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Packers' sideline fight reveals players are 'passionate,' Mike McCarthy says

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A day after the sideline scuffle among Green Bay Packers' defensive players late in Sunday's loss to the Carolina Panthers, the team was taking a nothing-to-see-here attitude about the incident.

In fact, coach Mike McCarthy said he "kind of liked it."

"I think it just shows that they're passionate and they care," McCarthy said Monday. "Hey, no one feels worse than our players today.

"There's nothing really to get bent out of shape about. I know what they showed on TV, but I'm also well aware of all that went on after that too, as far as the conversations and what came of it. Frankly, we actually played better after it. We should probably do that in pregame next time."

The Packers (6-2) spent Monday dealing with their second straight loss.

"I would think all of our players and coaches have the red ass today," McCarthy said. "I think that would be accurate."

Linebacker Julius Peppers, one of the players involved, said the incident was discussed during Monday's team meeting.

"It wasn't even an issue," Peppers said. "There wasn't anything to be addressed."

Although it's unclear what started it, TV cameras caught second-year safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as he approached Peppers, who was seated on the bench, shortly after the Panthers took a 37-14 lead in the fourth quarter. Peppers stood up to respond to Clinton-Dix, who was quickly shoved by nose tackle B.J. Raji.

After the game, Clinton-Dix said he didn't know why Raji interjected.

"You've got to take that up with B.J.," he said. "I don't know what's wrong with B.J., but it was just a lot of emotions. ... Sometimes it gets the best of us, but that got us turned up a little bit."

Not long after the players had left Bank of America Stadium, Clinton-Dix took a different tone on Twitter and apologized.

"I just wanted to clear the air," Clinton-Dix said on Monday of his tweets. "People thought it was a real big incident. The media can sometimes portray what they want to portray. I just decided to tweet out that everything's fine, and it wasn't a big issue."

Like McCarthy, Peppers said some good can come from it.

"I think it showed passion for the game, not necessarily frustration," he said Monday. "Everybody wants to win. Sometimes you do get frustrated during the course of a game. Things happen. I actually like it. It's passion, it's emotion, it's guys wanting to play better and win games.

"Let me be clear: When I said I liked it, I'm not necessarily talking about guys losing their cool on the sideline, jawing at each other, shoving each other. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about guys showing passion, showing energy, wanting to win, putting an emphasis on winning football, and I think that can be achieved."