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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - April 30

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference Friday following the first rookie orientation workout.

(What did you think about what you saw with Bulaga?)

I'm not really ready to make an assessment on any one player, but he looked good in his uniform. I'll say that about him. But I think he is off to a good start. This rookie orientation is really broken down into two parts. Today is particularly a long day. We spent the whole morning going through all of the administrative aspects of our program, just to make sure when this rookie group gets back on May 16 that they can really lock into their football responsibilities. With that, I thought we were able to cover that in detail and I thought practice today probably looked like it is supposed to look like. We had good organization. We had the ball on the ground too much, but I really didn't spend a whole lot of time watching individuals. I was more interested in getting the right players to the right drills and to make sure we are getting a good, solid evaluation on film of all these gentlemen that are here for this three-day mini-camp.

(With all of these tryout guys, how many realistically could stick?)

That's something that we'll continue to crunch the numbers and just the overall big picture, we do have a number of players that are injured. You look at that and how they are progressing. There are a lot of different factors in that, and it's the same process that every NFL team goes through as you build your roster for training camp.

(Did Ronald Talley have surgery?)

Yes, he is coming back from rehab on his knee and he is close. He's been here the whole time since the offseason.

(What did you think of your group of 11 free agents?)

Like I said, I really don't have a clear assessment. I think it was obvious to everybody, you watch the practices and now going through this rookie orientation a number of years, I thought the offensive and defensive line as a whole was impressive. There is definitely some size and athletic ability. That's something that I think is very obvious. A number of players that really probably have been here that I was impressed with. I thought the defensive secondary, the communication was very good, especially for the guys that just arrived. Khalil Jones, working at safety, I thought he was off to a nice start. The mechanics of our practice and getting players in position to get them on video, getting as much drill work. We did a lot more drill work today than we did in this practice last year, so we just are making sure that we get an evaluation of the free agents, the tryout players, and also our drafted players and also our players that are able to practice in this mini-camp because of where they are at in their pension commitment.

(What did you do with the players in terms of the history of the Packers?)

It's an orientation, and it will cover everything that we possibly can from top to bottom. We started last evening. Yesterday was their travel day and we were able to go through the medical process. We had a group dinner last night up in the end zone on the sixth floor. We have done that the last couple of years. There are a number of highlights that they'll play throughout. Mark Murphy addressed the group, Russ Ball addressed the group, and myself. We have a pretty unique video that they are actually a part of, so it's something that is pretty unique to the Green Bay Packers and unique to the players that were brought in for the camp. I think that's something that they will always remember.

(Do you have any former players talking to the team or any guest speakers?)

No, we do not. I know in the past we have had some speakers, but we did not have any guest speakers coming in this weekend.

(Were you very involved in the selection process of the free agents, and do you get on the phone to close any deals?)

No, that's not the way. I have been a part of that in the past, I want to say maybe our first two years. We have really gone more with the personnel department. We involve the coaches when we feel we need to, whether it is a connection there or we feel it's going to help the particular situation. But we look at all of the variables involved. Obviously the opportunity the free agent is looking for, then there is a business side of it, and there is also the medical side and all that. There is a whole process that is in place, and frankly it actually came together a little quicker this year probably than last year with the draft being over Saturday as opposed to Sunday. But it really probably takes until about Tuesday where you are able to feel like you have the numbers set for this mini-camp.

(Did James Starks look tall? Does he run tall?)

He's tall for a running back. I thought he looked athletic. But as far as assessing him as a player, you can definitely see the talent and the natural run skills. Just like every player, perimeter and interior, there's things that they've been taught in college that may be different than the way they're going to be taught here, and there's things that they may think are the same here that they were in college. But we're going to start from ground zero, and like I said, we did a lot more drill work, particularly in special teams and some of the drill work on the offensive and defensive side of the ball to get as much good video on these guys as possible.

{sportsad300}(Is Sam Shields a possible return guy?)

That's someone that jumped out at everybody, just talking with Joe Whitt as we were walking off the field. He has exceptional speed, and he looked very natural as far as catching the ball as you move forward and really attacking the landmark. I thought just the number of balls he did catch, that did jump out to me, yes.

(Was this a typical workout for your punters?)

They've been working, they've been here working really since Chris was signed on. As far as the quantity, I would say that would fall, that was probably a normal workout. Obviously they were hitting the roof the whole time, so we were able to shoot some jugs to the returners to make sure they were getting the work. I think that's going to be a very good competition that we'll have to keep a close eye on all the way through training camp.

(Do you like what you've seen out of the punters so far?)

I like the talent level. I think we definitely have crossed that hurdle is the way I view the punting position. There's definitely more talent with these two guys than there has been in the past, and that's definitely a big step in the right direction.

(What do you tell these guys that you expect from them by the end of this weekend?)

Well, the expectation is really to go through the orientation, and the orientation is clearly defined, like I stated earlier, into two parts. The football part of it, the introduction of our base defense and our base teaching progressions in special teams and also on offense. Really the other part of it is getting them in touch with all the different departments in our organization so they can make that transition now so they're not worrying about where they live or how they get from the airport, their transportation, just all the little things to try to reduce the stress when these guys get back here and jump in there with the veterans. That's the expectations for the weekend and we just want to get as much film on them as possible and make sure we get a good evaluation.

(Does this energize you, with all this youth and excitement coming in?)

I didn't sleep very well last night. I think anytime you have a chance to get back out on the practice field, that's what all of us as coaches look forward to. We've been bouncing off the wall all week, and frankly like I said it earlier in the talk, that you really don't know until Tuesday exactly which players you have, and you're doing the practice schedules, doing the individual drills, going back through the things that you want to make sure you get to look at these guys. Coaches coach and players play, so this is what it's all about. The administrative aspects of my job personally is my biggest challenge, because there's nothing like coaching football.

(With Bulaga, there's talk his arms aren't long enough. Now that you've seen him, do you think that's an issue?)

His arms are long enough. He's got broad shoulders too, if you want to get really technical about it. Arm length doesn't tell the whole story based on if someone can pass protect or play with leverage.

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