if the Packers are going to turn things around this Sunday against the Houston Texans, they'll have to do it without their starting running back.
During his Monday news conference, Packers coach Mike McCarthy ruled out Cedric Benson this week after suffering a foot injury during the second quarter of Green Bay's 30-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Since signing with the Packers on Aug. 12, Benson had developed into the Packers' every-down running back with 71 carries for 248 yards and one touchdown over the first five games of this season.
McCarthy was optimistic about the two other injuries to come out of Sunday - defensive tackle B.J. Raji (ankle) and tight end Jermichael Finley (shoulder) - believing both could be available to play against the Texans.
Here are some other highlights from McCarthy's news conference:
"We’ve had the opportunity to watch the tape, grade it with the players. The grades were not very good. A lot of fundamental errors and some of the same things I’ve talked about: we didn’t tackle very well, we’re not handling the football the way we needed to and on and on and on. We’ve had a chance to correct it. I feel good about the psyche of our football team, and we’re looking forward to moving on to Houston watching them play tonight on Monday Night Football and going down to Texas for Sunday night."
On Cedric Benson:
"He had initial work done this morning and Dr. McKenzie asked for more work this afternoon. I saw Cedric there before the team meeting and Dr. McKenzie had to go to surgery, and Ted and I have not discussed the later testing that’s gone on. But he clearly won’t be available this week."
On Alex Green:
"Alex did some good things, and there’s some things he’ll definitely learn from. He obviously had the big run, did a great job there and a nice job on the trap play. But there’s some protection opportunities that we need to clean up and the course of certain runs, so, a young guy that took advantage of an opportunity and this will be an opportunity for him and James and Brandon to play this week against Houston."
On how Benson's injury changed the gameplan:
"Well, we went into the game thinking, try to have some balance, try to run it early, make sure that we were fine with the noise. It’s a different environment. We’ve played the preseason game there so, but frankly a lot of our decisions are made on how they play us, too. I thought they gave us some opportunities to go outside, and they’re a football team that had a number of injuries. Like always, you look at matchups and you try to take advantage of those."
On the mood of the team:
"They’re confident, disappointed. That’s a contradiction there but disappointed but I think the fact of what’s ahead, what we need to do, our practice frankly is not quite what it needs to be, and I think it’s shown up on Sundays. That was part of my message today, and I have to get that out of them, that’s my responsibility. We’ve been on an up-and-down schedule through the first month as we’ve talked about 10 times already, I’m sure. We were able to get into a flow of a normal schedule last week and it didn’t quite look the way it needed to look. We need to take advantage of our padded practices and hit the targets that we need to hit during the week because I clearly believe it shows up on Sundays."
On the Texans:
"Well we’re a focused football team; we’re just not playing to the level that we want to play at right now. That’s what we have to stay focused on. We have to stay focused on our habits, our discipline, our preparation, the process leading up to Sunday night. Personally, it’s a stadium I’ve never competed in, but I know it will be an electric atmosphere, a very good football team that’s playing very well and that’s way we’ll approach. We’re going down there to win the game, and we’ll do everything that we need to do to win that game."