Notebook: Packers' Randall needs detail work
GREEN BAY - After the Green Bay Packers’ 30-27 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday at Soldier Field, cornerback Damarious Randall said he had no idea why he was pulled from the game at the start of the fourth quarter.
Coach Mike McCarthy said the coaches intend to explain it to him in detail when the players return to work Tuesday.
“I think we, when we sit down and watch the tape with him, there’s things that he’ll learn from,” McCarthy said Monday. “So, there’s times where you want coverage … there’s a reason why you have alignments and assignments on everything on offense, defense and special teams, and we need to be more detailed.”
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Randall, coming off a two-interception game against Seattle, was in coverage on a handful of easy Bears receptions, especially when he was playing zone. The Packers generally play a lot of man-to-man coverage, but they used plenty of double coverage on receiver Alshon Jeffery early in the game and then a soft zone later when they got ahead by 17 points.
Randall has been on the injury report every week as a limited participant since returning from a five-game absence due to groin surgery. He hasn’t indicated that the injury is affecting his play and after the game seemed to indicate it wasn’t a factor in him being pulled from the lineup for Quinten Rollins.
Extremely confident, Randall may have let his techniques get sloppy after such a big game against the Seahawks. There have been times during the season when it appears he isn’t locked in at the snap of the ball the way some of the other corners are.
It’s unlikely Randall will be on the bench for long. He’s the most athletic cornerback the Packers have, and despite missing all that time he leads all cornerbacks with three interceptions. He was the team’s first-round pick in 2015 and has started 17 games.
Assuming he returns to his starting position this week against Minnesota, Randall will engage in a rematch with Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs, who beat him for two plays of 40-plus yards and a 25-yard touchdown in Minnesota’s victory at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 2.
After giving up 362 yards passing against Bears quarterback Matt Barkley, the Packers dropped from 19th to 25th in the league in passing yards allowed. Their three interceptions moved them into a tie for seventh place in that category.
Second in command: The 42-yard touchdown run Christine Michael had at the end of the third quarter established him as a complement to the power-running style of Ty Montgomery and may move him into the No. 2 position on the depth chart.
With James Starks (concussion) out Sunday, Montgomery and Michael were the only two halfbacks available and together they rushed 20 times for 207 yards and three touchdowns. Michael had only four carries, but the touchdown run validated some thoughts the coaches had about Michael.
“That’s a really good defensive front and we knew we had to go at them in a different way, and we did, and had a lot of production doing it,” McCarthy said. “And with that, there’s got to be a little more patience by the runner and he has to do a really good job, particularly setting (up) the front-side down block on their defensive tackle.
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“So that particular play, you see Chris did a really good job with (it) and, boom, when he hits that second level, then the natural run instincts take over. You could definitely see his burst, his vision to make the cut to the left and then obviously his excellent open-field speed to finish it.”
Behind their 226 total rushing yards, the Packers moved from 22nd in the league to 16th in yardage (1,508) and from 16th to sixth in yards per carry (4.6).
Where he left off: McCarthy indicated quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not suffer a setback running more than he probably wanted to in ice-cold conditions against the Bears.
His strained right calf muscle came through it OK.
“The early indication is he’s better today than he was going into the game,” McCarthy said. “We feel good about that.”
Also, McCarthy said guards T.J. Lang (back) and Lane Taylor (hip) still were being evaluated but he didn’t think their injuries were serious. Lang’s helmet banged into Taylor’s hip causing both players to go to the bench and miss Rodgers’ 60-yard completion to Jordy Nelson that set up the game-winning field goal.
Short week: Because the Packers play Saturday, they are operating as though they just played a Monday night game. The players got the day off and are set to return to work Tuesday.
McCarthy said he would have an abbreviated practice on the field in their training center Tuesday and then Wednesday have the longer, padded practice they normally conduct on Thursdays inside the Don Hutson Center.
“We’re on a six-day week,” he said. “It’ll be very similar to the Houston week.”
One last shot: McCarthy admitted there was some sentiment for him to call a running play and try to run out the clock on the third-and-11 play that resulted in Nelson’s 60-yard reception.
There was 54 seconds left and playing for overtime was suggested.
But after Rodgers got to the sideline after the Packers’ injury timeout for Lang and Taylor, McCarthy said he and quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt decided they had a play they wanted to call. So Rodgers took his time bringing the team out of the huddle as the clock was restarted.
“I said, ‘I like the play call and let’s take a shot at it,’” McCarthy said. “You can see he (Rodgers) didn’t break them out of the huddle immediately, so we kind of played it where we were going to leave (however) many seconds there were -- (not) the whole time on the clock -- if we didn’t convert.
“But with that, the protection, the route combination and really Jordy setting that angle where Aaron can throw him open … and it’s obviously a great throw.”