Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media on Friday as his team continued preparing for Sunday's NFC North showdown against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Here are some highlights from his press conference:
Out: CB Davon House (did not practice, shoulder).
Probable: QB Aaron Rodgers (limited in practice, calf), G T.J. Lang (limited, ankle), G Josh Sitton (limited, toe), LB Clay Matthews (limited, biceps), OLB Mike Neal (full practice participant, abdomen).
On change in the practice schedule with the holiday week:
It feels good now since we're on a normal schedule now with it being Friday. It was different. You're in Week 17. You've prepared for 15 games already. The amount of work you have to get done to prepare for games. We've had more time together with the work on Monday. I thought Wednesday's practice was excellent. Spent more time today going back through a few things.
On Rodgers at practice:
Aaron Rodgers did everything today as far as the classroom work and the CRIC (conditioning, rehab and instruction center) here. He's done everything asked of him today.
On there being any hesitation on taking Christmas Day off:
Zero hesitation. This particular week schedule was done back in May, maybe.
On Rodgers' mobility with a strained left calf:
I don't have any concerns today just based off the conversation with Aaron and how he's feeling. You get out there. Tomorrow will be a big indicator watching him move around and doing different things. I don't have very high concern right now.
On House's playoff availability:
I hope so. I know he feels a lot better. His workouts have revved up. He's making progress. I'm hopeful he'll be ready for next week.
On rookie centers playing for both teams on Sunday:
It's game speed, but (the Lions' Travis Swanson) has played in games. It isn't like he hasn't played. I think the challenge for a rookie center and high responsibility and decision-making, you have a little more responsibility to your teammates when things aren't as established. I think the fact it's happened this late it's better of two options.
On challenging Swanson:
It's important to keep playing the way we have been. I've felt good how we've played since the bye.
On defensive changes:
I feel good about where we are. Those are postseason conversations but since the bye I think we've improved every week. (Clay Matthews' move) has been a part of it. Having competition weekly. These guys have earned these opportunities and been productive.
On the Week 3 performance against the Lions:
Playing against that defense, they put it on their front six or seven, and those guys did a better job than we did. Those are the things that we focus on. It's about fundamentals and isolating. That was a poor performance by us offensively.
On tight ends as run-blockers:
I think our run-blocking unit has improved. The time, the fit of the blocks, the course of the back and anticipation are all important. I think anytime group has a chance to play with each other.
On fullback John Kuhn:
John's extremely consistent. I think he's having one of his best years as a lead-blocker. He's definitely delivered there. He's probably not used enough, but I think he's done what he's always done. Very instinctive, tough football player.
On rolling personnel:
I don't think the start has changed much. We've been more of a four-minute offense in the second half. I think our personnel utilization has been similar. We're still trying to roll through concepts and create opportunities for guys.
On the Packers' kick-return game:
I think the kick-return game, this is the time of the year where it needs to accelerate. I'm looking for that to happen Sunday. This is the kind of weather you want to be playing your best football. You look at Detroit. I don't think we had many opportunities early.