Rookies Neal, Thomas won't play vs. Rams

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers running back Rajion Neal, left, and linebacker Joe Thomas work on tackling drills during training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field on Monday, July 28, 2014.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media on Thursday. Here are some highlights from his news conference:

On wide receiver Jordy Nelson's availability after a hamstring strain:

Jordy is on course to practice (Friday). Once we get through practice, we'll determine the final play time expectations for our guys.

On timing betweem Nelson and quarterback Aaron Rodgers:

You want everybody to play. It's not just two guys. You want everybody out there. It's not just two guys. We talked about some potential rotations today we'll work in practice tomorrow.

On second-year center JC Tretter:

I think JC is off to a great start. I think the Tennessee game was definitely impressive. You want to see him stack success.

On the test of playing in the rain:

I know in early years I preferred to play all four games on grass, but I've learned it's good to go down and play St. Louis (inside, on turf).

On linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal:

We're focused on some different things as far as what his job responsibility is now. Him trimming down has helped me with that, being better in space. He's still very explosive. Mike is still strong enough to go inside and play a 3-technique. It's about finding that balance.

On the wide receiver position:

When you get down to the 53. The goal is for every play to be a four-down player. It's something that weighs into it. That's why we have these preseason games.

On whether fourth-string rookie quarterback Chase Rettig will play:

I think this game is traditionally, we'll see how it goes. We'll see how the pace of the game goes. May have a chance to get in the fourth quarter.

On the defensive line:

Our young guys have done a lot of good things. Really, in this particular game when we get past the first group it's important for them to establish a rotation. This will be a big week for those guys.

On being tough but being smart, too:

When we first went out there in 2006, it's important to have an identity. Our approach was to be smart, tough and fundamentally sound. We were a highly penalized team my first few years here, so we changed it to disciplined, smart, tough and fundamentally sound.

On trading defensive end Jerel Worthy to the New England Patriots:

Like any of your players, you want to thank him. Injury situations are tough. I think sometimes decisions like that have to be made. That's really my view of what happened to him. You look at a lot of careers in the NFL, opportunities start when people get injured.

On whether running back Rajion Neal or linebacker Joe Thomas, both with knee injuries, will play Saturday:

I don't think so. I think Thomas is closer. Probably next week.

On who won't travel to St. Louis:

Neal, Thomas, (tight end) Colt Lyerla, (tackle/guard) Don Barclay and (wide receiver) Jared Abbrederis. (Defensive tackle) Letroy Guion will travel, but won't play. We'll see how next week goes.

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