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Post-practice McCarthy: Secondary situation remains fluid

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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The Green Bay Packers' secondary situation remained a popular topic during head coach Mike McCarthy's post-practice news conference with the media on Sunday afternoon. And no, it hasn't been settled. The rotating door at safety continued Sunday with Jerron McMillian taking reps with the first-team defense in its sub-packages today. At cornerback, veteran Jarrett Bush was still working the starting cornerback post across from Tramon Williams while Sam Shields received the initial call over Casey Hayward to take reps as the fourth cornerback in the dime sub-package. "The secondary is still right where we were," McCarthy said. "I stand by what I said last week. There will be decisions that will be made in the secondary off the Kansas City game." However, McCarthy was impressed from what he's seen as of late from McMillian, the team's fourth-round pick last April who has played both dime cornerback to safety during training camp. "Well for a young guy, the thing you have to be impressed with is his flexibility," McCarthy said. "I donít know how many times I know in my career where you have a safety come in and also has the ability to go down and play inside in the dime or even the nickel. He gives you flexibility which when youíre making a 53-man roster is an important attribute to bring to the table because itís one thing to make a football team. As we all know itís another thing to be up on Sundays on the 46-man, so I would say his flexibility is definitely a huge asset." Here are some other highlights of McCarthy's news conference: *McCarthy said he had no update on injured linebacker Desmond Bishop as the team will release all its roster moves tomorrow. *Of the team's seven tight ends, only two - Jermichael Finley and Brandon Bostick - were healthy enough to practice on Sunday, which caused the team to roll out safety Sean Richardson and linebackers Vic So'oto, Terrell Manning and Jamari Lattimore there today. "I think it was evident today with Vic Soíoto and Lattimore both playing both tight end," McCarthy said. "That it tells you where we are as far as the tight end position. I know Tom and Ryan both are getting better. If I had to put them in a status category, I would say theyíre day-to-day." *On if fringe guys can win a roster spot against Kansas City: "This is an important game for a number of individuals," McCarthy said. "There will be a lot that will come out of this. I just know just as far as setting the schedule and spending time with the personnel department, just how weíre handling Friday afterwards to make sure the gameís evaluated by everybody, and weíll make our decisions from there. So yes, this is an important game." *On the defensive picture and impact of secondary at Cincinnati: "Thatís not as cut and dry, the way I approach it and we approach it," McCarthy said. "But yes, I thought the defense as a whole, everybody took a step forward. I donít think thereís really anybody that came out of it, Iím going through the grade sheets in my mind right now. That was a very impressive performance for our defense. The grades were as high as I can recall as far as a win versus a loss for each player on our team, specifically in the secondary. I think everybody made a step forward." On undrafted rookie linebacker Dezman Moses' performance against the Bengals: "Well, I felt really from Day 1 he was pretty natural at the outside linebacker position. Iíve seen him improve on special teams, particularly things that he hasnít been asked to do. Heís a raw young player thatís getting better on special teams, and thereís some things just in the sub packages that heís had the opportunity to get some reps at. I think heís grown. I think weíre all excited about his football Ö heís a tough football player, heís still a very young, raw player." *First-round pick Nick Perry also came through with a big performance at San Diego as he continues to take steps forward as a pass-rusher. "Nick, I think if you just went right through his performances in the games, I think itís a pretty good illustration of where heís at," McCarthy said. "San Diego he came out strong, Cleveland he took a step back and then I thought he played very well against Cincinnati. Iíve seen him grow more comfortable each and every week, heís taken a ton of reps. I think weíve definitely maxed out the opportunity to try and get him ready, and heís responded. So Iím pleased with the progress heís making, Iím excited about how much more he has in front of him." *The pressure is building for offensive tackle Derek Sherrod as he continues to recover from the broken leg he sustained last December. "Heís getting closer," McCarthy said. "Heís a little frustrated. I had a chance to watch him in his rehab the other day. Heís hitting the targets that he needs to down there. But as far as how close we are to being on the field, thatís obviously something that will be heightened as this week goes on." *Injured running back James Starks (turf toe) started camp as the team's No. 1 running back, but is now listed as the fourth-stringer on the team's released depth chart. Despite that, McCarthy said not to draw any conclusions from that as to Starks' standing on the team. "Once again, the depth chart means nothing to me," McCarthy said. "Itís a work in progress. James is injured right now. thatís probably reflecting on where he was going to play in the game at Cincinnati this week, because he didnít play. He didnít go from 1 to 4 because of any other reason." *McCarthy thought the increased reps Jermichael Finley saw on Sunday were a good thing as the Packers tight end has yet to play in a preseason game. He missed the first two with injury and last Thursday's game against Cincinnati following the birth of his son, London. "I thought todayís practice was exactly what Jermichael needed," McCarthy said. "It was hot in there, that was a taxing practice, I thought it was a good practice and he needed that as much of that as he can possibly get between now and Kansas City. He hasnít played. He needs as much as he can possibly get in the practice environment. As we all know, practice is important, but itís still not the game." -whodkiew@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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