Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy isn’t one to live in the present or the past. He’s always looking ahead at how he can do better and how the players who toil under him can continually improve.
That message came through today in his day-after press conference this afternoon.
He talked about the defensive backfield, the injury to first round draft pick Datone Jones, the offensive linemen and the quarterbacks, among other topics, while having one eye on getting back to practice this week.
On Jones, he didn’t have much information because testing on the first-rounder’s ankle continues: “I do not really have any more information for you on Datone, he’s going to go through some more testing this afternoon. We’ve been in meetings throughout the afternoon so I don’t have an update on him or a timeline, so with that I’ll take your questions.”
On the defensive backfield, and specifically Davon House, McCarthy said: “You give him the benefit of the doubt. I thought he’s practiced very well. I thought Davon has really come on in practice. Obviously, you’d have liked to have seen him play better and he will play better. Guys coming off of injuries, it’s different out there. They made a couple plays on him and he’s just to got to respond and keep playing. You’ve got to have a short memory as a corner. That’s life in the NFL.”
McCarthy called out Don Barclay’s and Tyrone Walker as the bright spots on the night after he had a chance to look at the film from last night’s game. Barclay, he said, was “clearly one of the top performers in the game for us.” And as for Walker, he said: “Walker was another one of those performers. Picked it up quickly. Had good camp.”
He was also pleased with rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari: “I thought David played well. He did some good things but he’ll definitely grow from this experience. There’s definitely things he needs to work on and we need to work on.”
As for the run game, McCarthy said that it wasn’t where he wants it to be, but also said it’s expected in the first preseason game. There are things that are very clean but also in some of those runs, you’ve got two dominant blocks and then you have a guy that misses a block or the read’s not exactly right. So to answer your question, it wasn’t very clean. It wasn’t consistent enough. We didn’t have enough plus 5-yard runs. It’s a starting point and like anything, you have to get the attempts. We’ll continue to work all of our backs and our run-blocking unit will get better.”
And as for quarterback Graham Harrell, McCarthy blamed himself for not giving him enough opportunities to make a play: “Did I give him a lot of opportunities to go down the field? No, no, I did not. So that’s something you could look at in hindsight, as far as creating opportunities. Graham has to play better, and it’s tough. Playing quarterback in the preseason, it’s never clean, and it’s been like that as long as I’ve been in this league. You’re going to have things go wrong. You’re going to have guys run the route too deep and your guy who doesn’t get off the press and they run into each other, then you have to go on to the next receiver. It’s those types of things where you have to play through odd looks.”
The Packers will go back to work Monday and will start preparing for game routines.
“We’re on high end of commitment to fundamentals. Players will be off tomorrow. Will use this week to get back to in season schedule,” McCarthy said.
With the team traveling to St. Louis this weekend for the second preseason game, part of the routine will involve learning the ropes of going on the road.