Mike McCarthy Speaks at Owner’s Meetings

Mike McCarthy

McCarthy spoke about the current state of the Packers at this week’s Owner’s Meetings

As I have been doing for the past few press conferences by Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, I am sharing highlights of his comments along with some of my own thoughts.  As always, enjoy the read and feel free to agree, disagree, cheer or jeer.

Credit for this recap goes to the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Mike Vandermause for his great coverage of McCarthy’s comments today via Twitter.

On the offensive line situation heading into 2014: Bryan Bulaga moving back to right tackle. MM likes Bakhtiari at LT. Derek Sherrod will be swing tackle, start out on left side

The return of Bryan Bulaga from his ACL injury last year means more shuffling on the outside.  I have always thought putting Bulaga back at right tackle made the most sense, after watching David Bakhtiari hold his own at left tackle during his rookie season.  Bakh has plenty of room to improve and certainly needs to as he matures, but I have no qualms about his being the starting left tackle heading into this season.

As far as the departure of Evan Dietrich-Smith, the Packers will enter their fourth consecutive season with a new center.  The popular theories on who the current front runners have been second-year man J.C. Tretter and current guard T.J. Lang.  Lang stepped in at center last season in emergency relief and quickly made a case for himself to remain at guard.  Lang wasn’t horrible, but he’s been effective at guard and the Packers don’t need to tinker with a good thing there.

Simpy handing the keys to Tretter is risky for a guy who hasn’t played a single down yet.  McCarthy will need to closely evaluate what he has in Tretter throughout the offseason program.  Pre season game action will tell the biggest tale, as that is obviously the closest look to an actual game that they will have to go on.  Still, Green Bay would be wise to exhaust all remaining avenues to add some talent to the competition at center.  They have the draft in early May, undrafted free agency, and the current free agency period at their disposal.  There will also be roster cuts this summer and we never know who might be on the move.



Rodgers Season-Ending Press Conference Highlights

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers spoke to media on Tuesday about the 2013 season and what is ahead

On Tuesday, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers gave his season-ending press conference.

I snagged a few highlights from it with some of my own commentary.  For a complete transcript or recap, check out any of the major Packers news sites shortly.

“I am settling in, slowly, to the unfortunate offseason.” – Rodgers has said that you earn your pay during the regular season and carve out your legacy in the postseason.  Despite having a Super Bowl win and MVP under his belt (no pun intended), Rodgers knows that continued lackluster performances by the team in the postseason will create questions about his ability to help the Packers return to another.

(On quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo): “It was fun to see his personality come out a little more this year as we continued to become closer.” - as Jason Hirschhorn of Acme Packing Co remarked on twitter, this sure sounds like Rodgers expects McAdoo to land a job elsewhere.  McAdoo is said to be interviewing for the Cleveland Browns head coaching vacancy.

“My legacy as a teammate is helping out the young players.” – more “leadership speak” from Rodgers

(On liking the band Explosions in the Sky): “Amazing music.”never heard of them

“Every time I see Randall, I can’t help but smile/think about Chicago game.” – Rodgers has remarked, on a few occasions, how the most important thing to him about his time in the NFL are the moments on the field with his teammates.  This is one he won’t soon forget.

“This is one of my proudest years I’ve ever been part of. Proud to be a Green Bay Packer.” – most athletes like to think that their most recent work is their best.  Rodgers missed half of this season so from that standpoint, it’s significant that he says this.  He is likely proud of the team’s continued fight and ability to get a huge win to secure the North and earn another home playoff game.

“Collarbone is feeling good. I just had 2 games instead of 17 in a row to wear on me.  This is going to be an important offseason for me.” Set “high expectations” for physical conditioning.” – Rodgers admitted that he had to work a bit harder last offseason to get into shape for 2013.  Age will do that to anyone.  The good news is that his collarbone should continue to heal and he leaves no concerns about his readiness for 2014.



McCarthy: Neal Could Practice Next Week, Clifton Still “Multiple Weeks Out”

In his Wednesday press conference, Packers coach Mike McCarthy gave reporters both good and bad news on the timeline for injured players Mike Neal and Chad Clifton.

McCarthy was optimistic that Neal could complete his rehabilitation this week and potentially return to the practice field next week. While Neal is still behind schedule on a knee injury he suffered in training camp, news of a return is a positive revelation. Some have speculated that Neal would be unable return in 2011.

Clifton’s timeline was a little less optimistic, as McCarthy said that his left tackle was still “multiple weeks” from completing his rehab. McCarthy didn’t sound like the IR was in the cards. Clifton hurt his hamstring in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons and has missed the past two games. Marshall Newhouse will again start for the Packers at left tackle against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Other highlights from McCarthy’s press conference:

  • Watched parts of Monday’s Chargers-Chiefs game live, but fell asleep in the fourth quarter. He watched the full game on the coaches tape on Tuesday morning. McCarthy likes watching division games, especially the second meeting between two teams. You can learn a lot.
  • The Packers will practice again in full pads on Thursday. This week represents the Packers one and only week where they can practice in full pads twice, per the new CBA.
  • McCarthy said Aaron Rodgers is playing at an extremely high level right now. But like any player on the team, there’s always little things to improve on.
  • The best thing about the bye week was the ability to get healthy. The Packers now have a full week to practice with those players.
  • When asked about Jermichael Finley’s comments about living in Green Bay with no distractions, McCarthy responded by saying the city is a great place to live and work. He hopes Finley is in Green Bay for a long time because it’s a great environment for him.
  • Special teams and health have been the big issues holding Vic So’oto back. He’s progressing in his responsibilities as an outside linebacker. Still needs to be better on special teams to compete for a spot on the 46-man gameday roster.
  • McCarthy said you have to treat Chargers TE Antonio Gates as a receiver. He and Finley are similar players. Gates definitely has the ability to get separation.