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'I thought we were the best team in football'

Mike McCarthy meets with reporters at the combine


INDIANAPOLIS—Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy officially turned the page on the 2014 season during his press conference at the scouting combine on Thursday.

"This is a little bit of a kickoff. You shift gears. Every year is a new year. You're foolish not to look at it that way. Even if you're the one that walks off with the Lombardi Trophy. I think you have to take each and every year and start over," McCarthy said.

With those words, McCarthy put the Packers' heartbreaking NFC title game loss in Seattle in the rearview mirror, but not before offering these words to a group of Packers beat reporters who met with McCarthy following his combine media session: "This was a helluva football team. I thought we were the best team in football when the season ended. You have to prove it on the field."

So, painfully and with regret, the Packers move on to the next order of business, which involves the shaping of a new roster, beginning with a free-agent process that threatens to rob the Packers of key personnel.

"Bryan Bulaga, definitely I want him back. I know Bryan wants to be back. We're now in that business phase of our game. You have five guys play together week in and week out, you're going to have a pretty good offensive line. This is the best offensive line I've had in my time in Green Bay. This has definitely been our best group," McCarthy said.

McCarthy commented on a wide range of topics on Thursday.

  • "I thought Davante (Adams) had an excellent rookie season. We've been a 25-year-old football team for nine years now. When a young guy steps up, you try to create an opportunity for him. Davante stepped up," McCarthy said of last season's second-round draft pick, who gives the Packers assurance against Randall Cobb's free agency candidacy.

"I like the way our board looks right now. It would be nice to get our own free agents back. We like to sign our own free agents back," McCarthy added.

  • Does McCarthy believe Julius Peppers will return for a second season with the Packers?

"Yes, I do. I might be the only one that doesn't understand why the question keeps coming up. I think he looks great in green and gold," McCarthy said.

  • Eddie Lacy's slow start to the season.

"The play caller just needs to give him the damn ball in September," McCarthy said, referring to himself. "Eddie made a huge step this year. The focus was to get him the ball more in the passing game. His pass blocking really improved. Eddie took the big step you look for rookies to take in their second year. Eddie took that step."

  • Depth at quarterback, where Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn are also unsigned.

"Scott and Matt definitely fit in our room. Scott is an ascending player. I don't think you ever pass on a quarterback (in the draft). It's the most important position in the game. If you have one you're comfortable with and have a chance to pick, pick him," McCarthy said.

  • A perceived need at inside linebacker.

"Last year, I think I answered about seven questions about the safety position. It turned out really well for us. The inside linebacker position can be compared to where we were last year at the safety position. We'll see how this process of player acquisition affects it. I like the jump Sam Barrington made," McCarthy said.

"The first thing you have to ask yourself is how many of these guys can play four downs," McCarthy added, the fourth down referring to special teams. "We need to add more guys that can play all four downs."

  • Nose tackle Letroy Guion's return to the team following a recent brush with the law in Florida.

"I'm hopeful we get past this and get the green light to go forward. I'd love to have Letroy back," McCarthy told beat reporters.


Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy faced the media at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday, February 19.

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