Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 1

(What's Wells' condition?)

Scott had a concussion in the game. I anticipate that he'll probably be out most of the week. It will be a challenge for him to be ready to play this week.

(Did he ever say anything on the sideline?)

My understanding is it happened I think on the second down play of the series before, just after watching the film and seeing when he did bang his head. But the communication I had with Scott after the fumble, I did not notice it, that he was in that state. Obviously no one noticed it before that or he would not have been out there.

(Do you have to remind players that's something they have to be more conscious of?)

I think you answered your own question ...

(Poor choice of words ... that they have to tell somebody about it?)

There's communication all the time between series, and there's communication from player to player, coach to coach, and medical staff, and if we had a concern there, obviously we would have acted accordingly. But that did not happen.

(How did you finally know? Did he say something?)

Yes. He expressed it after that play.

(If he can't go, are you inclined to go the same way you did yesterday on the line?)

We would stay the same way we finished the game. That's the offensive line we would move forward with.

(Can you talk about the three returns by Jones?)

Special teams did not perform well at all, particularly in the coverage units. It just really comes down to fundamentals. You can go through the spacing and the finish, the ability to get off blocks. But the field position was a major factor in the outcome of the game, and it has been the last two weeks. That's what we'll spend the majority of our time in the special teams meetings today and throughout the fundamental periods of Wednesday's and Thursday's practice, because that's two weeks in a row. We need to fix that.

(Have you been changing personnel there with Peprah and Rouse nicked up?)

Really, changing personnel in special teams is really a challenge every team goes through during the course of the year. Injuries play into that. Scheme, offense and defense can sometimes factor into those decisions. We factor all three phases into it. We've been through that before in here as far as how your active list is formed, and special teams is a priority. That's what's disappointing about our performance yesterday.

(Do you make a scheme change there week to week or is it pretty much the same?)

No, there's not a dramatic change. It really comes down to fundamentals. I wish I could stand here and tell you it was a scheme issue, that we did too much or so forth. That was not the case. That is a strength of their football team. We knew going into the game that the special teams would play a factor into this particular contest, and they came out big in the field position.

(Is it foolish to think any personnel out there could help you at this point?)

Really, personnel acquisition, it's ongoing. That's why you have a pro personnel department. We talk about personnel around the league all the time. Will we be making a bunch of changes this week because of our performance the last two weeks on special teams? Probably not. We are going to change the punter today. So that is going to happen. But as far as anything else, I don't expect any other changes.

(Are you going to bring in some guys or do you have a guy in mind?)

We'll answer that question as we go through the week. But we're going to make the change today.

(Will you have one of the QBs hold?)

Matt Flynn will be the holder, yes. Matt Flynn will now be the starting holder.

(You've released Derrick then?)

He's going to be released today, yes.

(What was the final straw?)

Clearly a performance issue. We just tried everything that we could, and it's unfortunate it didn't work out. Just the ability to transfer it from the practice field to the playing field.

(What do you think happened there? I saw him do pretty well in practice.)

He has practiced well. No question about that. He's practiced very well the last month. But it's a performance industry. We all know that. And it did not transfer. And it was something that we felt that factored in some of the outcomes of our games, and we need to make a change.

(On the 2-point conversion, did you consider it was maybe too early and if you didn't get it, that one point might haunt you?)

No, I was thinking about getting the two points and tying the game up. What was it, five minutes left in the third quarter? Usually a common strategic landmark is the middle of the third quarter, some people use. That's when we start talking about it, in the third quarter. I thought at that time it was a pretty clear-cut decision.

(Do you regret cutting Ryan then?)

I don't want to go back. I have a lot of respect for every player I've had the opportunity to work with. Jon was a true pro, a very talented punter. Had a positive experience with him here. Wish Derrick the best too, as he moves on.

(When you look at yesterday, do you regret anything, like running Kuhn there, that you did? Do you ever do that?)

I think everybody that calls plays does that. You always go through it. You go through the last series, the first down call, the outside zone down to the 1, so you've got a goal-line offense and a goal-line defense. The second down play was really the one if I would change, I would change. The third down call based on the defense that we anticipated, we did get there in goal-line defense. Their coverage, their linebackers played us for pass. So you always second-guess yourself. I think that's human nature. But after reviewing the film, I'm comfortable with the call there.

(There's no way you don't take the points on the field goal there, right? You have to kick that?)

Well, I mean human nature tells you to think about everything. I thought about it. I was comfortable in the second down call, which I would have used on the fourth down call. I have a lot of confidence in the play that we had, actually two plays that I had in mind there. I definitely thought about it. But I think when you look at it from a pure big picture strategic standpoint, you take the three points, you're up 3 with 2 minutes left, you have to kick the ball, cover it and play good defense. We didn't get that done.

(What has undermined you more, the defense or the special teams, or is it 50-50?)

There's plenty to go around. That's what the essence of today's meeting is going to be about. We've got to be a little more physical in certain spots of our game the last couple weeks. I don't look ... when the offense isn't humming, the defense picks the offense up. No different than special teams. That's why they call it a team. Every phase needs to pick up the other phase when it's not going well. We're playing in lopsided football games the last two weeks, and that's hard to overcome, where a certain area has been way out of bounds, as far as our production against our opponent. That's what we need to get fixed. To overcome 200 yards of field position each game, that's a lot to ask of your defense, that's a lot to ask of your offense.

(Does it change the way you call a game, when you see the other team putting up a ton of points and you're getting in a track meet?)

I didn't feel we were in a track meet yesterday. I thought we were in a track meet in New Orleans, but I think the play-call situation dictated that. We stayed committed to the run throughout the game. Brandon did a nice job when he went in there and started us off in the second half with the big run right out of the gate. We have play calls for every situation; that's our responsibility. We were backed up, what, three times in the game; we have plays for backed up. You have to prepare for that. Field position is a big part of professional football. It's tough to overcome. We've proven that the last two weeks.

(Are you going to give Jackson some more opportunities?)

Yeah, we have treated Brandon pretty much like a starter here. I have no problem playing with Brandon. Ryan Grant is still the starter. He has a sprained thumb. He was having trouble holding on to the ball, so that's why we went the way we did in the second half. We'll see how Ryan progresses this week with his injury, but we have no qualms about playing with Brandon in all of the situations.

(I meant if Ryan is fine and ready, would you give Brandon more carries?)

We'll see. I think the week's work will dictate that, but Ryan Grant is still the starter.

(What's is Ryan's situation?)

He thinks he is going to have to have it splinted and wrapped, so it's going to take the week's work. My experience with hand injuries, particularly with perimeter players, you have to probably start with a larger splint and work your way down. The week will kind of spread that out and we'll see how he does

(Anybody else who's going to have trouble practicing this week?)

Yeah, we've got a couple of guys banged. Atari Bigby had a shoulder sprain, so I think he'll be out this week. Kenny Pettway, he had a ligament tear so we probably lost him for the season. Nick Collins will probably miss a little bit of time with a hip contusion, but I think he'll be fine for the game. Ryan Grant had the thumb sprain. Brandon Jackson had a quad contusion. Aaron Kampman had a quad strain. Jeremy Thompson will be challenged to make it this week; he had an ankle and a knee sprain. Scott Wells with the concussion, we've already talked about him. DeShawn Wynn is fighting through a calf strain, and Mark Tauscher came out of the game about the same as he went into it, so he felt it got better as the game went on.

(You have to win the rest of your games to make a run here. What gives you the most hope you'll be able to do that?)

I believe in our football team, number one, and we need to beat the Houston Texans. Everybody talks about one game at a time. We need to get better today with the corrections that we've had really the last two weeks. So we need to correct that and we need to have a good week of preparation. We need to go beat the Houston Texans at home. I hate to stand here and go through the coach-speak as you people like to refer to it as, but that will be the focus. Then when we beat the Texans then we'll go on to the next one.

(You won four in a row at the end of your first year. Anything you can carry over from then?)

We made more plays than the other team. That's what we haven't done. We had a lot of positive production in the football game yesterday, but we had some obstacles in that game that we did not overcome. They scored five rushing touchdowns against our defense. I don't think I have ever seen our defense give up rushing touchdowns like that in the red zone. We need to fix that. We've done a good job of making the opponent kick field goals down there, so those are all of the things that we'll address today. We'll take those corrections forward and we'll apply to our planning for the Houston Texans.

(The decision with Woodson, was that mainly because Bigby and Peprah were too injured to be effective?)

It was initiated with the medical situation of the safeties, and the second part of it was getting your best players on the field. Tramon Williams has played very well throughout the season, and the opportunity to have him in our base defense was something we felt would benefit us as we move forward. I thought Charles played well at the safety position. I think he is extraordinary when he is around the football, particularly the way he is scraping at it and trying to get it out on the two fumbles. So as we move forward, we'll talk about that again tomorrow, but I like what I saw out there in our secondary.

(From a technique standpoint, did Woodson play that last pass to Smith OK or should he have done something different?)

He's at the proper leverage. It's two good players going up for the football, and Steve made a good play on it. It's unfortunate, but Charles was in the right position.

(Was there a mistake on the other Smith reception?)

Yeah, we refer to that play as the triple post. Just the way it sorted out, there was a crosser and then they brought the two skinnys behind it. So as far as what safety was helping which, it wasn't a huge mistake. They got playing between the over and the post, but I thought Tramon was once again playing his upfield shoulder. I thought he was in good position.

{sportsad300}(What did you think of Brady as a pass rusher?)

I thought Brady did some good things in pass rush and we'll continue to use him in that spot. He definitely brings another element to our pass rush and we need to continue to keep working him.

(Kampman had two sacks. How does he continue to do this with not a lot of help?)

Aaron Kampman is a true pro. He works at his craft every day and plays with great energy. He's very technically sound, both in the run and the pass part. He doesn't get enough credit for how well he plays the run, but he's having another very, very solid year for us, no doubt about it. He's a Pro Bowler for a reason. He's been a staple for us and I think he's been very consistent. I think he's played the way he has always played since my time here.

(The five rushing TDs were all 1-yarders. Would you have been happy to stop one of them, or what's your expectation there?)

It's just like we talked about some other situations here earlier, red-zone defense, I'm not naïve to the fact that the offense might get down there. But once they do, it's about making them kick field goals, and we've done a good job of that. That wasn't the case yesterday.

(On a couple of those, the defenders weren't close to the ball-carrier. Were you set up OK at the snap?)

The one with Delhomme, Delhomme scored on the boot, or waggle. We call it waggle; we used to call it boot in the old offense. We overplayed the flow of the running backs. (Middle linebacker) was the contain player. We didn't get the wrap that we wanted, so our run gap discipline was not there. I'm trying to think of the other one where he bounced it outside. They blocked our support element. You try to anticipate inside or outside. We could have done a better job obviously.

(You were 5-1 last year in regular season games decided by one TD or less, 1-4 this year. Some people will say the change at QB is one reason why. Why do you think there's been such a change in that area of success?)

I don't think it comes down to one position. The quarterback position is very important; there is no question about that. Every game is different. There are different factors. We talk about different factors in here every week. We talk about explosive gains. We talk about turnovers, and we've had five turnovers in the last two weeks. Those all factor in. I don't recall being in three-point games and having minus-200 yards field position either. I just think it's convenient criticism if you want to just blanket it that, and those are the facts. I'm not denying that, but every game takes on a different face. I think you have to look at all of the elements that have happened throughout the course of a game. Our quarterback position I think has played at a very high level this year. I don't think it's an issue at all.

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