GREEN BAY - If the Green Bay Packers attempted to sign veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer, as was reported this week, coach Mike McCarthy says he wasn’t involved.
The Packers attempted to “steal” Hoyer after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, according to NFL Network. Hoyer ultimately signed a three-year deal with the New England Patriots to serve as Tom Brady’s backup, and McCarthy said he never was privy to conversations about bringing Hoyer to Green Bay.
“Well, I’ll just say this about veteran free agency,” McCarthy said. “First off, I can’t confirm (the report) because from the time Aaron (Rodgers) has been injured, I’ve never once been involved in a conversation about bringing in a veteran quarterback. So from my perspective, from the time of the Minnesota game, the Monday after the Minnesota game to here today, … I know you think I’m talking to you guys (in the media), but I’m really talking to our football team and our fans. The direction that we’re going with the quarterbacks is Brett Hundley and the guys that we have here. So that was really clearly the vision from the time we had to address it there in Minnesota.”
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It means that from a coaching perspective the Packers always have planned to move forward with Hundley as their starter and Joe Callahan as the backup. Those are the two players tasked with bridging the gap until a potential return by Rodgers, who underwent surgery to repair his broken right collarbone and was placed on injured reserve.
Things are often different from a personnel perspective, however, and it’s likely the Packers’ front office expressed interest in Hoyer without consulting anyone on the coaching staff, as is their right. General manager Ted Thompson and his scouting department communicate with agents and other league personnel on a daily basis, and it is ultimately their decision about which players they believe can or cannot help the Packers win.
Hoyer was not available when Rodgers injured his collarbone against the Vikings and only hit the market after his old team, the 49ers, acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade with the Patriots right before this week’s deadline.
“I’m not naïve to the fact that player personnel people talk around the league,” McCarthy said. “Was there a conversation on other free agents, particularly leading up to the deadline of trading? Yeah, that’s those guys doing their jobs. But as far as pursuing any player, I personally was not involved in any conversations, especially on a veteran quarterback.”
So McCarthy has continued to power forward with Hundley as his starting quarterback, refining the offense to fit the skill set of his new starter. He reiterated his belief in Hundley during his Thursday news conference by saying the current sample size is far too small to make assessments of Hundley’s abilities.
For his part, Hundley said he paid little attention to the news surrounding Hoyer on social media.
“I really don’t look at that stuff,” Hundley said. “My mind is on winning and playing the best I can.”
He added: “I love McCarthy. I love this team. I love the coaches. Our goal is to win games, so their confidence in me helps me a lot.”