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Mike McCarthy Press Conf. Transcript - Dec. 3


(What do you think of the throwbacks?)
What do I think of the throwback uniforms? I think they look great. I think they look a lot better than hanging on a mannequin, that's for sure. They look better on our players, and I think everybody will appreciate the look and the tribute to our 1929 first championship team. I'm just trying to get caught up in the promotion of it, big market magnet that I am. But I like the look. I think the players like the look too.

(Was today the dress rehearsal to put those on in practice?)
Frankly, I really put the blue ones on the offensive players, and that's just the old quarterback coach philosophy, just make sure the quarterbacks are throwing to blue jerseys at least once this week before the game. That's really the only reason why we wore the blue jerseys at practice today.

(There's no detail that you don't cover is there? You honestly think about something as simple as that in practice?)
Definitely. I've been part of programs that the offense always wore the jersey they were playing in before, that week, because of the quarterbacks. So yeah, it's nothing new to me. I just thought it was important for our quarterbacks to get used to it.

(When did Bulaga hurt the ankle yesterday?)
Right at the end of practice. Bryan, he tweaked his ankle in the one-on-ones period, which is at the end of our Thursday practice. I fully anticipate he'll be fine. We took him through a series, … he went through the jog-through and went through a series of one-on-one drills with Coach Campen, and we sent him up just to get the treatment. He's got 48 hours. It's not an issue in my mind.

(Is T.J. Lang the backup at both tackles?)
T.J. Lang would go there. Yes. I think T.J. is ready. If training camp began today, he'd be pushing for a spot. I think he had a little bit of a setback with that wrist injury and the amount of time he missed in the spring and going into training camp, but I like what I see in T.J. Lang.

(Did Tauscher take you up on that offer to be around and go on the trips and stuff?)
Definitely. Traveling is probably not in his best interests right now, anytime you have major surgery. But Mark has been around.

(What's the thinking at running back?)
We need to talk about Dimitri and James. That will be something after we view it as a staff, and frankly, we don't watch the film as a staff until early tomorrow morning. So we have some game-management meetings this afternoon that we'll go through. We'll set that final inactive board tomorrow.

(How much growth have you seen from Quarless? I remember him saying he didn't even know there were eight guys inactive, so he was a little surprised when he wasn't on the active list the first week. How much have you seen him come of age?)
He's grown up a lot since then, and I think really the whole rookie class has. Andrew really I think has grown the last three or four weeks. The bye week was something that he individually really benefited from. He's been dealing with that shoulder injury since Washington. But I think since the bye week, you really see him starting to make a move. He's in better shape. His awareness is improving every week. We're definitely counting on him to contribute here down the stretch.

(You've intercepted a lot of passes over the last three years, and this year it doesn't seem like many but you're still ranked fourth. Is it just the players?)
I think first you always have to give credit to the players. The players make the plays. But I think you can enhance any individual player's abilities with the way you train, and I think we do a very good job of that here, with our emphasis on ball security and different types of drills we do every single day that we practice. The emphasis is there, we support the emphasis with time commitment in our practice structure, and then we have some very talented defensive perimeter players that do a great job of getting their hands on the ball.

(Are there many secondaries with three guys like Tramon, Charles and Nick who have that track record of picking off passes?)
Definitely I think No. 1 they all have unique ability. Tramon is probably the best athlete on our team. I think that tells you something about his skill set, and Nick Collins is right there also, and Charles, he's a player that's played on both sides of the ball. That tells you a lot about his skill set. They're very talented as far as their ball skills and their instincts. They study a lot of film. They do a very good job of concept reading, but we also train it too. So you have to give some credit to the structure.

(Kevin Greene has turned out to be a really good position coach. Did you know that would happen? He had done internships but never coached before. Did you put your faith in Dom that he knew Kevin would be a good coach?)
Kevin Greene was recommended by Dom Capers, and with us going to this scheme. Just like anytime you're putting together a staff, you look at the list of candidates, you have an opportunity to interview them. To me, a lot of the hiring of a staff is about fit. He had a very good interview. He had not coached in a full-time position before, but did a number of the internships, so there were a lot of positive recommendations that came Kevin's way as far as his ability to coach and what he experienced in those training camps. There's definitely, the potential was there. It jumped right out at you. It was his turn to address the team today. We do that every Friday, have an assistant coach address the football team. It's been really impressive overall. Compared to last year, they're much better this year, and you can see the competitiveness between each assistant coach when they get up there and try to outdo the guy before him. I thought Kevin did an excellent job. So you can see growth all the way through his development as a coach. We were right, and he brings a lot of passion and he's very good at what he does. It's very natural for him.

(Can you see if what he accomplished as a player really carries a lot of weight with Clay or Zombo? He's had more sacks in this scheme than anybody in history.)
Well, my experience with former players when you do hire them, and I have a number of them on my staff, they instantly have credibility when they walk into their room. That's something you can't give to a coach who hasn't played in this league. But that's all part of the initial introduction. He definitely brings that to the table, but he's so much more than his experience as a player. And I'm not trying to put his playing career off to the side. He's an excellent football coach. He works at it very hard. He's very passionate in his teaching ability. He's a good teacher, and that's ultimately what we are. He's a good teacher, he's a good motivator, and he has the respect of his players, and more importantly, his players are productive, and that's really the bottom line.

(What was his schpiel like today?)
It was excellent.

(It wasn't out of the WWF or anything, was it?)
No. There wasn't humor in it at all.

(He can be very intense, so I was just wondering ….)
He was right on the mark. We have a theme that we follow as a football team each week, and he was right on the money. I thought he did a great job.

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