With the Packers having allowed six sacks to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday — including a total of five by the Vikings' defensive ends — coach Mike McCarthy didn't rule out replacing the kiddie corps of left tackle T.J. Lang and Allen Barbre with old standbys Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher.
For the first time since being signed after the bye, Tauscher was a full participant for the final two days of practice last week. Clifton practiced on Friday but was held out as he recovers from an ankle that was sprained way back in Week 2.
"Offensive line, I'm going to take the week, very similar to last week," McCarthy said the day after Sunday's 38-26 loss. "I'm going to see how Chad Clifton progresses through the week. I also want to see how Mark Tauscher progresses through the week. Then have an opportunity to grade the film this morning and go through the corrections today with the offensive linemen who played in the game. We'll take that through the week, just very similar to what we did last week."
Four of the six sacks came in the first half, but the two allowed in the second half were critical. On third-and-goal from the 4 in the third quarter, Rodgers was flushed from the pocket and sacked by Allen, and the Packers settled for a field goal to pull within 24-6. The last sack was the biggest of them all. With the Packers riding a wave of momentum after pulling within 31-26, Rodgers drove the team from his 19-yard line to Minnesota's 28. On second-and-3, however, a group protection error resulted in Lang blocking down and Allen flying in untouched for an easy sack. Mason Crosby wound up missing a 51-yard field goal.
"I would think that would fall under the category of convenient criticism," McCarthy said about starting Clifton and Tauscher against Minnesota. "We talked about it at halftime, something we talked about before the game. Really, I think Chad's situation and Mark's are totally different about where they are as far as their readiness to play. But coming out in the third quarter, we clearly established ourselves. Frankly, the third quarter and halfway through the fourth quarter, our passing game, you can't play much better. We made some errors there going down on that last drive before the field goal attempt that frankly cost us an opportunity to score in that area. But the way the offense was playing in the third and beginning of the fourth quarter, we didn't feel there was a reason to change."
— Rodgers came into the Minnesota game with a sore foot and exited with one sore foot and a sprained toe on the other foot.
"I think he'll be fine to play in Tampa," McCarthy said. "I don't think it's going to change the way he plays. Just visiting with Dr. (Pat) McKenzie, I think they're injuries that just need to settle down a little bit. Wednesday and Thursday, he'll probably do very little, and we'll shoot for Friday, is kind of our general plan as we move out of today's rehab."
— Linebacker Brandon Chillar needed surgery on a broken hand and will be out for a couple weeks.
— Tight end Jermichael Finley never was a game-time decision. He was sore on Saturday and didn't work out on Sunday. McCarthy said Finley likely will be questionable or doubtful for Sunday at Tampa Bay.
No reason to be Jolly
McCarthy said he'd be having a conversation with Johnny Jolly. Not so much about Jolly's senseless 15-yard penalty that allowed the Vikings to score a first-quarter touchdown but for Jolly's postgame comments, in which he said he wouldn't change his playing-on-the-edge ways.
"There's no reason for it, there's no explanation for it," McCarthy said. "He needs to be more accountable for that. That's four points that shouldn't happen. Plus, I think that's another seven plays we added to the Vikings offense versus our defense."
Jolly was briefly removed from the game but benching him would have been akin to cutting off your nose to spite your face. He's played too well this season, like he did on a fourth-and-goal stop in the second quarter.
"That's always a nice thing to jump up and down as a head coach, but also, what are you gaining?" McCarthy said. "Is it the opportunity to send a message, but is it also an opportunity to take away from your defensive coordinator something you practiced all week, something you prepared for. He's been a very productive player. Those are the things you weigh against."
— The game received a 13.9 rating on Fox, bigger than the prime time Game 4 of the World Series (13.1).
— McCarthy reiterated that Mason Crosby slipped on the second of Percy Harvin's long returns, which turned a squib into a short floater. "That was not what was designed," McCarthy said. "The kick was not done properly, and Mason and I have talked about it. It's a momentum swing."
— Ahman Green, returning kickoffs for the first time since 1999, will keep the job. McCarthy thinks Green will get better as he gets back into football shape and more comfortable in the role.
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