Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL
football game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Nov. 6,
2016, in Green Bay, Wis. The Colts won 31-26.
GREEN BAY — If the
Green Bay Packers did indeed experience an energy shortage during last
week's loss to the Indianapolis Colts — and Mike McCarthy did his
best to walk back that narrative in the days following the defeat —
their coach does not believe that will be a problem again.
"We'll play with
great energy Sunday," McCarthy said Wednesday as his team began
preparations for the first of three consecutive road games, a stretch
that begins at Tennessee. "That's not a concern of mine."
It was a concern at
least in the immediate aftermath of the
31-26 loss to the Colts, as it was part of McCarthy's postgame
message to the team.
Aaron Rodgers then
publicly questioned the team's passion during his postgame press
briefing, as did veteran offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga. Both players
said the team lacked "juice" and that the vibe on the
sideline was not an energetic one. They added that allowing a 99-yard
touchdown on the opening kickoff should not have had such an impact on
the team's mood.
"Our guys will
bring it. We've just got to get detailed. That's really what our focus
is on," McCarthy said. "We're just paying attention to what
matters and it's about improvement."
Asked how confident
he is that his team will have the requisite energy this weekend,
Rodgers replied, "I expect everybody to come ready to play and
prepared and excited about it. You know, we just need to weather some
of the ups and downs a little bit better."
the way you want to start a game with the kickoff return for a
touchdown, but we need to weather that a little bit better this week -
all of us, and it'll start with me," Rodgers added. "I'll
make sure that our guys are ready to play and we're enthusiastic about
it and fired up to be out there, because it's a great opportunity and
a great privilege to do what we do and we're not going to take it for
A loss Sunday would
put the Packers (4-4) below .500 for the first time since they started
the 2014 season 1-2. The Packers haven't
been below .500 this late in the season since 2008, Rodgers' first
year as a starter following the team's ugly divorce from his
quarterbacking predecessor, Brett Favre.
That year, the
Packers were 5-5 after 10 games but lost five straight and finished
The matchup that
could decide the game Sunday figures to be the Packers' No. 1-ranked
run defense (75.8 yards per game) against the Titans' third-ranked
rushing offense (144.2 yards).
versus our run defense, it's going to be a hell of an afternoon,"
McCarthy said. "I think it's a great matchup. I think it's going
to be a heck of a game."
NOTES: RB James
Starks and TE Jared Cook took part in practice Wednesday, and McCarthy
seemed encouraged by their involvement. Starks hasn't played since
Oct. 9 because of a knee injury, and Cook has been sidelined since
suffering a high ankle sprain on Sept. 25. They will need to do more
work in Thursday's in-pads practice in order to play Sunday. .
McCarthy said LB Clay Matthews, who hasn't played since Oct. 20
because of a hamstring injury, had not been evaluated because he was
absent due to a "positive personal experience" on Tuesday. .
The Packers re-signed safety Jermaine Whitehead to the practice squad
after releasing him Monday from the 53-man roster.