A day after an ugly 47-25 loss at Tennessee sent Green Bay to its third consecutive loss and a 4-5 record, Packers coach Mike McCarthy offered a reminder to everyone.
“Let’s just state the facts: I’m a highly successful NFL head coach,” McCarthy said.
What seemed like bravado has turned out to be indisputable fact. The Packers lost the next week at Washington but have reeled off seven consecutive victories to win the NFC North championship and a Wild Card game. With that, they’ve earned a trip to Dallas to face the top-seeded Cowboys on Sunday.
McCarthy has coached the Packers to eight consecutive playoff berths. That’s not unprecedented but it’s pretty close. Only New England’s Bill Belichick, Dallas’ Tom Landry and Pittsburgh’s Chuck Noll have accomplished that in NFL history.
McCarthy, however, hasn’t taken a moment to smell those roses just yet.
“The only reflection I’ve really done this year is trying to improve my status on social media,” McCarthy joked. “After 10 seconds of that, I went right back to the football part of it.”
There are some familiar names from the 2010 squad that won the Super Bowl. Nine players, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers and outside linebacker Clay Matthews, were part of that team. Nearly half of the roster – 24 players – are rookies, first-year or second-year players. That means only 29 players were around for the Packers’ victory over Dallas in the 2014 playoffs.
“It’s really about the program. There are so many components that go into it,” McCarthy said. “This is our 11th year, (general manager) Ted Thompson and I. We have a veteran coaching staff, an excellent coaching staff, with a lot of continuity. We have principles in place. With that, you have what you want to do and how you want to do it. You have the experience that comes with that, so you’re able to adjust and change and emphasize as time goes on. I think it’s really clearly more of a reflection of our program.”
That ability to adjust has been critical considering the number of injuries. Packers starters missed 80 games due to injury during the regular season. Twelve players are on this week’s injury report, including receiver Jordy Nelson, who sustained injured ribs during the second quarter against the Giants.
“He’s making progress,” McCarthy said before practice. “It’s a three-day plan, and we’ll evaluate on Friday.”
|GREEN BAY PACKERS|
|Randall Cobb, WR||Ankle||Full||Full|
|Jayrone Elliott, LB||Hand/Not inj.related||Full||DNP|
|Jeff Janis, WR||Quadricep||DNP||Limited|
|T.J. Lang, G||Foot||Full||Limited|
|Blake Martinez, LB||Knee||Full||Full|
|Clay Matthews, LB||Shoulder||Full||Full|
|Jordy Nelson, WR||Ribs||DNP||DNP|
|Julius Peppers, LB||Not Injury Related||DNP||Full|
|Nick Perry, LB||Hand||Full||Full|
|Quinten Rollins, CB||Neck/Concussion||Limited||Limited|
|James Starks, RB||Concussion||DNP||DNP|
|JC Tretter, C/G||Knee||DNP||DNP|
|Morris Claiborne, CB||Groin||Limited||Full|
|Tyrone Crawford, DE||Shoulder||Limited||Limited|
|Justin Durant, LB||Elbow||Limited||Limited|
|DeMarcus Lawrence, DE||Back||Limited||Limited|
|Terrell McClain, DT||Ankle||Limited||Limited|
|Tyron Smith, T||Knee||Limited||Limited|
|Cedric Thornton, DT||Ankle||Limited||Limited|
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.