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Tuesdays with McCarthy

Posted Oct 22, 2013

In this week's edition, the head coach discusses the play of QB Aaron Rodgers and the improvements seen in RB Eddie Lacy and the offensive line, among other topics.


Q. Does it help that opposing teams don’t have a lot of information on young replacements, such as Boykin, Lattimore, Mulumba and Palmer?

It may help in their first game, when there’s some uncertainty. However, in today’s world there’s so much video available that preseason tapes, and even college tapes, can be researched. The research in our business has elevated to a different level. It may help the first week, but after that, everyone will have a clean, personnel evaluation on them.

Q. Is it the mark of a great quarterback that he elevates the play of those around him?

Absolutely. That’s a clear characteristic of being a great quarterback. When you have a great player on your team, his ability to make the people around him better really separates the great players from the good players. Aaron Rodgers definitely falls in that category.

Q. Why are referees reluctant to change the spot of the ball?

I never received an explanation from Jeff Triplette. We never communicated about that play during the game, so I can’t really tell you.

Q. What is it that allows some quarterbacks to feel pressure around them?

Every quarterback feels pressure, it’s how they handle it. It’s how they transfer their in-the-pocket footwork into the escape element and out-of-the-pocket play. It’s a skill that can be enhanced, but a lot of it is innate. Aaron’s ability to step up and move through creases, and vacate left or right, is exceptional. Quarterbacks need confidence, ability and footwork, along with the discipline and ball carriage, to step out of there and use their athletic ability, particularly when they go to their left into what we call the “dead zone.” Anytime a right-handed quarterback escapes to his left, there’s a two- or three-step period where he’s vulnerable. It’s important to get depth, flip your hips and get moving downfield, so the hips and shoulders are positioned to throw the football.

Q. You came out throwing on Sunday. Is that about establishing an aggressive mindset?

It was about establishing a rhythm, especially in the wet conditions. We wanted to come out and set the pace and tempo of the game. Some of those plays were run-pass options, and that’s just the way it turned out. We wanted to be aggressive with the no huddle and set the pace of the game, and we definitely did that.

Q. You talked after the game about a different kind of game in Minnesota. What do you mean by that?

The game environment. All division games are very tough and Minnesota is a tough opponent. It’s the Green Bay Packers vs. the Minnesota Vikings, there’s always an edge and a spirit to this contest. The Metrodome is an older building and there is a lot of crowd noise. Our fans show up big-time over there, which makes their fans even louder. We have to focus, and the discipline of our football team is at the top of the list of priorities.

Q. What are the differences in Eddie Lacy from the start of training camp to now?

Eddie is more comfortable in our offense. He’s getting better and better each week at the little things. His ability to run the football has always been evident, and he doesn’t waste many steps. He’s an instinctive football player. However, he’s getting better and better at the fine-motor skills and the details of the running back position in our offensive system.

Q. Are you pleased by the play of your offensive line?

Yes, I am. Our offensive line is playing well and our inside three are playing very well. Our tackles are young and they’re getting better. They’ve had some grades that aren’t quite where they want to be, but they’re close. They’re getting better at handling tough situations. Bakhtiari played well in Baltimore against a defensive player of the year in Suggs and Barclay has done some really good things. It’s a group that has had the ability to practice and play together every week, and they’re only going to get better.

Q. Being that you’re a quarterback guru, what are your thoughts on Andrew Luck?

Andrew Luck is special. He’s clearly one of the better quarterbacks to come into our league in the last 10-15 years. I’m not surprised by his success. He’s tough, he’s physically gifted and he has excellent mental capacity. He plays the game fast and can make all the throws. Luck is going to be a very good to great player in our league for a very long time.

Q. What good things did Aaron Rodgers do on Sunday that are undetectable to the fans?

He has the ability to handle unforeseen game situations and keep the offense in clean plays. He threw the ball away four or five times and those were good plays, because if you don’t throw it away, the results are usually negative. Despite the throwaways, he still completed close to 70 percent of his passes. His discipline, decision-making and his scramble runs for a first down were exceptional. There were a couple of pockets where I’m sure their defense felt like they had him, and he was able to step out of there. He played very well.

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


 
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