The questions were flying at the Packers' head coach today about one of the most hotly-contested battles on the roster and the backup plans at center.
On Tuesday, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy met with reporters on the team's off day to discuss his team's status as they approach both rounds of final cuts and the fourth and final preseason game. As expected, the backup quarterback and center situations were pressing, as was the subject of bubble players and roster evaluation.
McCarthy opened by saying that he has the "utmost faith in" Josh Sitton if he had to move over from guard to center, even saying that "hell, I think he could go out and play tackle for us." As for Sitton's work at center in the last few days, McCarthy remarked that he "has always worked as a center as far as our rotation."
McCarthy was then asked if the plan for the center position in light of JC Tretter's injury would be clearer if swing lineman Don Barclay were healthy, but he refused to get into that discussion, saying only that "Unfortunately Don isn't healthy. I don't deal with that."
The coach acknowledged that DuJuan Harris' fumbling issues have been one knock on him lately, saying "He needs to handle the ball cleaner all the time. He's putting in extra time on kickoff with the JUGS machine...I think he has a chance to be impactful once he gets going."
With the Packers' backup quarterbacks, Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien, running neck-and-neck right now, McCarthy addressed the plan for that position this week, saying the coaching staff is "still working through it." When pressed if they would alternate quarterbacks by series or after longer periods, McCarthy said "We wouldn't do it series-by-series, I'm not a fan of that ... you need to give a quarterback an opportunity to create a rhythm and flow. You have to give a quarterback a quarter before you switch."
Even though it seems clear that Aaron Rodgers will not play in the fourth and final preseason game, McCarthy would not commit to that, saying only that "we haven't made any final decisions on who's playing or who's not playing."
Jayrone Elliott is a player who has caught his head coach's eye in camp, and McCarthy said that the young linebacker will "play more than he ever has against KC, both special teams and defense."
When discussing player evaluation and roster cuts, McCarthy repeated his mantra that "You want as many four-down players as possible" and emphasized that for many young players, "the vehicle onto our football team is through special teams."
McCarthy was specifically asked if a discussion between him and Ted Thompson had ever gotten heated about keeping a certain player, to which he laughed and replied with a "No." A reporter then asked if he would ever tell the media if that had happened, and again, McCarthy laughed and said no.
McCarthy wrapped up his presser by addressing how the final 53-man roster is decided upon, saying "Sometimes you don't pick the 53 most talented players or the 53 most productive players...you're trying to chart a path to the Super Bowl. You're picking a group that gives you the best chance."
Stay tuned later this afternoon as the Packers make their final roster moves to get under the 75-man limit by 3 PM Central.
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