Packers coach Mike McCarthy is fond of saying, "We need to clean up our own house," when things aren't going right.
He uttered variations of that phrase a few times Monday as the Packers returned to the practice field following their bye week.
The self-scout analysis of the first four games tackled by the coaches last week while the players were excused for five days wasn't pretty.
"The things we took a close look at is the negative plays," McCarthy said. There was no shortage of them in the Packers' 2-2 start, particularly on offense, which is McCarthy's domain as the play-caller.
Deficiencies in pass protection have contributed to a league-high 20 sacks for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The passing game has further sputtered because of 14 drops.
"Our two biggest issues on offense are the negative plays and the dropped balls," McCarthy said. "We're taking sets of downs off the field that we should easily convert. Those are things we can control. Those are probably our two biggest focuses coming out of this bye week."
The negative vibes also emanate from 30 penalties, nine charged to the offense.
The litany of sacks, drops and penalties has put the Packers in numerous unfavorable down-and-distance situations, which has curtailed the amount of times they run the football. Even that dimension has been woeful, as lead back Ryan Grant is averaging only 3.8 yards per carry and doesn't have a 100-yard game.
Packer Player Notes:
- LT Chad Clifton returned to practice Monday and has a chance to resume playing when the Packers host the Lions on Sunday. Clifton has missed the last two games because of a sprained ankle.
- SS Atari Bigby was limited to individual work in practice Monday as he tries to return to game action for the first time since sustaining a sprained knee in the Sept. 13 season opener. Bigby's availability for Sunday will depend on how much he can do in practice later this week.
- RT Mark Tauscher likely won't be ready to play this weekend. The Packers re-signed the 10th-year veteran Monday as they look to shore up their offensive line. Tauscher is recovered from major knee surgery he underwent in January but will need at least this week to get into playing shape. Allen Barbre would remain the starter at right tackle Sunday.
- LB Brady Poppinga is expected to be OK after being out of practice Monday for an unspecified illness. Coach Mike McCarthy said Poppinga didn't have swine flu.
- WR Donald Driver's next catch will make him the all-time king of pass receptions with Green Bay. He goes into Sunday's game tied with Sterling Sharpe with 595 career catches. Driver leads the Packers this season with 18 receptions for 288 yards and two touchdowns.
- QB Aaron Rodgers is on pace for a second 4,000-yard passing season in as many years as a starter. Rodgers completed the first quarter of the season with 1,098 yards on 77-of-127 passing. He has six touchdown passes with only one interception and ranks among the league leaders with a passer rating of 101.1. Rodgers, however, has been sacked a league-high 20 times.
- WR Greg Jennings is growing frustrated with a lack of involvement in the passing game. The team's top wideout has only 11 catches for 240 yards and one touchdown. Jennings had 25 receptions for 482 yards and two touchdowns after four games last season, which he finished with career highs of 80 catches for 1,292 yards.
- RB Ryan Grant is off to a slow start in 2009. He has 67 carries for 257 yards and two touchdowns. His per-carry average of 3.8 yards is worse than last season's subpar clip of 3.9 yards. He has yet to post a 100-yard rushing game this season.
- TE Donald Lee is second on the team with 13 catches, but he has only 74 receiving yards and no touchdowns. Lee is being pushed by Jermichael Finley for the distinction of top tight end on the club. Finley has 11 receptions for 190 yards and a touchdown.
- LB Brandon Chillar, who isn't a starter, leads the Packers with 31 tackles through the first four games. He also has a team-high 24 solo tackles. Fellow linebackers Nick Barnett and Aaron Kampman are next in line on the tackles chart with 29 apiece.