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John DeShazier: New Packers quarterback Brett Hundley has limited regular-season experience

Posted Oct 18, 2017

Majority of his snaps have come in preseason

There isn’t much of a regular-season resume for the New Orleans Saints to draw from in preparation for Packers quarterback Brett Hundley for Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., as New Orleans (3-2) sets its sights on winning its fourth consecutive game.

The 24-year-old, who will replace Aaron Rodgers (broken collarbone), has played in six regular-season games and threw 33 of his career 44 attempts, and had 18 of his 21 completions (for 157 yards and a touchdown, with three interceptions) in Sunday’s relief appearance against Minnesota, after Rodgers was injured.

But there’s a lot of preseason film to be evaluated on Hundley. In three seasons with Green Bay, that’s where the majority of his snaps have come: He has completed 98 of 148 passes (66.2 percent) for 1,179 yards and 10 touchdowns, with two interceptions, and has run 15 times for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

“I think you would look at everything he has done with Green Bay and the offense,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said Wednesday morning in a teleconference with local media. “We were real familiar with the player coming out of college (Hundley played at UCLA), so you might go back and reference some things.

“But you do have enough of an exposure, just in the preseason, with the time he’s been there. There’ll be some certain things that he’ll do (that) maybe you haven’t seen, so you try to get up to speed as best you can.”

Payton said the strengths of Hundley easily are identifiable.

“He’s very athletic, he’s fast, he can extend plays, he’s got a real good arm,” he said. “I can recall when he came out, you see and feel his arm strength. And so on the move, from the pocket, he can make all the throws. And I think the athleticism is something that you see with him. He’s not afraid to tuck it and run and he’s good at doing that.”

AT LONG LAST: For the first time in his career, defensive end Cam Jordan was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Jordan had a monstrous game against Detroit – an interception that he caught for a touchdown, two sacks, three passes defensed, two quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and five tackles.

“He played outstanding,” Payton said. “We just announced it in a team meeting. It was something that – there wasn’t one specific play, certainly it culminated with the deflected interception in the end zone – he was consistent all game long and it really impacted the type of game we were able to play defensively. We’re happy for him.”

NOT A SOLO ACT: In addition to Jordan, safety Kenny Vaccaro (a fumble recovery for a touchdown, an interception, three passes defensed, a tackle for loss and four tackles against Detroit) continued his standout play. Vaccaro has a team-leading two interceptions and needs one more to establish a new single-season high (twice, he has had two picks in a season).

“There are a lot of things he’s doing well right now,” Payton said. “I’d say he has played some of his best football. He’s someone, the closer you get him to the play of the offense, (the better). I think he’s played really well. In these last few games, he’s been outstanding.”

TOO EARLY TO READ: It’s too soon to get a read on the type of team the Saints are going to be this season, Payton said. “It’s ongoing. It can change. There’s teams that we’ve been a part of that, man, you felt you were one thing and by the seasons’ end…

“We’ve seen in these last five weeks for us, a lot of things have happened in an encouraging way. I still think there’s a number of things that need to improve for us to have a chance. We’ll have no chance if we can’t clean up some of these areas.”

The cleanup areas? “I think our third-down numbers offensively have to get better. I think our communication defensively, and eliminating some of the big plays that we’ve given up. Our field-goal protection has struggled; it’s going to cost us in a game. Our penalties on special teams are going to cost us in a game – we’re ranked 21st, 22nd, the bottom third of the league. Those are some specific things.”

WELCOME BACK: Linebacker Michael Mauti has rejoined the Saints. Mauti was released prior to the regular season, but the Saints have a need for a linebacker – and particularly, for a good special team player – now that Nate Stupar is out. Mauti was the Saints’ special team MVP in 2015, when he had 12 tackles and blocked a punt that he returned for a touchdown. “He had a great workout (Tuesday),” Payton said. “I was pleased. It was surprisingly good – his times, you could tell he’s been training. Not that he wasn’t in shape, but you could see he’s moving around, he’s healthier than he’s been. So it’s encouraging.”

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