GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy confessed that players and coaches alike weren’t thrilled with how last Sunday’s game in Oakland went, even in victory, but he’s chalking it up to another trial in a long and difficult season, one his team overcame on its road to the playoffs.
“I’m a big believer it’s going to make us better,” McCarthy said on Wednesday, of being able to rise above the struggles with the rhythm and flow to some games. “This is a very balanced football team. Our offense can beat you, our defense can beat you, and our special teams can definitely make an impact. I don’t know if I could have stood up here and said that in the past.”
Arizona is one of the most balanced teams in the league, which McCarthy acknowledged. He called the Cardinals’ perimeter group on offense the biggest challenge the Packers defense will face all year, and Arizona’s aggressive defense is known for taking the ball away.
“Their production speaks for itself,” McCarthy said of the Cardinals. “Their talent definitely speaks for itself.”
The Packers have only a few days to get new long snapper Rick Lovato up to speed. Lovato was signed on Tuesday after it was discovered veteran long snapper Brett Goode had a knee injury. McCarthy said Goode told him he injured the knee early in the game but played through it.
Kicker Mason Crosby, punter Tim Masthay and Goode have been together every game since 2010, so a new snapper will be a rare change on short notice.
“The practical matter is you do the best you can in this time frame,” McCarthy said. “Having Brett here to be part of it makes you feel good about the transition. The relationship between Brett, Mason and Tim is a real strength of our specialist group. It’s something we never had to worry about here for years. We’ll make the adjustment and be ready for Arizona.”
Elsewhere on the injury front, McCarthy said left tackle David Bakhtiari (ankle) was scheduled to do some work in practice on Wednesday, but the workout as a whole would not be extensive. Cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) has returned to meetings, but McCarthy wasn’t sure if he was cleared to practice yet.
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