ORLANDO, Fla. -- Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy talked about his team over lunch with Wisconsin media members at the NFL annual meeting on Tuesday. Here are some of the highlights:
♦ Bryan Bulaga will move back to right tackle, David Bakhtiari will stay at left tackle, and Derek Sherrod will be a swing tackle but start out on the left side. McCarthy said Bulaga has more experience at right tackle than anywhere else. He also likes how Bakhtiari and left guard Josh Sitton worked together last season.
♦ The starting center position is up in the air after the departure of Evan Dietrich-Smith to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency, but McCarthy is high on second-year pro JC Tretter, who missed almost all of last season with a broken ankle. Tretter, Don Barclay, T.J. Lang and Sitton were named as potential candidates at center.
♦ McCarthy would like to have quarterback Matt Flynn back as Aaron Rodgersí backup. He said he has great admiration and respect for the job Flynn did last year. In a perfect world, McCarthy would like to have three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and another on the practice squad.
♦ Newly signed Julius Peppers will be used in an elephant-type role as an outside linebacker and defensive lineman. McCarthy considers the Packers a 3-4 team, but they will run a lot of sub-packages, and Peppers will be a key part of that mix.
♦ Second-year defensive back Micah Hyde could be used in a variety of ways -- including safety, slot cornerback, dime back Ė in an effort to make him an every-down player.
♦ Defensive tackle B.J. Raji will play over center in a role that is tailor-made for him. McCarthy said he wants to ďcut him loose.Ē One factor that attracted Raji to return to Green Bay for at least one more season is moving back to a more natural position over center.
♦ Newly-signed free-agent defensive tackle Latroy Guion has been impressive in past games against the Packers.
♦ McCarthy would like to see defensive tackle Johnny Jolly return. "He gave us every inch he had" is how McCarthy described Jolly, who hasnít been medically cleared yet to play after a neck injury.
♦ McCarthy hasnít ruled out the return of defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, and will take a wait-and-see approach on that.
♦ Tight end Jermichael Finley is in great shape but hasnít been medically cleared to play.
♦ McCarthy is expecting bigger things from defensive end Datone Jones in his second season. Jonesí ankle injury during in training camp was worse than the Packers originally thought.
♦ On the departure of Dietrich-Smith, McCarthy said "we didnít get to the right spot with him." He said he is proud of Dietrich-Smith and expects him to make an impact in Tampa Bay. McCarthy admitted having four different starting centers in the past four years is a challenge.
♦ McCarthy said linebacker Clay Matthews' twice-broken right thumb should be fine and he doesn't expect any complications.