill in for him. Neither were successful as the Patriots dominated the Packers. Sunday the Ravens weren’t as good as that New England team, but the result was nearly the same.

9. As bad as the Packers looked against the Ravens, they actually were able to outgain them on the day. Green Bay finished with 265 yards of total offense compared to only 219 for the Ravens. Part of that can be contributed to Baltimore playing with a short field several times on the day. Only once did Baltimore have to go more than 50 yards to put points on the board.

10. Their longest drive of the game was the four-play, 59-yard touchdown drive that opened up the second half and gave them control of the game. Their other scoring drives were 47 yards, nine yards, 24 yards, and three yards.

11. There were times when the offense looked formidable with Hundley at the helm, but they couldn’t get enough momentum to actually put points on the board. The first drive was promising before it ended in the interception, and Hundley did look comfortable in the pocket at times, however there were other times in which he looked lost.

12. He finished the day with 239 yards passing, but was responsible for four of the offense’s five turnovers. Three of those were via interception, and the third was a fumble caused by Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs on a play in which Hundley showed little pocket presence.

13. The lone bright spot on offense may have been the connection between Hundley and Adams. Adams had eight grabs for 126 yards on the day. Other than that, there wasn’t much for fans to be happy or encouraged about. Obviously, things are much different when Rodgers is in the lineup, but by time he can return, it will likely be too little, too late.

14. Green Bay is in action again next Sunday in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are currently 8-2, and in first place in the AFC North.

Packers snap 3-game losing streak with 23-16 win at Chicago

Brett Hundley got the first win of his young career Sunday, as the Green Bay Packers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 23-16 victory over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

After struggling in his first two starts filling in for an injured Aaron Rodgers, Hundley was better, especially in the fourth quarter. He made a Rodgers-like throw to Davante Adams for what proved to be the winning touchdown and then dropped another dime on a third-and-10 pass to Adams that help to extend a time-consuming drive.

Hundley, who injured his hamstring in the game, finished the day 18 of 25 for 212 yards and a touchdown, finishing with a passer rating of 110.8.

Much of his success came when throwing Adams’ way. The wide receiver caught five of the eight passes thrown his way for 90 yards, including the touchdown.

Helping the offense was a running game that was extremely productive even after losing starter Aaron Jones (knee) and Ty Montgomery (ribs). Green Bay ran for 160 yards, tied for the second-most this season. Rookie Jamaal Williams had 67 yards, with Montgomery chipping in 54, Hundley 16 and Jones 12.

Defensively, the Packers got after rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, sacking him five times, including three from outside linebacker Nick Perry. They also limited a Bears rushing attack that was averaging 130 yards coming in to just 55.

The win pushed Green Bay to 5-4 on the year, tied with the Detroit Lions in the NFC North and two games behind division-leading Minnesota. The Packers will host Baltimore next Sunday.

Packers beat Los Angeles 24-10 in preseason finale

Brett Hundley threw one touchdown and ran for another as the Green Bay Packers finished up the preseason with a 24-10 win against the Los Angeles Rams Thursday night.

Starting for Aaron Rodgers, Hundley played the entire first half, finishing 11 of 21 for 99 yards and the one score. For the preseason, the third-year quarterback threw for 482 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for two more scores.

“I thought he did some good things, made plays,” coach Mike McCarthy said afterwards. “It’s exactly what Brett needed. He needed to play, he needed reps, and we got that done.”

Hundley was replaced by rookie Taysom Hill, who continued to impress. He was 4 of 4 on the night, including a 25-yard touchdown to Aaron Peck, while also rushing for 19 yards. Second-year pro Joe Callahan came in to finish things off.

After not working much on the running game in the first 3 ½ games of the preseason, McCarthy went ground-and-pound in the second half on Thursday. And it resulted in some solid work for the three rookie running backs – Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Devante Mays. The trio combined for 97 yards, including 48 for Jones.

Twenty-eight players sat out of Thursday’s game, but several members of the starting secondary did suit up and play. Among them was cornerback Davon House. He had missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, but started and played one drive against Los Angeles. The free agent signee said he expects to be good to go for the opener against Seattle on Sept. 10.

“I’m ready,” House said. “I’ll be out there.”

The Packers attention now turns to making roster cuts. They must go from 90 players to 53 by 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Hundley sharp in preseason loss to Broncos

DENVER — Packers quarterback Brett Hundley got some extended playing time Saturday night, impressing in a 20-17 preseason loss to the Broncos.

Hundley completed 20 of his 30 passes for 186 yards, also rushing for 14 yards and a touchdown. He replaced Aaron Rodgers after just two offensive series’, playing through to the end and getting experience working with the No. 1 offense in a four-minute situation.

Denver was led by Trevor Siemian, who went 13-of-22 for 127 yards with an interception. But he had plenty of run support, as De’Angelo Henderson, C.J. Anderson, and Jamaal Charles combined for 92 yards and a touchdown. It was Charles’ debut after spending the previous nine years of his career in Kansas City.

Issues on the offensive line were evident for Green Bay. Denver recorded five sacks and eight tackles for loss, some because of the questionable play of second-year offensive lineman Jason Spriggs. A first quarter drive that seemed to be destined for a touchdown ended with a field goal after Spriggs allowed a sack of Rodgers on a third-and-seven.

It didn’t help that the Packer defense was getting carved up after linebacker Nick Perry left with an ankle injury in the first quarter. Following the injury, Denver ended a drive on a 16-yard Anderson touchdown run.

The Packers conclude the preseason schedule Thursday night hosting the Los Angeles Rams.

Packers hang on for 21-17 win over Redskins

WASHINGTON — After coming out sluggish in the second half, the Green Bay Packers turned it on late for a 21-17 preseason win over the Washington Redskins Saturday night.

Aaron Rodgers saw some time in the first quarter, finishing 6-of-8 for 37 yards and a touchdown. He left the game after connecting with tight end Martellus Bennett for a three-yard touchdown pass.

Brett Hundley took over for Rodgers, ending his night 9-of-10 for 107 yards and a touchdown, though things slowed down in the second half. The first possession after the break saw the offense stall out after a 12-yard completion on 3rd and 9 was negated by a Jason Spriggs hold. Spriggs then allowed a sack on the ensuing 3rd and 23, resulting in a punt. With 9:45 remaining in the game, Green Bay had only put up 17 yards of offense.

But that’s when things started to click again.

Backup quarterback Taysom Hill led Green Bay in rushing, carrying the ball six times for 38 yards and a touchdown. On the scoring drive, Hill had rushes of nine and 23 yards, the latter of which resulted in a score. The next closest yardage leader was Kalif Phillips, a true running back, who collected 17 yards on five carries. Ty Montgomery was sidelined with a knee injury suffered in practice.

Jeff Janis made his case to stick around for a fourth season by leading the team in receiving. He hauled in three passes for 63 yards, but also proved key with his blocking and special teams contributions.

There was still something left to be desired for punter Justin Vogel, who got plenty of work. He had eight punts, averaging 48.3 yards with a long of 63. But the issue was hangtime, with only one punt in the air longer than 4.5 seconds. That was a late 54-yard boomer that stayed up for 6.3 seconds, resulting in a bobbled catch by Washington with the Green Bay coverage unit in his immediate vicinity and ready to bring him down.

The Packers travel to Denver next Saturday night at 8:00 C.T.