Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Aug. 26

(Was it good to have Clay Matthews back?)

It was nice to have Clay out there today. We wanted to give him approximately 50-60 percent of the reps just to see how he responds, so we'll see how he feels in the morning.

(Do you see him getting any time on Friday?)

I would say he is still doubtful for Friday.

(How about Matt Flynn?)

Matt Flynn is doubtful for Friday also.

(Who is your emergency quarterback then?)

We have two quarterbacks, so...

(So you would put Rodgers back in if something happened to Brohm?)

If we have to.

(Was Flynn pushing to practice today?)

I'm sure he wants to practice and I'm sure he'd like to play. It's a bruise and if this was a regular season game, I think he would be able to play. Dr. McKenzie feels it is best that we give him another week, so that's what we're going to do.

(Were you satisfied with the work today?)

Today was a very sharp practice. We were 20 minutes ahead of schedule. I don't think that has ever happened. We have charted the tempo of every practice since I have been here and I think 16-17 minutes is the highest that I recall finishing ahead of schedule. We were 20-21 minutes ahead of schedule, so I think that tells you about the sharpness, the pace of the practice. Now the film will always tell the whole truth, but I felt good about today's work.

(Have you seen Brohm improving with the increased reps?)

He's had some decisions I'm sure he wished he could have back. I think that's obvious as you watch practice, but these reps are so valuable for a young quarterback, and that's what he needs. He needs to go out there and have some success Friday. Then I think he can take the next step. He's had some tough moments throughout the preseason, both this year and last year, but he's a strong-willed young man. He's working hard and he's doing all of the right things that are necessary to put himself in position to be successful, and I'm hopeful he'll have some success on Friday.

(Have you decided how long the starters will play?)

We're going to play the starters the first half and then we'll assess where we are at halftime, but potentially take them into the third quarter. The same format that we have used over the last couple of years.

(How good of a feel will you have for your defense after you go against an offense like Arizona's?)

The Arizona Cardinals played in the Super Bowl. Their offensive numbers are extremely impressive. Really their football team, both offensively and defensively, the prime-time players that they have, this will be a great challenge for us.

(Where do you think you are at with the defense?)

We're making progress. We're making progress. We've put together probably six quarters of impressive football, but still we've got things we need to clean up. I like the play speed. Our guys are playing fast. That's usually a big hurdle any time you put a new scheme in on either side of the ball, but they are playing fast. They are doing a good job playing with vision, getting after the football, so those basic fundamentals that we have really stressed are in place. But the scheme part of it we just need to continue to work and get it as sharp as we can.

(Is there a benefit to getting a feel for the stadium since you go back there at the end of the regular season?)

I think there is a benefit. This is a stadium that we haven't played in before, going to Arizona the first and the last game. I'm sure the temperature will be different but we are a cold-weather team. I'm not as concerned going out there late in the year like we are. I would be concerned if we were playing in the old stadium and it was Week 4 or 5. But I think the whole experience of going out there and being accustomed to the field and the locker room and all of that, I think all of those things help you.

(How much do you want to play Raji and is he ready for more snaps?)

Yeah, he'll play probably 20-25 snaps is what we have for B.J.

(Justin Harrell said he was optimistic that he will play this season. What are you hearing from the medical people?)

I think Justin has had a good couple of days. He had a doctor's appointment in Chicago, received positive feedback, and he's feeling better. It's a lower-back situation and his rehab has gone very well the last couple of days. It's good to see him with a smile on his face and hopefully he can bounce back.

(Charles Woodson has been a dynamic player since he got here. How good he be in this new defense?)

I think the sky is the limit because of his play-making ability and just his knowledge of the game as far as offensive identification, route recognition, the ability to play inside and outside. He's exceptional when the ball is in the air. He has very good hand-eye coordination as far as breaking on the ball, and he's a tough football player, very instinctive. I think this scheme gives him a lot more opportunities to be around the ball and to make plays on the ball.

(What makes Tyrell Sutton so effective in your run scheme?)

I think Sutton is a very instinctive runner. He's done a very good job picking up the scheme. He had the late start there in the spring. He's just been productive. He's a tough young man, and I want to see him in the game Friday night with the 1's. We'll put him in the game in the first half at some point, and I want to see him play a little bit with that first group.

(Is he a keeper to this point?)

Nobody is a keeper right now. We'll cut the team when it's appropriate.

(The first cuts aren't far away; do you feel like you have more depth this year than any other year?)

I think you always feel better about your depth as you move forward, especially the way we started three years ago. We were so young really for every season, so I think you're now seeing the product of being young and the competition at the bottom part of our roster. So I would agree with that. But really, how it fits together is the most important thing. It's not always about talent. It's about fit and where the individuals are in their development and how they fit in our view of how we move forward too. I really like the talent level of our football team. So if you're looking for a high grade, I would say it's one of the higher-rated teams that we've had since I've been here, from that aspect. But how it all fits together is the key.

{sportsad300}(What have you seen from your defense in the first two games that would lead you to believe that stopping the run won't be an issue like it was last season?)

I think the stats speak for themselves. We've been good in the run defense, and that's something you have to do week in and week out in this league, especially in our division. Our division runs the football as well as probably any other division in the league. It's a primary focus and it's a week in and week out challenge.

(Is Barnett going to play on Friday?)

No, I would say he's doubtful.

(Do you see the dynamic changing in the division with four pretty talented quarterbacks?)

Having a good quarterback really is a big part of having success. I think every team in the league is trying to improve their football team, and you never have enough quarterbacks. That part of it I think is obvious. But it's no different, how does it all fit together? Aaron Rodgers has been developed in this offense and he's done very well in his development years and he was able to put together a successful season last year, and we look for him to build off that and take another step forward. Now, how's Cutler and Favre and the other guys in Detroit, how they fit into their scheme? To me, that's to be seen. I don't care how long you've played in the offense or how well you know somebody, you still have to go out and play the game. You have to go to practice, there's a reason why we practice, and how you perform, that's why we play the game. I think that's to be seen.

(But it's still the 'Black and Blue' division where you have to be able to run the ball, right?)

Absolutely. That's why I go back to the question I had earlier. People run the ball very well in this division. You have to. You look at Lambeau Field. When we play there in September, it's a totally different surface than when we play there in November and December. And it's no different in Chicago. The other two are dome teams, so they can go about their business a little differently, but they potentially have to come here and play too. Those are all factors when you are developing your team and putting together your blueprint for bringing in players.

(Is Sutton ahead of DeShawn Wynn right now?)

They're not ranked. We're going to try to get as much information on all those guys. I think those backs, I feel very good about all of them. I'd play with any one of those backs right now. I just don't know enough about Sutton. He's young, he's raw, he's done some exciting things. He has a lot in front of him. You only have so many reps, you only have so many opportunities. So we're once again just trying to get as much information as possible. But I like the group.

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