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Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy revealed an interesting nugget Monday after conducting the Packers' self-scouting exercise during the bye week.
In between caring for his newborn daughter, McCarthy spoke extensively with the team's medical staff about the rash of injuries during the first half of the season. There have been an especially high number of muscle strains, especially hamstrings, and McCarthy was looking for common threads.(Tip of the cap to Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, who set us straight on the hamstring tally and corrected an earlier version of this post.)
A hamstring has sidelined safety Atari Bigby for five games and counting. A total of eight players have strained their hamstrings this seaso, a list that includes: left tackle Chad Clifton, defensive tackle Ryan Pickett and tailbacks tailback Ryan Grant and Kregg Lumpkin.
McCarthy said all of the injuries occurred in games, and as a result he's extended the Packers' pre- pre-game stretch from six to 10 minutes. The Packers also will increase the players' warm-up time before games and change the practice schedule to reflect both tweaks.
"It's continuing education really," McCarthy said, "just to make sure that we're getting our core temperature up, keeping it up, staying stretched."
McCarthy said he considers the changes a "minor adjustment," but they seem pretty significant as the weather turns cooler and increases the chances for muscle injuries. (Hence, the need to have a consistent core temperature.) McCarthy spent 15 minutes Monday speaking to players on the issue.
It's hard to know whether a few minutes of extra stretching and warm-ups will help, but at least McCarthy wasn't willing to accept the old-school excuse that injuries unavoidably happen in bunches. He's trying to fix the problem.