GREEN BAY - When he addressed the team after the game, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy's initial impression of the 31-26 loss to the Indianapolis Colts was that the players lacked energy.
It was a common theme among the players after the game, including from quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
A day later, McCarthy was walking back those comments. After viewing the video of the game, he said he saw only spurts of low energy and that, for the most part, his team played at normal speed.
"Well, energy covers a lot of things," McCarthy said. "I mean at the end of the day, when you're watching a football game, you can sit here and act like you know what you're talking about a little bit, but let's be real about what the truth is. The fact of the matter is, when you're competing against a football team, I'm looking for speed, I'm looking for physicality, in the urgency, in the decisions, and a lot of that is body language, assertiveness, conversations, how things are corrected, how you're moving forward.
"So that wasn't 100 percent the way it needed to be in particular points of the game. If you want to capture that and put that in the category of energy like I did to the team after the game, that’s the reality of what happened. Our guys played with a lot of energy, but we were not clean in a number of different situations and they took advantage of it."
If the energy were indeed not good enough they could at least blame that loss on being flat, but what do they blame it on now? Having fallen to 4-4 after two straight losses, they have flash fires flaring on offense, defense and special teams.
This is the first time the Packers have had four losses at the midway point of the season since 2009. They also dropped from 4-2 to 4-4 that year with one loss at home against Minnesota and another on the road against Tampa Bay.
That team rolled off five straight victories to save its season and win a wild-card berth. This team has to go on the road the next three weeks for games against Tennessee, Washington and Philadelphia.
McCarthy offered little in the form of answers for what the Packers are going to do to turn their ship around.
"Just focused on the details," McCarthy said. "I think that’s important each and every week — probably even more important when you win. Disappointed in the loss yesterday against the Colts. I’m not taking anything away from them. They came in here and made more plays than we did and did what they needed to do to win the game. I think that’s really what today’s for is to go back through that."
McCarthy said receiver Randall Cobb got through the game OK and should continue to progress in his return from a hamstring pull. He said he wasn't informed until just before the inactives were turned in that Cobb was going to play and so the game plan didn't feature a lot of plays for him.
Cobb sat out the first half but after the Packers fell behind he was inserted into the game and wound up catching a 3-yard touchdown pass.
"Quite frankly it was probably one of the latest times I’ve ever handed in the inactives," McCarthy said. "So we made some adjustments on our call sheet and went into the game thinking Randall would be in a limited fashion. (That) was the decision that was made based on all the information.
McCarthy said it appeared that linebacker Clay Matthews would be able to play midway through the week, but he said Matthews had a setback with his hamstring injury on Friday. The Packers don't practice on Friday, so it's unclear if it happened in an individual training session or something else.
McCarthy said it was too early to say what Matthews' status this week would be.
As for the running game, McCarthy said he was limited in the number of snaps he could use Ty Montgomery given he was coming off a sickle-cell-related ailment. He said he wanted to run the ball more but after the Colts got ahead he had to go to more of a no-huddle passing attack.
"I would have liked to have been at 20 with no rushes by Aaron in a perfect world," McCarthy said. "So we were not far off from what our goal was, but you basically answered your own question. I would have liked to have run it more, traditionally."