GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy often presents his players with a theme or a saying for the week.
But this was unusual even by McCarthy’s standards.
At Wednesday's team meeting, McCarthy asked football administration coordinator Matt Klein to hold up a large framed poster that contained the message: “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
“You historians probably appreciate that,” McCarthy told reporters. “In 1939, (posters were) issued by the British government right before World War II in anticipation of the bombing of major cities.”
Not bad for a guy with a business degree from Baker University.
“I practiced all night,” McCarthy said.
He actually borrowed it from his wife, Jessica.
“She has an appreciation for the arts and history,” McCarthy said. “She just told me, ‘Don’t damage the frame.’”
Whether it was his idea or his wife’s, the piece of propaganda was apropos for his team, which is facing a major injury crisis as it prepares for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.
“He showed us that sign that’s in his house,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “It’s a good message, very good message. Don’t panic. I said it last year before the Houston game, I don’t care what’s going on outside the facility. Inside the facility we have to stay focused on the things that we can control.”
Injuries have hit the Packers (3-2) at a couple of their play-making positions. They will play without leading receiver Randall Cobb, who will miss at least eight weeks with a fractured fibula, and perhaps another top receiver, James Jones (knee). On defense, they were down to just two healthy outside linebackers for Wednesday's practice and won’t have Clay Matthews (broken thumb) or Nick Perry (foot), two of their sack leaders, for several more weeks.
Linebacker A.J. Hawk seemed surprised to learn that McCarthy had shared the message with reporters.
“I think we all know how fiery he is and how he doesn’t seem like he wants to be calm very often,” Hawk said. “So we respect that and we love it. I love all of his messages. I eat those things up, man. I love it. I think it’s a good.
“It’s true, too. And also I think it has a little undertone of just don’t ever panic. This league is crazy. Things happen week in and week out. You can’t ever panic. You just got to keep doing your thing.”
For those who want more background on the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters, this YouTube video might be of interest.