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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - April 26

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference following the draft Sunday at Lambeau Field.

(How much do you think your defense improved over the weekend?)

I think our defense is improved from last year to this point for a number of different reasons. I think we are adding a scheme that is going to give us some more versatility. Our current players that have been here for the offseason program have taken advantage of the time with the coaches. March and April we have always targeted as a time for individual improvement, and then the ability to add a full draft class with a number of defensive players I think definitely helps us. One thing about our business, you are either improving or you are going the other way. I feel very good about the improvement that we have been able to make as a football team without obviously practicing or playing games. I'm very excited about the additions.

(Do you think either of the two linemen you drafted have any chance of starting at right tackle?)

I was just up there meeting with Joe Philbin and James Campen. We were talking about the offensive line rotation because we have a number of guys that are still coming through injuries from the past season. I know I have made this statement before that I want to get off this rollercoaster or merry-go-round that we have been on moving our offensive linemen at so many different positions and creating opportunities. We haven't made that decision as far as exactly where the young guys will go, but the right tackle position is definitely a spot where Allen Barbre will have an opportunity there. Breno Giacomini has done an excellent job. So we'll see what happens with Lang.

(What do you think about how the teams in the division have improved their offenses, and does that make you even happier that you addressed your defense?)

I don't really pay a whole lot of attention to it. I know our division opponents have gone heavy offense. We are doing the right things for our football team. We are having the change of philosophy on defense. Going to the 3-4, in my view, is as much about special teams as it is about defense. I can't say it enough, the ability to add the linebacker body types to our football, both with the last addition of Brad Jones and also Clay Matthews. I just think you can't have enough of those types of players. I feel very good about the current linebacker corps that we have here. That in itself will improve our special teams and also give us the ability to be a much more improved run defense on first and second down.

(Is Sitton in the right tackle mix or are you leaving him at guard?)

Josh will play right guard.

(Was the plan in this draft to address the defense and the offensive line since you didn't really take any players at the skill positions on offense?)

The draft was really all about trusting your board. We have an excellent personnel department. We have a scouting department where a number of our scouts and department heads have been in place for quite some time. It's a very smooth system that everybody has confidence in. All the conversations that Ted and I have had throughout the week, and particularly Saturday because of the later start, talking about who is going to be there at No. 9, it wasn't about offense or defense. It was strictly about value. There wasn't a 'We have to go this way or go that way.' We felt very strongly, and I think Ted illustrated that by pulling the trigger and trusting the draft board.

(Do you think the immediate impact of Raji will be solidifying the run defense?)

I'm not going to stand here and say one player is going to take care of anything that went on in the past. I will tell you this: we're going to play better run defense and it is going to be everybody involved. It will start with our base front being a 3-4. I know from an offensive standpoint, I have always felt it was a bigger challenge to compete against a 3-4 than the four-man lines in run defense. Obviously players have a lot to do with that. I'm not saying scheme is the end all and will resolve this, but he will definitely contribute. He is the body type. He is a gifted young man. He has exceptional foot quickness for his body type. I had an opportunity to speak with his former head coach up there in Boston College. He was highly recommended, B.J, and I think he is an excellent addition to our defensive line group.

(When Crabtree was there, did you give some thought to Jennings on one side and him on the other?)

Big 4 and Big 5 was mentioned a few times during the course of Saturday. Really just the conversation that went on between Ted and I was a scenario that we talked about. I think really when Cleveland traded out to the Jets, we felt pretty confident that B.J. and Crabtree were both going to be there. It was definitely a fun conversation to be a part of. I think Michael Crabtree is an outstanding prospect and I think he'll be an exciting player in San Francisco.

(With the offensive linemen, the nose tackle, and the fullback, were you trying to find people up the middle?)

They are hard to find. You cannot have enough big people. You go back to the first pick. When you sit there with the opportunity to pick defensive linemen and offensive linemen, it's very, very tough to pass those guys up. I think, again, on a yearly basis have made another contribution to our offensive and defensive lines. I stand here all of the time in front of the team and talk about the importance of offensive line and defensive line play, and we invested in that the last two days.

(What do you like about Quinn Johnson?)

I think the first thing that jumps off at you is just physicality. I can recall Ted coming back from his LSU visit during the season. He usually returns on a Thursday or Friday, and talking to him about the players he had seen that week, Quinn Johnson was somebody he was very excited about. He is our type of player. He is a hard-nosed fullback. We think he also has special-teams value, and also was able to run the football. We just felt particularly at that point in the draft that we couldn't pass him up.

(With the way Johnson plays, does that maybe mean more power stuff?)

These are always my favorite questions. Quinn Johnson has that ability to play power football, in the power pattern schemes versus the zone schemes. But his number one asset will be in the inside zone scheme, which is the starting point the way we run the football. I think he's definitely a fit for us the way we have played and the direction we're making adjustments to. It's not going to look very different I think to everybody here. But it's important offensively schematically to try to stay a step ahead of your opponents, and that's something we go through every offseason, and just made some adjustments with the offensive scheme and continue to try to utilize our players' specific skills

(I know you said it is not about one guy, but didn't you need the help from Raji and Matthews to make this defense work?)

We have a great fan base. We weren't trying to sell tickets the last two days. We were looking for good football players, and those two guys were guys that were very high on our board. We are very excited to add those two types of football players to a 3-4 scheme. We think they are an excellent fit for the direction we are going. I think Raji is not only a player that can be what you're looking for in a 3-4 on first and second down, I think he also has the ability to play third down. Anytime you have a player that can play all three downs, that's obviously a benefit. I feel the same way about Clay Matthews. He has that type of ability, and Clay is someone who has shown in college that he's a very productive player on special teams.

(As a guy scheming against the 3-4, how critical are the nose tackle and outside linebacker positions?)

They're very important, and the players are the most important. You're talking about the down linemen in the 3-4, they're anchor players. They have to be unselfish, they have to have the ability to take up the two blocks so the linebackers can scrape or the support element from the secondary can fit in and be the free hat on the ballcarrier. They are very, very important. You want to say it's the most important component of the 3-4 from a run defensive standpoint. That's why B.J. added to that mix is very important.

(Are you OK with your defensive end position?)

The end position? Yeah, I think we've got ... I think Ryan Pickett can go out and play end. You watch Ryan Pickett, just the offseason program. You forget about his foot quickness and his agility. He may not look like the most prototype 3-4 defensive end, but that's definitely a position we will talk to Ryan when he gets back from vacation as far as playing out there. Johnny Jolly I think is an excellent prospect out there. Michael Montgomery has the levers to play that position. So we feel very good about the group.

(Is Wynn an end or a linebacker?)

Jarius Wynn is a young man from Georgia. He's very long-levered, has the body type, tough guy. I think he's someone that can grow a little bit. His weight is probably not where it needs to be right now, but we feel he has the ability to play the defensive end position.

{sportsad300}(What do you want to establish with the rookies next weekend?)

What will we target? Well, we did this last year and it's been very, very productive for us. Sometimes teams go with the mandatory mini-camp with everybody after the draft. We have gone to the rookie orientation format, and I think it's been excellent for our younger players, both the drafted rookies, the free agents, and we'll have some walk-on candidates go through the weekend. It gives us an opportunity to give other prospects another look. It gives us a chance to introduce these young players to the Green Bay Packers organization. When you have the mini-camp in my opinion, you have so much going on, football being the priority, they don't really take in the other aspects of coming to work at the Green Bay packers that's important when they come back May 16, May 17, whatever their reporting date will be. We'll just take half the day, it will be football, and the other half will be administrative. Rob Davis will have a large chunk of time to put his hands on them and introduce them to player development, and from security director, equipment, all the way through, everybody that has the ability to touch these players will be able to spend time with them Friday and Saturday. We'll have a practice also Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's been very productive, and I felt that when the rookies came back three or four weeks later, they were able to jump in with the veteran guys and at least keep their head above water.

(Are you looking for anything specific out of the non-drafted guys that you are going to sign?)

You look at your position needs. There's still a lot of conversation, and I think this is really one of the strengths of our personnel department, is what they do in the later rounds. The scouts have been up there now for about an hour and a half, jumping on the table for certain prospects they feel would have a chance here, and then the negotiating starts. It's a process that our personnel department has done a very good job with.

(As coaches, what do you get from that first look at the guys that you drafted?)

The coaching staff gets a number of things out of the weekend. Number one, the opportunity to work with the new players, to introduce them to the system, introduce them to their coaching style. We get to introduce them to our practice environment, how we go about our business. We have a new defensive staff, and it's a chance for them to go out as a coaching staff and coach for the first time. We have a new special teams coaching staff and an opportunity to implement the way they're going to be structured and so forth. So there are so many positives that come out of this for coaches and players this weekend.

(What is Tony Moll's primary position?)

Tony Moll's primary position. Well, Tony Moll has played obviously a number of positions for us, and those are discussions that really go on. I'm not going to sit here and just say he's going to play one position. Tony will probably play every position except center.

(Will you be watching your new staff as much as your new players this weekend?)

That's a good question. Probably so. Probably more than I did last year, to answer your question.

(You cannot use Flynn or Brohm next week, can you?)

Correct. Cannot.

(So you'll have to sign a quarterback, correct?)

Unless we're going to run the ball all day, yeah.

(How excited are you for this season after some struggles last season?)

Trust me, everybody is excited, but I'll be very excited when we play our first game, because the lessons of 2008 need to be applied to our new direction. It's important for us as a football team to make sure we carry forward the things that did not go right last year. That's the challenge that I look at, at the forefront as the leader of the football team, and make sure that's applied during the offseason program, throughout training camp as we lead into the season. But it's an exciting time around here. This young team, it's been fun in a lot of ways to watch these guys, I don't want to say grow up, but move forward, and we're excited about the opportunity that we are going to have for this upcoming season.

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