Packers upset with themselves following consecutive losses
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Losers of two straight after an undefeated start, the Green Bay Packers are an unhappy bunch - and not just during sideline disagreements captured by television cameras.
Watching the film from Sunday's 37-29 loss at Carolina, Packers coach Mike McCarthy saw too many mental errors, an offense that was out of sync before a late comeback, a defense that permitted too many big plays and more reason to worry about running back Eddie Lacy.
Perhaps the only thing McCarthy wasn't bothered by was the sideline dustup involving veteran defensive linemen Julius Peppers and B.J. Raji and second-year safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, an episode caught by TV cameras when the Packers were down 37-14 early in the fourth quarter.
''I didn't even talk about it. We had enough to talk about as a team just from a pure football standpoint,'' McCarthy said when asked if he had addressed the issue with the team Monday. ''I have zero concerns about it. Frankly, a part of me likes it. I think it just shows that they're passionate and they care.
''Hey, no one feels worse than our players today. They had an opportunity to win a football game against an excellent football team, an undefeated football team. But that's part of it. There's nothing really to get bent out of shape about. ... Frankly, we actually played better after it. We should probably do that in pregame next time.''
McCarthy later added that the incident ''was a dead issue by the time the game ended,'' and the players involved also continued to downplay the disagreement on Monday.
''It wasn't even an issue. There wasn't anything to be addressed,'' Peppers said. ''I think it showed passion for the game, not necessarily frustration. Everybody wants to win. Sometimes you do get frustrated during the course of a game. Things happen. I actually like it. It's passion, it's emotion, it's guys wanting to play better and win games.''
Added Clinton-Dix, who publicly apologized via his Twitter account after the game: ''This is my team. These are my brothers around here. It is what it is and everything was squashed the right way after the game.''
The Packers also continued to downplay their concerns about Lacy, who started his NFL career with back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons but enters Sunday's game against Detroit averaging 3.7 yards per carry and on pace for just 616 yards rushing this season. Lacy, who left Sunday's loss with a groin injury and has been outplayed by backup James Starks in recent weeks, was able to go through full workouts Monday and may practice Wednesday, McCarthy said.
''We've definitely got to get him going,'' offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said of Lacy. ''It's very important because he's an outstanding player. . Moving forward, we feel good about Eddie Lacy and the production that he's going to give us.''
Asked what's wrong with Lacy, associate head coach/offense Tom Clements replied simply, ''I don't have an answer for you.''
Having lost back-to-back games with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback for the first time since 2010, the Packers are 6-2 and tied atop the NFC North with Minnesota. Now, they enter a stretch of four division games in an 18-day span, knowing they must find answers as a team - and quickly.
''We've got to get better,'' veteran wide receiver James Jones said.