On Wednesday, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy met with the media for the first time this week to preview his team's upcoming week nine game against the 7-0 Carolina Panthers. McCarthy was asked about that contest, as well as the offensive struggles that the Packers have had over the past few weeks and the injuries that his key players suffered last Sunday Night against the Denver Broncos.
First, McCarthy previewed the Panthers, a team whom the Packers defeated 38-17 at Lambeau Field midway through the 2014 season. When asked about the difference in the Panthers from last year, McCarthy said "I think the biggest thing that's different...is they're healthy."
McCarthy specifically called out two players for the Panthers as ones that the Packers need to prepare for: tight end Greg Olsen and linebacker Luke Kuechly. On Olsen, McCarthy noted that he "poses different threats" as he is lined up all over the field. "They're very multiple, and he's able to do it all." Regarding Kuechly, the Packers' coach praised his instincts, and football intelligence, saying "his recognition of what you're trying to do is exceptional."
He then was asked about the struggles of his offense. First, he addressed a question about whether he was considering taking back playcalling duties, but was clear that he does not plan to do so: "I don't think that's a good structure ... when things don't go well, I don't think you abandon the process."
The discussion then moved into the reasons for the Packers' struggles. While much of the hand-wringing here at Acme Packing Company and by Packers fans in general has related to a failure of the receivers to get open, McCarthy does not see that as the only issue: "Our (number of) total plays (are) way down and there's things that factor into that ... this is not a one-position issue. This is not just about receivers not getting open." McCarthy expounded on that issue later, though, asking "What's the definition of 'open'? Wide open? One step open?"
That statement was then followed by a question which clearly rankled McCarthy. He was asked if Aaron Rodgers needs to redefine his own definition of whether a receiver is open, alluding to suggestions that the quarterback should start taking more chances with the football. McCarthy paused for a few seconds before simply saying "We're good. Next question?"
He did give a few updates on some banged-up Packers after that. On Ty Montgomery, and whether he will be able to play this week: "We'll see, hope so. I know he feels better at this point in the week than he did last week. We'll see what he does today."
On Quinten Rollins: "I think Quinten's gonna practice today, that's what we're looking at."
On Clay Matthews: "Clay may do something (today)."
Finally, on Sam Shields: "Sam, getting better. I don't know how much he'll do today."
Stay tuned for an injury update from Wednesday's practice.