Mike McCarthy Post-Game Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 16

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference following Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field. - More Packers-Bears Game Center

I'll start with the injuries. Chad Clifton had a finger on the first play of the game. He returned in the second series. Donald Driver banged his knee and he returned the next series. Ryan Grant had the wind knocked out of him and he returned the next series. James Jones banged his knee and he returned in the second half. That's what I have for you injury-wise and with that, I'll take your questions.

(How do you explain such a dominating performance?)

How do I explain it? Well, I thought our football team, they prepared very well. We've really played some very good football throughout the season and today we were able to put it all together for four quarters. It's a credit to the staff and to the players. They just stayed the course. We had an excellent week of practice and we've really been practicing extremely well the last couple weeks, and it carries over to Sundays. We believe in that and that's how we operate. We played at a high level and I was proud of the guys.

(You ran and stopped the run. Is this the kind of physical game you were looking for?)

Absolutely. This is November football and this is when you have to do it. There's no doubt about it. I thought we played very well up front on both sides of the ball. I thought the run blocking unit, particularly the offensive line, time and time again, we were able to get the movement up front and get the back to the second level. That was big. Defensively, they had some production there on first and second down early in the game and I thought we responded very well in the second half.

(You played a lot of nickel against their base offense. What went into that?)

Just matchups. Based on the way they were utilizing their formations, spreading out the tight ends and creating mismatches in their favor. We just matched them up based on what we saw during the course of the week. I thought our defensive staff did an excellent job with the plan. A.J. Hawk managed it very well for the first week at middle linebacker. The communication and sideline operation was very smooth. I was very, very pleased with the way the defense played.

(Mike, is this a case where your team wanted it more, a game behind Chicago knowing you had to have it?)

I would say our team wants it every week. We've played with very high effort. We played in a ballgame last week that came down to the end, and we were in a ballgame the week before that that was in overtime. I never at all ever questioned our energy, our effort, our enthusiasm. If we have a problem on the sideline, it's that guys are too into it. That's our football team. I'm proud of the way they work, I'm proud of the way they approach the game, but we needed to get our execution at a higher level to be successful, and we got that done today.

(But now you're in a three way tie for first with six to go. You have to like your chances with the way guys are playing.)

We like our chances, we like our football team. We're going to go down to New Orleans and play on Monday Night Football. There is a lot of football left, six games left, and everybody's tied. We've got to take care of our division. We were able to take a step in the right direction today. Once again, I don't want to be redundant, but there's a lot of football left to play.

(The offensive line took a lot of heat after last week's game. Did they come in here with something to prove? You rushed for over 200 yards and Aaron was hardly touched today. Was there a chip on their shoulder?)

I think it was evident, yeah. I think it was evident really starting with practice on Wednesday and Thursday. That's a credit to their character. It's a credit to their coaching, with James Campen and Jerry Fotentot and the veteran leadership in that group. It was nice to see them get after the opponent. We had a couple false starts there early, but for the most part it was one of our cleaner games that we played this year.

(With the way Grant got going on, was that a concerted effort after last week, running the football?)

The game plan, you always want to start to run the football in some form or fashion, based on how you're going to do it or when you're going to do it. That was no different today. We went into the game focused on running the ball and how we're going to do it. Ryan Grant is like any other feature back. He needs his touches. We were able to get him 25 carries today and that's what we got in return, good production. That's the way we like to play every week.

(How do you think Hawk did at his new position?)

Without seeing the film, I can just tell you about the operation and just watching him in certain matchups and certain play calls, I thought he did very well. I couldn't tell you what his statistics are, I haven't seen those. But when you take over as the key communicator, the organization of the huddle and commanding everything, we didn't miss a beat. That's a credit to A.J. and Winston Moss and just the extra time that those guys put in. I would say he played very well.

(Is this win extra special protecting your home turf against the Bears?) We're supposed to win at home. We have a great advantage in Lambeau Field. I thought our crowd was outstanding today and that's the way we want to play at home. We want to get the lead and play downhill on our opponent and let our crowd factor into the game. If there was ever a model for a football game at Lambeau Field, we'd like to use this one every week.

(Aaron started off seven for seven to start the game. Was there a difference in his confidence?)

I thought he played fast. I thought he played in rhythm. He didn't try to force the ball downfield. He did a very good job of managing the game and that's what we ask for of our quarterback. There are a number of things that go on at the line of scrimmage based on things that go on in the huddle and he's done a very job so far this season of really managing that. I thought he played at a high level today. I'm not sure what his statistics were either.

(The turnovers come in bunches, but how can you explain the seven touchdowns on defense? I know you coach it, but that's got to be pretty rewarding.)

You have to credit the players. The players make the plays. The way we structure practice and the emphasis we put on taking the ball away and protecting it, everybody here that goes to our practices, that's a part of our daily function. It's showing up on Sundays and that's what you want. The way you train as a football team has to show up on Sundays and I think our defense has done a great job of that so far this year.

{sportsad300}(Do you get the feeling your team can repeat this performance the last six weeks of the season?)

One at a time. This is the level we want to play at, no doubt about it. Like I said earlier, I think we've played good football for the most part this year. We've lost some tough, tight games. Today, we were able to put it together for four quarters. This is the level we are capable of playing, this is the standard we'll try to hold ourselves to.

(How do you explain the marked improvement in third down conversions, from last week to this week?)

I like to think last week was the anomaly, clearly not this week. But you need to be productive on third down. The first step to being productive on third down is playing with favorable down and distances and playing with the sticks in your favor. The run game is a big part of that. I thought we were able to manage the sticks. We really had a couple third downs that frankly I thought we should have converted. I don't think we were as sharp as we could have been. But you want the extra set of downs and that's the way we like to play.

(How much did Aaron's ability to practice this week help or was it more of a function of your protecting?)

I think any player that practices has a better chance of performing better on Sunday. It's no different for Aaron or any quarterback. He is asked to do a lot and we put a lot on him, so practicing definitely helps him.

(Did you like the job you did on Hester and do you do special things for a guy like that?)

We kicked to him and covered. Our coverage teams were outstanding. We've been confident in that area and we've played well in that area. Mike Stock and Shawn Slocum were confident this week through the film study that we were going to kick to him. We've tried the other things in the past and you give up a lot in the field position part of it and that was not our approach today.

(Have you seen anything in Ryan Grant's running game the last few weeks that weren't there earlier in the season or is it the blocking of the offensive line?)

I think it's really the whole group. I think it starts up front with the run blocking unit. I think we're hitting our targets better, I think we're finishing better, our combination blocks are tighter, I think Ryan is seeing it cleaner, he's picking his knees up better, I think it's really the whole group. We were not crisp at the beginning of the year. Whether you like the run game or not, you still have to block them, you've still got to read it right, finish them and get to the second level. I really felt the last month the crispness and the rhythm and timing of our run game has been there. But it's days like today that you're able to get the attempts to both Brandon and Ryan, and to get the production like we got today, that's what you're looking for.

( I know you touched on it a little bit, but you haven't been able to beat the Bears, arguably you're biggest rival on your home turf. Does it mean anything more to you personally?)

For me personally? I love to win. It's great to win against Chicago. I think those are all things that are very obvious. This was a game that was important to the 2008 Green Bay Packers. That's something that we focused on all week. Our players are very respectful to the history and traditions of the Green Bay Packers. We continue to educate them on those things as much as we can. But this game came down to their team and our team and where they are in their season and where we are. It was important for us to go out and play at a high level and that was really the focus. Now, is it going to feel good when you walk through the door? Absolutely. But it was a game that was important for our season and to get to 5-5 and be tied with Minnesota and Chicago, that's where we wanted to be today.

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