McCarthy: Expect Packers starters to see '20 to 25 plays'
Mike McCarthy. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GREEN BAY - The coach of the Green Bay Packers says he's going to ramp up the playing time starters should see in Thursday's preseason contest against the Cleveland Browns.
"Most of our guys will increase their play from week 1 to week 2," said Mike McCarthy in his exclusive weekly conversation on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
"Some guys played about 14 plays (against San Diego). We'll take them to 20 to 25 plays."
What is McCarthy looking for in this second preseason contest?
"The biggest thing we expect from week 1 to week 2 is to see the growth throughout the football team. I'd like to see the offense pick (it) up, and get some opportunities for people on special teams."
The problem he's facing, however, is that he already has a long list of key players who are out of action. That includes players like Desmond Bishop, who could be out for the season.
That factor, and the fact that the new collective bargaining agreement has limited the number of full pads, fuller-speed practices, means that McCarthy's ability to see how players react in practice has become limited this year.
"That's something you concern yourself with when you're not on the field as much as you'd like, but injuries are a part of the game," said McCarthy.
"There's still classroom teaching that goes on. The most important part of the evaluation is the preseason games...that's where they can shine."
One guy who has shine: defensive back Morgan Burnett. McCarthy expects a big year from him in 2012, a year after the Packers had the worst yards-per-game-allowed pass defense in NFL history.
"Morgan looks excellent. He is really in development. His body is a lot stronger. His leadership, his communication back there, he's one of those players that's on the verge of a huge year."