Mike McCarthy Post-Game Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 8

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

(Can you assess Aaron Rodgers tonight?)

I thought Aaron Rodgers played well tonight. Number one, I thought he managed the game, especially starting in the number of unfavorable down and distances that we had particularly early in the game with all the penalties. I thought he did a good job managing the game without taking chances, playing to the play call, and taking what the defense gives you and so forth. So I was pleased with his performance tonight.

(Did you get a good look on the touchdown pass? He was falling over...) That's how he was coached. He scrambled around for five minutes...It was an excellent play. Goal line offense, a number of times, you have that many bodies packed in there, and the ability to get to the perimeter and make a play. It was an excellent throw and catch by Korey. It's referred to as the scramble phase of the offense and I thought Aaron did a really good job of buying time, and that was his third option on that particular play.

(Can you talk about the dimension Aaron gives you with his scrambling ability?) A scrambling quarterback is important. It is a whole another factor the defense has to play to. Sometimes it dictates certain coverages that you're able to see on particular situations on third down. Just look on the other side of the field. I thought we struggled with that tonight. I thought both quarterbacks factored in generating first downs with their feet. Defensively, we need to do a better job of that and manage that. And Aaron needs to continue to give us that ability to make plays with his feet and particularly being smart. I talked about that earlier in the week. It's important to be a scrambling quarterback and not a running quarterback. And we'll make sure Aaron stays in tune with that.

(Is that what an elite defense does at the end of the game when the chips are down?) We believe in the defense. Everything with our football team starts with our offensive and defensive line. That's the starting point. When we talk about things, we played to our defense at the end of the game, obviously with the way we handled the situation. And they stepped up. It was a big play by Atari Bigby. He needs to kneel on the ball, but the big play to end the game, I was pleased with how they finished up the evening.

(The 56-yard touchdown pass gives an added dimension to the game. What does that ability do for you guys?) It was a one pass option. We were looking for a particular matchup and we got it. Are you talking about the one that was called back? That wasn't a touchdown. It was a full fake. It gives us the flexibility to play to all of our concepts on offense. It was a full fake. We were trying to get Greg singled up on the safety or the corner on the back side. Greg ran a nice route, and Aaron did a nice job getting the ball down the hash. Aaron can make all the throws. We've known that all along. It gives you the ability to be aggressive in play action and the dropback game.

(What do you attribute the offensive line penalties to? Was it a lack of concentration or the line not being set, what did you see?) I'll have to answer that question tomorrow. As far as with every specific penalty, I can only go off the communication that the referees are giving us. I felt they called the game tight tonight. There was some emphasis, like there is every week, and we need to do a better job of playing to that. As far as every single penalty that was called, I'll have to answer that tomorrow.

(On the third down near the end of the game, you decided to run the football instead of throw. Were you deciding to let the defense win the game?) Partly, yes, I was playing to the defense. But what bothered me on the second down play was the holding. It cost us forty seconds off the clock. We're looking at a situation where we should be punting the ball around1:20. Actually the play I called wasn't a very good play call to be quite frank, into that defense. But I wanted a downhill play to keep the clock moving, and I was playing to the defense. But the second down hold really changed the thinking of how we were handling the play calling in the four-minute drive there. We refer to it as the four-minute offense.

(You had the three plays in the last three minutes, the leverage call, Bigby not kneeling, are you concerned the guys didn't know they can't jump over the line on a leverage play?) Well, I'll say this: We won the football game tonight, number one. We beat a good opponent. It's our home opener, and we're 1-0. That's the facts. We made a lot of mistakes, and we'll correct those mistakes, and we'll get ready on a short week for Detroit. It's a long year, there's a lot of football in front of us. All I can promise you is we'll line up, we'll have a plan. We'll prepare that plan, we'll go out and perform it and correct it every single day, every single week like we always have. I like our team. I like the way they work. We made mistakes and we'll clean that up and learn from them.

{sportsad300}(The illegal downfield penalty on Moll, what is the rule?)

They give you a yard past...Based on my understanding and looking at the picture, the engagement of the block, he ended up falling forward and got too far downfield. But we should have been engaged there, that shouldn't have been a problem based on the defense and the way we were blocking it.

(How big was Blackmon's punt in the third quarter?)

Huge. That was a big, big play in the game. Big plays are important. We talk about explosive gains all the time, especially in big-time games. It's great to have him back healthy. We talked about it particularly before the game and we talked about it again at halftime. It was time for special teams to step up and make a big play. We thought we had some favorable matchups in our special teams units and they played big tonight.

(Is there anything Aaron could have done tonight to make you happier?) I'm happy we won and I thought he played well. That's what important. I don't really get caught up in all the other things and it's important for him not to, too. We have to answer the questions and it's part of it. But as long as he focuses on playing quarterback, there will probably be bumps in the road, but I think everything is going to be fine. The kid is a young, talented quarterback that has a lot of good football in front of him.

(Injury update?)

Nick Collins had the wind knocked out of him and he returned. Cullen Jenkins had a cramp and he'll be fine.

(How did you think Grant looked physically?)

I thought he did a nice job. I thought we were smart with him, too. I wasn't interested in seeing him play a bunch of plays tonight. I was just conscious of that, but I thought he did a nice job when he was in there. It didn't change the way we called the game. It didn't factor at all with Ryan or Brandon. That was a nice situation to be able to call to. He had the big run there and he had a chance to finish it off, so I thought he ran well.

(On the one that called back, Aaron seemed to set that up nicely.)

Excellent. It was an excellent fake. It was a double move off of the look as we refer to the route. It was an excellent route, excellent throw.

(Peterson had over 100 yards, but you seemed to contain him after the first quarter. Would you agree?)

Yeah, I thought so. I agree with your question or statement. I thought they came out and ran the ball very well. We were giving up too much per carry there and I thought our defense did a good job hunkering down. He bounced out of there a couple times early, but I thought our defense played well. Our problems on defense, frankly, were on third down. We had a number of favorable down and distances on third down and we need to do a better job of getting off the field.

(How important was it for Aaron to have a game like this and get this first game done with?)

It's important. We talked about for our team, we talk about it for all of our units. Offense, defense, special teams. Even our quarterbacks, or other positions, it's important to stack successes. We talk about real confidence, and confidence is huge in this league. To beat an opponent that was illustrated in such a positive manner as the Minnesota Vikings and to come in here play well like he did and lead his team to victory, that's important and something you can build off of.

(For Aaron, for everything he went through this summer, just getting this win off his back, how important was it?)Very important. His ability to stack successes, I think it great for him.

(At the end of the half, you had a timeout, but didn't use it, what was the situation there?)I didn't like the down and distance. And frankly, I expected more out of the second down call. At third and ten, that particular situation, I was really focused on getting the game to a two-score game, and that's what the field goal would have done.

(Was the blocked field goal a low kick?)

That was the communication on the sideline.

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