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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 11

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s Monday press conference. will post these full transcripts after each of Coach McCarthy’s press conferences during the 2006 season.


Okay, I'll start with the injured players. Donald Driver had a shoulder, and we'll look at him and make a decision on his practice participation on Wednesday. Charles Woodson also had a shoulder. We'll probably treat him the same way we've been treating him with the Wednesday-Thursday schedule. Atari Bigby had a hamstring, and we'll re-evaluate him on Wednesday and see the significance of that. Greg Jennings had the ankle; I think we'll be fine there. Ruvell Martin had a chest bruise.

(Does Driver's injury bring his availability into question for this week?)

I don't think so knowing Donald and his history. He really sucked it up yesterday coming back, so we'll see. I anticipate him missing Wednesday, and we'll see how he feels Thursday.

(Is Ruvell Martin back in Green Bay yet?)

No, he's not back yet but it's just precautionary with the chest bruise. I'm just playing it safe, but we'll know more about him when we get back.

(How did Donald hurt his shoulder?)

I don't remember the particular play, but I want to say it happened in the second quarter. He went in at halftime. Actually, we had Donald, Greg (Jennings) and Charles (Woodson) in there at halftime. We were in the process of maybe losing all three of those guys, so I think it speaks volumes of all three of those guys returning because they all had significant injuries in the game.

(Any chance of Tauscher playing this week?)

I hope so. I think it will be close. I think if he doesn't make it for Detroit, I think it would be safe to say he'll be there for Minnesota.

(Has Charles Woodson's resilience surprised you this year, playing despite all the injuries?)

No, that's been his reputation. He is one tough football player. We help him schedule-wise during the course of the week. He's getting up there in age, and I think it's important, particularly for your skill position players that play as physical as he does. Donald (Driver) is the same way as he approaches the second half of his career. You just need to be smart with those guys. But he's (Woodson) going to play at all costs.

(Do you spend some time preparing for the Vikings as well this week, or is that just the coaches?)

More coaches, but I think it's important for us to implement it into the practice structure and the reps for Detroit. The offensive side of the ball is fortunate because the defenses for Detroit and Minnesota are similar. As far as our defense, they're playing two different systems of football. Whatever carry-over you can have, you try to maximize that and build it into this week's practice.

(How do you explain the difference in the road and home records?)

How can I explain it? I wish I could do something about it. We've talked a lot about the home field situation, and the conversation has traveled from one side of the spectrum to the other. The anxiety of a young team fulfilling the history of Lambeau Field, to maybe being a little spoiled, thinking you can almost go out there and play okay and still win the game. I think it's probably a combination of everything. We need to really buckle down. We need to win this football game. This is an important football game for our program, and we need to get that resolved because we have an outstanding home field advantage that we're not taking advantage of. We need to rectify it whatever the reasons are; frankly, I don't care. It's important that we really focus in and do a better job at home, bottom line.

(Are players pressing?)

That's what I'm saying. We've gone from one side of the spectrum to the other. That has been communicated. There is some feeling that it may go on, the pressure of playing at home to uphold the tradition. We need to get over that. We've had six opportunities, and we need to take full advantage of these last two.

(Were those conversations with coaches or with veteran players also?)

Throughout - I talked to a number of different players, coaches and people that have been around. Like anything, you can make too big of a deal about it, like I am right now speaking about it at a press conference. It takes on a life of its own. It's there; we're 1-5 and that needs to change.

(What did Holiday give you in the game?)

He did well. He was pressed into playing more than we probably anticipated when Donald and Greg both went down. He's a very bright young man. He did a nice job, a nice job on special teams so he'll probably get potentially some more opportunities in the next two games.

(How comfortable are you using him given the lack of depth at receiver?)

I may have no choice, but yes, he's done a nice job since he's been here.

(Did you use the no-huddle or muddle-huddle in the game, and do penalties and turnovers play into how much you use it?)

We didn't actually get to our no-huddle packages yesterday. We had the one semi-2-minute drill when we were playing it cautious before the half. We did not get to the no-huddle. Our goal was to play high tempo, which we do week in and week out, change personnel groupings. We felt there were some groupings where we had match-ups by formation and things like that, but we never got to our no-huddle.

(What does having the extra fullback do for you?)

Really, what he's asked to do. If you sit there and break down what we were doing schematically, the concept and the run that it fits into, the fullback position uses that technique or that particular block more often than the tight end does. (It's) just maximizing having two fullbacks, because a lot of times particularly early in the year, we would only have one fullback up. Just like I stated earlier, we have to continue using our players in the right way, and it was a productive personnel grouping for us yesterday.

(Did you use more motion before the snap yesterday like the Jets did to you the week before?)

The motions that we used yesterday were the same motions that have always been used in this offense. Everything we ran yesterday had been stuff that had been in training camp or installations. The two-fullback formation is really just an abbreviation of the two-tights, two-back formation. When you get into shifts and motion, there are two theories: there are teams that do some shifts just to shift. I've done that, participated in that. There are times when you use shifts and motions to gain something. Our increase in usage of the shifts and motions yesterday was clearly for game-plan purposes. They lost their quarterback on defense in Derek Smith, and Jeff Ulbrich is a linebacker I have a lot of respect for but he hasn't played mike linebacker. Things like that factored into our game-planning on why we did more than we did. On the other side, when you shift to shift, you can screw them up but you can screw your own team up. Our experience level on offense is something we pay close attention to. We did more of it yesterday but there are reasons why we did it.

(How effective was Jenkins in the run defense?)

He played well. (He's) a more stout player vs. the run. Cullen is up for a potential game ball for our defense, but he played very well in both the run and the pass.

(Do you wish you had made that change sooner?)

We talked about it earlier, if you remember. Cullen had the ankle bruise, so that's something that has been on the forefront for some time.

(The secondary seemed on the same page yesterday. Anything specific to attribute that to?)

We're doing a lot of the same things, and that's really a common thread with our football team. We're doing a lot of positive things, and still there's a number of things we need to correct. We didn't give up very many explosive gains, but 192 yards of the 340 was on explosive gains. That's what you have to get nipped. Communication is a lot better, their leverage, they're seeing it better. I think it really started up front. They kept the quarterback in the pocket most of the time, and that was an emphasis going into the game, setting the edges on the quarterback and making him beat us from the pocket, and it helped our secondary. We'll just continue to work and continue to get better.

(What broke down on Driver's two running plays?)

Just execution. Both of those plays should have been big plays for us. We had two shell defenses on both of those looks. Just the recognition on the backside on the first one. We refer to it as an 'MDM.' It's just poor execution. Those were big-play opportunities for us that we did not convert.

(So somebody missed a block or was blocking the wrong person?)


(Did KGB benefit from having Jenkins play the run?)

We felt so, just watching the film with the defense. He's a player, particularly in the pass rush. It helps his motor. He plays with a high motor, but it's like a boxing match. You take so many body punches in the run game it's going to slow you down in your pass rush. We felt it was effective.

{sportsad300}(How big was Al Harris' play when he ran down Frank Gore?)

Well, it saved us four points. It's a huge play. We had poor tackling on that play. I think we had three broken tackles on the run, and Al saves four points. Huge play, and actually Al is another candidate for a game ball. Al had an excellent game.

(What's impressed you about working with Al this year?)

I'll say the one thing, from the outside looking in, you always had respect for him as a bump-and-run corner, and now having an opportunity to work with him, he really has the ability to shut a guy down. He's so strong at the point. He gets his hands on them, and he's very physical, and he can run pretty much with anybody. Just very impressed with his ability to shut a guy down.

(What broke down on Vernon Davis' long touchdown?)

Poor tackling. We had a match, the match between the two linebackers was incorrect. And I would say there were probably three missed tackles on that also.

(He was supposed to pass from one linebacker to another in coverage?)


(Jon Ryan's punt in the second half that was low and right down the middle, that's not what you want there, right?)

That is accurate. Our punting as a whole was not very good yesterday, and that was one of them. Can we talk about some of the good stuff? We did win the game didn't we?

(Did Woodson have something wrong with his shoulder harness, or did he hurt it and get treatment on it?)

He's been wearing a shoulder brace. He's had some shoulder concerns, so they just adjusted him at halftime. With him and Greg both in, we talked about him staying up on returns. Actually the punt return was very well-blocked. We got him one-on-one to the punter. That was an excellent return for us. We need to score seven points there, but I was very impressed with the punt return.

(Did Tracy White blow up that kick return and make the tackle?)

Absolutely. Tracy had an outstanding game. He did throughout. You think of the punt he had for the minus-5 return, that's about as fine a special teams play between him and Atari Bigby that we've seen all year. Atari comes up and attempts to tackle the returner, and then reacts to the reverse, the guy on the reverse, because he wasn't sure who had the ball, so he tackled the guy on the reverse. And then Tracy comes flying out of the clouds and makes the play on the returner for minus-5. Tracy had a big game for us on special teams.

(You talked about giving guys opportunities last week. Were you impressed with how some of those guys performed and is it a signal to the team?)

Well, I'm not trying to send signals, we're trying to win football games. We're trying to utilize our players and create healthy competition within the course of a season. There's nothing wrong with that also. Cullen Jenkins fully took advantage of his opportunity yesterday. He played at an extremely high level both inside and outside, so I'm very happy with his opportunities. Donald Lee had a bunch of snaps, I think he was up about 30, 32 snaps in the game. He did some good things and had some opportunities we did not convert on. He did a nice job. You always plan for more. Johnny Jolly got his numbers, and Jason Hunter I think had one snap, so that didn't work out. But it's really the course that we're taking through practice and it's going to be very evident when we go into this Detroit game, because we're going to play two games in five days. This is something that is really on the forefront for us to take advantage of this week too, because we need to play more guys going into the Detroit game. But yeah, for the most part I think most guys took advantage of their opportunities. Charlie Peprah had an excellent game on special teams, so he did a nice job.

(What do you do with the schedule to keep guys fresher with the two games coming up?)

We'll stay at a normal week this week. Just like we talked about earlier, it's important we get the reps for Detroit, but to get the carry-over also for Minnesota. But we'll stay with a normal schedule this week and we'll go to a Thanksgiving type schedule for the Minnesota game. We'll be off on Monday, we'll practice on Tuesday and extended meetings and walk-through type things on Wednesday.

(Do you cut back on using pads this week?)

No, we'll stay the same. Wednesday-Thursday.

(Was your familiarity with San Francisco a factor at all in the game yesterday?)

It doesn't really happen during the course of the game. Your familiarity conversations occur during game-planning. You have an opportunity to go talk about the offensive line, with the defensive linemen, just more specific things, pass rush, things they've struggled with in the past, attacking their defense, things you recall them struggling with in practice. It's more in the personnel matchups where your advantages come. But personally I think that stuff is overrated. It comes down to playing the game, and we did a lot of positive things in that football game yesterday, but there's also some things we need to continue to clean up, and I'm talking about fundamental things. That's really what the football game comes down to. My contribution yesterday was more in just the familiarity with some of their players and some of their schemes, particularly their defensive schemes.

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