Packers 'ramp it up,' name playoff captains

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media following Wednesday's practice in preparation for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here are some highlights:

Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is one of six playoff captains.

Injury report

Did not participate: CB Davon House (shoulder), RT Bryan Bulaga (concussion), G Josh Sitton (toe)

Limited: G T.J. Lang (ankle), OLB Mike Neal (abdomen), RB Eddie Lacy (eye), OLB Clay Matthews (biceps), OLB Nick Perry (shoulder)

On Bulaga:

Saw him in the weight room. Looks great.

On others on the injury report:

Eddie Lacy, just a situation that has going on with his eye that's not game-related. I didn't think Clay's was of a serious nature. I think the wear and tear of the season with Neal. Being proactive with some treatment.

On Buccaneers center Evan Dietrich-Smith, a former Packers player:

EDS did an excellent job for us. Seeing him in the cut-ups, I think he's doing a good job. I know he's well coached down there. Seems to be a very good fit for their system. Looks like he's a key communicator. Looks like he's made the transition well.

On dropped passes:

We do a lot of ball drills. That was no different today and tomorrow. We'll stay the course. We're focused on the things in areas of fundamentals.

On watching old Chicago Bears tape:

Definitely, the offense, we have history competing against (former Bears coach) Lovie Smith and (former Minnesota Vikings coach) Leslie Frazier (both now with the Buccaneers). At the end of the day, we're focusing on the personnel. They have a lot of changes with injuries. Definitely some similarities.

On playing against Smith:

I've always had a lot of respect for Lovie. We've had some great battles.

On not losing back-to-back games:

We need to keep it up this week. We're looking at this game as the start of our playoff approach. It's a road game we have to have. We clearly understand the importance of winning in December. This is a playoff-type preparation. We discussed it in team meetings. We already elected the six playoff captains. We usually wait until the end of the year. It's time to ramp it up. Offensive captains were Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. Defensive captains Morgan Burnett, Julius Peppers. Special teams Randall Cobb and Jarrett Bush.

On the offensive line:

It's clearly the starting point. I know a lot is made about the quarterback position. This is the best offensive line we've had in my time here. All the good teams are the ones that practice together and play together each week. This is a very cohesive unit on and off the field. This has been a heck of a year.

On the six playoff captains:

Clearly, this is an opportunity to give people more credibility and more opportunities to take the platform. I think leadership is something every coach is focused on. I've created opportunities for leadership, you can't assign it. This is clearly an opportunity of identifying these are the six men we want to lead us down the stretch.

On voting now:

It's an option. I've always looked for certain opportunities. There are a number of components within our program that I've always tried to create leadership opportunities for players and assistant coaches.

On Peppers:

I think it says a ton about Julius Peppers. It says a ton about Morgan Burnett. Being a young team and you see one of your young players rise to level of credibility.

On Peppers' lack of impact plays:

Going back to the last game, he had the caused fumble. We didn't take advantage of it. He's playing more reps now than he has. He's a very good player. I think he has some excellent football in front of him.

On Peppers' leadership in the locker room:

When he walks into the locker room, he demands respect for what he's done in the league and presence he carries. You can see it very early. I thought he did a great job one-on-one with his teammates. He gave insight to David Bakhtiari about how he viewed him as a left tackle. You talk about stacking successes, it's kind of how he went about it. He's not very flamboyant.

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