Packers must 'take care of the football'

McCarthy emphasizes key fundamental and provides injury update

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GREEN BAY – If there's one major point of emphasis above all others this week for Head Coach Mike McCarthy, it's a major fundamental he harps on every single day.

"I'm not happy with the way we're carrying the football, period, taking care of the football," McCarthy said before Wednesday's practice, the first of the week in preparation for the road trip to Detroit on the weekend.

Dropped passes and fumbles – not all of which have been lost – have been piling up over the last two games, and McCarthy needs to see the Packers clean that up first and foremost.

He mentioned how the Wednesday morning team meeting, while usually focused on the upcoming opponent, was just as much if not more so about the "self scout" the coaching staff has done on the team's first four games.

A handful of dropped passes against both Washington and Buffalo bogged down the offense, and while there were only three turnovers in the two contests, there could have been more. One fumble by receiver Geronimo Allison, went out of bounds, and another by running back Ty Montgomery flew up into the air near the pile of linemen but was recovered by teammate Lance Kendricks.

"I go back into the details of the things we need to do better as a football team, and number one was ball security," McCarthy said. "When you look at the statistics on takeaway opportunities, we're giving the (opponent's) defense and coverage units on special teams way too many opportunities, period.

"You have to be what you practice, and we practice it every single day since we've been together. We're not going to have a climate challenge this week, we're going to have a noise challenge, but we have to take care of the football."

On the injury front, McCarthy said quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be on the same plan as last week, rehabbing on Wednesday with the hope he can practice some on Thursday.

Receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring) and guard Justin McCray (shoulder) also would rehab on Wednesday, while Allison is in the concussion protocol. Byron Bell will continue to take the starter's reps at right guard with McCray sidelined.

Cornerbacks Kevin King and Jaire Alexander, who both have groin injuries, are expected to practice in at least a limited fashion Wednesday. King has been out multiple weeks while Alexander left last week's game and did not return.

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