GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy doesn’t know if anyone on his sideline will join the ranks of NFL players using the national anthem as an opportunity to protest.
But if they do, the Green Bay Packers coach can say this for certain: They will do so with a knowledge of the history of the anthem and an understanding of how important he believes it is.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett — the brother of Packers tight end Martellus Bennett — and Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch each sat during the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner in advance of their respective teams’ preseason games last week. And while Martellus Bennett gave no indication that he plans to follow his brother’s lead before the Packers’ preseason game at Washington on Saturday night, McCarthy was asked Wednesday morning about what he expects from his players when the song is played before games.
McCarthy said he addresses the anthem and his expectation of proper decorum during it with the players via a preseason presentation. He said this year’s demonstration came just before the team’s annual Family Night event on Aug. 5.
“It’s something that I’ve done each and every year here since I’ve been the head coach,” McCarthy said. “We have a PowerPoint presentation that you update (each year), and you always try to deliver the message clearly to the team.
“Our approach has always been to give the history and the understanding of what the national anthem means, and why it’s played before any National Football League game, particularly how (the tradition) started after World War II. I go through the whole history and the importance of what it means to you personally.”
Cameo for Rodgers?
For the second straight day, quarterback Aaron Rodgers took snaps with the No. 1 offense — in addition to extensive work with the scout team — and that might mean that the two-time NFL MVP will see at least a series of action Saturday night.
In practice last week, before Rodgers went through warm-ups but didn’t actually suit up for the Packers’ preseason-opening 24-9 victory over Philadelphia, Rodgers took zero first-team snaps in practice. Those were given to No. 2 quarterback Brett Hundley, who started the game in Rodgers’ place.
This week, though, Rodgers has gotten work with the starters, and while in some periods he only takes the first snap before turning the offense over to Hundley, in other periods he’s taken seven or eight snaps before coming out.
Rodgers said Tuesday that McCarthy had not told him if he would play or not. Last year, Rodgers played in only the third preseason game — for two series against San Francisco.
“We do things on the side conditioning-wise to make sure we’re ready to go,” Rodgers said. “I would assume this year with (playing at) Denver being the third preseason game, I’ll play for sure in that one. And that altitude will help with the conditioning because it’s tough to play out there.
“It’s preseason. Mike wants to look at the other guys for sure (with some) extended time. He feels good about what we’ve got; we’re trying to work our timing in practice with the young guys and the new tight ends. We’ll figure it out as we go.”
When rookie long-snapper Derek Hart was nowhere to be found at practice Wednesday, it was hard not to wonder if his competition with veteran Brett Goode had been decided and he’d been sent packing.
That was not the case, as it turned out Hart missed practice due to illness. (Goode handled all the snaps for a kicking session for Mason Crosby, who went 6-for-6.)
Running back Ty Montgomery (lower leg) sat out practice for a second straight day and appears unlikely to play Saturday. Cornerback Damarious Randall and wide receiver Malachi Dupre remain in the concussion protocol but they were able to watch practice with Montgomery on the sideline.
Wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey (groin), safety Jermaine Whitehead (hip) and tight end Aaron Peck (neck) remained sidelined as well.
Rookie safety Josh Jones (ankle) returned after dropping out of Tuesday’s practice after having his foot stepped on.