McCarthy likes depth of Packers' secondary

First preseason game on tap for Thursday night

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GREEN BAY – While Mike McCarthy cautioned that it's only Aug. 6, so any judgments about the team and position groups must be made with the proper perspective, the Packers head coach likes the early returns in the defensive backfield.

"Our secondary group, we haven't had that much depth around here in quite some time," McCarthy said prior to Monday's practice. "We've had some outstanding battles, competition going on throughout camp. I'm very pleased with the way our secondary looks."

Some of those battles – among the young cornerbacks such as Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Quinten Rollins, Josh Hawkins and Lenzy Pipkins, among others, for example – will start to sort themselves out this week with the start of preseason action, which begins Thursday night against Tennessee at Lambeau Field.

The game action will certainly shine a spotlight on the backup QB competition as well between DeShone Kizer and Brett Hundley, and also give the coaching staff their first chance to see undrafted rookie Tim Boyle in a game.

"When you look at the preseason, this is when guys have a chance to make a team, increase their value, especially for quarterbacks when you're playing behind Aaron Rodgers," McCarthy said. "These opportunities are so important for those guys."

Other things McCarthy touched on in the aftermath of Saturday's Family Night practice:

  • Left tackle David Bakhtiari's ankle injury is "not a long-term nature."
  • Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine prefers to coach on game day from upstairs in the coaches' box.
  • Mason Crosby's kicking reps that were skipped on Family Night to cut practice short and get to the fireworks will be added back in to a practice this week.

"I thought it was a high-quality practice," McCarthy said of Family Night. "But until we get to go live and tackle … it also illustrates fundamentally we're just not there yet. It's Week 2 of camp. Hopefully we take a step this week as we get ready for Tennessee."

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