McCarthy: Neal Could Practice Next Week, Clifton Still “Multiple Weeks Out” All Green Bay Packers All the Time

In his Wednesday press conference, Packers coach Mike McCarthy gave reporters both good and bad news on the timeline for injured players Mike Neal and Chad Clifton.

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.

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18 thoughts on “McCarthy: Neal Could Practice Next Week, Clifton Still “Multiple Weeks Out”

  1. I hope the league will recognize Wells for his continued high level of play. What he lacks in body, he overcomes in effort and brains.

    Spent two days this week in pads with today’s focus team tackling. Hallelujah! Worked on avoiding big palys too. Also good!

    1. Funny RLC – The same thing has been said about me: What I lack in an ideal body, I more than make up for in effort and brains… or is the other way around? 😉

      1. Aw c’mon guys (and gals). That was at least a little bit funny.. right? Well, I entertained myself anyway, and there’s something to be said about that.

    2. I think people are starting to realize. Sports Illustrated had him as their All-Pro NFL center through the first half of the season. Now, do the Packers pay him soon to stick around?

  2. I was hoping we’d get both back in time for the playoffs. Anytime sooner is a bonus, especially Neal.

    1. Packers should definitely take their time with Clifton, especially now that Newhouse has proven to be serviceable on the left side. Getting Neal back soon and slowly working him into the rotation could pay big dividends late in the season.

  3. It will only feel like one time zone due to the clocks changing back an hour on Saturday night. That’s good.

  4. Great news about Neal. NOW STAY HEALTHY! No more injuries – and 3 sacks a game would be nice…

  5. Gettin REAL tired of waiting for So’oto. They shouldn’t take a chance on the Chargers, but I’m really hoping that they throw him in the line up soon. We don’t know what we have here.

    I’m extremely happy that Neal will be back next week (most likely), because if the guy is as good as I hear he is, the Packers should be as effective at getting to the quarterback as last year.

    Now what I don’t get is why nobody seems to be talking about if both So’oto AND Neal work out. That would be something a little interesting no?

  6. I’ve been holding my breath and keeping my Faith for Neal…ppssssssssssssssssss there goes my breath but still have Faith,I Think,I Hope,I Pray

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