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Tuesdays with McCarthy

Posted Dec 3, 2013

In this week's edition, the head coach discusses recovering from the Thanksgiving loss and what needs to happen on offense and defense to beat the Falcons.


Q. What are the steps in recovery from a loss?

The most important thing is to remember it’s one loss, just like the most important thing in our mind right now is getting one win. That can change the course of our season. It’s the fourth quarter of the season and everybody understands where we are in the big picture. We really need to take the steps and stay focused and accountable to the things that we need to do to win the game against Atlanta.

Q. Will the extra days off after the last game help the team?

Definitely. The time off is something we needed as a football team, in part because of our early bye week. We’ve had nine straight weeks of football, and that’s a long time. I don’t think I’ve ever had a stretch where we went nine weeks in a row. Our injury report reflects it, and it was a chance for us to get healthy.

Q. What needs to happen on offense?

We have to do a better job of handling the defenses that we’re seeing right now. We’re seeing an attacking, eight-man front, and whether it’s run blocking or pass protection, we have to give more opportunities to the perimeter. We have to block better, but we’re not far off. It’s like anything in football, one breakdown per play can create an ugly game.

Q. What needs to happen on defense?

Defensively, it’s about stopping the run. It really comes down to leverage, fits and tackling. We didn’t tackle very well against Detroit. They did some things with motion and action in their one-back run scheme that gave us problems. Our fits weren’t as tight as they needed to be, creating some creases that they did a good job of hitting. However, the second part is we have to tackle the ball-carrier, and we didn’t do that very well as a football team.

Q. Four games remain. What’s the perspective?

The perspective is to beat Atlanta. We beat Atlanta and everything else will take care of itself. It’s about one opportunity, and we have to max out this week of preparation and max out our opportunity here at home. Everything is about beat Atlanta. That’s all we’re really concerned about.

Q. How do you expect your team to respond this week against the Falcons?

I expect them to respond with a ton of energy, but more importantly, consistent energy throughout the game that allows us to finish. We have to get going. We’re making plays, but we’re not stringing them together. Our big-play production is down over the past month, and that’s an area where we have to do a better job.

Q. Should Aaron Rodgers’ injury impact the defense?

Aaron Rodgers is a great player, and great players lift other players around them. I’ve always said that about Aaron’s importance to our football team. He not only plays the quarterback position so well, but great players make other people around them better. That’s the fact of the matter. With Aaron not being available, it’s an opportunity for other players to step up and pull other people with them. To this point, we have not done that as a football team. This is a week we can do that as we’re not sure of Aaron’s status right now.

Q. You had mentioned that the tackling was pretty good early in the season. Too many practices without full pads? What is it?

Often when teams get late in the season, they get worn down. It’s something we always coach through during the third and fourth quarters of the season. When the team gets to this point, we have to stay committed to the fundamentals. We will continue to work our drills of coming to balance, setting leverage, sinking our hips. The wrapping and finishing techniques of tackling needs to improve, and it’s something that’s always more challenging at the end of the year.

Q. How do you get off blocks?

The fundamental of blocking, whether it’s getting off blocks or sustaining blocks, is something we work on every practice. The leverage points are important, and we have to separate. If we gain leverage on a defender, or vice versa on the offensive player, that’s not the result, that’s really just the starting point. Then we have to get off the block and make the play. We have to do a better job in this area.

Q. Where is Datone Jones in his development?

He’s getting better. It’s about opportunities. We have a pretty healthy defensive line rotation, and he’s part of that. He’s doing some good things with his opportunities, which are coming more in packages. That’s tough for any player when you’re not playing in a sequence and you’re playing in packages, but he’s doing some good things.

To see previous editions of Tuesdays with McCarthy, click here.


 
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