GREEN BAY – The Packers' first preseason game wasn't about scheme, it was about play style.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy reiterated that message before Sunday's practice, and he believes there was a lot of value in letting the young players cut loose and play rather than get bogged down in X's and O's.
"We went in there basic. We wanted them to play," McCarthy said. "Not that we don't believe in scheme, but the priority was to play the right way. My message to the team was about play style, and we took the first step there.
"Tennessee took the same approach. They didn't come in with a lot of scheme. Both teams lined up to just play, and that's really good for your young players. The reality is the second game will be different, the third game will be different, and so on."
McCarthy said the majority of the errors were mental ones, at times a result of players actually being too aggressive. At this point, he'd rather have that than timid or hesitant players thinking too much.
It shifts the focus to cutting down on the mental mistakes this week in preparation for the second preseason game, which is Thursday night against Pittsburgh at Lambeau Field.
Sunday's practice will feature a lot of scout-team work for both the offense and defense, with Monday's workout including more fully competitive 11-on-11 work.
"The mental errors should go down," McCarthy said.
These next two practices also could determine whether certain players will get more playing time, or time earlier in the game against better competition, compared to the first preseason contest.
"Our young guys got out there and competed, and they definitely belong," McCarthy said. "But we've got a long way to go. We need to get our play style to be consistent."