x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Packers 'look great on paper'

After a disappointing practice session, the Coach Mike McCarthy laments the lookout, but does not use it as an excuse.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN // Mike McCarthy, the Green Bay Packers coach, had some harsh words for his offence after a particularly sloppy practice by the defending Super Bowl champions.

McCarthy was unhappy with fumbles by the running backs Ryan Grant and James Starks, along with penalties and other mistakes by the offence.

"I don't want to disrespect any of my players here," McCarthy said. "But we look great on paper, there's no doubt about it. But we're not close to where we need to be as a football team. We realise that.

"We have a lot of work to do. So I'm not going to throw out any bouquets today."

The fumbles - two by Starks, one by Grant - bothered McCarthy the most.

"The ball on the ground, that's unacceptable," McCarthy said. "That was not a very good practice at all for the offence, just from a fundamental standpoint."

McCarthy said his players are making more mistakes than in past training camps, and acknowledged that might be a by-product of an off-season workout programme that was wiped out by the lockout. But he is not allowing players to use that as an excuse.

"Everybody's fighting for a job, with a lot less opportunities," McCarthy said. "We don't have as many practices this year as we have in the past. It's important for everybody to mentally tighten it down. We've had more mental errors this year than we've had in the past. That's probably true around the league.

"But we don't really care about the league. We have a standard here, and we're pushing to get that standard. [I'm] fully confident we'll get there."

About the only positive he took away from the practice was the defence, which he said took a "big step".

The Packers also are dealing with a few injuries. McCarthy said the backup defensive back Brandon Underwood has a knee sprain and will be out "a couple" weeks. Mason Crosby, the kicker, has a sprained ankle, and McCarthy hopes to have him back for Saturday's pre-season opener at Cleveland.

McCarthy said the offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse had a shoulder sprain and Brett Swain, the wide receiver, had a hamstring injury.