McCarthy: Communication in Secondary a Problem; Neal Could Practice Thursday

Photo: Mark Hoffman, Journal Sentinel

At his weekly Monday press conference, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy made it clear what the main factor in his defense’s inability to stop Philip Rivers and the Chargers was on Sunday.

It’s very simple: A lack of communication.

“The big plays made on our defense were obvious,” McCarthy said. “The breakdowns in pass coverage all go back to communication. A number of the communication errors we had put our guys in bad situations on the big plays.”

In the Packers 45-38 win over the Chargers, Rivers threw for 385 yards and four scores, including two in the final 10 minutes of the fourth quarter that pulled San Diego within seven points. McCarthy also said that you can’t “quantify the errors with one player’s absence,” in reference to the Packers losing Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins in Week 2 against the Panthers. Collins is out for the season with a neck injury and Charlie Peprah has been starting in his place. Morgan Burnett, a second-year player who missed most of 2010 with a knee injury, starts along with Peprah at the back.

McCarthy also gave a brief timeline on injured defensive end Mike Neal, who hasn’t played a game yet in 2011 after suffering a non-contact knee injury during training camp that required surgery. The initial plan this week is for the Packers to get Neal on the practice field by Thursday. There is a “progression” plan in place to get Neal back, and the team is going to take his recovery slow.

Could this be the light at the end of the tunnel for Neal to play in 2011?

Other highlights from McCarthy’s press conference:

  • Frank Zombo has a hamstring strain and will likely miss Monday night’s game with the Minnesota Vikings. It didn’t “sound severe,” McCarthy said, but he’ll be challenged to be ready for this week’s contest. The injury marks Zombo’s third different ailment in 2011 (scapula, knee).
  • McCarthy said the Packers substitution and play entry were sloppy on Sunday. He thought that had a little something to do with readjusting after the bye week but viewed that as an excuse for a “sloppy” game in that respect.
  • The last two series for the Packers defense was the “most consistent,” and McCarthy threw out one of his favorite terms: “Adversity football.” With their backs against the wall, the Packers defense stepped up and produced.