Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 14

(Did Bush hurt his calf on the sideline on Sunday, avoiding a play or something?)

I couldn't tell you the specifics of it, what play. But he was injured during the game.

(Who takes his spot then?)

We'll find out Sunday. They'll all play.

(Can you talk about the example Chad Clifton sets with his durability?)

Chad does a great job getting himself ready during the course of the week. He's had a shoulder this week. Does all the extra as far as treatments in the training room. He's a very skilled player for us at left tackle, and the way we're designed offensively as far as our protection schemes and so forth, you have to have a left tackle with his ability. He gives us great flexibility to do some things where we don't have to help him or slide to him a bunch. He's able to handle their primary pass rusher pretty much week-in and week-out.

(How does he help the younger offensive linemen?)

Chad and Mark Tauscher do an excellent job with the younger players, and really that group has really grown as far as cohesiveness. You can really see that happening throughout the offseason. Good veteran leadership in that offensive line room.

(With Franks, you don't want to rush him but you want him to get work in before the playoffs, so what goes into that decision?)

Bubba is just not all the way back. I really don't know how else to better describe it. I know Wednesday he felt very good going into the practice and then went downhill a little bit yesterday. He just cannot get over the last hurdle right now, and like I've said before, we're not going to put someone out there that's not healthy. Yes, I'd like for him to play, especially before we get into the playoffs. More for himself. I have a clear understanding how to use him and how we would use him as we move forward. I actually put some things in this week for him. But he's just not quite ready to go.

(What's causing Kampman's back spasms and who would you play there in his place?)

I don't know what's causing them, but he'll get treatment all the way up to the game, and we anticipate him to play.

(Is he here today getting treatment?)

Yes, he's been here all day.

(Going against Haslett, did knowing each other's tendencies play a role in that game last year?)

I didn't think so. I think Jim is an excellent football coach. He's an aggressive football coach in how he approaches the game, probably a lot like the way he played the game when he did play. But his influence was evident on the defense in New Orleans during our time there, and you can see it even moreso in his second year (in St. Louis). He believes in pressure. I think he would ideally like to be a 3-4 and play the way he played when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think that's his blueprint for success. He's blitzing at a very high rate, particularly the last 4-5 games. He's going to challenge us, and I wouldn't expect anything less from Jim. This will be an excellent contest.

(Is your thinking with Kampman an instance where you weigh the long-term versus the short-term, like you did with Woodson and KGB?)

I'm only as good as the information that's given to me. Dr. McKenzie feels he'll be ready to go Sunday, and if we do feel that we are putting him in jeopardy for the long-term, we'll definitely go another direction. We'll have a backup plan for that. But that's not my understanding based on the conversation with the medical staff.

(How do you view the Pro Bowl as a coach? Do you celebrate someone being picked? Do you downplay the importance of it to your guys?)

I think it's something you celebrate, acknowledge. It's an honor to be recognized by your peers. But it's a process that's not absolute as far as how you feel about how your particular players have performed. I think we have players in our locker room that clearly have had Pro Bowl years. Will they be recognized? That's really based on the process. But I think it's important to talk to those players, if you feel they are one of the guys that have played at that level that haven't been recognized. You just have to keep doing ... the success of your football team has a lot to do with that, no doubt about it. I think it was clearly evident with San Diego's season last year. It's an honor, I've coached in the game, it's a great event as far as the whole week, and I know the players really look forward to it.

(How was the focus and energy at practice this week?)

It's been excellent. I thought yesterday's practice was one of our better ones. I don't want to say it was (or) wasn't the best one, but our football team likes to practice. I think when you look at football players -- winning has a lot to do with this, don't get me wrong -- (but) you have guys that like football and you have guys that love football. And I think if you watch our padded practices, you'd say, "Boy, those guys love to play." They compete throughout the drills, especially when we get into the team periods, there's a lot of energy down there. I thought today's practice was a good practice. It's important. We need to play well this weekend. And this team is going to challenge us differently than some of the teams we've played here over the past month or so, so we need to go to St. Louis and play very well.

{sportsad300}(Grant leads the NFL in rushing since Week 8. Is this the effect of establishing the run week by week?)

This is how I view our offense. You want to be a little more balanced. You want to play with favorable down-and-distance. Our run game has given us that, and also, you want to have the ability to run the ball that many attempts. You get in the 30-attempt area a game because that in itself has the ability to wear on a defense, helps your pass protection, and there's a number of things that come off of that.

(Tracy White has been one of your key guys on special teams. Who's been picking up the slack for him since his ankle injury? Korey Hall?)

Hall played extremely well last week. I think he had five tackles on special teams. Desmond Bishop has done a good job with his opportunities. I just think our core players as a whole have been a lot more consistent than we were last year. We're getting a lot more productivity out of our core players and what's nice, and competition breeds this, the particular players that may have been inactive one week are out there competing for those spots. So it's kept the special teams a very competitive situation.

(How big an emphasis was that when you and Ted talked in the offseason?)

Well, I'd like to think it was an emphasis the first day we arrived. I think our inexperience, we talked about being the youngest team in the league last year, clearly the phase of our football team that was the most inexperienced -- and it showed up -- was our special teams last year. If you look at the young players that played on our special teams last year and now this year, it's night and day. With the productivity and the level they're playing at. I look at Jarrett Bush and Charlie (Peprah) and Jason Hunter and then John Kuhn and Korey Hall's come in as a first-year player. We've just done a much better job with the players that were here, improving them, and adding some good special-teams players. Tracy White has been consistent his whole time in his role.

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