GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy doesn’t see anything wrong with how the Packers handled returning quarterback Aaron Rodgers to injured reserve after he played one game last week.
Media reports have surfaced that other teams around the NFL believe the Packers violated the IR rules with Rodgers, who was not reported to have a new injury after he returned from his broken collarbone to play at Carolina in Week 15.
With the Packers’ playoff hopes dashed following the loss to the Panthers, Rodgers was placed back on IR after residing there for two months after his surgery.
“Frankly, I don’t see any issue with Aaron Rodgers going on IR,” McCarthy said on Sunday. “My understanding is we communicated and we followed the procedures and guidelines you have to, to put a player on IR. From our perspective, there’s no issue.”
The Packers have several other injury issues hitting them after Saturday night’s 16-0 home loss to Minnesota, though.
McCarthy termed right tackle Jason Spriggs’ knee a “serious injury,” while running back Aaron Jones is dealing with another knee injury similar to the one that forced him to miss two games last month, but it’s in the other knee.
Meanwhile, receiver Jordy Nelson and tight end Richard Rodgers, who both left the Vikings game with shoulder injuries, are still being evaluated.
As for the shutout loss, McCarthy liked the way the offensive line played despite being down two starters, thought young defenders Reggie Gilbert and Lenzy Pipkins earned more playing time in the upcoming finale at Detroit, and felt second-year defensive lineman Kenny Clark, who had two more sacks, is finishing off an “outstanding year” despite what appeared to be a nasty ankle injury just over a month ago.
But quarterback Brett Hundley’s red-zone interception late in the first half was a killer, and the seven dropped passes he counted by Green Bay’s receivers shut the offense down almost by themselves.
“You’ve got to handle the football,” McCarthy said. “Seven dropped balls against that defense, particularly the red-zone ones and ones that cost us first downs, we weren’t able to overcome that.
“There’s plays there to be made that we did not make. They gave us a lot more opportunities for big plays and we didn’t convert them.”
Asked whether he considered inserting No. 3 quarterback Joe Callahan for Hundley, McCarthy said no. He criticized Hundley for some poor decision-making, but the constantly changing personnel and lack of execution by others did not fall on him.
He has to own Harrison Smith’s interception near the goal line with 1:01 left in the second quarter of a 10-0 game, though, and it was a major minus amidst what McCarthy called some of Hundley’s lowest grades of the season.
“To turn it over down there, the impact is felt a little heavier for your team,” McCarthy said. “It’s a critical error in the game. A critical error is defined as a play that can change the course of the game. Those are the ones you have to eliminate, especially at the quarterback position.”