McCarthy Helped Shape Delhomme
Next game: Sunday, November 30 vs. Carolina
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme gives Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy a large share of the credit for his success in the NFL.
Delhomme was starting his fourth NFL season when McCarthy came to the New Orleans Saints in 2000 as the offensive coordinator under new head coach Jim Haslett.
While Delhomme had shown promise as an undrafted free agent out of Louisiana-Lafayette, he was reaching a critical juncture in his career after spending 1997 on the Saints' practice squad and the next two seasons as the team's third quarterback.
He'd also gone to NFL Europe during the '97 and '98 offseasons.
"I learned a ton from Mike. He was fantastic, an absolutely wonderful teacher," Delhomme said as he prepared to face McCarthy and the Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. "When he got there in 2000, I was football illiterate. ... He just made it to where that you just gained a bunch of knowledge so when you went out on the practice field or game field, you always felt extremely prepared."
Delhomme spent the 2000 through '02 seasons with McCarthy, and while the quarterback played in only four games in five active seasons with the Saints, the Panthers saw enough promise in him to sign him as a free agent before the '03 season.
"He definitely came up the right way in the NFL, in my opinion," McCarthy said. "He had to work for everything that he has achieved. It's really a credit to him as an individual. He was a very, very raw prospect, but always very ambitious and very hard working. And he had a unique, natural leadership ability about him. You could see that even in his years as the backup."
Health watch: While the Packers still had a whopping 19 players on the injury report, they got good news Thursday regarding veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher (hamstring). Tauscher, who had been scheduled to rest, participated on a limited basis in the jog-through session at the start of practice.
"That was definitely encouraging," McCarthy said. "He is definitely making progress."
So are safeties Atari Bigby (ankle) and Nick Collins (knee), both of whom went from being limited Wednesday to full participation on Thursday. Safety Jarrett Bush (ankle), left tackle Chad Clifton (knees), No. 3 halfback Brandon Jackson (ankle), defensive end Mike Montgomery (ankle) and center Scott Wells (shoulder) also went from limited to full work.
Tight end Tory Humphrey (ankle), receiver Greg Jennings (rib), defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (ankle), safety Aaron Rouse (ankle) and cornerback Charles Woodson (toe) remained limited, while safety Charlie Peprah did some limited work after sitting out Wednesday. Cornerback Pat Lee (knee) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Panthers.
Short yardage: McCarthy intended to practice outside for 11-on-11 periods Thursday but field conditions forced him to stay inside the Don Hutson Center. ... With the quick turnaround from Monday night's loss at New Orleans, McCarthy said the players were "definitely turning the corner" physically after being sore and sluggish in practice Wednesday. ... McCarthy got his players out of the building by 1 p.m. to spend Thanksgiving with their families, and he spent the rest of the holiday with family and friends.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)