Mike McCarthy Press Conf. Transcript - Dec. 15


* (Where is Aaron Rodgers at as far as the concussion?)*
Medical update for Aaron Rodgers, talking with Aaron and the medical staff, Aaron obviously did not practice today. He did not participate in any of the meetings, game-planning meetings and so forth. The plan for Aaron is he will not practice throughout the week and will go through the protocol involving every player that has a concussion. There is a slim-to-none chance that he will practice on Friday and the decision medically will be made on Aaron Rodgers on Saturday. That's the plan in place, talking with the doctors and the rest of the medical staff this morning.

(So you are obviously comfortable with him playing on Sunday if he is cleared on Saturday without practicing?)
That's really a decision that needs to be made on Saturday. The medical staff needs to go through the proper steps of making the right medical decision, and then once he is declared healthy or not healthy, then I'll make a decision on whether he'll play in the game or not play in the game.

(The last time he had one he was cleared to practice on Thursday. Is this an extended thing because it is his second one in a relatively short period of time?)
Without getting into all of the particulars and all of the information, it's the evaluation of the medical staff, where he is today as opposed to where he was at on Monday. So you have hurdles you have to clear, and as he clears them, we'll move accordingly. We're not doing anything different than we normally would do with any of the players. We understand the importance of the quarterback position, but this is about Aaron Rodgers, first, No. 1, being healthy, and then after that we'll make a decision on whether he'll play or not.

(Have you talked to him and how does he seem?)
He seems fine. I had a long talk with him yesterday. I did not see him today.

(Did you say he would go to meetings or not?)
He did not participate in any meetings. There are several restrictions and guidelines that the medical process recommends, and we definitely adhere to those recommendations. Really, Dr. John Gray is the point person on those decisions.

(Would that also include him going home and doing film study and those types of things? To your knowledge he is not doing those things?)
As of today, that is correct, yes.

(In your discussions with him, did you talk about sliding?)
Yeah, we had an opportunity to talk about the contest in Detroit, his performance in Detroit and how we plan to move forward this week. We talked for quite some time.

(Will you have to make a roster move with Graham Harrell?)
If anything happens, it will happen on Saturday. Just because speaking with Dr. John Gray this morning, practicing today and tomorrow is definitely out of the question, like I have already stated. Friday is a slim option. They will not put him through the conditioning aspect of the test before Friday, and maybe not even until Saturday.

(Will you also be working your emergency quarterback this week?)
Potentially. We work it every week. How much or more than past weeks, that will wait to be seen.

(I know Rodgers puts a lot of pressure on himself to be out there. How do you balance that with his long-term health?)
We're not going to make a decision medically off of one game. Everybody knows this is an important game and our opponent is a very good opponent. So this is clearly a medical decision in Aaron's best interest. Once we pass that hurdle and that decision is made that he is healthy, then we'll talk about Aaron Rodgers as part of what is the best football decision.

(What is the most important thing for Matt Flynn this week? Is it extra film time or extra one-on-one time with you?)
He's going to have a heavy load Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I think it is very important, especially when you go through a week of preparation. It's your first start. He'll have the opportunity to have all of the reps. Like any normal backup quarterback has gone through in the past, it's different when you are put into a football game and the play-caller and the quarterback, you are trying to run plays that he is comfortable with but you are also trying to beat the defense. This week, he will take all of the reps. We will spend extra time here Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but it's important when we get on that plane Saturday to go to New England that he is fully prepared and ready to go to perform Sunday night. That's our approach, and we are very confident in Matt's abilities. Nobody knows Matt better than Tom Clements, Joe Philbin and I, and it's important to make him successful. We're a quarterback-driven system offensively. We have been since Day 1, and it will be no different when we play Sunday.

(Do you add a few snaps in team drills to give him some extra looks?)
As far as the specifics of what we do team-wise and things like that, he'll be well-prepared come Sunday, I can promise you that.

(Is it your sense that he is ready to be on this big stage?)
Absolutely. This is a great opportunity is the way we look at it. It's an opportunity to get our ninth win. We're playing a very good New England football team, a very well-coached football team that's playing at a very high level. We're excited about this opportunity. It's a great stage, and it's obviously December. This is a very important game for us. Everybody understands where we are as far as the circumstances around the playoffs and what's ahead. We had a good day of work. Meetings were very upbeat. Practice, we finished nine minutes ahead of schedule. That's usually a positive indication of how practice goes, tempo and so forth. I feel good about Wednesday's work. Every week is different. Preparation is a process and we're just trusting our process and trusting our training and getting ready for the New England Patriots.

(Is the mindset that this team has its back against the wall?)
I don't think so. We're nobody's underdog. We have all the confidence in our abilities. We've had challenges throughout the season. We've stepped up to those challenges, and we feel the same way going into this game.

(Are there any other teams in the league playing better football than New England right now, and how much of that do you credit to the play of the quarterback?)
Tom Brady is playing at an extremely high level. Statistically I think it's the best he's performed in his career. He's a champion. He's their team leader. He's very impressive on film. You just look at the decisive wins they've had the last two weeks, there's a lot to be impressed by their performance. But we are who we are, and we've had different challenges, and we're going to line up and put our best foot forward. That's our approach. We respect them, but we look forward to playing them.

(You haven't faced many quarterbacks of his caliber. Is your defense equipped to handle him?)
This is what it's all about. These are big-time games. There's a reason why New England has been successful, with their head coach. Coach Belichick obviously does a great job. It's a great program in place there, the way they roll players through there, particularly if you look at how young their defense is and how they started the season and how we'll they're playing now. We feel that we're equipped. We have good systems of football. We've had a number of players that we've been able to roll through our systems and be successful, and we'll put our best plan together and take it to New England.

(When you watched the tape of the game against Chicago, how did they do what they did in those conditions?)
I think sometimes we're fortunate because we have a lot of experience playing in bad weather. I think some people view snow differently, how you handle wind, how you handle rain. They had the turnovers early in the game and got out in front, but they really came out and ran their offense. There was no hunkering down. It didn't look like they cut back. Tom has a strong arm, so he can make all the throws necessary, particularly in a wind game like they played in Chicago. They're a very fundamentally sound football team, very technically sound. I spend most of my time looking at their defense. The way they play with leverage, they do a great job setting the edges, particularly against the run game and so forth. This will be an excellent challenge for us.

(What's your sense on Daryn Colledge?)
Daryn has a chance to practice tomorrow, so that will tell us a lot. Daryn's made a lot of progress since Sunday's game, so we're hopeful he may practice some more.

(How about Zombo?)
Frank, I'm going to declare him out. I know he wants to try to make it this week, but I don't see that happening. He's overcome the big ankle injury there in training camp, but this is pretty significant. But he's giving it a shot, so maybe he'll surprise me. But I think he's a longshot to be available.

(Walden moving in there?)
We'll roll the other guys in there.

(What are some of your other options there?)
I'm not going to get into specifics. I think our roster speaks for itself. We'll play the other outside linebackers, and do the things we need to do.

(With Atari being full today, do you like the chances of him playing?)
I have to see the film. I didn't really watch Atari today specifically. Same with Anthony Smith. The guys you need to get the information on today, tomorrow and Friday – Anthony Smith, Atari Bigby, Korey Hall. Patrick Lee actually looked a lot better than I expected at this point. We'll see how they progress through the week.

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