Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 13

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

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OK, I'll start with the injury report. Mike Montgomery did not practice today. He's declared out for the game. Mark Tauscher did not practice today. He is doubtful, probably try to do more with Mark at the end of the week. Atari Bigby did not practice. He's questionable with a hamstring. Donald Driver did not practice. He's questionable with a shoulder. David Martin did practice with his ribs condition. Ruvell Martin did not practice because of the chest bruise. He's questionable. Ben Taylor did practice. He still will be questionable. Ahman Green and Charles Woodson are on their normal program, Charles with the shoulder and Ahman with his knees. And Scott Wells was ill today and did not practice. With that I'll take your questions.

(What do you do about struggling at home as a coach? Is there anything you can physically do about it?)

It's been recommended to put them on the bus before the game and drive around the parking lot and pull in, but I don't think that's going to do it. We've talked about all the potential distractions, reasons, but frankly we need to play better. I think you can make too big a deal of a problem, and that's what you're potentially going to have for as much as we're talking about it. We just look at certain things, pre-game, you have to look at your schedule leading up to it, the difference between home and away. We talked about it as a football team, but I fully anticipate us playing better this week. And we just have to keep emphasizing it, find different ways to emphasize a problem and try to create solutions to solve it.

(So you don't want to talk about it too much but you have to emphasize it?)

Well, I'm talking internally. I can't control external conversation and things like that. But I've addressed it, and we may try to adjust a few things. But the bottom line is how you play. If there's anxiety, whatever all the potential problems are, it still comes down to playing football, and we need to do a much better job of playing at home.

(What did you see of Cullen Jenkins at end on Sunday?)

Cullen played very well. He was one of the defensive game ball recipients this morning. Really, it's the combination of using all those guys. We've done it, as far as the rotation with the tackles, but it's really using that whole line, particularly these next two games. Playing two games in five days, we're going to try to spread it out as much as possible. I know a lot's been made of it, and I think some of it's unfair to Kabeer. It's just a matter of trying to utilize the depth that we have there, and Cullen did a real nice job with his opportunities.

(His size helps him?)

His size? He plays with good leverage. He's one of those guys who can be a very active three-technique in pass rush. He has the unique ability to go inside and outside.

(Is he one of those guys who has the intangibles, being an undrafted guy?)

He plays with excellent tempo. He has a lot of desire, that probably stems from where he started in the league. He's a very instinctive football player. He does a good job getting off blocks and separating. He's very active and I think that plays in his ability to play inside and outside.

(As a coach, do you like guys like that who have to work that hard to get where they are?)

I can relate to that, yes. I think it's important sometimes to get knocked down in your life or your path to where you're going because that's what this league is all about. There aren't too many people who have the ability, or the reality of walking through an NFL career without encountering adversity. I think it's excellent experience in their past that you'd like to see everybody have before they get to this point.

(Is it possible you could be without Montgomery the rest of the season?)

It's possible, yes.

(Did your inside pass rush suffer at all with Jenkins outside?)

I don't think so. With Corey, and Pickett has had a very solid year. No, I don't think so.

(How did Kabeer handle the situation?)

We've talked about it a couple times, and once again it's not really that he was doing a poor job or anything like that. It's just spreading him out and trying to give him more opportunities and keeping him fresh for what he does best, and that's rushing the passer. But by no means do I think when we watched the film and his grades were reflected, that he was the reason why our run defense wasn't what it was earlier in the year. Once again, that's the position where we have the most depth. It also gives us the ability to get John Jolly up, who I think has done an outstanding job as a young guy working the past five or six weeks in practice. That's all part of trying to spread that out and give guys opportunities.

(Are there other opportunities spread out to other position groups aside from defensive line?)

A lot of times what happens as you go through preparation during the week for a football game, unfortunately a lot of times you may practice something that the game doesn't reflect that. Also, other positions have injuries and there are other factors. Once again, John Jolly is a guy that's being given the opportunity. Cullen and Corey moving outside. Charlie Peprah and Jarrett Bush in the back end, Atari Bigby, have been given a lot more reps. Donald Lee, Zac Alcorn, those are all guys that have been given opportunities. But whether that carries over to what actually happens in a game, that's to be seen.

(Who else got a defensive game ball?)

Al Harris.

(On the play where Hawk picked off the pass to Davis, how many linebackers make that play?)

That's a big-time play, I couldn't tell you how many do. The ball was thrown with very good rhythm and velocity. It's a four vertical scheme that they're trying to attack. And his ability to get his head around, number one, and then also the instincts and the ball skills to catch it, that's a big-time play, there's no doubt about it.

(How would you assess his rookie year?)

Oh, I think he's having a good year. When you have the opportunity to go back and look over a 16-week season, you're going to see a lot of positive things. He's had his share of things he needs to learn from and will learn from because of the type of player and the type of person he is as far as his work ethic and the way he goes about his preparation both in the weight room, in the classroom and so forth. But we're very happy with where A.J. is right now.

(Did you learn more about your own team from the Jets game to the 49ers game?)

Well, we rebounded. We have the ability to overcome adversity. That's something that this team really has done throughout the year. We've had two segments in our season that didn't go very well and we bounced back from that. I think the most important thing is what we do with the San Francisco game. How does it carry over to Detroit? How does it carry over to these next two home games? That's the part of stacking success that we're looking for. They work hard, the energy has been good. They're trying to get better. The experience is coming. It's refreshing to look back and watch us play against Detroit last time, and as we get ready, coming off watching us against San Francisco, and you go wow, we have improved in a number of areas. But it still comes down to performing. We just have to continue to keep working, and our preparation needs to equate to a good performance, and that's what our goal is this week.

(With three division games to finish the season, do you look at this as how you stack up for next year?)

I really do think you need to take it one game at a time. Those are conversations for after the season. It's easy to swing high and low, and San Francisco was a good victory. But once again, I really want to see how we take this into Detroit, and with success in Detroit take it into the next one. So it's part of the growth that we're looking for. These are three big games, no doubt about it. We're at the point in the season where we've had some opportunities we didn't take full advantage of, and we have to take full advantage of this opportunity Sunday against Detroit.

(Has Al Harris been your defensive MVP and leader back there?)

Shoot, we can talk about that after the season. He had a good game this week.

(Many of Detroit's stars are out, they seem to be going nowhere, what are you looking at with them?)

Well, you have to look at the film. I'll say this about Rod Marinelli - they're playing hard. You just turn on the film, and it doesn't reflect 2-11. This isn't trying to get our football team ready. We sat and watched the film today. I think they're ranked fourth in the league as far as the number of fumbles that they cause, and you can see they do a very good job of low tackling. They play with a lot of energy; don't give up too many big plays. You have to go the distance on them to score points; that's what the past has shown. There is a lot of energy that they're playing with. They're in almost every ballgame if you look at the scores, though I know they got behind in the last one at Minnesota. Offensively, they're going to challenge you with shifts and motions and things like that. I know their backs are out, but they go and replace them with guys that have been in this system. Kitna has had big performances, and he's a guy I think does an excellent job running that system. Roy Williams is a big player. I think Pollard is a match-up that you have to be cautious of. Once again, people want to talk about IR, injuries; it'll still be Lions-Packers when they kick the ball off. We're looking for a high-energy game; this is a division game. By no means do we think we're going to go out there and play a 2-11 football team.

(You said after the game that losing is total misery and winning is like a relief. Why is that?)

I should be asking you that question. The truth to that is frankly, Monday, I calculate that off the way my Mondays go. When it goes the other way on you, your Mondays are forever. There's usually more fires to put out, you really never get started on that next opponent until probably 8, 9 o'clock at night. Where when you do win, you come in, everything's smooth, and when you have the victory Monday with the performance we had, you're able to get on to the next opponent by dinner time and things like that. It just seems like when it goes the other way, the game takes forever to get out of your system and it's harder to move on to the next game. Where when you win, I know for me personally, by dinner time I'm off and running on the next opponent.

{sportsad300}(Your team in San Francisco last year was killed by injuries, and they were here as well. This year you've been lucky in that respect. Is there something you did differently, or is that just fluky on a year-by-year basis?)

The one in San Francisco, I've never been around anything like that before. I'm not exactly sure what the stats are, but I actually learned about it when I came here because someone brought it up to me. I didn't realize it was that bad. I think it was one of four times in the league that a team had over 100 starts missed by their players during the course of a year. I know they went through the change out there also, in their strength and conditioning program, their approach, and how they're going about things. I don't know what their injury situation is this year compared to last year, but I assume it's a lot better. I think that's part of it, but I don't think that's just the answer. It seems like injuries kind of come in bunches, you have the injury of the year. The Lisfranc injury seems to be a common injury this year, and we've had some hamstring pulls late in the year that are uncommon. I just think as you move forward when you have things like that, you want to try to stay ahead of it, and you can the way you train in the off-season and in training camp and in season and so forth. I think your strength and conditioning program is part of it, but frankly part of it's luck too. Sometimes you just have those freak injuries you can't really do anything about, so I don't really have a definite answer for that.

(How do you address coaching vacancies when one of your staff members might be leaving?)

We're all professionals and we're all paid to do a job for the Green Bay Packers, and that needs to be our priority and our focus. But I've talked about Jeff's situation before. I'm pro-career advancement, and will support him and help him. But he knows and everybody else knows I'm not here to talk about other job searches and things like that and create distractions to our football team. We're about winning this week and beating the Detroit Lions, but as far as when you're put in that situation, we'll accommodate. But still, the focus is on winning and everybody is aware of that.

(What makes you think he'd be a good head coach?)

I just think he has a number of the qualities that you're looking for - communication, knowledge, work ethic. I think he'd have a good personality for college. I haven't been in the college game for a while. And partnership, with the gentleman up there that's doing the interviewing. I think those are all key factors that make him a good candidate.

(How are the wide receivers doing and when did Ruvell get back?)

Ruvell had kind of a travel nightmare with some plane issues, but he's back. We're just being safe until we have to do more testing. Anytime you have something like a bruise in that area, we're just being smart. Donald is sore, but we all know Donald. He says he's OK but we're just being smart with him. And frankly, it's a good opportunity to get some of the young guys some work. I thought we had a good day. Greg Jennings took his full share of reps today. He's still lingering, with the lingering ankle injury, but I thought they had a good day of work.

(Is Holiday ahead of the curve at this point?)

Very bright man. For him to come in and jump in there and play primarily the split end last week. We've forged ahead and he is learning or has learned all three positions. He's picked it up pretty quickly.

(What other options do you have beyond Holiday?)

You have players that you're looking at that are here and players that we're looking at that are also available. We'll continue to work that as we always do.

(Entering training camp, Noah Herron was probably fourth on the depth chart. What did he show to get to stick around?)

When you mention Noah the first thing that jumps to mind is he's very flexible, has a little versatility. He's done a real good job on special teams, particularly of late. He's played at a high level, had the big play on the one kickoff return. Third-down protections, he has a very good feel for the passing game. He has run the ball better than I saw in pre-season. I think he's made the most of his opportunities. I think Noah is just a very sound, fundamental football player that's good in every area. He's very bright, and you have a lot of flexibility as far as moving him around, if we want to do more of that. Smart football player.

(Are you more hopeful or optimistic about David Martin being ready this week?)

Yes, he practiced today and I really want to see him go through the week of practice. But yes, I'm definitely hopeful he'll be ready.

(How disappointing has that been, with the good start he was off to the first half of the season?)

Once again, injuries are part of the game. I don't even sweat them. When I view injuries, you feel bad for the individual, but as far as the football team, it's part of the game, it's part that everybody has to go through. Some people have to go through it more than others. It's really just opportunities for other people to step up.

(In red zone and goal line offense, do you have an identity at this point with plays you're confident are going to work?)

When you get into situational offense, the way I view it in game-plan situations, red zone is a situation, and then goal line becomes a situation, and frankly how the defense responds to your particular personnel group and what yard line it is. Maybe it's the 5, maybe it's the 4, maybe it's the 3, those are all factors that are involved as you forge through your game-plan process. It's not really, for me to sit up here and pound my chest and say we're going to run the ball every time on the goal line, that's not accurate. That's not where we are with our program. Really, the other side of the ball dictates, doesn't dictate but is part of what we're going to do down there, and who we have up that week factors into what we're going to do down there. Same thing in the red zone, same thing on third down. The depth chart, tendencies, self-scout, their tendencies, all those things factor when you formulate a game plan. I don't know if I answered your question.

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