Mike McCarthy Press Conf. Transcript - Jan. 7


(Where does Cullen Jenkins stand?)
Cullen Jenkins I feel has had two good days of practice. We rested him today. I'm hopeful that he'll go. Just want to give him a chance to recover. The doctors and the medical staff felt it was best to back off him today. Everything has been very positive, and if he's ready to go, he will go on Sunday.

(How would you characterize the week of practice?)
It's been excellent I think. It seems to go a little long sometimes because I think everybody is just excited to go play the game. We had the opportunity to get outside yesterday in the single digits, and the padded work yesterday was very spirited. Today we were able to get the temperature to 28, 29 degrees in the Hutson Center. That's the beauty of living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Practice indoors at 28 degrees, so that's important. I thought both sides were sharp. Today, I'll watch the film, but I feel good about the quality of work we've had this week.

(Did Charles do more this week than he has?)
Charles Woodson's been on the same schedule he's been on at least the last month.

(What would you say the pulse or the vibe of the team is right now? Do you sense the extra adrenaline?)
Definitely. There's a lot of energy. It's playoff football. So many people that were here last year and prior years, the importance of the intensity and how fast the game improves in playoff football. They're ready to go.

(Any superstitions?)
None. None. I'm not a very superstitious person. We stay on the same schedule. That's about as superstitious as I get. I believe in regularity. I believe in being consistent, and being smart with your time and just keeping everybody aware of that.

(Did you get close at all with Zombo?)
He's not quite ready. If I was going to project out on Frank, I think next week he has a chance. That's what came out of the medical meeting today.

(What does it say about Kevin Greene that no matter who you've had at the outside linebacker position, there's been basically no drop-off?)
I think Kevin Greene has done an excellent job. It's been exciting to watch him grow as a coach. He brings tremendous passion to his profession, no different than when he played. Kevin's done a great job. The production of his players reflects that. He always has the same energy. I enjoy working with him. He's done a great job.

(Did the guys took your 'don't believe the hype' thing to heart, and does what guys like Peter King and ESPN think factor in if you don't nip it in the bud?)
If I addressed it, it's obviously important. It was really stemmed off the message of more. There's going to be more things going on this week than during the regular season. I'm stating the obvious. You're going to be asked to do more interviews. There's going to be more people that want to talk to you. You're going to hear more about the Packers. There's only 12 teams left playing. I just think it's important to stay on the reality of where we are. We like who we are as a football team. We love the way we compete. We're proud of the body of work that we've put together over these 16 games, and that's what we're taking to Philadelphia. It's not going to make a lick of difference, anything outside of that pro or con that should affect our mindset. I just wanted to make sure everybody was on the same page.

(You've talked before about how the biggest challenge is handling success …)
I believe in that. We've talked about that in here and one-on-one. I think the biggest challenge in professional sports is handling success, and that's at every level. You win one game, how do you handle that? You go on a four-game win streak, how do you handle that? I think that's the biggest challenge. Because when you do encounter defeat, in my experience working with professional athletes, they're individuals that have tremendous pride, their nature of survival to overcome is such a big part of who they are, because they wouldn't even be in a locker room in the National Football League if they didn't have that as part of their being. So overcoming odds and fighting back and being backed in the corner, that's something that's very natural to everybody in this industry. Success is the challenge, and it comes at different levels, it comes at different times, and it's no different this time of year. It's something we stay focused on.

(Would you agree you've handled success pretty well this year?)
Well, I think everybody views success differently. We're proud of the way we've performed and some of the challenges we overcame, but we're not reflecting yet. The level of success that we want to handle, we're not there yet. After winning in Philadelphia, how do you handle that? That will be a challenge. Playing on a short week going into Atlanta I think is something that definitely helps you. I think it's just something that as a leader of your team you have to keep focused on.

(The way the league policed illegal hits this year, do you expect that to be ramped up in the playoffs and have you talked to the players about that?)
Great question, because I haven't thought about that. I don't really give a lot of thought to officiating unless an emphasis is communicated to me, whether it's from the league office or prior to the game. So I have no reason to believe that. I know Pete Morelli and his crew, we had those guys in Atlanta, so we have a breakdown of what to expect from them, their tendencies. We present that to our football team every Thursday, and that's no different this week compared to what we've done in the past. That's about as far as our focus on officiating goes.

(Have you named your captains yet and will one of them be giving the pre-game speech?)
Yes, we elected our playoff captains. It's a tradition here in Green Bay. On offense, Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings were elected. This is clearly from the other players in the locker room. On defense, it's Charles Woodson and A.J. Hawk, and on special teams Mason Crosby and Jarrett Bush. I think it's a tremendous honor. I know for A.J. and Greg Jennings and Jarrett Bush, this is their first time. They will wear the 'C' in the Philadelphia Eagles game, and they will also participate in the coin toss. We have the tradition of having weekly captains, but this is something that's voted on by the team, and it shows a lot of respect and I know every individual is proud of it.

(Will you select one of them to give the pre-game talk?)
Our pre-game talk happens on Fridays, and that already occurred. Darren Perry was the pre-game talk coach today. He gave the same talk in Philadelphia in Week 1, and with us playing them a second time, I felt that he did a great job in Week 1, so I told him to do it again.

(I thought you weren't superstitious?)
Well, there's a difference between being consistent and superstitious. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

(How do you think the rookies and first-year players will respond to their first playoff game? Do you have to do anything extra?)
You just rely on your preparation. I feel the message and the approach has been 'be yourself.' I made a big point of it Wednesday. I do not want to see anybody act different, I don't want to see anyone look different. I don't want to see anyone try to do anything differently outside of their responsibility, and that's what the younger players need to focus on. I always draw back to the NFC Championship Game. I know leading up to that week there was a lot of conversation about how young we were going into that game. In hindsight, I was very proud of our younger players because I thought the young players handled that game very well. That's something you can use as an experience to point to. So I'm not concerned about our young players.

(In a game like this, penalties and little things can be such a big deal. Do you have preach being extra cautious?)
We're not going to be cautious. I think that would be the wrong message to give to your football team. We believe in our team identity. Discipline is the first characteristic of our team identity. I think we have done a very good job of that over these 16 weeks. It's part of our brand of football, and that's what we're sticking to. We like who we are, we're proud of what we stand for, the way we approach our style of football and that's what we're taking into this game.

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