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McCarthy:Plenty Of Work Ahead

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by wischeez, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. wischeez

    wischeez Cheesehead

    Dec 4, 2004
    by Mike Spofford and Tom Fanning, Packers.com
    posted 09/09/2008

    The offseason mantra for the Green Bay Packers under Head Coach Mike McCarthy has been to improve individually from within. The in-season focus is to improve collectively with each successive game.

    That will be the priority as the Packers move from their season-opening victory over Minnesota to another NFC North Division contest this week in Detroit. There was plenty to praise in Monday night's 24-19 victory over the Vikings, but that performance by no means featured this team as a finished product.

    "We need to focus on improvement, and that's our focus," McCarthy said on Tuesday. "That will never change. We have a blueprint in place that's worked for us the last two years. Both teams improved throughout the course of the year, and that's what I'm holding this team accountable to. We need to improve.

    "We've played one game. We're 1-0, and we have a lot of work to do."

    That work can be found in each of the team's three phases.

    For the offense, it's cleaning up the penalties. Of the 12 infractions stepped off against the Packers, seven were against the offense, and six of those on the first two series. There were also two additional offensive penalties that were declined.

    McCarthy noted that in the offseason the team identified penalties as a problem area during prime-time games last season, and took steps to emphasize it. In the three prime-time contests last year against Chicago, Denver and Dallas, the Packers were called for 34 penalties. So it was disappointing to see a lack of progress there.

    "That's unfortunate because we identified it, we have talked about it a few times during the course of training camp, and we have officials at every practice," McCarthy said. "But we definitely need to fix that because that is a common mistake that we have made. Maybe I need to take a look at my part. Maybe I had them too pumped up for this one or something. I don't know. We need to do a better job with the penalties."

    On defense, the trouble spot was third and fourth downs. The Vikings converted 7-of-16 on third down and 2-of-2 on fourth down, for a 50 percent conversion rate overall. Most distressing were the four consecutive third-down conversions (one by defensive penalty) followed by a fourth-down conversion for a touchdown to cap a 15-play drive in the second half that consumed 7 minutes, 23 seconds on the clock.

    And on special teams, an otherwise solid and productive night was marred by a blocked field goal on the final play of the first half that kept the Vikings within one score at intermission.

    "We have a lot of work to do," McCarthy reiterated. "I say it all the time, and I mean it. We'll correct it with the players tomorrow. It's important to get it corrected. We don't ever sweep anything under the rug around here."

    That being said, the outlook is positive when the team can work on these early issues after a win, as opposed to the alternative.

    "We found a way to win the game, and that's important," McCarthy said. "That's the thing I was most impressed with our football team because they continued to find ways to play at the level to win the game, and that's the bottom line."

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