“As far as how we move forward defensively, different schemes, different players will be involved,” McCarthy said prior to Wednesday’s practice, the first on-field preparation for Sunday night’s home opener vs. Seattle. “We’re going to do some different things and see how it works out on Sunday.”
Barrington was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. He left the opener in Chicago in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return.
A key piece in settling down the run defense alongside Clay Matthews in the second half of last season, Barrington will be missed, and McCarthy didn’t minimize that.
“Obviously he’s one of our starters,” McCarthy said. “Sam has really taken on a leadership role defensively. He was the signal caller. That’s a big responsibility you have on defense. It’s a blow to your defense, but unfortunately in the NFL this is how it goes sometimes.”
Palmer replaced Barrington in Chicago and finished the game despite playing with an injury of his own — a splint on his injured hand — and he assumed the communication responsibilities with the speaker helmet. A third-year player who missed all of last season with a knee injury, Palmer was playing the first significant action of his career at inside linebacker after being drafted in the sixth round as an outside linebacker in 2013. His performance, as expected, was up and down.
“He had some production in the first game,” McCarthy said. “He’ll be a week better. Just having reps and being able to rep the whole plan, that always helps.”
It would help the defense to get safety Morgan Burnett back from his calf injury. McCarthy said he’s hopeful Burnett would practice on Wednesday.
With the Seahawks coming to town, McCarthy is not engaging in any revenge rhetoric from January’s NFC title game or monkey-off-the-back talk regarding Seattle’s three straight wins over Green Bay dating back to the “Fail Mary” game of 2012. He dismissed the notion that one team can have another team’s “number.”
“I don’t think so. I don’t know,” McCarthy said. “I don’t look at it that way. It’s a new experience. Consider the environment we’re playing in this week. I’m looking forward to the game.”
The Seahawks’ three straight wins against the Packers all came in Seattle. This is the first time the Packers will host them since 2009.
“We’re focused on winning our first home game and getting to 2-0,” McCarthy said.
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