Mike McCarthy talked about turning the page. Clearly, the challenge the San Francisco 49ers pose for this Sunday’s season opener will help the Packers move quickly into a regular-season regimen.
“It’s definitely a turn-the-page moment,” McCarthy said following the Packers’ practice on Monday, the first steps in a week that’ll lead up to one of the most attractive games on the NFL’s opening-weekend schedule. “You’ve got 5-6 weeks on Nitschke Field and then you go behind the tarps. It’s a totally different practice. It’s a whole different format and environment. We turned the page.”
“Behind the tarps” is a euphemism for regular-season intensity. The days of playing games for the purpose of evaluating talent are over. The intent now is much more intense and desperate: win.
This is a game on which both teams might look back when the playoffs begin. It’s a game that could determine home-field advantage for a rematch in January.
“I do recognize the importance of the first game. I fully recognize the quality of our opponent. It’s the most important game because it’s the next game. We’re playing on national TV. That always brings added juice to it,” McCarthy said.
It’s an important game for several reasons, one of which is that it’ll be followed by an equally important game, an NFC North showdown with the Chicago Bears just four days later. In a matter of five days to open the season, much about the Packers’ season could be decided.
“We addressed the tough schedule. We talked about it today,” McCarthy said, referring to the Packers’ first-month-of-the-season schedule, which includes a trip to Seattle and a home game against New Orleans.
“Our focus is on the 49ers. I know who we play in Weeks 2, 3, 4, but I’m not even thinking about it. We have to put everything we possibly can into this game preparation.”
For Monday’s feature story on the Packers’ offense, click here.
Tags: 49ers, mccarthy
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With the regular season starting, practices are no longer fully open to reporters. Only the initial part of practice can be observed.
That being said, here’s what was observed in the portion of practice open to the media on Monday:
The players were not in pads. Those not practicing were DL B.J. Raji, S Sean Richardson, RB James Starks, LB Robert Francois, LB Jamari Lattimore and CB Davon House. Lattimore and House were doing some drills but did not have their helmets and were not part of the main practice. Raji injured his ankle on the first defensive play of the preseason game vs. Kansas City on Thursday.
TE Tom Crabtree was back at practice after sitting out the preseason finale last Thursday. The Packers were practicing with their full complement of tight ends for the first time in a while, aside from Andrew Quarless, who is on PUP. Also, practice-squad OL Andrew Datko, who had missed the last two weeks of training camp with a concussion, was back at practice.
A couple of players have been assigned new uniform numbers. DE Phillip Merling has changed from No. 69 to No. 94, while practice-squad OL Greg Van Roten has changed from No. 54 to No. 64. Merling’s No. 69 has gone to new practice-squad OL Chris Scott, while Van Roten had been sharing No. 54 in training camp with LB Dezman Moses.
Mike McCarthy is scheduled to speak to the media after practice, within a half hour or so.
Tags: practice, raji
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