McCarthy Cutting Back on Workload

The coach has gone to his winter schedule to keep the players fresh physically and mentally. Plus much more from Thursday, including the word out of New York and updated injury reports.

The Green Bay Packers are taking a less-is-more approach to the stretch run to their season.

This week, coach Mike McCarthy moved up the start of practice, cut about 10 minutes out of practice and condensed meeting time in an effort to keep his players fresh physically and mentally.

"We've gone to our winter schedule, which we traditionally do at some point late November, early December," McCarthy said on Thursday. "That started yesterday. We're on the field as long and we're not in meetings as long."

It's an approach that's appreciated by players of all experience levels.

"It's definitely helped us," third-year nose tackle B.J. Raji said. "I think he understands that we play hard, practice hard, and this time of year, it's important to take care of your bodies because we want to be healthy in December and moving forward, when it's the most important time of the season."

Defensive end Ryan Pickett, who's in his 11th season, echoed Raji's assessment

"It's cool because you get home a little earlier," Pickett said. "It's cool for me because I get to go home and spend time with my kids and family. I'm going home today and taking them out to the movies. It's cool that we get off a little earlier because I have time to do that now, I didn't have to do that earlier."

Giants' DC "miffed" at performance

A miffed Perry Fewell accused some members of the New York Giants defense of quitting in the blowout loss to the Saints and he vowed that will not happen again.

The Giants' defensive coordinator could not explain why the Giants played so poorly in the 49-24 thrashing that knocked New York out of first place in the NFC East and left many wondering whether the team as looking at a third straight year of collapsing in the second half of the season.

"It was so disappointing from my perspective that as I watched it on Monday and watched it the next day, it was one of those games that you want to bury," Fewell said Thursday after practice. "The energy level, what we did, it baffled me, OK. It baffled me. You're supposed to have answers, but sometimes you can't explain a game like that."

The numbers were sickening, especially for a defensive coordinator.

The Saints gained 577 yards in total offense, the second highest total an opponent has mustered in a single game in the Giants' 87-year history

"We have to play with more passion," said Fewell, who is in his second season as the Giants defensive coordinator. "That was a game against a playoff football team. We have aspirations of being a playoff team and sometimes it's the will, the will to get it done. We didn't will ourselves to get it done. That's what I can explain. Why we didn't will ourselves to get it done."

To read more from this Associated Press story CLICK HERE.

Packers injury report

Out: LT Chad Clifton (hamstring/back); RG Josh Sitton (knee). Did not participate: LB Desmond Bishop (calf); LB A.J. Hawk (calf). Full participation: RB James Starks (knee/ankle).

The Packers' report was unchanged from Wednesday. McCarthy said Bishop and Hawk will be re-evaluated on Friday. If neither can play, D.J. Smith and Robert Francois would start, and outside linebacker Brad Jones has been working inside this week to be the emergency backup.

Giants injury report

Did not participate: RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot); LB Mark Herzlich (ankle); WR Mario Manningham (knee); WR Hakeem Nicks (ribs/concussion); DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee). Limited: LB Michael Boley (hamstring). Full: WR Victor Cruz (hip); DB Derrick Martin (hamstring); S Antrel Rolle (back); DE Justin Tuck (ankle).

Boley, who has missed the last three games — the Giants lost them all — was limited after being held out on Wednesday. Bradshaw doesn't expect to practice this week but thinks he'll play. He's missed the last four games with a stress fracture in his right foot.

Four-point stance

— McCarthy isn't as concerned about the wind as he was during his team's first visit to MetLife Stadium, last season against the Jets, or as he would have been at the old Giants Stadium. "If I remember correctly, I want to say it was around 20 mile an hour winds is what I recall (against the Jets). But the forecast this week is 6 miles an hour, which we would take. We'd be very thankful to go to New York and play in 6 mile an hour winds. But the new stadium design is a little different than the old stadium. We'll go out there in pregame like we always do and assess the field conditions. Shawn Slocum is someone I lean a lot there. Our quarterbacks don't worry about it a whole lot. Aaron (Rodgers) does a good job cutting the wind with his velocity, so I don't think it will be a factor this week."

— The Giants' motivation for Sunday's game is obvious. What is driving the Packers? "We're just hungry, man," Pickett said. "We just want to win. We expect great things out of each other. We feel like that going into every game, we should win. Just the hunger to win is pushing us. That's all we want to do. We just want to keep winning. It's fun."

— On Showtime's "Inside the NFL," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had this to say about Rodgers and the undefeated Packers: "It's so impressive when you watch a team that can string together that many victories going all the way back to last season. It really tells you what the character and the make-up of the players on that team are. So them getting off to the start that they've gotten off to is very impressive. And the way Aaron's playing, it's impossible to play the quarterback position any better than he is playing it right now."

— Former Packers coach Mike Sherman was fired as coach at Texas A&M. Sherman, whose team was ranked in the preseason top 10, departs with a 25-25 record.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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