Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 18

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s Monday 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 update. Atari Bigby still has a hamstring, and he'll be questionable for this week. Chad Clifton was in today for treatment, shoulder, he'll be probable. Donald Driver continues to be probable with his shoulder. Charles Woodson, same thing, shoulder, probable. Nick Collins also had a shoulder in the game. We're going to list him as probable. David Martin with the ribs, he will be questionable. Ruvell Martin, we're going to practice him tomorrow and see where he is, and he'll be probable. And Mark Tauscher will also practice tomorrow, and we'll list him as probable. With that I'll take your questions.

(Will Tauscher be in the starting lineup or do you work both those guys?)

I really want to see how he's doing. I would anticipate, the way he felt last week in limited reps. But if he shows he's full go and is comfortable, yes, he will be in the starting lineup.

(How happy are you for Jags and at the same time how challenging does that make things?)

As far as Jags' situation, we're game-planning for Minnesota. Frankly, I'm not comfortable talking about what will or what could. That's not my place. But like I've stated before, the Green Bay Packer organization fully supports him, and I think he'd be a strong candidate, so whatever works out, we'll see what happens.

(A number of media reports have already stated he got the job.)

Like I've already stated, this is not my place.

(Regardless of who your offensive coordinator is, will you keep the zone blocking scheme?)

Our zone blocking is what we are running the football. That's what we'll be this week, and that's what we'll continue to do in the future.

(With the playoff picture so murky, is all you can do control your own business and your own preparation?)

We have an excellent challenge playing a game on a short week. We're playing a rival game versus the Minnesota Vikings, and that is clearly our focus. We've got a big challenge tomorrow. The guys are in here today, conditioning, doing everything they can to get their bodies back. Our plan for tomorrow is to cover all our different situations, starting with the base all the way through, getting that in, and frankly trying to get their bodies back, and reviewing the game plan Wednesday and getting ready to play Thursday night. I talked about it a little bit yesterday in yesterday's press conference, we need to clearly focus on one day at a time. That's where we are as a football team, and I think when we accomplish that, good things happen, and that is our focus.

(Did you play any Thanksgiving games earlier in your career?)

I played in two of them. Played one in '95 against Dallas, and I played one, I want to say later, or maybe it was '94, or '96, one of those two years. I've played both Detroit and Dallas. I went back, looked at those schedules. I think really, it's like anything, what kind of shape is your team in health-wise. Where are you as a football team as far as experience. In my view, you have to make a decision where you lean towards. I know some people have practiced more, some have practiced less. Those are conversations you have. I think the priority is getting their bodies back.

(So is tomorrow the only normal practice day?)

Yeah, it's really kind of a combination of Wednesday and Thursday as far as, we'll do more situational things, and Friday is more of a jog-through, just to hit everything because like I've stated, I think it's important to get their bodies back.

(Where do you think you are health-wise?)

I would say we're probably average, normal. We've just got a lot of guys nicked. I think everybody's going through that. You have a number of guys, through the course of the year, if you look at our IR list, it's high, higher than I've been around in most cases. But the health of our football team, I think we're in pretty good shape.

(You mentioned yesterday you did some accelerated planning for the Vikings last week and it might have shown up a little bit offensively. Did that turn up on film?)

That's something that won't turn up on film. Frankly, it's an excuse, but I'm just being honest. I think when you put a little more in than normal, maybe it does add a little more stress. The fundamental mistakes we made offensively is something we need to definitely get cleaned up. To have some of that at this point in the season, I'm not very excited about.

(Did you do more pulling with the offensive line yesterday?)

When we do our run game, when you install it in the off-season, we break everything down as primary runs and secondary runs, things that are your staple. The pulling we did in this game was really a primary pattern scheme that we went into the season with. But with the number of new guys playing on the offensive line, we really leaned more toward the lead zones. But to answer your question, yes, we pulled I want to say six or seven times in the football game.

(Was that because of something Detroit did or just because it's later in the year and you can try new things?)

It's a combination of things. Schematically, we felt that just based on the way they set their front, you like the angles, you like the match-ups. Just normal things you do when you go through when you do game plan, so that was a big part of it. Also you can't be naïve to the fact that you just can't line up and run the same thing every time too. It's a combination of game-planning, self-scout. I think Daryn Colledge and Jason, and even our tackles for the most part are athletic football players that can handle being out in space.

(On such a short week, how do you handle Minnesota's questionable quarterback situation?)

Well, that's a challenge. Anytime you play a new quarterback, when they're physically diverse from the starter, that's a challenge in itself. Yes, he's young, he's inexperienced, but also he's got a very strong arm, he's very athletic. So that is a challenge because it does affect the way you may set your edges and things like that when you get into defensive game-planning. But yeah, that's part of our challenge this week.

(What would it take in your mind to consider this a successful season?)

Really, you look for growth. The ultimate growth of a football team is winning a world's championship. That's the ultimate, I'll never back off from that. That's a standard that was set here. But for me to sit here and settle for anything less, I don't think that's the right message. I think those are questions that are better answered when all the facts are in, when we go back and look in every area, look at the progress, look at why. I think that's a pretty open question, frankly. I think that's better answered at the end of the season.

(How do you handle Ahman and Charles when they usually have Wednesday and maybe Thursday off?)

Yeah, they're usually practicing when we've already played, so that's a challenge. Those guys are going to have to bounce back. We tried to be smart with Ahman's reps this past week. And also Charles, he's fighting that shoulder. That's an ongoing battle. He hasn't missed anything to date and we expect him to be out there Thursday, but it's definitely a challenge.

(Will you rest them tomorrow?)

Correct, yes.

(Is this one of those games where you'll play all those younger guys, like you did in San Francisco?)

I think you have to go the other way. We have to do everything possible to win this football game. The communication during the game is critical. It's always critical. Anybody can fix it Monday morning or when they're talking about adjusting schemes, or hey, I really wasn't good enough to go, I should have gotten out of there. No one wants to hear that the next day. We know the particular stress points, whether it's health, scheme, whatever we're talking about. We need to make sure we're on the same page.

{sportsad300}(How is this Monday different from a normal Monday for the coaches?)

It's a challenge just the way we scheduled it. As a staff, the guys have started doing their individual sections on Thursday, and spent Friday afternoon and evening on that. A lot of their individual projects and the different things they worked on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and actually we had some guys come back last night and work, so it really gave us a chance to come right in here this morning and jump right into the group game-planning aspect of our plan, and that's what we've been doing all day. So we're in for a long evening, and we need to get it all in tomorrow. We're going to spend a little more time with the players than we normally do. We're going to keep them here a little longer. So we'll have everything in and cleaned up by the time they get out of here tomorrow night.

(Do you watch the film as a group, yesterday's game, or do you gloss over it?)

We have to put that on the back burner. We'll take the plays, particularly on offense, we'll take the plays we need to clean up. We'll address that as a group. But our time needs to be spent on Minnesota.

(Is Jagodzinski in the building today?)

Jeff Jagodzinski is in the building. He's been here all day.

(Will he be here through Thursday?)

You guys are killing me. It's not my place to talk about. Good question, though. I like the angle.

(When a guy has an opportunity to advance his career, does he have to finish the season here first, or how does that work?)

Yes, that's all been discussed, you do that with all your assistants. That's something that's a general, I think it falls into your policy-type thinking, and everybody is aware of that. Everything that's done around here, whether it's coaching or any other area that has a chance to move on will be done in the best interests of the Green Bay Packers. We're not going to short ourselves whether it's getting ready for Minnesota or the next week.

(Did you start working with the zone-blocking scheme in Kansas City with Alex Gibbs?)

Well, we were not really ... this form of it or the way it's trained is really the difference between this particular system and other systems. It was really something he took to this level in Denver. But as far as a lot of the base, the foundation of it, I worked with him two years in Kansas City in '93 and '94, it was nothing like this. So, I just think as a whole, when we were installing the offense, we were going to be some form of zone blocking. But as you start to build it and you start to get into player evaluation, the draft, things like this, that's when we really made the full decision to go that way. You have to draft to it, it takes a certain body type, and with our youth and the experience that we have, I think it really fits us and is something we can build off of. But you still need the pattern schemes in my opinion to counter-act some of the defensive adjustments to the lead-zone scheme.

(But once you're on this path, you don't change because someone (leaves)?)

Not at all.

(Is the zone scheme Philbin coached at Iowa the same?)

It's similar to what I've done in the past. It's more the inside zone schemes. But this is unique in the particular way it's trained. It's different, this is different than what they did at Iowa, to answer your question.

(How much of a foundation do you have laid with this thing? Do your players and coaches know it well enough?)

Absolutely. I think the offensive line room, the structure is as good as I've ever been around. I think we've got five line coaches on staff. Jeff Jagodzinski is a line coach, Ben McAdoo has experience as a line coach, Joe Philbin is obviously a line coach, James Campen is a line coach, Jerry Fontenot is also a line coach. And that's something that with the ability to bring Jerry on, I thought it was a very important hire, because that's a very important room. I've said all the time, the foundation of what we do here in Green Bay will be clearly based on the success of our offensive and defensive line. The structure that is in place, the way the job responsibilities are broken up, I feel very good about that. I wasn't looking for five, my goal was to have at least three, because I know where my strength and my experience is, and that's something that I needed to be, OK, we're going to be fine over there. That's something we definitely have in place.

(How important is it to have everybody on the coaching staff here the day before a game?)

It depends on what the schedule is. I guess it's important.

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