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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 15

(Is Clifton going to miss any time with those thumbs?)

I'll go through all the injuries. Chad Clifton, both thumbs. I think he'll be fine for this week, though, just talking with Dr. McKenzie. Tory Humphrey, concussion. We expect him to go also to Chicago. And Brandon Jackson had a wrist sprain, and we'll have more information on him at the end of the week, but they think he'll also make it to Chicago. Those are the three injuries from the game.

(A year ago you were telling the team their biggest challenge would be handling success. What sort of challenge are you facing now?)

Well, our immediate challenge is to win a football game, and that will be our focus as we move through the week and play our arch-rival Chicago Bears. That's really where our focus will be. As we go through the correction period today, we'll go through all the different outlines, the checklist and so forth to identify the problems areas, and we'll continue to work to step out of this hole that we've been in stuck in for the last month, and that will be our focus.

(In these last couple of games, do you need to take a look at some younger guys more?)

Our approach will be to beat Chicago. I'm not going to change the personnel or make roster moves to use this as a development game. Our full intentions this week will be to prepare to beat the Chicago Bears, to play the players that give us the best chance to win the game, and put them in position to win the game.

(Is it possible you overrated this team coming off a successful season?)

I don't think that way. I look at every opportunity, every team, it's a different team no matter if you have everybody back. I've had experiences in my past where I've been on a very successful team and then you keep the same players, you move on, and you either achieve that success or you don't because of different obstacles and challenges that you have. I'm in the fight, and I'm in charge of winning football games. And it starts with me. We haven't been able to get that done of late. But I have one mindset. I've said this since the first time I stood in front of everybody here in front of this microphone, and that's to win the next world championship in Green Bay. No one probably wants to hear about it right now, but that will always be the drive. Every season brings on new challenges. You have obstacles you have to get through, and the last four weeks we haven't done the things necessary to win a game, and I need to get that fixed.

(The instances of finger-pointing, does that concern you?)

Finger-pointing, I'm not exactly sure what you're referring to ...

(Brady and Al, Jermichael and Aaron ...)

I think a lot of that is competitive frustration. You can go down to any sideline, I'll just speak to our own sideline, you can go down the sidelines during the course of a game where you win football games by a big margin, you're going to have things happen. I learned that a long time ago in sports. What happens on the field, what's said on the field, stays on the field. I don't look at that as a mark of where we are. I understand how it's highlighted and what the perception may want to lead to, but hey, nobody is happy where we are. And I don't expect the players to be, and I know I am not also.

(So you'd be more likely to address the circumstances that led to the miscommunication than the way they reacted to it?)

I'm concerned about everything that's involved. When we're sitting here in Week 15 talking about miscommunication, that concerns me. It's been addressed with the team at halftime, and we'll go back in there today at 2:45 and go through every instance that happened yesterday. That's something that you need to move past. Now, does it happen in games? Yes it does. Is it highlighted now because we lost the game? Absolutely, and I understand that, and there's more frustration involved because we did not win. That's the reality of it. Sometimes things don't go as clean as you would like, but there's checks and balances built into every situation, whether it's a play-call from the boundary, a check at the line of scrimmage, that give us the ability to overcome those instances.

(Were you just beaten at the line of scrimmage, at the snap, on the second-, third- and fourth-and-1 plays?)

I would say we didn't execute properly. The second-and-1 was an inside zone, if I remember, we had a pad level problem there to the front side. The third-and-1, purely execution. If you want to say it, obviously it happened at the line of scrimmage, because we didn't get the 1 yard, so I guess the answer to your question is yes.

(What happened with Jermichael on the third-and-goal from the 5? Did he not get his head in the huddle and hear the entire play call?)

There was a timeout that was called and there was communication that went on based as a reminder going in. My understanding was he thought he said this, and he said that, and he didn't line up the proper place initially and the clock wound down, and we were in a situation where the defensive alignment coverage was going to factor in what we were going to do in that particular play. Without getting too detailed about it, that's what happened, and once again, it falls under the category of miscommunication. It's not OK. It's not OK. Those are the types of things that you coach for. When you're in the red zone as an offense, you're further away from your bench, it takes the players longer to get into the huddle. Those are all things you practice all the time. We are an up-tempo offense, so we want to be out of the huddle quicker and so forth, and take advantage of the line of scrimmage because it plays to the strength of our quarterback, and we didn't get it done on that particular play.

(Should Aaron or somebody call timeout there?)

It was getting close. I almost did. I almost called timeout there. But Aaron obviously felt, I think it was 2, 1 second. We were getting close. We obviously had the ball snapped, the formation set, so that was not the error, but you want to be under center longer in that particular, ... and actually, really the breakdown of the play was the execution part of it. Because the defensive look that we anticipated, it was there, there was just some fundamental things we could have done better on the execution part of it.

(After looking at the tape of the final drive, aside from the interception, would you like to see more of those throws to the boundaries instead of the middle of the field because of the time?)

It doesn't always just work that way. There are obviously other factors involved. I understand why you are asking the question, respectfully. Based on the time on the clock, the number of timeouts that we had, the play-calling intent was we were attacking the middle of the field. Crossing the 50-yard line is an important element of two-minute drills, so as far as where we were attacking and where the ball was thrown, there are some things we can obviously do better.

(Was it something you saw with the defense, to attack a weakness in the middle, or is that just how it developed?)

Based on the coverages that we were anticipating and the coverages that were called by their defense, we felt the middle of the field was our best area to attack at that particular time. Once again, because of the time on the clock, the number of timeouts that we did have, I think it was evident in the completions that we did have in that drill, the productivity that we were able to encounter attacking the middle of the field.

(The fade to Finley, was the throw OK?)

It's just like anything else. When you go through grading periods, you could see both guys doing a better job, whether you want a higher throw or a little more anticipation. I don't know if you guys get to see that part of practice. It's something he does very well. He's an exceptional athlete, but it's the reps between the quarterback and the receivers. It's a matchup that we thought was in our favor and we just didn't execute it very well.

(You're known for working with quarterbacks. What signs do you look for that somebody is losing their confidence, and do you see any of that with Aaron?)

Everybody is different. There are certain mannerisms I think people tend to express in different times, positive and negative that they go through. I think it is important to look in an individual's eyes at those particular times. To answer your question, do I think Aaron Rodgers has a confidence problem? No, I don't. I think that's reflected in the way he plays. If Aaron is guilty of anything, it may be being a little too aggressive. He made a lot of plays in that game. He made a lot of plays with his feet. He threw the ball well moving in and out of the pocket. The two-minute drill, and I understand it and he understands, that's what he'll be judged on and we need to do a better job of executing in that spot.

(Was the decision OK on the last pass?)

Yeah, I just thought the ball was high.

(The long pass to Northcutt to set up the final TD, was Nick Collins out of position there? Al looked like he was expecting more help over the top.)

I understand, but I haven't even corrected a lot of these things with our own players. We were in a zone coverage and we could have played that play a lot better.

{sportsad300}(Have you noticed guys taking chances a little bit? With all the interceptions you've had, are teams doing more double moves now to take advantage of guys jumping routes?)

I'll tell you, Saturday night I talked about it in our team meeting. I talked about the fact no one wants to hear about how hard you work because that doesn't do you any good, or how good your practice was. That doesn't count either I guess anymore, but it's really how you play in the games. I think we have certain spots in a game that we might be trying to do too much, myself included. I made reference to it in the Saturday night meeting, and I think that's part of it. You need to play the defense or play the offense called, play the technique in special teams that you are asked to do, because it all fits together. It's an 11-man game every snap and we do have some of that going on in our games. Guys are trying to do too much.

(Is that the definition of pressing, as guys try to break out of this funk?)

If that's the word you want to use. We're 5-9. We're trying to win a game.

(Since the bye, is there anything you look back on and ponder what you might have done differently, something to give this team a jolt?)

I think those are thoughts you have every day. You're always looking to keep your team on the path to victory. That's a 24-hour thought process. I would think that would be true of any head coach, and I'll continue to do that. I'm always trying to push the right buttons, and we're 5-9 and my name is at the top of that. I take full responsibility for that. That's the challenge. That's the beauty of our business; we have the opportunity to go out and compete on Sunday and try to change that. We obviously play on a Monday, and that will be our focus going forward. But I believe in our structure. I believe in the environment that has been created here. I believe in the opportunity for growth. We have had some opportunities that we have been able to overcome in the past. We're not overcoming those types of situations right now. Those are all part of things that have put us in a position today of being 5-9.

(With guys taking chances, is that a natural reaction to some of the injuries you've had, trying to make up for the absence of some of the playmakers?)

I think you have guys that are seeing things and trying to make plays instead of playing the technique, the fundamentals, and the assignment that they are supposed to. It all fits together. It's the same thing I learned a long time ago coaching quarterbacks. You can't stand up and applaud the quarterback when he takes a big chance and throws the ball through a key hole and it is a touchdown and then jump all over him when he does the same thing and it's an interception. It's the discipline and focus that is required of coaches to hold the players to. That's every challenge for every coach in every sport.

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