Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) is tackled by New
Orleans Saints defensive end Akiem Hicks (76) and strong safety
Kenny Vaccaro in the second half of an NFL football game in New
Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.
GREEN BAY — The
Green Bay Packers enter their midseason bye week with a 5-3 record and
a head coach who is well aware of both his team's strengths and
Chief among coach
Mike McCarthy's concerns: The NFL's worst rushing defense. After
allowing New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram to rush for 172
yards on 24 carries during Sunday night's 44-23 loss at New Orleans,
the Packers rank last in rushing yards allowed per game (153.5).
Entering Monday night's Washington-Dallas game, only the Cowboys (4.9)
and Carolina Panthers (5.2) were allowed more yards per rush than the
"We need to
tackle the damn ball carrier and put him on the ground," McCarthy
said. "That's what we'll be focused on."
particularly perturbed by the number of tackles the Packers missed on
Ingram - the advanced statistics site Pro Football Focus had them for
10 missed tackles against Ingram alone - and the Saints' ability to
set up favorable down-and-distance situations with productive early
runs. The Packers allowed 495 yards total yards on Sunday night, one
yard shy of the season-high 496 yards they gave up against Chicago in
"The run defense
was our Achilles' Heel clearly on defense. Too many missed
tackles," McCarthy said. "Missed tackles are fundamentals. .
Everybody wants to talk about scheme and personnel. That's something
that you're always weighing or looking at. Or are there other
individuals who deserve opportunities? Can we use other individuals a
certain way? That's really what we talk about as coaches day-in and
day-out. Our issues on run D are fundamental."
Orleans Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (10) pulls in a
touchdown reception in front of Green Bay Packers cornerback
Tramon Williams (38) in the second half of an NFL football game
in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.
One thing McCarthy
isn't concerned about: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers left hamstring, which
he injured during Sunday night's loss and limited his effectiveness
even though he stayed in the game. Although McCarthy did not see
Rodgers during his time at Lambeau Field Monday, the medical staff
felt good about Rodgers' chances of being back in the lineup for the
team's next game, Nov. 9 against Chicago.
confident where Aaron is today," McCarthy said of the medical
Players were not
available to reporters Monday, but Rodgers stayed in the game until
the Saints had put it out of reach and expressed confidence on Sunday
night that he'd be fine by the Bears game.
"I'm not going
to miss any time," said Rodgers, who suffered a torn hamstring in
practice during the 2007 season. "If I felt it, then I had to
back off a little bit. We had to do a little more in the shotgun but
it wasn't a big deal, ultimately."
Before the injury,
Rodgers had completed 14 of 19 passes for 298 yards with a touchdown
and no interceptions for a passer rating of 133.1. After the injury,
he was 14 for 20 for 120 yards with no TDs, two INTs and a rating of
45.8. He saw his interception-less streak end at 212 consecutive pass
attempts, the longest of his career and the second-longest in Packers
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer talks to Green Bay Packers head
coach Mike McCarthy before an NFL football game Thursday, Oct.
2, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis.
Against the Saints,
Green Bay's offense finished with 491 yards, led by running back Eddie
Lacy's 182 yards of total offense (123 receiving, 59 rushing) on 21
total touches. But Rodgers' two interceptions - both of which went off
receivers' hands - and a failed fourth-and-1 attempt from their own
40-yard line resulted in empty possessions in the back-and-forth game.
McCarthy bristled at
a question Monday about why Lacy, who was averaging 17 touches per
game before Sunday night.
understand what you don't like about our offense the last couple
weeks. I'm very comfortable," said McCarthy, whose team ranked
19th in total offense, 24th in rushing offense, 12th in passing
offense and seventh in scoring following Sunday's games. "I don't
know the number of touches that Eddie has, but I'm very comfortable
with the number."
What McCarthy isn't
comfortable with, however, is where his team stands. At 5-3, the
Packers are a game behind NFC North-leading Detroit (6-2) and have the
fifth-best record in the conference.
"I wouldn't say
satisfied. I think you have to be realistic," McCarthy said.
"I'm realistic with our strengths and continue to work at the
things we have to do better. I think you definitely identify yourself
as a team after six, seven, eight games. ... We had some very unusual
games earlier in the year, but I think the last four weeks we
identified who we are.
"We need to stop
the run. We can be explosive on offense, take care of the football,
take the football away. We've established that."