GREEN BAY — With the starters basically done with their preseason work, the focus of the final week of training camp shifts to the young players fighting to make the roster.
They have two more open practices and one more game, at Kansas City on Thursday night, to make a final impression and state their case for a roster spot, or for a spot on the practice squad should they get cut and clear waivers.
“It’s important to get particularly the younger part of our football team ready for Kansas City,” McCarthy said. “It’s a quick week, fast turnaround. We want to give these guys a chance to maximize their opportunity here.”
McCarthy emphasized it’s not just about the snaps on offense and defense, but also those on special teams, that can make or break the final decisions. There are some roster decisions currently being made, as the Packers have to reduce to 75 players by Tuesday afternoon. The final roster reduction, from 75 to 53, must be made by Saturday afternoon.
“It’s been exciting watching these young guys play,” McCarthy said. “We have a lot of young guys making impactful plays in games. That’s why Kansas City is important. We need to continue to let these guys do that.”
Does McCarthy expect a lot of the players the Packers release to get claimed by other teams?
“There’s no exact science to it. How it shakes out, I can’t predict it,” he said. “In conversations with Ted (Thompson), sometimes one or two guys get claimed you don’t think are going to get claimed.”
On a veteran note, starting safety Morgan Burnett hasn’t played at all in the preseason due to a back injury, but McCarthy said he doesn’t have any long-term concern.