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McCarthy impressed with Newton’s debut

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Associated Press
September 13, 2011
— With two young children at home on a rare weekend off for his team, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy managed to watch as much football as he could Sunday.

And as any parent knows, that can be a challenge.


“I have a 2-year-old and a 5-(week)-old, so it’s kind of hard to sit down and watch a game,” McCarthy said of his youngest daughters, Gabrielle and Isabella. “I watched as much as I could.”


McCarthy managed to catch enough of the Packers’ upcoming opponent, the Carolina Panthers, to glean this much information: Rookie quarterback Cam Newton was impressive.


Newton threw for 422 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers’ 28-21 loss. Newton’s late bid for a game-tying drive came up just short, but he still set a record for yards passing by a rookie in his NFL debut.


“That was impressive,” McCarthy told reporters in Green Bay on Monday. “I was impressed with their football team as a whole, watching their game yesterday on TV and had a chance to watch their defense this morning. ... We’re going into their stadium, it’s their home opener. I think Cam Newton was very impressive. For the young man to go out there in his first game and put up the numbers that he did, it looked like he was very much in control of their offense.”


McCarthy also caught some of the Packers’ NFC North rivals in action. Chicago romped over Atlanta, Detroit won at Tampa Bay and Minnesota lost at San Diego.


“I got a chance to watch some of the Chicago game—it was on TV here locally—(and) saw the highlights from the Detroit game,” McCarthy said. “I’d say they’re off to a good start. Minnesota was leading for a good part of that game; I did not see that game. So, it looks like everybody feels pretty good about themselves.”


McCarthy and the rest of the Packers began formal preparation on Monday for Sunday’s game at Carolina.


McCarthy acknowledged that getting ready for a Panthers team with a new coach, Ron Rivera, and new schemes is part of coaching football early in any season. But one thing he isn’t particularly concerned about is his team playing in the heat, with the weather still relatively warm in Wisconsin.


“I’m told the weekend in Carolina is going to be in the mid-70s,” McCarthy said. “So, we’ve been able to practice in that kind of heat. Unless it’s extraordinary, I don’t think it’s a big deal.”


Packers players were off Saturday and Sunday, although McCarthy said many of them were in to lift weights and visit the training room. McCarthy did not provide an update on the status of cornerback Tramon Williams, who bruised his shoulder in Thursday night’s season-opening victory over New Orleans.


“I’ll just say this: The players were in throughout the weekend,” McCarthy said. “Saturday and Sunday were busy here, the weight room and the training room. I’ll just wait until Wednesday. I’ll have more information for you based on Tramon and the others. But we had a lot of guys here this weekend, which was good.”



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