During his routine Monday press conference, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy affirmed what all Green Bay fans were thinking when he stated that the Packers “obviously got a lot of work to do” after falling short to Washington on Sunday. He emphasized several areas needing mprovement but remained confident that his team will regroup in time for Week 4. He also discussed some injury situations. They are starting to mount and the status of several players will need to be monitored heading into the Week 4 matchup against Buffalo.
Three areas in need of improvement
Before addressing the injury situation, here are three areas in need of improvement mentioned by McCarthy on Monday. The Packers have committed way too many penalties. Justified or not, Clay Matthews “roughing the passer” x2, the Packers have not only been heavily penalized, but the timing of the flags directly affected the outcome of drives and even in outcomes of games. Playing cleaner football is an area of emphasis for the Packers this week.
On offense, McCarthy noted that long down and distance has prevented the offense from finding a consistent rhythm. Creating ways to gain more yards on first and second down is the key to improving offensive efficiency in Week 4. Cutting down on self-induced errors would help right that ship. The receiving corps need to get past their recent case of drops. Randall Cobb in particular had a miserable game against Washington, dropping a pair of passes including one on a key fourth down. he added a critical lost fumble late in the game that dashed any hope of victory. The entire offense needs to come out of the gate firing to stay on a correct down and distance schedule.
On defense, McCarthy attributed the slow starts partially on the new defensive scheme, but mostly on a lack of fundamentals. In the tackling process there are several steps emphasized by the coaching staff. In the approach/strike/finish tackling process, the defense is struggling in the initial approach. Specifically it is the lack of proper footwork in the approach. The poor footwork leads to poor positioning and opposing offenses are taking advantage with big plays. Consequently the Packers trailed significantly in two of the three games played. The Packers plan to focus on fundamentals this week in hopes of less mistakes by each unit heading into Week 4.
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Injuries could hamper the Packers efforts to regain their winning ways against Buffalo in Week 4. The biggest blow came with the news of defensive tackle Muhammed Wilkerson being declared out for the season. Dean Lowry and Montravius Adams will see increased reps behind starters Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark. Other injuries worth monitoring leading into Week 4-
Brian Bulaga RT- Bulaga left Sunday’s game with a back injury and his status for Week 4 is unknown. There is a considerable drop in talent from Bulaga to backup Jason Spriggs.
Nick Perry OLB- Currently in the concussion protocol and his status is week-to-week. The Packers lack of outside pass rushing depth could haunt them if Perry misses any period of time.
Kevin King CB- After missing Week 3 with a groin injury King could be on track to play in Week 4.
Oren Burks ILB- Burks eased back into action in Week 3 via special teams action and exited the game no worse for the wear. An increased role on defense is expected in Week 4.
Josh Jones S- Jones has missed the first three weeks of the season with an ankle injury, his return appears to be close, perhaps even this week.
Aaron Rodgers QB- Add a right hamstring issue to the injury report along with his left knee bruise. Neither injury will prevent him from playing in Week 4.