Mike McCarthy Post-Game Press Conf. Transcript - Dec. 5


I'll start with the injuries. Korey Hall and Brett Swain both had knee sprains. Cullen Jenkins had a calf strain. With that, I'll take your questions.

(How serious do you think Cullen's is?)
You really don't know until tomorrow. Anytime you have a strain, particularly of a muscle, it's the same one that he's strained in the past, so that's the concern there. We'll have more information for you tomorrow.

(What did you think of James Starks?)
James Starks is a really talented young man. The goal was to try to get him probably 8-10 carries. I wanted to see how he would handle it. I thought he improved as the game went on. I'm pleased with his individual performance. I'm sure throughout the film study there will be some things we can improve on, pad level, ball security. He did a nice job. To get him 18 carries in the game, just on a personal note, for his development, because it's obvious he hasn't played in a game in quite some time. I thought he performed very well and was very impressed particularly the way he fell forward for 1 or 2 yards on a number of his carries. He's off to a good start.

(What did Driver's touchdown do for you in terms of momentum?)
I thought Donald Driver's touchdown was the biggest play in the game. I thought it ignited our football team. We needed that. We had some segments there in the first half where we weren't as sharp as we needed to. We had some plays where the ball probably didn't bounce our way or a call that didn't go our way and that's football. But I thought Donald Driver's play was clearly the biggest play in the game and then we were able to take off from there. I thought our defense played very big today. They were kicking field goals when we were scoring touchdowns. I thought that was a big factor in the outcome.

(What do you think has been the key to Aaron's play over the last month?)
Aaron is playing sharp. Just the emphasis, really starts with ball security, staying within the offense, that's what you want from all your players, whether it's offense, defense or special teams. He's really in a groove. Just being smart, they played some 2-man against us in third down and he was able to hurt them with his feet. We had a couple sacks that I am sure we will be discussing as a staff tomorrow. But Aaron is in a very good rhythm. And really, offensively, our ball security is right where it needs to be and we need to keep it there. I think we've had one turnover in the last four or five games so I am very pleased with the offense on that aspect.

(I know it's ancient history, but are you glad that he's playing for the Packers today and not the 49ers because it could have been the other way around?)
I am glad Aaron Rodgers is a Packer, yes. No doubt.

(Is that just December football, the 17 play, 74-yard drive?)
Well, that's what you want to do. We weren't quite into the four-minute offense, but we were in the mode of first and second down, that just speaks volumes of your guys up front, starting with the offensive line, the backs and the tight ends. Just able to stay in favorable down-and-distance to pick up the tough yards. We felt coming out of the Atlanta game we had way too many second-and-1's, third-and-1's in that game. Just the emphasis of finishing, whether it was a run or a catch, I thought that we did a better job of that today on offense and that was very apparent on that particular drive. But to eat that much clock off the time of the game, when you're in a two-score lead, that's exactly what you want to do. That was a big backbreaker I am sure for the 49ers.

(Did you have to call anybody, an old coach on the T-formation?)
Just looking at some old film up there in the Hall of Fame. It's fitting; it's for the right reasons. They do a good job with that. John Kuhn, that fits his run style, that inside run.

(Did you have to change the way you called this game due to the weather and the wind? Or did you call it as planned?)
I thought I would have to when I got up this morning. Going outside, with the gusts, going up to supposedly between 25 to 30 miles an hour, but it didn't feel that way today. It didn't factor. It factored in the kicking game, I think that was obvious to everybody, particularly on the kickoffs and the different types of kicks that we were using throughout the game. But it did not factor in the passing game as far as calling the plays. Aaron was fine with it, pregame.

(How do you feel about your position in these last four regular-season games?)
Well, it's the fourth quarter, and that's the way I've addressed the team. This is the way you're supposed to play at home, you take care of your business at home and we're moving onto Detroit. Detroit is a division game on the road, our last road division game. We've been saying the last couple weeks, there are four games in December. This is December football. It's just those little things we have to be very sharp on and there's a couple things in the first half that I am sure we'll clean up and build on for next week. But we're playing good football right now. But good isn't good enough, as we know. So we want to be playing our best football, that will be our challenge, that will be our emphasis and that will be the way we approach Detroit.

(Can you talk about the two timeouts on the first drive? What happened there?)
The one was just personnel. The second one was communication, it was the right thing to do. The first one, our substitution was not in order.

(Will you make it a point not to worry about anyone else, whether it's the Bears or other wildcard teams? Is that the message, to take care of the task at hand?)
That was the message Monday and it will be the same message this week. We're not even talking about it because in my opinion until you get to 10 wins, you're just wasting time, you're wasting conversation, you need to keep your focus on the next game. We need to get to nine wins next week. That's our focus. We need to go to Detroit, get that ninth win. When we come back from there, we'll see where we are. But to me, it's too early to sit there and play whether this or that, it's a waste of time. As you know in this league so many things change week to week. It's so competitive. There's so many people, teams, excuse me, that are challenging at this time of year. We need to spend all our time, focus and energy on Detroit. That's our message, that's our focus.

(Can you talk about the running game as a whole, how they all fill different roles to make a unit?)
Well, Korey Hall had the injury today. But it's very nice to have flexibility with three fullbacks because you can really play to their strength and it gives John Kuhn the opportunity to bounce back and forth from fullback to halfback. And now I am excited about our three halfbacks. I feel like we have three diversely different runners and I'm looking forward to moving into our next game plan. James was an unknown, just how he would play on game day. I think Brandon has been our steady No. 1 there. He handles everything, pass protection all the way through. And Dmitri, just needs a real chance. I just really haven't given him a real opportunity so it'd be great to have him back. I feel very good about the halfback position today, a lot moreso than I did probably five or six weeks ago.

(What do you like most about what Starks did out there?)
I like his running style. Everybody is going to talk about how high he is, just because of his particular build. But he's a talented young man and when he comes off the back end, you better watch out, it's going to the end zone. He has that kind of ability. He falls forward and the bigger backs have that ability. And that's the difference. That's the difference between second-and-7 and second-and-4. And that's what we'll continue to train him to do. He has that little different dimension than the other two guys. They are all uniquely different, which I think is a real plus for an offensive staff when you're game-planning, particularly in the run game and even in the passing game, too, because they all can contribute out of the backfield. We're getting better at the halfback position, which is important here down the stretch.

(What's making Jennings more productive right now?)
Opportunities, probably. And just the fact that we've done a good job moving him around. And Greg's, … I always go to the player. That's who ultimately deserves the credit. Greg's a fine football player. He doesn't need me to stand up here to say that. He's always played at a high level. But earlier in the year we had more options for the quarterback and Greg's really cashing in on his opportunities.

(The uniform change, is that more of a hassle or something you guys embrace?)
I thought it was awesome. Sometimes when you look on the TV, and you see some of the other teams, you go whoa, but I really liked the way our guys looked in the uniform. It was a tribute to the 1929 championship team, which anytime you have an opportunity to say thank you to the tradition and the history of the Green Bay Packers, you have to do so because it's an honor to work here. And I know everybody feels that way that is employed here. But I thought it was great for our football team. They enjoyed it, they liked the look. I think our fans enjoyed it, and it was great for a day.

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