GREEN BAY – For all that Mike McCarthy liked about the Packers’ 21-17 preseason victory in Washington, the film review showed his team is far from a finished product.
“It’s not like we came out of last night’s game saying we got everything fixed,” McCarthy said on Sunday. “That’s not practical. It’s not our message.”
Some position groups improved, but they still have room for growth. Fundamentals like tackling and ball security were better but not polished.
The preseason is halfway done, and the other half remains important.
“It’s part of the plan, it’s part of the process,” McCarthy said. “Every year you have to move forward as a team through training camp to get where you want to.”
McCarthy touched on several units as he reviewed the game.
He felt the No. 2 offensive line improved from the first game overall despite some “tough moments” for individuals. Too many mental errors bogged the unit down.
He saw progress from the young running backs in getting yards after contact and in pass protection. Their decision-making on handoffs was better but “still not good enough.”
The play of the cornerbacks stood out, and McCarthy credited second-year pro Josh Hawkins for earning the best grade of the group.
Even with Davon House (hamstring) and Damarious Randall (concussion) currently sidelined, the unit is still healthier than last year, when players were limited or missing practice regularly.
The corners will likely get a stronger test next week from a more explosive Denver receiving corps, but the growth of young players like Hawkins, Quinten Rollins and Kevin King has been evident throughout camp.
“The competition is thicker this year, and we will definitely benefit from it,” McCarthy said.
No injury updates were provided, and the Packers have adjusted their practice schedule this week. Tuesday’s practice has been pushed back three hours, to 3:15 p.m. CT, and Wednesday’s has been pushed back one hour, to 12:45 p.m. CT.
After Saturday night’s game, QB Aaron Rodgers said he anticipates playing more in next week’s preseason trip to Denver.
Rodgers got one drive in Washington and made the most of it, directing a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown march. Last year, Rodgers played only in the third preseason game, so last night’s appearance was a change.
McCarthy emphasized the work wasn’t as much for Rodgers as it was for the entire first offensive unit to work together once in a game before next week’s more extended rehearsal.
“He gets the whole thing started,” McCarthy said. “The ability to play with that tempo … stress yourself, the conditioning, all those things. It was clearly a reflection of Aaron being in the game.”