GREEN BAY – Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy did not sound like someone who was going to play Week 5 of the NFL schedule the way he had Weeks 1-4.
In his Thursday news conference, McCarthy made it seem as though he won’t be holding anything back Sunday in Dallas.
“At the end of the day, the most important thing is beating the Cowboys,” McCarthy said Thursday morning. "We're going to stress our team a little more than we probably have the first couple weeks because of our injuries. We're going to go down and we're going to have a hell of a practice today.
“So we need to improve and that puts us in position to win the game Sunday. That's the only way I know how to do it.”
Actually, McCarthy has had to make some concessions on both offense and defense because of key injuries, none more crucial than the ones to tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga.
However, the only player who missed or was knocked out of the Chicago game last Thursday night who did not practice Wednesday was linebacker Joe Thomas. On Thursday, only Thomas and running back Ty Montgomery (broken ribs) were absent.
McCarthy said receiver Davante Adams (concussion) and Montgomery both looked good on Wednesday, so it's not clear where things stood with his starting running back. He wasn’t asked about Bakhtiari, Bulaga or Mike Daniels, all of whom appeared to be moving well in pre-practice drills Wednesday.
Based on McCarthy’s comments Thursday, it appears there were few setbacks and so he planned on putting the team to the test in the only padded practice of the week.
Asked if he thinks he’ll know much earlier in the week who will be available compared to previous weeks, McCarthy said he will at least be able to receive a lot more solid information after this practice.
“Everybody is progressing,” McCarthy said. "We’re obviously making progress. But the other part of it is we’ve got to practice. We have to go down there and we’ve got to get after it today.
“That was the message in the team meeting. We need to push it more, we need to push one another more, we need to improve. It’s the second quarter of the season, and this is time where you’ve had four weeks to kind of establish a baseline and foundation of who you are and what you want to do. But it’s important to really get after these padded practices.”
McCarthy said the practice was particularly important for the younger players who have been forced into action but enjoyed a four-day weekend after the Bears game.
“Our young guys need 9-on-7, we need 1-on-1s,” McCarthy said. “We need to keep getting after it to develop the technique and fundamentals of what we’re trying to get done here.”
Here’s McCarthy on a few other subjects:
(On Nick Perry playing with a club) “If he stays on track here, the club will get smaller each week and he’ll obviously have more freedom with his hands. That’s the plan. Today’s an important day for him. We’ll be smart with his reps and so forth. He came out of the Chicago game in a good way. He’s definitely two weeks better than he was going into that game.”
(On Davante Adams) “Davante is progressing very well. He’s moving along. He’ll do some more today, so that’s positive signs based on his work from yesterday.”
(Is he still in the concussion protocol?) “He’s still in the protocol but he will do more on the practice field today (as) part of the process.”
(Will Adams be in pads?) “He will be part of the individual component of it.”
(How was the first practice back from the break?) “It was a good practice. We did more, we stressed our perimeter guys a little more than I probably would’ve liked, so that speaks to the players working hard and getting after it out there. So, it was a good quality practice.”