Mike McCarthy Press Conf. Transcript - Aug. 24

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(Has anyone been ruled out for Thursday?)
Ruled out? Not yet. We're going to give them all a chance to come back tomorrow.

(Does Brad Jones have a chance?)
Brad Jones has a chance. He went through the pre-practice and they just felt he wasn't ready, so we'll see where Brad is tomorrow.

(What happened to Brady Poppinga?)
Poppinga took a cleat on the shin. I think he will be OK.

(How about Greg Jennings?)
Greg Jennings had lower back spasms. We'll see where he is tomorrow.

(How is Cullen Jenkins?)
Cullen Jenkins has a strained calf. He's going to be a long shot for Thursday.

(Obviously Bulaga was feeling better?)
Bryan fought through it today, but he has the hip flexor. So he was able to battle through today's practice.

(Will the Colts be a good measuring stick for your team?)
You're talking about the AFC champions. This will be an excellent competition for us. We want to come out and play to our standard. Play well at home and just all of the basic things you want to accomplish in Week 3 of the preseason. We still have a lot of information we want to gather about our football team, but our starters will definitely play in the first half, and then we'll assess at halftime where we are.

(What do you want to see from the starters?)
It's really different for all three phases. The offensive group has been able to play two weeks in a row as a full group. The defensive group has had more injuries that affected the starters or the first group or however you want to look at it. Special teams has really been about which phase. We have been able to keep the group together more in the punt protection part of it. We have had the whole roster on the kickoff coverage depth chart participate in the first two games. We're going to try to gather as much information in certain aspects of the team, but the first half should give us a pretty good grade of where we are.

(Do you still plan to alternate Bulaga and Colledge at left guard?)
That is the plan. The health of Bryan, how he goes through tomorrow, will determine that.

(How is Al Harris doing?)
Al Harris is still fighting through rehab and he is getting better and better. All of the reports are always positive when we talk to medical staff, but there is a protocol when you come off a major type injury that Al has gone through. He is doing everything he can, I can promise you that, but still today he is not ready to pass the physical.

(Have either of the punters pulled ahead in the competition?)
I don't think so. You try to break down every aspect of their job responsibility, and it's too close to pick. Chris and Tim have done a very good job with their opportunities and I'm just hopeful that they can maybe clear it up for us because right now it is still a dead heat.

(Do you think it will be more a guy losing it than a guy winning it?)
I think it is clearly going to be the guy that wins it because I think they are both two good punters and I think they will both kick in this league for a while.

(Do you have much hope Starks will be able to play in the fourth game?)
He was improving at the beginning of the week. Yesterday was not one of his better days in the rehab, so we're still up and down there. He will not play this week. I'm not counting on him this week.

(Do you feel the No. 1 offensive line has played well?)
I think they've done a good job. Our offensive production reflects that. It all starts with the offensive line, and I think that first group has done a good job two weeks in a row.

(What is Barbre's injury?)
Allen Barbre has a low back injury. He actually hurt it in the game. He has missed the last two practices.

(How long will the starters play?)
Like I said, the first half, and we'll reassess at halftime to see where we're at.

(Can you talk about the backup tight ends?)
I think it's a very good group and it's a group that will all be battling for a spot on our roster. Very pleased with Jermichael as far as taking the No. 1 slot and the opportunity he's been given, and he's been very productive. Donald Lee has done a very good job. He's always been a versatile tight end for us the last couple years, and now he's even more involved on special teams, and I think that's a real strength of his play. Tom Crabtree is a guy I know everybody's excited about. Tom's a tough blue-collar players and he's doing a lot of the little things and has shown a lot of productivity on special teams also. I would have to definitely rank him as our best run blocker. Spencer, he just continues to do as much as he possibly can to try to make this football team. And Andrew Quarless is a young guy that's doing a much better job of being a professional. You can definitely see the talent, the awareness, the anticipation, and I think he has a bright future. It's a very good group. It's the best group we've had in training camp in my time here.

(Do you feel like Quinn Johnson responded well against Cleveland?)
I agree with that. I think Quinn has actually played well (vs.) Cleveland and even in the second game in Seattle. Particularly some of the things we've asked him to do. He needed to pick it up on special teams. I think he's responded there. He needs to continue to clean up the little things, and I expect more out of Quinn because he's in his second year now. Anytime you're in our program and you go from Year 1 to Year 2, I'm looking for a jump. He's improving, but he needs to take that next jump.

(With all of the injuries adding up, is it frustrating?)
Our structure in training camp is to try to lower the risk for fatigue injuries. But that doesn't eliminate injuries from the game of football. Injuries are part of the game, and you deal with them accordingly. I don't get frustrated about injuries. It's more of a personal issue that you feel bad for the individual. But to me, injuries are a part of the NFL, and it's another situation that you have to deal with as you continue the path onto the new season. It's part of our game.

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