McCarthy was optimistic that Neal could complete his rehabilitation this week and potentially return to the practice field next week. While Neal is still behind schedule on a knee injury he suffered in training camp, news of a return is a positive revelation. Some have speculated that Neal would be unable return in 2011.
Clifton’s timeline was a little less optimistic, as McCarthy said that his left tackle was still “multiple weeks” from completing his rehab. McCarthy didn’t sound like the IR was in the cards. Clifton hurt his hamstring in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons and has missed the past two games. Marshall Newhouse will again start for the Packers at left tackle against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.
Other highlights from McCarthy’s press conference:
- Watched parts of Monday’s Chargers-Chiefs game live, but fell asleep in the fourth quarter. He watched the full game on the coaches tape on Tuesday morning. McCarthy likes watching division games, especially the second meeting between two teams. You can learn a lot.
- The Packers will practice again in full pads on Thursday. This week represents the Packers one and only week where they can practice in full pads twice, per the new CBA.
- McCarthy said Aaron Rodgers is playing at an extremely high level right now. But like any player on the team, there’s always little things to improve on.
- The best thing about the bye week was the ability to get healthy. The Packers now have a full week to practice with those players.
- When asked about Jermichael Finley’s comments about living in Green Bay with no distractions, McCarthy responded by saying the city is a great place to live and work. He hopes Finley is in Green Bay for a long time because it’s a great environment for him.
- Special teams and health have been the big issues holding Vic So’oto back. He’s progressing in his responsibilities as an outside linebacker. Still needs to be better on special teams to compete for a spot on the 46-man gameday roster.
- McCarthy said you have to treat Chargers TE Antonio Gates as a receiver. He and Finley are similar players. Gates definitely has the ability to get separation.
- Both Vincent Jackson and Gates are unique in size and ability on the perimeter. They will be a big challenge for the Packers defense.
- When talking about the defense, McCarthy said the No. 1 focus is on points allowed. Everyone in the building is looking to be better on defense in the second half.
- On the long flight to San Diego, hydration is emphasized. He encourages players to get up, walk around. But it’s not a trip that should affect the Packers’ “body clocks.” It’s only two time zones.
- Chargers QB Philip Rivers has struggled in part due to a lack of continuity in the offense. Changes because of injuries have hurt them in that area.
- McCarthy is hopeful that Frank Zombo can go on Sunday. He’s a “tough guy” that’s suffered through two unfortunate injuries. The bye week really helped him.
- Center Scott Wells is the point man on offense. McCarthy said he’s as technical a center that he’s ever worked with. He’s “having a hell of a year.”
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2