McCarthy looks ahead to preseason opener

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy shouts instructions to his team during Saturday's Family Night practice at Lambeau Field.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media before practice on Tuesday morning. Here are some highlights:

On backup quarterback Scott Tolzien and Thursday night's preseason opener in New England:

I want to see him perform and at a high level. Expectation is for all the guys who travel will play.

On ending the punting competition:

I feel good about Tim Masthay and moving forward with him. Had a good conversation with Cody Mandell (who was released Monday). He punted well. He definitely can punt in this league.

On guys who play better in games than practice:

You hope not but it does exist. It's tougher because of the amount of practices you have. That's why you look at the whole picture. Potential, fit, performance in practice and games, we have a long ways to go before we get to making those decisions.

On playing time for rookie quarterback Brett Hundley:

I think Brett and Matt Blanchard both. They don't get the reps. Your ability to evaluate team periods is clearly lower than Aaron (Rodgers) and Scott. When things don't go right, it gets heightened. They'll play a lot more than the practice reps they get.

On the inside linebackers:

Inside linebackers are improving. I think it's clearly a position that's really stressed by more responsibility. The closer you are to the football, the more responsibility you have. I think this week of practice and getting ready for game definitely helped.

On linebacker Clay Matthews, who's working through a sore knee:

He took his allotted reps. I believe he'll practice again today.

On quarterbacks running a series:

There's nothing like playing. Quarterbacks, the amount of communication they're responsible for. It's definitely game time is the greatest challenge.

On the tight ends:

I think we have a really good group. We have two fullbacks and a number of halfbacks. It kind of runs together. If you watch the way we play, there's a lot of carryover. Special teams is a huge factor in those three particular areas.

On backup running back Rajion Neal:

He's definitely more comfortable and explosive. The screen he had was a big-time play. Smart.

On the second-string offensive line:

I think they're going to play pretty well. Our second group of offensive linemen is as high as we might have had here. Group of offensive line from experience, talent, young guys, this is an outstanding group.

On defensive tackle Mike Daniels' sore ankle:

I'm hopeful Mike will practice today. That's what he told me yesterday. Trial return.

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