Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Aug. 3


(With Brett Favre back in town, is it going to be an open competition for the starting job?)

I had an opportunity to talk to Brett today. As far as the plan for Brett Favre, he will be reinstated, as everyone knows, tomorrow at noon. He will go through a physical, just like every other player that has come through. He has been through the drill 16 years already, so he knows what is in front of him. From that, he'll have a conditioning test, and at that time there will be a conversation between Brett and I. From that conversation, there will be information in that conversation that I will use to make a decision based on how we move forward with the quarterback decision. That will be shared with the team first, and from that we'll conclude. I'll talk to everybody here tomorrow night and I'll let you know the direction that we're going. As of now, there has been no decision made. It's important for Brett and I to sit down face to face and have that discussion tomorrow.

(So Brett comes back with no promises of being able to compete for the job?)

There have been no promises. Once again, there has been indecision throughout Brett's path back here to Green Bay. It's important for us to sit down, communicate. There are some things that we need to go through and then once again, from that information that comes out of that conversation will be used to move forward in the decision we'll make for our football team. That's where we are. That's where I've been the last week. I've answered this question over and over again the same way. I had an opportunity to talk to Brett in person at the Hall of Fame banquet. I have not talked to him since then, until today, and it's important for him and I to talk face to face before we move forward.

(Did you have to address the situation with the team before the scrimmage?)

I did not address it with the team. I had an opportunity to talk to the team after our walk-through today, and I told them exactly what I just told you right here. We will have a conversation tomorrow night at 7:30 once all of the information is gathered, and we will move forward as a football team. It's about the team. I'm not here to do the business part between Brett and the organization. It's about what is in the best interest of the football team, and that's what the decision will be based on.

(You are well underway with training camp, how disruptive is this at this point of camp?)

This was not planned, but once again you have to have a plan that has the ability to adjust. We're doing that. Brett's path here has been different, but he has earned the right. If he wants to play football, he should be allowed to play football. I don't have any problem with that, but I just want to make sure he is clear on the direction our football team has gone before we move forward.

(What was your assessment of Aaron Rodgers' performance tonight?)

I thought Aaron was solid. There are some things where the production wasn't there, whether it was on the front end or the back end of the pass play. Just having the opportunity to stand back and watch the whole scrimmage for the first time, it's just like I told the team, everything that went well out there was sound fundamentally. There wasn't a lot of challenge schematically and it was by design. We are a young football team. It was important for our guys to line up and play and it was a fundamentally based scrimmage. I saw some bad fundamentals and I saw some bad technique, and that's really what I am anticipating coming out of the film study tomorrow.

(So when people pick up the paper and see he went 7-20, there is more to it than that?)

Yeah, it's a scrimmage. It's nice to stand up here and say when the offense scores four touchdowns in a scrimmage, 'boy, we really feel good about it,' and then you watch the film and there is...it goes both ways. It's never as good as you think it is and it's usually not as bad as you think it is. But I'll just say this, it's quality film. This is the training environment that we train in. You go to any other scrimmage around the league and there is 10 or 15,000. To go out there and put our players under the lights and see how our young players respond to that environment, it's incredible. This is the best work that we've had all year in training camp and this will be a great learning tool, and we'll take full advantage of it. I can promise you that.

(Were you disappointed to hear some of the fans booing Aaron?)

I'm not really concerned with it. I think there is more to it, and I think it's very obvious what goes on out there. Once again, we have to play football and I'll go right back to the Brett Favre situation. It's about playing football and that will be the bottom line. I'm not up here trying to win a popularity contest, and every decision we will make will be in the best interest of our football team.

(Assuming Brett passes his physical, are you 100 percent sure he is going to play football this year?)

That's a great question. That will be one of the topics of our conversation tomorrow. We just need to make sure...I think it's important for people to sit down face to face and answer all those types of questions and we'll do that tomorrow. I look forward to talking here tomorrow night. I think it's 8:15, right?

(Will Brett have to do the conditioning test before he takes the practice field?)

Once again, Mark Lovat will probably lead that there. We want to see where he is at. He is an older player. We've been smart with our older players in the basic run test, but he definitely will be conditioned to see where his conditioning level is. We obviously have history; we know where he is as far as this year compared to last year, so we'll have a very clear understanding of what kind of shape he is in by dinner time tomorrow.

(Is the direction of the team still to go with Aaron as the starting quarterback?)

If we played a game tomorrow, Aaron Rodgers would be the starting quarterback. I'm not going to change any direction that we have gone with this football team based on the information that I have today. That's part of our conversation tomorrow, but we have all of the confidence in the world in Aaron. I think he is a player that is on time. He has earned this opportunity, three years preparing for it, and I'm very comfortable with him as our starting quarterback.

{sportsad300}(The team has handled the situation well to this point, but does it get more difficult now?)

I agree with you, I think they've handled it very well. It's a challenge anytime there's a tension put on your football team that has nothing to do with performance, and that's where we need to keep our focus, and that will be part of the message tomorrow.

(How important was it to get Ryan Grant signed and where is he at physically?)

I saw Ryan briefly after he signed. It's great to have him here. He looks good. I'll be surprised if he's not in top shape. He's someone that's very conscientious as far as his preparation, but he needs to get here and get the pads on just like everybody else. Really, the way Brandon Jackson has played, Vernand Morency, he's a step behind those guys. He needs to get in camp and get going. I'm glad he's here.

(How about the backup quarterbacks' play tonight?)

I thought Brian had some tough situations against the first defense. Brian and Matt both, as a whole, young quarterbacks need to play faster, and I think that's a common progression. I saw some of that tonight. But once again, I think what happened in the passing game could be as much in the front end as on the back end, as far as the route running and things like that. The mechanics of the scrimmage I thought were very good, as far as the substitutions on both sides of the ball, getting in and out of the huddle. The offense had headset problems throughout, which is good practice, that's a good thing to get to practice that. I thought the management, the sideline management, those were all positives. But we have a lot of work to do, and these are good problems to have, because we can take that film tomorrow and we can make some very strong emphasis from a fundamental standpoint. I saw a lot of bad fundamental football when things broke down, and I'm sure that's what the film will show.

(You have said the identity of the team starts with the defense; were you happy with their performance tonight?)

I thought the defense flew around, I thought they got off blocks. You could see that inside, Johnny Jolly, just the way he started that second series, the 2 offense versus the number 1 defense, I think he had the first two, possibly three tackles, getting off blocks. They didn't have any turnovers, well, they had the one in the red zone, I stand corrected, on that two-minute drill. So that's a big emphasis for us. We need to improve in the takeaway area. As a whole, I thought their production was outstanding. I really thought they flew to the ball. It looked to me, from not studying it, it looked like they did a good job with the bump at the line of scrimmage, disrupting the routes. I thought the defense had a very good night.

(Is it true that you have hired Ari Fleischer as a consultant?)

Well, he was here. He spoke to the team. I had an opportunity to speak with him. Very impressed with him. Can't you tell? I'm having a hell of a night up here. I think he'd be proud of me right now. I hope he is.

(But is it in an ongoing role for a month or so?)

I think so, I think that's probably someone on the fourth floor. I don't know the specifics of it. If he is, I may go see him when I'm done here.

(After one week, do you feel better that you have a decent starting quarterback than you do decent backup quarterbacks?)

Well, I've said it all along, I'm not going to be naïve. We have two rookie guys. It's a progress. We're at a period where we need to get those guys ready to play, and it's going to take the whole preseason. I said that from Day 1. Today's tape will be great learning tape to teach those guys. Playing at the speed of this game is always and adjustment for any quarterback making the jump from college to pro. I don't think we're behind. I don't think we're ahead of the game. I think we're kind of where you'd probably think we'd be with two rookies. The thing I like about both those guys is you see progress. They keep getting better, they keep getting better, and that's what you can ask for. They're going to have some rough days, I know that.

(How about the play of your running backs tonight?)

I thought Brandon and Vernand, from what I saw, I thought they ran well. I thought Lumpkin got off to a slow start, but I thought he had a nice finish there. I thought he did a very nice job there on that third drive. Without studying the film, I'm not going to sit here and give them a decision grade, but I thought they were productive and smart with their reads.

(Any injuries?)

No, we didn't have anybody. Nothing has changed. Frankly, that's the biggest statistic of the evening. That's my biggest concern.

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