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McCarthy hoping Neal's injury issues have passed

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Here are some leftovers from a brief one-on-one interview with coach Mike McCarthy on Friday after his press conference at the NFL scouting combine: -- McCarthy wouldn't say how much the Packers are counting on defensive end Mike Neal after injuries wrecked Neal's first two seasons in the league. Neal missed 14 games his rookie season because of shoulder surgery and nine games last season because of a knee injury †sustained in training camp. After returning from the knee injury he was a non-factor and didn't rush the passer anything like he did in camp before getting hurt. "Heís an explosive player, and heís got the ability to do the inside pass rush," McCarthy said. "Now heís been in our system for two years. Mike, if he can through this injury phase heís going through, I think heíll be fine." -- Vic So'oto showed some outside pass-rush ability as an undrafted rookie last year but was a liability in pass coverage making the move from college defensive end to outside linebacker with the Packers. So'oto's chances of getting on the field this season will depend on whether the coaches trust him enough to cover when called upon. "Vicís an ascending young player," McCarthy said. "There's things he can improve on in the classroom, in the weight room, now that will carry over to practice and playing." -- McCarthy on the role that the season-ending neck injury to safety Nick Collns, the early season shoulder injury that slowed cornerback Tramon Williams, and the loss of defensive end Cullen Jenkins in free agency had on the Packers' last-ranked defense last season: "Itís a combination of negatives, but it also gives an opportunity for other guys to step up and take advantage of opportunities. Thatís something that didnít occur this year like it did (in 2010)."  

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