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McCarthy 'encouraged' by Packers' offensive depth, concerned about defense

Mike McCarthy. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

McCarthy 'encouraged' by Packers' offensive depth, concerned about defense

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Jan 2, 2012

Next game: Sunday, January 15th in NFC divisional playoff vs. Atlanta, Detroit or N.Y. Giants
Packers Gameday at 1:00 p.m. on Newsradio 620 WTMJ, a live blog here and coverage on Live at 10 on TODAY'S TMJ4

GREEN BAY - One day after the Packers' 45-41 triumph over the Detroit Lions, the head coach of the team talked about how the Packers' offensive depth shined, but discussed the need for defensive improvement.

"Are we concerned about the yards?  We don't like it.  But at the end of the day, it's keeping them out of the end zone and taking the football away," said McCarthy on Monday.

The Packers gave up 575 net yards to Detroit, 502 through the air, but also caused four

"You don't want to give up that many yards, that's for sure, but at the end of the day, it's a team game.  How the offense plays definitely affects how the defense is challenged."

The Packers offense was nearly as productive as Detroit's (550 yards) and more efficient in turning drives into points (45 points to 41 for Detroit, committing just two turnovers), all without Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings.

"I'm very encouraged," said McCarthy about the Matt Flynn-led offensive performance.  The backup quarterback set Packers records with 480 yards through the air and six touchdown passes. 

"I think it shows you the depth that we have, the maturity of the offensive unit.  You talk about the offensive unit...it really shows up.  You like to see individuals to take advantage of more opportunities...it's exactly what we needed offensively."

What the Packers need is healthy depth for the playoffs, and they will get it with the return of tackle Bryan Bulaga and wide receiver Greg Jennings (both with knee issues), along with running back James Starks (ankle).

McCarthy also said Chad Clifton would return to normal duty during the playoffs.
"Chad Clifton will be the starter (over Marshall Newhouse)," McCarthy explained.

"I anticipate to have everybody back.  That was the intent going into the game, making sure Bryan and Greg had the extra week."

McCarthy said the Packers would practice Wednesday and Thursday of this week, take Friday, Saturday and Sunday off from on-field work, and return for a "normal week" next week when they know their divisional playoff opponent.

They will play the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions or New YorK Giants on January 15th at Lambeau Field.