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Mike McCarthy Press Conf. Transcript - Feb. 2


(Can you talk about the first time you used the five-wide receiver set with Aaron Rodgers, what it is called, and what it accomplishes for your offense?)
Our five-wide receiver set has a very catchy name. It's called 'Big 5.' It stands for five wide receivers. We have been using it I want to say probably since my second year. I am trying to think back to Aaron's first game when he played against the Dallas Cowboys. I am pretty sure we used 'Big 5' or 'Big 4.' 'Big 4' is four wide receivers and a tight end. It's part of our offense. It goes in with our base installation. We consider it a secondary personnel group that we do starting back in the spring.

(I know you toured both facilities, SMU and Highland Park, yesterday. What did you see there?)
Actually I didn't go over to the facilities because my understanding is that SMU, the stadium field, we can't use it. I think it's practical that we'll be inside for sure today and probably the rest of the week. There are some things that actually some people from our organization are looking at as we speak at Highland Park just with the weather, playing indoors. I think we'll definitely be in today and tomorrow and probably Friday.

(It's actually a high school's indoor facility, isn't it?)
But high school in Texas is a little different than normal high schools. My daughter, going to high school at Lake Travis, I assume Highland Park is very similar. I have seen pictures and the whole layout. Actually I went through the layout of the field today with our team in the team meeting. It won't affect our practice structure. Our specialists are actually going to the stadium today to get their punting and kicking in. We feel like this won't affect us from a preparation standpoint at all.

(Can you talk about the evolution of John Kuhn and do you think he has extra motivation having been with Pittsburgh?)
I know John is excited about playing the Pittsburgh Steelers, especially growing up in Pennsylvania. But he is just a very good all-around football player. He has stepped in and been a one-back runner for us. He has also played in the I-formation as a halfback for us. He has always been very instinctive at the fullback position. He can play in the split-back and an I-back scheme. A very consistent football player, and one of the smartest football players on our football team. He brings a lot of value to our team, brings a lot of value to our offense, and I think that is evident in the way we use him.

(Can you talk about the development of your guards, Colledge and Sitton?)
In building an offense, just going back to the first day that we came together as an offensive staff and even before that if you look at the way we are structured as an offensive staff. The priority and the importance of offensive-line coaching and play we have put a premium on. We have drafted pretty much one or two offensive linemen every year, and Josh and Daryn definitely fit into that category. I'm a big believer in everything you do as an offense starts with the core, and that's the center and two guards. It goes through the quarterback into the running backs because that is where most of the communication occurs. You talk about football being an adjustment football game. Those people all have to be intact. The center has to obviously make all of the adjustments, particularly on the road when you are playing in dome stadiums in the crowd noise. Your guards have to have the same mental capacity and the ability to recognize and make those types of adjustments. That speaks volumes about our guard play and both Daryn and Josh because if something ever happened to the center, mentally those two guys could play that position. So we train our guards and our centers exactly the same way. Daryn Colledge has played a lot of football for us. He is a very reliable individual, doesn't miss practice, very consistent. I think Josh has really come into his own the last two years in my opinion. I think he is playing at a near Pro Bowl level. The core of our offensive line is really a big part of our success.

(Can you talk about James Starks' progress and how important the running game will be to the outcome on Sunday?)
James Starks came here in the spring as a drafted player out of Buffalo. He had a hamstring injury throughout the spring. We felt that we had it under control going into training camp and that was not the case. So he missed all of training camp, was placed on PUP, and just missed a lot of padded work, all the fundamental work, foundation work that you need as a young player. His development has been consistent since his opportunity to come onto the 53. I think it is clearly evident to everybody what kind of player he can be. I think what is exciting about him is his best football is in front of him. He has all the tools, the work ethic, the intelligence, the instincts to be an every-down player, and everything is in front of him. Running the football definitely will be a factor in this game and James will be a part of that.

(Of all the things you guys dealt with last week, some of it involved Twitter and the team-picture thing. Have you ever been tempted to get a Twitter account?)
I won't even let my daughter have a Facebook account, so I think that tells you what I think about Twitter. I wouldn't even know how to access a Twitter account right now. I understand it's an important part of the network, but that's something personally I have zero interest in.

(Did you address that issue with your players, about how to act on Twitter or being cautious?)
Anything that ever comes across the table for our football team, we talk about. I wouldn't classify that as a major issue. It was really a situation we dealt with, and as long as our football team is not distracted by it, I don't feel like it's an issue, but it was talked about.

(If this game comes down to a kick, how much faith do you have in Mason Crosby?)
A lot of faith in Mason Crosby, especially indoors. He's kicking the football very well. The time off last week really helped both Mason and Tim. Our practice last week was as well as I've seen them kick. It's a long year for everybody, and now that their legs are fresh, I'm anxious to see how their workout goes today over at the stadium. But I have all the faith in the world in Mason Crosby.

(Aaron makes so many plays with his feet. Do you have one or two favorites?)
He's done it quite often. Not one really jumps to mind. The one to James Jones in the Philadelphia game was a big play in the game, the timing of it. Our center was downfield on that play, but that had nothing to do with Aaron's scrambling ability. Just the way he extends the play, I can't really pick out just one because he does it time and time again. It's been nice to watch the progression of him play out of the pocket, and I think it's been clearly illustrated in our sack numbers. Because he's doing a much better job of when to stay in, when to come out, and he's doing a better job throwing the ball away. Throwaways are a positive in quarterback play the way we grade our quarterback, because sometimes second-and-10 is OK, punting is OK. Taking the unnecessary sack is what you need to stay away from, and he's doing a great job of that.

(Green Bay and Pittsburgh have similar defensive schemes. What is the main difference between LeBeau's and Capers' defense?)
I think if both coordinators sat in a room or any two players sat in a room, the carryover would be very consistent. I think their players would have a very … just going through with Anthony Smith, when Anthony Smith came to us, it was a very easy transition for Anthony. Actually, I was watching the '07 New England Patriot game against the Steelers this morning, and seeing Anthony in there playing those schemes, and now that he's with us, they're really so much the same. We start in the Okie defense, just like they do. Really, in my opinion, their Okie defense, their base defense is the best part of their defense. Two very good schemes obviously, and two very good defenses playing in this game.

(Maybe the first breakthrough performance for Aaron as a quarterback came down here in Dallas. What did that do for his confidence and development, and for your confidence in him that he could be the guy one day?)
Well, it gave everybody confidence. Number one, when you put a quarterback in a game for the first time, it's important to try to get him off to a good start, and the first thing you need to do as a playcaller is to put him in plays that he's very familiar with, but also give your football team a chance to win games. And that's exactly what I told him that night, that Thursday night. We're going to stay right with the plan, gave him some easy throws early, and just let him take off and play. It gave our offense a lot of confidence, because they knew we wouldn't miss a beat if Aaron had to play, and it really gave him a lot of confidence. It just really justified all the work that he had put in, it justified quarterback school, his development and so forth, and every quarterback needs that. I talk about the ladder all the time in developing quarterbacks. You have to take it one wrung at a time, and that's a big step for any quarterback, to get in an NFL game. Because you go in as the No. 2, you don't have the reps during the course of the week leading up to the game, so to go in there and be able to perform, keep your team in the football game and give your team a chance to win is an excellent big step for a quarterback and he achieved that that night.

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