Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - April 24

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference from Lambeau Field following the completion of the NFL Draft on Saturday. - More Packers.com Draft Page

(Do you see guys that can come in and contribute immediately?)

Well, the draft picks from this year, their contributions this year will really be determined once they get here. I think we're excited about their attributes and what they bring to our football team. They'll definitely be given an opportunity to come in here and compete. We really like the draft class from top to bottom. Frankly, every player we drafted the last three days was the highest-rated player on the board. We feel like we have added a number of good football players to our program.

(Are you comfortable with the skill guys you got considering you took four players on the two lines?)

Like I have stated, we didn't sit there and go through the draft by position. We wanted to take the best player. We do have a number of injuries this year compared to prior years that may go throughout the spring and even into training camp that we'll have to be smart with the particular individuals. It's something that we have been talking a lot about throughout the spring. Actually it's something we're going through right now as we prepare to acquire the free agents that will be left here when the draft is completed, and try to get as many of the individuals that we can for our rookie mini-camp next week.

(Assuming you picked Starks with a clean bill of health, do you have to be careful with him in practice?)

There is an evaluation, a lot of information that goes on through this whole process. I know Pat McKenzie and John Gray are right there in the draft room. Those reports are looked at and reviewed, and even prior to the pick, looked at and talked about again. We're very comfortable with his particular medical situation, but until he gets here and gets to work, we'll have a complete idea of where he is.

(Do you feel like you are a lot better team in 2010 based on the guys you added?)

We're a better football team in 2010 today than we have been in the past in my opinion, but that's on paper. There are so many more variables and elements that go into having a successful season and building a successful football team to run through that season. So I really like the way our football team looks on paper. I like the individuals that we have added. We're in a position now where we're talking about adding good football players. It's a simple philosophy, but it's one that you can get away from very easily when you start talking more about need and this guy doesn't fit us. To me those are mindsets that you need to stay away from. Our job as coaches is to take the individual and maximize his ability, create opportunities for him to be successful, and make sure our systems, offensively, defensively and our special teams, have the wide range and the flexibility to take advantage of any individual that we bring in here. That's my viewpoint and it has been since the day I became head coach here. I don't really go out and look for a player that only does certain things to bring in here because I think it is a very narrow-minded approach and something that can catch up with you.

(Last year most of the games you lost were against a good quarterback who had a big day. What makes you think this team is more ready to defend that?)

We'll have an opportunity to improve as a defense really throughout our whole football team, and it won't just happen because of what happened the last three days. Frankly, I think the biggest improvement in our football team, and I know the biggest improvement for our football team, will be from what's been going on here since the first day of the offeseason program. Our football team has a chance to improve from within. Our guys have put a lot of time in. Particularly to answer your question about defensively, we'll be a year better. I think our communication, timing, fits, understanding, flexibility, our defensive staff has a lot better feel for the players and vice versa, the players with the coaches. I think we'll have an opportunity to be better as a defense just from being in Year 2 of the program.

(Are you confident you are covered at cornerback with the guys returning from injury?)

We had a number of injuries at cornerback last year, and that's something that plays into every season, every position. I do like the younger players at the position. I think they are developing. To answer your question, yes, we're covered. It's a competition to get to the final 53; I do feel good about that. When and if we do have injuries, you have to overcome them. That's part of every season, and that was one particular position that was hit pretty good last year that we didn't probably handle as well as we would have liked at times.

(You talk about bringing Packers people. Did you ask questions of the staff that made you think Quarless was not a risk?)

I felt we had very good information with Andrew. There were a number of people that we have talked to, and I was very comfortable through the whole process. He made a mistake in the past and we're confident that he'll learn from his past experiences and apply it to his opportunity here in Green Bay. If we were not comfortable, he would not be a Green Bay Packer.

(Last year you had to move some guys on the offensive line and you kind of ran out of guys on the defensive line. Do you feel better about both lines?)

I feel this training camp will be the most competitive training camp that I have been a part of in Green Bay, both on the offensive line and on the defensive line. I think really if you just look at the offensive line we'll have the ability to place players behind each other at a position and let them compete. You have to have the ability to move offensive linemen around. It happens every year, especially when you get down to the 53 and when you are getting ready to play games with the 45. With that said, you like to work from developing younger players in one or two positions instead of two or three like we have had the past couple of years. I think we are going to have excellent competition all the way across the board on both the offensive and defensive lines because of where we are at today.

(Does the pick of Bulaga, assuming you put him at left tackle, solidify some other spots?)

That's what I was referring to. Bryan will line up at left tackle. He'll line up right there behind Chad Clifton with Allen Barbre and he will take those reps. It's very important for him to train and be a left tackle. With that, T.J. will line up at right tackle and he will compete over there with Mark and Breno. That's the way we'll start, and that's the way they will be repped throughout the spring and going into training camp.

(Where do you think Newhouse will be?)

We're talking through that. We're talking through that because he has the ability to be both an inside or outside player.

(In Orlando you talked about Jermichael Finley handling success, and now you took a character risk in Quarless. Does that just show your faith in Ben McAdoo leading those guys?)

I think Ben McAdoo has done an outstanding job in his time. It's his first opportunity as an assistant coach as far as being in charge of a position. I think the results so far speak for themselves. He has done a great job with the whole group. I think Donald Lee has definitely improved during our time here. What he has done with Jermichael Finley, also Spencer Havner making the conversion from linebacker to a tight end, and we expect Andrew to fall right into that same category. He's an excellent teacher, very demanding, puts the extra time in as far as developing the relationship on and off the field with the tight ends. I think Andrew will be an excellent addition to that group.

(What do you like about Starks?)

I always like the size. I like bigger backs. I felt we had very good information on Starks. I didn't see a whole lot of him. I'm not going to sit up here and tell you I broke down every film, but I know Edgar really liked him, obviously with the relationship with Turner Gill up there in Buffalo. So we felt like we had a very good pick, particularly at that time in the draft.

(Do you feel like you have enough depth at outside linebacker?)

We are as far as numbers for training camp not where we need to be right now, so that's something that we're working on. That's really what you spend the time after the seventh round, making sure you have your numbers for training camp and hopefully we might even have some more guys come in here and work during the rookie camp.

{sportsad300}(Do you have the kind of pass rusher over there opposite Matthews that you need?)

It's more than that. It's not just we have Clay on one side, we don't have anybody else on the other side. I thought Brad did an excellent job in his time with his opportunity. Also, we have other ways to get the pass rush. You can talk about moving Brandon Chillar; he has shown that ability. Cullen Jenkins has been an outside rusher in the past too, so it doesn't have to just come from that particular position. We feel very good about our football team on the front end and the back end defensively, and it's our responsibility as coaches to make sure we have the different combinations to make sure we are generating the pass rush and letting our coverage people get their hands on the ball, which I think we do a very good job of.

(Do you think Colledge's progress has been hindered by having to play so much left tackle, and will the acquisition of Bulaga help him?)

I think Daryn has shown a lot of flexibility since the first time he lined up for us. Daryn Colledge has lost his starting position and has bounced back every single time. I have a lot of respect for Daryn as a man, the way he attacks his profession, and his opportunity to go out there and play at one position will definitely help him. I think it would help anybody, and Daryn would attest to that. To answer your question, yes, I think if you only have to play one position opposed to two or possibly three, it definitely helps you.

(What are your plans for Jason Spitz?)

Jason Spitz will play both inside at center and guard. Once again, it's not an exact science. You watch the practices. Everybody doesn't line up and take three snaps at guard and then the next guy takes his two snaps. It doesn't work that way and you can't train offensive linemen that way. That may work in the spring, that may work in training camp, and now you get down to the 53-man roster and you don't have the reps to get people ready in season. We really focus more on playing the offensive linemen as inside players and outside players.

(So putting T.J. Lang at right tackle, does that mean you lost the debate with the position coaches, and does that mean Spitz will compete with College at left guard?)

T.J.'s primary position will be right tackle. Once again, it's about if you have 10 reps. T.J. will take seven at right tackle and maybe three somewhere else, as opposed to taking 3 1/3 reps at three positions. That's the reality of what is going on with our rotation as far as the way we will practice and train our offensive lineman.

(What is the left guard competition then?)

Daryn Colledge definitely. Spitz is definitely in there, and we even talked about T.J. Those are something that we'll continue to work with. Those questions will all be answered throughout the spring, and more importantly in training camp.

(Are you going to want a fourth quarterback?)

We may. That's something we were looking at before I came down here. I think Chris has done a good job. He's been going through the quarterback school. He had some fundamental aspects that we have really changed. It was really different for him. He has responded to that. He's very intelligent and I really like the way he has picked things up, but we do not have a fourth quarterback right now.

(How do you feel about special teams?)

We're going to get better, I can tell you that right now. The two biggest things for improvement of special teams as I have talked about in the past is the punting. The performance here the last two years is unacceptable, and the two young men that are fighting for that position clearly understand that, and the penalties. Really off of the penalties come the fundamentals. We have to do a better job of getting these younger players to play better and play better with fundamentals, and that will be our focus as we move through the spring on special teams.

(Is your kickoff return man on the roster right now?)

Yes, because I don't think we drafted one. I would have to say he is on the roster. I think we're going to do some things a little differently on kickoff return and I think that will definitely help our returners.

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