Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media following Friday's practice prior to this Sunday's game against Detroit. Here are some highlights from his news conference:
Why didn't Alex Green practice?
"He didn’t practice today just due to his history but I fully expect him to be ready for Sunday … “Every player goes through examinations. There’s feedback throughout the week. This was a longer week in preparation for us. He was able to practice Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. We’re just being smart with him.”
On the team's confidence
"I would say we’re a confident football team. But we fully understand what’s in front of us. This is an important time of the year, technically the third quarter of the season. We talked throughout the week in here and also as a football team about the importance of these division games. I would say our confidence is where it needs to be. It’s important to win this football game. With every win, particularly a division win, your confidence grows.”
Where will you get a pass rush this week?
”I would say our pass rush will be the same as it’s been all year. The way we approach it. Now I’m going to sit here and tell you that you replace Clay Matthews. That’s not the idea. If you look at our pressure, when it’s occurred, it has been a big improvement from the past. The ability to generate pass rush on first down alone has been something we’ve done a very good job of.
“With that, it’s a collective effort. We’re going to need that Sunday.”
How much does run defense help sacks?
”It starts with the run. Everything we do starts with run defense. We’re doing a very good job there. It’s improved, particularly in the last three or four weeks. Every meeting we start on both sides of the ball is with the run game.”
On why the team started practice early:
”Today we cut out 30 minutes of meeting time. I felt coming out of the meetings yesterday afternoon that we were ready. I cut the meeting time back 30 minutes and practice was the same as it normally is on Friday. With it being a noon start our time, 1 o’clock Eastern, I wanted to make sure they had an extra half an hour. It’s amazing what 30 minutes does to the mindset of your football team. It was a good team meeting this morning.”
Can Derek Sherrod return this season?
”Well, I don’t want to give up on Derek. This is his first week back. We’re taking baby steps. I think it’s obvious if you’ve had a chance to watch him work. But I will say this. Just watching him a couple weeks ago and watching him go through the individual, I think he’s made some strides. He has that last hurdle he has to get over. This is the kind of drill work that he needs, to be in pads and go through the individual stuff. That’s really the only opportunity that he’ll really have to really cross that threshold. We’ll see what happens.”
What's Cedric Benson's status?
”Cedric had the opportunity to have some testing done and everything’s positive. His rehab has picked up. We’ll see where we are next week. We don’t have a startup date exactly when he’s going to be ready. We had some good news in the past seven days.”
Given the injuries, on the importance of Tramon Williams' health:
”It’s important for Tramon individually to be healthy just with what he went through last year. He fought through the whole season with his particular injury. He’s back to the way he was two years ago. He’s a big part of our defense. When you have someone like Tramon you’re able to tilt defense one way or the other. It’s very important.”
Can Vic So'oto help against the Lions?
”That’s what we’re preparing for. I thought Vic came back and looked like he was in good shape. He has to get up to speed on a few things. He went to a 4-3 defense from here. But I thought his week’s work so far has been good. Dom Capers and I visited this morning about potentially his role. So we’ll see what happens.”