GREEN BAY – The Packers got their first taste of a wintry, snowy game in 2016 on Sunday.
There may be more to come.
With Green Bay’s next three games all outdoors in the upper Midwest – two at Lambeau Field and one at Soldier Field in Chicago – the team’s performance in winter weather in the 21-13 victory over the Texans will be scrutinized closely.
“That’s part of the corrections today – what did our young players learn about playing out here at Lambeau Field in those conditions,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday. “Those are all part of the lessons you can apply forward.”
With the NFC West-leading Seahawks coming to town this week, the Packers are hoping to get a little healthier. McCarthy didn’t have any medical updates on Monday, other than to say QB Aaron Rodgers told him after the game his hamstring “felt pretty good,” Nick Perry is having his hand injury evaluated, and Clay Matthews will be working to have more strength in his injured shoulder this week than he did on Sunday, when he was obviously playing hurt.
As for his thoughts one day later on the victory, McCarthy was pleased with the defense allowing just 13 points and various defensive backs playing aggressively and getting their hands on passes.
On special teams, the return game came to life with Randall Cobb on punts and Ty Montgomery on kickoffs, with three significant returns in the game. McCarthy felt on a couple of them if the blocks had been sustained better, there was “a chance to go to the house.”
Offensively, the focus remains on trying to find a running game for the cold weather. McCarthy has not declared anybody the feature back in the offense as he rolls through different personnel packages.
Montgomery was by far the most productive on Sunday, with six carries for 40 yards, while James Starks (4-1) and Christine Michael (9-19) didn’t find much room.
Michael showed a burst of speed when he took his first carry of the game for 7 yards, but he found tough sledding after that.
“He had some really tough looks there in the four-minute offense,” McCarthy said. “We’d like to get him some more open-space type runs where he’s not always running into an eight- or nine-man front.
“We’ll continue to go through packages as far as who’s running the football.”
In the passing game, the Packers had a different leader in receiving yards for the third straight game. Jordy Nelson’s 118 yards came on the heels of Davante Adams’ 113 in Philadelphia and Jared Cook’s 105 at Washington.
That type of variety, and perhaps unpredictability, is likely to continue, and that’s not necessarily a problem.
“At the end of the day it’s about giving your perimeter players touches of the football, whether you’re running it or throwing it,” McCarthy said. “How we want to play against our opponent drives a lot of those decisions.”