Special teams sloppy in rain
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — About three inches of rain hit LP Field by the 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday night between the Green Bay Packers and Tennesse Tians and continued through much of the first half.
It led to several ball-handling issues for both teams – each team had at least one dropped snap, several dropped passes, and the Packers muffed two punts and one kickoffs.
"I thought the weather conditions tonight were outstanding," McCarthy said. "Ever since I've been involved in coaching you do the wet-ball drills probably once a week during training camp, and you always try to hit it during the course of the week when you get into the regular season. But to come out here and perform in the real thing, this is a great experience for our football team.
"We knew ball security was going to be a challenge. We probably didn't do quite as good as we would've liked that. We'll have to see how many times we had the ball on the ground and some of the drops, but I thought our defense really picked it up in the second half taking the football away. To play in this environment, I thought was an incredible experience for us because we are from Green Bay, Wisconsin."
Tackle Bryan Bulaga said it was the worst rain game he'd played in.
"After we got done with the first series I felt like I had an extra 30 pounds of weight on me," Bulaga said. "It was pretty unbelievable."
Said defensive lineman Mike Daniels: "It was fun. You grow up playing football and it felt like little league all over again playing in one of those mush games."
The Packers used DuJuan Harris as their No. 1 kickoff returner on Saturday night.
Harris took his first return for a 40-yard gain on which John Kuhn had a key blocked that allowed Harris to break the play outside. On his second kickoff return, which also came while it was raining hard, Harris muffed the catch and then returned the ball 23 yards.
Kevin Dorsey returned one kickoff, for 23 yards.
The No. 1 kickoff-return unit also included one starter, Daniels, as a deep blocker. The other players were Jarrett Bush, Jamari Lattimore, Chris Banjo, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Dorsey, Mike Neal, Ryan Taylor and John Kuhn.
Bush, Harris, Banjo, Taylor and Lattimore also were with the No. 1 kickoff coverage unit, so they were on both No. 1 groups. One starter, Sam Shields, also was on kickoff coverage. The other players on that unit were Casey Hayward, Davon House, Nate Palmer and Sean Richardson.
In a surprise move, the Packers used second-round pick Davante Adams as their No. 1 punt returner. Micah Hyde is the front-runner for that job, but the Packers know what he can do from last season and wanted to take a look at Adams.
All three punts with Adams deep came under difficult conditions to field the ball – that is, during the hard rain that fell most of the first half. He muffed his first two catches and the third punt went out of bounds.
"It hit my hands, and it gets real slick when you have the gloves on," Adams said of his lost punt. "It kind of bounced off my chest and ended up going in the wrong direction. Tried to dive on it but it got away from me a little bit."
Hyde was second in the punt-return rotation and also muffed a catch while it was raining.