The short week of preparation combined with the Thanksgiving holiday present a challenge for the Packers as they get ready to host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy insisted on Tuesday that the team is moving on as quickly as it can.
Monday night's 51-29 loss in New Orleans was the team's only real blowout loss of the season, but there's little to no time to lick any wounds with the NFC South co-leaders coming to Lambeau Field this week.
"We have to move forward," McCarthy said. "It's Tuesday. We have a short week. We'll spend a short time going through the corrections of New Orleans. But we need to jump on Carolina. It's a big game at home this week."
The players will come in around mid-day on Wednesday to go over the New Orleans game and then have a late practice Wednesday afternoon. Then the team will practice a tad earlier than normal on Thursday so the players and coaches can finish up by early afternoon to spend some Thanksgiving time with family. Friday and Saturday will be normal prep days.
At 5-6, the Packers will enter the weekend one game back of Chicago and Minnesota in the NFC North. A win would keep them one game back, as the Bears and Vikings play one another, and the Packers still have a road game at Chicago remaining.
"Five games left to play and we're not out of anything," McCarthy said. "It's right in front of us. We need to win football games. We know that; that's our focus. We don't want to be in a position where we're watching other scores and so forth, and we still have that opportunity. That's part of the big-picture focus for our football team, and our tight focus will be on the Carolina Panthers."
Combination of issues
McCarthy didn't single out any particular facet of the defense for the breakdowns Monday night as New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees posted a near-perfect passer rating of 157.5 (20-of-26, 323 yards, 4 TDs).
"It's the combination of pass rush and defensive coverage," McCarthy said. "We weren't intact. We did not get the pressure on the quarterback that we prepared and planned to do, and he had a lot of time back there to throw. They won the individual matchups against our coverage."
McCarthy gave credit to Brees for an outstanding performance, but the most disappointing thing to him was seeing his team not take another step forward after an impressive all-around showing the previous week in a blowout win over the Bears.
After several close losses this year, it was also the first time McCarthy said he walked off the field feeling like his team was soundly beaten by its opponent.
"I'm not making any excuses," McCarthy said. "We went down there well-prepared, had an excellent week, like I've already stated, and I anticipated us playing better, and we did not."
The Packers came out of Monday night's game more banged up than they've been in a while.
Safeties Atari Bigby and Aaron Rouse, tight end Tory Humphrey, running back Brandon Jackson, and defensive tackle Johnny Jolly all have ankle sprains, while Jolly has a foot sprain as well. Safety Nick Collins has a bruised knee, cornerback Pat Lee has a knee sprain, and offensive tackle Mark Tauscher has a hamstring strain.
McCarthy didn't elaborate on any of the injuries, except to say that Lee more than likely won't play this week, and Tauscher was going to have an MRI to get more information on his hamstring.