Q. Did your players come back from the bye rested and energized?
Yes, the players came back energized. There was a lot of enthusiasm at practice on Monday. The players had a chance to step away, assess our team and themselves, as well as the challenge we face against Detroit. I’m pleased the bye was this early because it was a benefit for the players to recharge.
Q. How did you use the bye week?
I had a chance to get a lot of work done. I spent a good amount of time in my office alone, which is good for me. I also got to spend time with the family, with all the kids. On Thursday I rode the school bus with my 4-year-old daughter, Gabrielle, and we went to the Apple Valley orchard. We picked apples and then made apple pie that night. My oldest daughter Alex was home from college, so over the weekend, we went up to Door County. We went to the drive-in theater in Fish Creek, and the kids got to see “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2.” Then everybody else left, but my oldest boy wanted to watch the second feature, “Elysium,” so we stayed for that. That drive-in is a great family place. I thought I was a kid back in the ’70s in Pittsburgh. Loved it. We had quality family time, a great weekend.
Q. NFC North competition begins for your team this week. Your thoughts on the importance of division games?
Division games are very important, and I’m sure every team views them that way. We have a systematic approach to these games. Detroit is playing very well. It’s important to look ahead, and not back at history, which some people rely on too much. Every one of these contests brings a little extra to the playing field, and we’ll be ready for the challenge Sunday.
Q. What did you see in the Lions on Sunday?
Talent and explosiveness. They have the ability to generate big plays, offensively and defensively. They used turnovers to get out to a commanding lead, and it was an impressive win for them over Chicago.
Q. What’s your evaluation of your team at this point in the season?
We’re a football team that needs to do a better job with the little things for four full quarters. That’s one component of our first three contests that was evident. There’s a lot of good football we’ve put on film, but at the end of the day it’s about winning and increasing the quality of play. We’ll have an opportunity to take a step in that direction this week.
Q. How are the young tackles playing?
They’ve been solid. Everybody felt good about them after the first two weeks, but Cincinnati was their biggest challenge. Experience pays forward and they will benefit from the Cincinnati experience as they prepare for Detroit.
Q. Is there anything in the way of developing trends that you’ve detected in the league this season? How about the read-option craze?
I don’t know. We don’t run the read option. Defensively, we spent a lot of time on it in the offseason for our first two opponents. However, exposing the most important position on your football team is a risk each team has to assess.
Q. You promised the running game would be improved and it’s up to No. 9 in the league. Your thoughts on that?
I don’t like to draw conclusions based on three games of statistics. I’m happy with a number of things we’ve done running the football. I’d like to get more continuity between our running back and our run-blocking unit. We’ve incurred some injuries to our running backs, but our run blocking has been pretty consistent the first few weeks.
Q. What’s the importance of the running game in today’s game and as it pertains to the Packers?
I’m fully aware of how we’re viewed, but the reality is how our offense is implemented in practice and how we train, it starts with the run game. Now, the way the games are played has a lot to do with the trend and the flow of the football game. Running the football is important. I’ve always talked about attempts as probably the most important statistic. In the same breath, we have a quarterback that is exceptional, particularly at generating production off of run action. The running game is the spoke that gets the wheel started for us, but at the end of the day it’s about scoring points. We want to be conscientious about how many times we run the football, in part because it can alleviate some stress on our offensive line.
Q. What’s the next segment of the schedule?
We’re going into the second quarter. I’ve looked at the first three games as the first quarter and we have a five-game second quarter. The third and fourth quarters will be four games each. Our fourth quarter will start after Thanksgiving.
To see previous editions of Tuesdays with McCarthy, click here.