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Mike McCarthy Press Conf. Transcript - Dec. 31


(Where did the decision with Cullen come from? Were you able to do any testing?)
Cullen's been testing and rehabbing all week, and he's just not ready to go. Frank is in the same category. We'll continue to stay true to the course. He feels a lot better. I had a chance to speak to him today before practice. He feels like he's improving. But we'll see how he is Monday.

(Are you encouraged enough by their progress that you'll have them if you have another game next week?)
When the doctors will come up and tell me they'll be back in seven days, I'll be glad to walk in here and say hey, they'll be back in seven days. That's not the information that I've been given. They're both doing all the extra treatments, going through the rehab. I'm hopeful they'll be ready for next week.

(Will you have to limit Shields at all, keep him just on defense and not returns?)
Sam Shields, I thought he looked good today. I really don't have any concerns, based on watching him move. But tomorrow morning will tell the whole story. That's why we have him listed as probable. So I anticipate him playing the nickel, I anticipate him to do the kick return. We'll talk about that this afternoon in our game management meting when we try to finalize our inactive list and try to project out here the next two days. I have nothing to believe that Sam won't be his normal self on Sunday.

(What have you thought of the D-line with Green starting, Wynn and Wilson getting reps, and Cullen out?)
I think they've been very consistent. We haven't been playing a whole lot of our base, a lot of our Okie. But when we have, I thought those guys have done a good job. I think B.J. has done a good job in the sub packages. I think they've been very consistent with their opportunities.

(Put yourself in Lovie's shoes … if they've got nothing to play for, what would you do?)
I'm not … that's really something you should ask Lovie. I was in that position in '07, and I think you just have to look at all the variables, look at all the components and make the best decision for your football team. He knows his team and I'm sure he'll make a good decision.

(Are they in a tough spot because they're not going to know until after those noon games?)
I'm not really worried about what spot they're in. I'm just looking forward to playing Sunday. Anytime you have a chance to play your division rival, especially the second time around, the week kind of drags a little bit. Because you really know them very well, they know you. Our guys, we're anxious to go. Our team's ready. We're ready to play.

(Did you find those decisions difficult in '07 and last year when you went to Arizona? Or were those easy calls for you?)
I think those decisions are big-picture decisions. I think every team is different. The way coaches value different variables is I'm sure different. I think you weigh everything involved and you make the right decision based on what you think is the best decision for your football team, the pulse of your football team, the health of your football team. Just look at what we've gone through from a health standpoint. So you have to look at those … you just have to look at everything involved to make the best decision for your team.

(If he starts subbing early, do you have to worry about your players letting up?)
That's a polluted mindset. That's the way we talked about it on Wednesday. Our football team is very excited to play. Everybody fully understands what's at stake here, and it's important for us to clearly stay focused on winning and playing the best that we possibly can for the whole game. It's as simple as that. That's the message. That's the chatter in the locker room. That's the vibe, and 3:15 can't get here soon enough.

(Can you talk about bringing back Dietrich-Smith?)
Dietrich-Smith is back with us. We put Marshall down on IR. Just didn't think he would be able to make it back in time for the postseason. It's great to have an old face back. I know the guys enjoyed seeing him. He cut his hair, so that was a big hit in the team meeting today. He looks good.

(When A.J. didn't see the field defensively in the opener, did you and he have any sort of conversation? Did he voice any frustration?)
That week? We did not. He's a professional. A.J. Hawk is clearly probably one of the most consistent individuals in our program. Just the way he approaches his job every day, I think it carries over to his performance. We were very fortunate to have a very talented linebacker group with a lot of depth, and those were tough decisions that were made based on game-planning and personnel. But I think A.J. is a great picture of someone that's always prepared, always ready, and he's taken full advantage of his opportunity and has had an excellent season.

(How valuable is a guy who's that consistent? Your fan base expects him as the fifth overall pick in '06 to show much more splash and flash. How valuable has he been over these past five years?)
Well, we have our own expectations of our football team, of every unit on our football team, of every player, how they fit, and A.J. is meeting the expectations here in Green Bay. Based on where you're picked and so forth, that's a starting point, and as we all know there's thousands of great examples of it's not where you start, it's where you finish in your career, and he's been very consistent in his time here.

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