The Packers were also without safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring), cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring), inside linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring) and special teams ace Jarrett Bush (ankle), who did not dress.
“I feel that we’ll be prepared,” said Williams, who was sidelined until this week by a bone bruise in his knee sustained in the second practice of training camp. “I think we’re going to bring a lot of energy, I like the play style we’ve been playing with all preseason. I’ve had the opportunity to sit back and watch, and I see what the coach wants – toughness, physicality. That’s the play style he’s looking for. Obviously the playmaking and things are going to come. We’ve been doing that for years. But he wants that toughness and physicality. I think the guys have been doing that all preseason.”
On the bright side, Cobb, Nelson and Williams, who’d missed all three of the previous exhibitions, made their debuts. Kicker Mason Crosby, who held onto his job over two training-camp challengers, made a pair of field goals to finish exhibition play 6 for 6. And punter Tim Masthay not only got plenty of work (nine punts) but is now in midseason form, having booted 28 punts in four games.
“As a head coach not calling the game to sit there and watch the game live, watch the communication, watch the interaction, watch the Jumbotron for the great reviews, just gives you a whole different perspective that you do not get during the course of a normal game,” McCarthy said of his experience Thursday night. “This is always a great opportunity for me personally, just to get a grasp on the individuals that are on my board trying to fight their way onto the 53.”
And to those individuals, this game wasn’t worthless, of course. Among backups, Young, who beat out incumbent Graham Harrell for the backup job, got extended work, even though it was largely unproductive (14 of 30, 144 yards, two sacks, two fumbles, 61.0 passer rating). Wide receiver Jeremy Ross, who seemed to have slipped onto the roster bubble in recent weeks, helped himself with a team-leading three receptions for 50 yards. Undersized safety Chris Banjo, who is battling for the No. 4 safety spot, had a quarterback pressure early in the game and then had a 14-yard sack midway through the fourth quarter.
“I think I did pretty good – getting the ball out, not getting sacks, different things like that. That’s all you can ask for with the situation we were in tonight – running the ball, not trying to do a lot of different things, look at different players, look at different guys in the offensive line, running backs, tight ends,” Young said, while also admitting that he’s no lock to make the roster as the backup. “Just understanding the situation, all I could do was my job, and I think I did OK. I could’ve had some better throws, but overall, I did OK.”
Listen to Jason Wilde every weekday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on “Green & Gold Today” on 540 ESPN, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonjwilde.