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Mike McCarthy Press Conf. Transcript - Sept. 29


* (Are you particularly worried about any of those guys on the injury report for Sunday?)*
Not at this point. Coming off a Monday night game, we were in a jog-through-type practice. So I think tomorrow will be a key day for us from a health standpoint. We'll have more information.

(What does Neal have to do?)
I would like to see him go through a full practice. I want to see him in the 11-on-11 drills with the people around him and just really graduate to that and then get up the next day and be able to do. That's really the last hurdle he has to get over.

(So that would be tomorrow?)
Yes, tomorrow, and really Friday morning.

(When you are deciding whether to challenge a call on the field, what is that process like? How much are you relying on what you see and how much are you relying on the guys upstairs?)
The challenge process is really based on the information that you have. Obviously when you are on the road you are probably going to have less information. That is pretty standard, and that is no different than this past week. You gather the information and you make a decision.

(Is it one person telling you or are you hearing from multiple guys?)
We have one voice that gives it to me from up top.

(Are you satisfied with that system?)
Absolutely. You have the ability to have access to the TV screens. You are supposed to be able to get the same replays that they have on TV. When that information is given to you, you make a decision or you base it off what you see on the field.

(Is it tough to balance decisions when you are emotional?)
I think every decision you make in your life is balancing everything that you take in, the information and the emotion around you. I think that is a pretty standard answer to your question, yes.

(You had a pretty good look at the one the other night?)
I was standing right there. I was probably five yards away. The play happened right in front of me.

(Were the guys in the booth telling you to challenge?)
They did not have any information in the booth. That decision was made clear on what I saw on the field by myself.

(What do you see out of this Lions team?)
The Detroit Lions are an improved football team. I think that is clearly evident to everybody. I would start with their defensive line. I think that is the strength of their football team. They have been in three tough football games. They are improved in what they are trying to do on defense, relying on the front four, and with the production they are getting from their front four. Offensively, I think Scott does an excellent job and I think they are off to a good start. This is going to be a good challenge, no doubt about it, always is. It is a division game. They have been playing with a lot of energy. You can see that on film. I like what they are doing on special teams. I think Danny Crossman is doing a good job there in Detroit. We need to get ready. We are coming off of a Monday night game and we need to have a good couple of days of preparation to get ready for this football team.

(What are your impressions of Suh?)
You can see his strength. He is a powerful man. There is no question why he was selected where he was. Definitely I think everybody in the league liked him coming out. I think he is going to be a fine player in this league and this division for a long time.

(It seemed like Corey Williams struggled in the 3-4. Do you think he is back to what he was doing in Green Bay?)
I think that is a good observation. I think Corey is more at home. I think Corey is definitely more comfortable in this scheme, just competing against Corey in Cleveland. He had an excellent play there on the big screen play he makes up there in Minnesota, I think it tells you a lot about Corey as an athlete. I think he is off to a good start.

(Is there anything you can do specifically to work on penalties?)
There are different types of penalties. The penalties that involve fundamentals, you work those every day. Whether it is an inside drill or in your individual drills, and we'll continue to focus on that. I feel we do a lot of fundamental drills, more this year than ever in the training-camp environment. I feel we have carried them over the best we can within our in-season schedule. It's about being disciplined, playing tough, competitive football within the rules. We did it for Week 1 and Week 2; we did not do it in Week 3. We have an opportunity to learn from it. We had an opportunity today as a football team to correct Monday night film and then move on to our preparation for Detroit.

(Zombo made a play a game in the preseason, and then he had a sack on Monday night. Does he merit consideration for the starting spot on the right side?)
Frank Zombo is the starting outside linebacker today, in my opinion. It is something we have talked about here since I have arrived. You have to be available and you need to be accountable, and Brad is going through an injury situation right now. I'm not sure if he is healthy enough to play Sunday, so we're going to play the prepared players. We're going to play the experienced players. I felt as a staff, particularly the last two weeks, that we have been way too up-and-down during the course of the week of trying to prepare players based on their health situation, and waiting on a certain number of individuals to get healthy by the end of the week. So it is something that I actually addressed in the team meeting today, and I don't know if that is why you are asking the question, but it was addressed today, the ability to prepare and play the prepared player over going back and forth all week. Frank Zombo is the starting outside linebacker today.

(How does that translate with Clifton?)
The prepared or the experienced player. Chad Clifton has played a lot of football. We're talking about Frank Zombo and Brad Jones. You're talking about players that haven't played 20 games, two games in this league. I think it is definitely different for players that have played around 100 games.

(What did Dr. McKenzie say about Chad's knee?)
Feeling better. He's ahead of where he was last week at this time, so that's a positive.

(You and Aaron have sung the praises of James Jones, and he's had a few lapses. Does he need to correct those to really take the next step?)
James has worked very hard and has been given some opportunities the first three weeks. Frankly, anybody that's part of that offensive perimeter, you just need to spend five minutes in the meeting room to clearly understand that if you have an opportunity, you'd better cash in on it, because if you don't, that means you've taken an opportunity away from Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, Donald Driver or somebody else in that room. It's very competitive. They're a very close group. So I think it really speaks volumes for any of the younger players who are given more opportunities this year as opposed to the past, and James would definitely fall into that category.

(Did you address the Collins incident with the team at all today?)
I addressed the situation and just reinforced that we need to be smart in those types of situations.

(Have you heard anything from the NFL on that?)
Nothing to report.

(With how the league has evolved into such a pass-oriented game, is there any reason to think a team couldn't be a champion throwing 65 or 70 percent of the time?)
In a game?

(Consistently for a season.)
I don't think you can just apply that across the NFL. I think there's other factors involved. Probably what part of the country you play in. How your team's built, as far as your philosophy, offense, defense and special teams. But can it be done? I'm sure it could be.

(Is it concerning to you that after an 18-penalty performance you have players on your team, including Charles Woodson, who wanted to take liberties with the officiating after the game?)
I'm not sure what you're trying to …

(He said there were several calls that he did not agree with from the officials and proceeded to talk about it in detail.)
That's a statement about what one of the player said. What question are you asking me?

(Do you want your players going that route? Three weeks into the season, certainly it's a frustrating situation, but do you want that happening?)
I'll say this. I don't think anybody, myself included, have been 100 percent in choosing your words after every single game. Opinions on the play, as the media, you people ask questions, you want honest answers, and then if you get an answer that you feel now is over the line, all of a sudden it's wrong. I think the man gave an honest answer to a particular play that happened in the game. I did not have a problem with it.

(On the Burnett penalty, what's he supposed to do there? What did he do wrong that made it a penalty? Can you consult the league on a play like that that's in a gray area?)
As far as the officiating, we went through the same process we always go through the day after the game. You correct the video. Offense, defense and special teams, they turn in the plays to Matt Klein and myself, and Mike Eayrs is really the individual that heads it up. Then we evaluate it, and we send the list in to the NFL. We do it every single week, and we did the same thing. Actually, I would think the response would be upstairs when I get back.

(Was that play on the list then?)
I don't remember correctly if that made the final list. But it was something that we definitely reviewed. We reviewed all the penalties.

(Did he play that correctly?)
From a technique standpoint, there's something that, just the way, the beginning of the play … I'm not really going to get into that … that we can improve on. But the ball is in the air, and right at the end there, he is competing for the football. I think the receiver probably did a better job of illustrating potential interference. But I saw it as two players going for the football.

(Can Nance help you this week, or is he having a little trouble making the transition?)
I think he's on target. I'm hopeful he can help us this week. I'm really going to give him an opportunity to maybe even get up on special teams. I think he's done some things in his time already, just on the coverage unit and things like that. You just really look at the combination of potentially having three halfbacks as opposed to three fullbacks too is definitely a consideration. He's fighting for some playing time.

(Was there a different tone or different focus in practice today coming off a tough loss like that?)
I think they're definitely focused. We've been in the building since 6:30, 7:30 this morning, so I would definitely say they're mentally taxed. When you have an opportunity to really go back through a correction phase that you normally do on Monday, and then turn the page and go through a full game-plan session, and then go out onto the field. They've put in a lot of work today. I was pleased with the focus and really the amount of work we were able to get done today.

(From your perspective, putting a game plan together on a short week, is that more difficult or had you done some work ahead of time?)
I'll just say this. I think with the computers and the digital video, it makes it so much more accessible. For example, Detroit played their game in Minnesota Sunday, and we had the tape on our computers by Sunday night. Some individual coaches already had that game viewed and graded. Offense met Monday morning and had all their preliminary normal down-and-distance and third-down game plans finished. So we were able to spend the time Tuesday correcting the Monday night game and we really felt that we were able to stay on pace and go through a normal game plan. Detroit is a division opponent. We spend a significant amount of time in the offseason on our division opponents, so we feel we're very well prepared for this team.

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