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McCarthy Presser 11/13: Flynn and Tolzien Talk

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was in a noticeably happier mood than usual during Wednesday's presser.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers' head coach was surprisingly upbeat this afternoon. Perhaps it was because his starting center and two PUP members practiced today. Perhaps it was because Aaron Rodgers said on his radio show yesterday that he might return for November 24 against the Vikings. In any case, it was a marked changed from the last few weeks.

When asked about Matt Flynn, Mike McCarthy had some rather interesting comments.

"[Flynn] felt comfortable in the passing game. The run game's changed a lot. He threw the ball well... It looks like he never left."

The bits about Flynn throwing the ball well are to be expected and frankly don't mean anything. It's the comment about the changes in the running game that are the most interesting. A month ago, we discussed how the Packers have developed a zone-gap blocking hybrid in the running game. That may not be all McCarthy was referring to, however. Perhaps because of personnel changes -- Eddie Lacy's arrival chief among them -- the Packers have called runs differently this year. There are for more runs through the A and B gaps by percentage than in past seasons. McCarthy might be concerned that in a no-huddle situation, Flynn would struggle with these newer concepts.

Speaking of quarterbacks, McCarthy discussed at length this week's starter Scott Tolzien.

"There's a point in the week where you leave the office. I sat one-on-one with Scott last night. He tells me he sleeps well. He's getting proper rest. He eats well because he's here all the time. You have to appreciate his work ethic. He's going about it the right way."

There's nothing surprising about this description of Tolzien. By all accounts -- including mine personally as I played against him in high school -- this is exactly the kind of mentality he's always had. Tolzien knows that a good start or two this season can set him up for a long NFL career. Accordingly, he isn't wasting the opportunity.

McCarthy also informed the media that Mike Neal is "kind of beat up" and won't practice the entire week. Generally, this means that the player will be inactive on Sunday, but with the Packers desperate to pressure the quarterback Neal might be given a chance to play.

Perhaps more significant than anything else, McCarthy said Clay Matthews is now playing without a club over his right hand. As Dan discussed in his breakdown of the PFF grades for this past week, Matthews struggled mightily without the use of both hands. McCarthy was hopeful that Matthews' play will return to its normal levels.

Finally, the head coach updated the media on Derek Sherrod's recovery. "[Through padded work], we are maxing out the opportunities with guys like [Sherrod]. He's coming along. He's got a lot of work." That's the most positive statement McCarthy has made on Sherrod this season. If he continues to progress, the Packers may be just a week or two away from activating their third-year tackle on game days.

That's all from McCarthy. Keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company for the latest Packers news and developments.

Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He also serves as a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, and his work has appeared on Lombardi Ave, College Hoops Net, and the List Universe.

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