McCarthy: Packers avoiding 'natural trap' with Cardinals game before bye
Mike McCarthy. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GREEN BAY - The head coach of the Green Bay Packers says that the team is facing a "natural trap" in its contest with the Arizona Cardinals: the temptation to focus on the week off to come.
"It's human nature," said Mike McCarthy on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News."
"Any time you're on a long journey, you have that one pit stop in the middle of the trip, when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you take your eye off the ball. You've got to keep your eye on the ball and make sure you take care of business."
That business involves defeating the Cardinals and finishing the pre-bye section of the season 6-3, what McCarthy called a "non-negotiable" after Green Bay's win last Sunday against Jacksonville.
Getting that business done involves improving the running game.
While speculation abounded about picking up another running back through a trade, McCarthy and his team worked on trying to get better in practice this week.
He still doesn't think his team is ready to his satisfaction, yet.
"The answer will be Sunday," said McCarthy.
"There are some things we could have done better at practice yesterday. The emphasis is about performance. We'll clean up a couple things that need cleaned up after yesterday."
It's harder to clean things up when so much practice time has to be devoted to teaching concepts instead of getting repetition of particular plays in practice.
But considering the length of the injury list for Green Bay, that's what McCarthy and his coaches have had to do.
"They were compromised for the volume of how much time we were on the field. 15 to 17 minutes less than what we normally do on a Wednesday or Thursday. Our team reps were cut down as we were going through more teaching periods."
There's hope that starting wide receiver Jordy Nelson can finally come back from a hamstring injury which caused him to miss last Sunday's win.
"Jordy's going to test today, and if everything goes well, maybe practice."
"I don't think it's practical for a wide receiver to play on an injury at less than 100 percent. His game is multi-dimensional. He's very productive. He needs to be 100 percent."
But the entire week in preparing for Arizona has not involved improvement of the running game or blackboard time.
It involved costume time with Halloween.
"We have our equipment manager, Red Batty, who has a few costumes. He can fit in lockers, so he usually jumps out for a rookie each year. It's a little different."