GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers coach Mike McCarthy is hoping Sunday’s 38-10 loss to the New York Giants was just one bad game because he has no plans to do anything differently in preparation this week.
“We’re not going to change the way we go about our business,” McCarthy said in his Tuesday press conference. “Urgency, awareness is obviously heightened once you get into December. That’s a natural path through any NFL season. How we handle this loss and the words for the team, I’ll express that in the morning to them.”
Green Bay had been on a five-game winning streak, but that came to a screeching halt Sunday night. The Packers, now 7-4 and trailing the 8-3 Chicago Bears for the lead in the NFC North, were outplayed in every area of the game by the Giants. Green Bay was beaten in each major statistical category by New York.
But McCarthy didn’t question his players’ effort in that game.
“I definitely wouldn’t say it was a lack of heart,” he said. “I think that’s part of their regard to being accountable for their performance, and it’s something that we talked about after the game. This is about doing your responsibility and being accountable for it and make sure we take this opportunity of a negative performance and apply it to the next one.
“I would not say it was a lack of heart. I do say that (the Giants) were playing probably a step faster and they were finishing better than we were during the game, and I felt that way after watching the video. Those are the things that we can do a better job of.
“The New York Giants clearly outplayed us – and, really, I say outperformed us, whether it’s coaching or all the way through. It was not our best night. They got after us and, more importantly, what we do with this experience is most important to me.”
Jennings ready for a full week of practice: After missing the past seven games due to a groin and abdominal injury, Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings appears certain to return to the field this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings.
Jennings practiced in a limited fashion last week and likely could have played in New York, but McCarthy held him out of that game.
“I’m looking for Greg to be a full participant (in practice this week),” McCarthy said Monday. “Just talking with Greg on Saturday and Sunday, I think he’s in a good place and he’s ready. He needs a full week of work, and that’s our plan.
“But you also have to have the conversation of, how many plays is he going to play? That’s really what the week’s work is for. Because when guys come off injuries that hold them out of multiple weeks, multiple games, it’s important that we not only have Greg for Minnesota, but all the way through (the rest of the season).”
Benson not ready: This is the week Packers running back Cedric Benson is allowed to return to practice after fulfilling the six-week obligation on the NFL’s new injured reserve designation. But with questions still lingering about the status of Benson’s foot injury, the 29-year-old isn’t likely to be cleared yet.
“I don’t think so, no,” McCarthy said when asked if Benson would practice this week. “We’ll probably have some information for you (Wednesday) on Cedric Benson.”
Matthews is missed: Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews has been out the past two games due to a hamstring injury, but his nine sacks this season are still six more than the total for the team’s next-best pass rushers (Erik Walden and Dezman Moses each have three sacks).
Though it’s unknown whether Matthews will be cleared in time for Sunday’s game, Green Bay picking up only one sack against the Giants was a clear indication of how much Matthews has been missed.
“Clay Matthews is an outstanding football player,” McCarthy said. “He’s clearly one of the best defensive players in the whole National Football League. He makes an impact every time he plays the game, with just the way the offense approaches him, his playmaking ability.
“We’ve been playing a few weeks without Clay. It’ll be great when we do get him back. We did not play our best game on Sunday but it’ll be great when Clay does come back.”