Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media following Thursday's padded practice. Here are some highlights:

On tackle Derek Sherrod:

He's much stronger. He just needs to play. He needs the full training camp, which he hasn't had.

On linebackers Mike Neal and Nick Perry returning to practice after injuries:

No restrictions. It was good to get Nick back out there. You can't have enough really good football players. Just getting them out there and getting them in sync with guys you'll be rushing with in games. These reps are important. Missed practices in today's camp is magnified more.

On Perry needing to stay healthy:

Availability is a primary focus for job responsibility. We've had some tough times in the past. We feel we were doing things to stay in front of that. Sometimes it takes a little longer to break that cycle.

On NFL officials being at practice:

Officials are here. I think our players and assistant coaches have done a very good job, detailing the communication and explanation. That's why we wanted refs to work cornerback/receiving drills. Can take advantage of having these men here. They're obviously very good at what they do.

On the combo drill:

Half-line drill is one part. Then defensive backs and receivers working with each other. The half-line drill is specific to run defense.

On safety Morgan Burnett's sprained ankle:

He wasn't ready (to practice) this morning. I have not talked to (trainer) Pepper (Burruss) or (team doctor) Pat (McKenzie) about the examination.

On safeties Micah Hyde, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Sean Richardson getting more snaps:

Anytime someone isn't there, it gives others opportunities. I think Sean Richardson is having an excellent training camp in pursuit and screens. He did good things on special teams. Chris Banjo has had a good camp, too.

On safety Tanner Miller's injury:

Ankle.

On wide receiver Alex Gillett's big catch vs. cornerback Casey Hayward:

Big plays are huge in the NFL. When you grow up coaching, you learn about the three fundamentals of football. We added two, and one is called big-play production. They play a big role on your football team.

On Gillett's improvement:

I was impressed with him last year. He changed his body a little bit. I think he's going to be a good special-teams player, too. Excited to see him in preseason games.

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On general manager Ted Thompson's contract extension:

Very happy for Ted, personally. I think everybody who works here under it's such a unique organization. I'm very happy for him. It's something that's well deserved.

On their relationship:

Very good, consistent. Fluid. We're able to anticipate each other. It doesn't seem like we're going on nine years. It's gone fast.

On whether he's thinking about an extension, too:

Everybody that works here has a business part of their place here. That's just part of it. I'm focused on training camp. There's a process in place that will take its course. I've never sweated it. I love it here. I'm not worried about it.

If Thompson wasn't extended, would he reassess his place with the Packers?

It's a hypothetical. I wasn't concerned. Didn't give any thought. I wasn't as surprised as you were it was done.

On his relationship with scouts and Thompson:

I remember when I first got here, Ted Thompson was always here. He's so consistent. I don't think people realize what kind of work ethic he has. He puts his eyes on all those players. If you're going to do it, you're going to have to do it on the road.

On the backup inside linebackers:

They're getting better. There's a new install, so it's basically a new game plan. There's some mistakes being made. I think Sam Barrington has done some good things on defense. He needs to work on special teams. It's good to have Jamari Lattimore back. Linebacker is a position of stress because they're asked to do a lot on defense and special teams.

On Family Night being a practice instead of a scrimmage:

First part will look like it always has. It's our first opportunity to go out in front of crowd. We'll warm up. Once we come back out, it'll be like a practice we had today. It's an install practice. It's Install No. 7.

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