Mike McCarthy Post-Game Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 27

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s post-game press conference Sunday from the Lambeau Field auditorium. - More Packers-Seahawks Game Center

OK, I'll start with the injuries. Daryn Colledge had an ankle and he returned. And Derrick Martin turned his ankle and did not return. And with that, I'll take your questions.

(Playoffs. How does it feel?)

Playoffs. It feels great. Our focus all along was to get to the 10 wins and fortunately with 10 wins, we're in the playoffs today. That's always the first step. As we talk as a football team, our goal of winning the world championship is right in front of us. And that's all you can ask for, is opportunities. You have to get into the playoffs to accomplish that. We're going to be a road warrior mentality as we plan for that, but let's be honest: we still have work ahead of us. We have an opportunity in Arizona. We'll enjoy this victory today. We're excited about qualifying for the playoffs, but you know we need to continue play the way we're playing. I'm excited about the momentum and the progress we've made as a football team, and we still have an opportunity to improve.

(How do you play that game next week?)

I don't have all the information, to be honest with you. I'll just tell you what I told the team. I want them to get in here tomorrow to get the strength and conditioning work done. And we'll review the tape of Seattle and we'll have an excellent plan for them Wednesday morning on Arizona. We'll take this time as a staff to decide how we're going to play for that game.

(Is that as thoroughly as dominating a performance that you've had this year?)

I think the score would indicate that. You know how coaches are, we always ... Trust me, we're excited about being in the playoffs, we're excited about winning at home in front of our fans, the momentum that you carry out of this type of game. But there's things that we can learn from. There's a couple spots in the game that we can definitely take the opportunity to learn from. But you know, I just thought the defense came up huge with the takeaways, and the offense got rolling, and the special teams has been extremely consistent here the last month. I just thought all three phases controlled the game and it was evident really by the final score.

(Speaking of special teams, was it a relief to get Mason a couple field goals today?)

I was excited for Mason Crosby to have the opportunity to kick the long field goal. It's really the same thing that you go through every week. You look at the wind, you look at the field conditions, and you take in the pregame and how that workout goes. And that particular opportunity called for a long field goal. So, I was excited for Mason to have that opportunity and he nailed it. It's really more for everybody outside the locker room to talk about because I've said it in here all along: We have a lot of confidence in Mason. He's our kicker and it was good to give him that chance today.

(What can you say about what this team has done here the last seven games?)

It's impressive. It's an impressive body of work the second half of the season. That's the truth, that's the reality, and that has been acknowledged. Also, it's our responsibility as coaches to keep driving this football team. They're fun to coach. They still have a lot of work in front of them. I still see the opportunity to improve. I go back to Thursday's practice, just the fundamental work, the energy and enthusiasm that they bring into the building each week. That gives us the opportunity to challenge them and improve as a football team. So, we've been playing really good football here the second half of the season.

(Can you talk about Aaron, the first player in NFL history to pass for 4,000 yards his first two seasons as a starter?)

I can't say enough about Aaron Rodgers in his two seasons. And really, the circumstances and how his career started is unique. Hopefully no other quarterback goes through that. But just the way he stepped up and his consistency for a young man is the thing that I've been so impressed with. He's talented, he's had an opportunity to learn the position. He was brought up the right way, something we take a lot of pride in here, the way we train the quarterbacks. But ultimately, he's gone out and done the job and I can't say enough positive things about Aaron and his body of work the last two years.

(Can you talk about Brandon Jackson? He's had a lot of good blitz pickups and behind the scene stuff, but he had a good day today.)

It's about opportunities and I think Brandon is an excellent picture of that. He had a lot of opportunities last week in a pressure football game in Pittsburgh. And his performance and picking up the blitzes was very impressive. It's something that frankly, it will be on a lot of our teaching tapes as we move forward. So for him to get the opportunities in the run game today and to see him go out there and make the best of it, it's real exciting about that room, the running back room, they all pull for each other, they all challenge each other. It's good to see that room, particularly everybody, to have five rushing touchdowns, I think is an extra boost for our running game and also for the running backs.

(Is there a common denominator in causing turnovers? Some games you do and last week you couldn't.)

Well, I think last week was the only game this year we didn't have any takeaways. And frankly, besides wins and losses, the one statistic that I personally take a lot of pride in and I think is as important as any statistic and how you want your team to resemble, the vision of your football team is the turnover ratio. We train it every single day. It's the third period of every single practice that we've had in the offseason, training camp, in season. We take care of the football and we take the football away. And to be plus-22 in the turnover ratio, I take a lot of pride in that. And our football team has bought into that and we're doing an excellent job. And that's a big part of our success and it will be as we move forward because if you look at the way we win games, it's taking care of the football and taking it away.

(Is it nice to get some new faces involved in that today? Some new players taking the ball away today.)

I think it's an excellent point. It's nice to see Jarrett Bush and Atari. It's really about opportunities. They're trying to attack different regions of the field and it really speaks volumes of how the guys are playing with more vision, more confidence, and the fits of the coverage as far as leverage and identification of pass concepts and pattern reading. It's nice to see everybody pitching in.

(There didn't seem to be any lingering effects after last week's tough loss. Did you have a sense of that this week in practice that you would bounce back?)

I think it's been clear all week that we had zero lingering effects from the Pittsburgh game. I think it's really how we handled it. We talked in Pittsburgh that night in the locker room. That was a hard one to swallow, there's no doubt about it. We made a lot of plays in that game, there was a lot of productivity on both sides of the field. And just to come out of there without the win was tough. But we actually addressed Seattle coming out of the locker room in Pittsburgh. We moved on and worked on Seattle Monday. The energy at practice Wednesday and Thursday was outstanding. I think Friday off, totally, I think it really helped, particularly our players, it helped their legs, a day of rest on the Friday before a game. The things that I look for in pregame and in the locker room is their energy level. Their energy level was very high in the meeting last night over at the Radisson and it was evident again today. And I think we played that way.

{sportsad300}(How aware were you of the Carolina-Giants score? And were the players aware?)

I can't speak if the players were aware of it. I saw the score for the first time in the fourth quarter on the scoreboard. I was told of the score at halftime. I didn't know if someone was kidding around about the score. But yeah, I heard about the score at halftime, but I didn't see it until the fourth quarter. Carolina is a good football team, there is no inherent surprise by that, so...it's nice to qualify for the playoffs at home in front of your home fans and everything. Shoot, the fans were great today and we have such a great home-field advantage. These are the types of games when it's all said and done you'll look back and remember.

(When you guys were 4-4, it seems like it could have gone either way. Why did it turn around?)

I think it's about people. The strength of this organization is the people and the strength of our locker are the people that we have in there all the way around, players, coaches, support staff, everybody that touches that locker room. It's about winning, it's about upholding our tradition of the Green Bay Packers. I know personally, and I never felt it around me, I don't think anyone ever blinked. We felt that we lost a game at Tampa that we shouldn't have lost. But it happened. So I think anytime you have negative experiences the most important thing is to learn from it and I think our team did. And just the way they responded from Tampa in the second half of the season illustrates that. But still, we have a lot of work to do. We have to get ready for Arizona. But I'm excited about what we've accomplished so far. But I'm more excited about what's ahead of us.

(Going back to Mason, were you viewing that as giving him a shot of confidence with that 52-yard field goal?)

I'm trying to get the first down. I mean, it's third-and-four. I obviously knew where we were located on the field. I called a drive screen and we didn't convert it, but you know, fourth-and-one, you've got two choices, really three, you punt it, go for it, or kick it. And based on the wind and based on the information that I had in pregame, I was confident he'd make the kick. And I'm not naïve to the fact that he's struggled in the past. And I'm sure he feels good about it, too. But really, we kicked the ball there because of where we were.

(The word peaking sometimes gets thrown around a lot. Are you on the upward swing at least?)

We're playing good football. We're winning football games and our mindset is right. Football is really about fundamentals and staying true to those fundamentals. And anything else to me is just mental clutter. So, we just are keeping our minds focused, keeping our mindset right, the ability to win football games by sticking to the fundamentals. That mindset will never change. We're about winning and improving. And that's been my message from day one and we will not stop doing that also.

(In addition to Aaron going over 4,000 yards, Grant is over 1,200, Jennings goes for over 1,000, when you envision your offense is this right now what you see and what you visualize running on all cylinders?)

Absolutely. You want to be able to run the ball when it's in your best interest to run it, and you have to be able to throw it when you have to throw it. And you can't argue that the National Football League is tilted more towards the pass. It has been the last couple years. So when you have a 4,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher, and two 1,000-yard receivers, and a tight end that's emerging, a potential star in this league, I mean that is what you want your offense to look like because there are going to be days where defenses are going to tilt one way or another and try to take a certain part of your offense away and you need to be able to go the other way. And that's the importance, that's the emphasis, that's the design of it. But you know, it starts at the quarterback. This offense is built around making the quarterback successful but you have to have the pieces around him. We're fortunate; we feel that we have a very good group of guys to work with here.

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