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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 21

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference Monday from the Lambeau Field auditorium.

I'll start with the injuries. Nick Barnett and Ryan Pickett may miss some practice time this week. Obviously Nick with the knee and Ryan with his hamstring tightened up a little bit. A number of our other players are nicked up, but don't expect them to miss Wednesday. But I'll have more information obviously when they come back here Wednesday morning. With that I'll take your questions.

(Is Johnny Jolly away from the team today?)

Johnny Jolly is in Houston today, yes.

(Is it just a one-day thing?)

I assume he'll be back tomorrow.

(The yardage through the air by Pittsburgh, do you look at that as an anomaly or was something exposed that other teams may look at?)

Well, if you look at our 14 weeks' work, it is an anomaly to give up that much production against our defense. I think the biggest thing you need to look at from a statistics standpoint, it starts with the big plays. They generated 366 yards off of 12 plays, so that's where you have to start as a defense in the evaluation of how and why. And like most times when you have a chance to look at the film and evaluate it, they're all things technical or assignment-wise that are definitely controllable by us. The players are in there right now correcting the film with the coaches, offensively and defensively, and we'll do that today and we'll actually move on to Seattle when they complete.

(So if you play another offense as potent as Pittsburgh, do you attack it differently schematically or do the players just have to make better plays?)

I think that's such a blanketed statement, just because they were effective. Who are their players? What schemes are we talking about? What are the matchups? Weather conditions. All those things factor into it. Obviously Pittsburgh has a pretty good handle on trying to attack this defensive scheme with all the empty and types of things that they did. Sub-packages is something that we've been playing exclusively in throughout the year. So none of this is really new, we just didn't do a very good job handling it as we did in the past. We knew going into the game that Ben Roethlisberger was very good at extending plays, and he extended a number of plays where he was able to create big plays. That was a focus of ours all week, and we did not get that part done.

(Do you need to change your nickel and dime defensive backs?)

Well, changing personnel frankly is not an option and it's really not an interest of mine. We've had our share of injuries like everybody. Tryouts are over. We've got game No. 15 coming up and we need to do some of the things that we didn't do very well yesterday better, and if we need to adjust some things based on who's coming in here and what the matchup is across from them this week, then we'll do that. We have answers for the issues that we encountered. We didn't handle it very well yesterday.

(Any thought given to more pressure on that final series?)

Well, there's pressure throughout, and the pressure call earlier I think concerned everybody. Rightfully so. After going through the film, I didn't on the field have an issue at all with the way we called it, even watching the film. We had a number of opportunities to end that game on that last drive, and play-calling was not the issue.

(Could you assess Jarrett Bush's performance as the nickel back since Al went down?)

Jarrett Bush, he doesn't always just play the nickel back. He's playing both corner and nickel. He gave up two big plays yesterday letting the receiver get behind him. That's a basic fundamental that you're not supposed to do. There's definitely some technical things that Jarrett needs to do a better job of. That was not his best game yesterday.

(Where are you with the kicking situation?)

Mason Crosby is our kicker. He will be our kicker moving forward. Zero interest in bringing in a kicker. I have all the confidence that Mason will fix the issue that he's had with missing the one kick a game. I know it doesn't do any good talking about it in here or publicly, but he's kicked the ball very well, and the two opportunities to make key field goals, he did not. They're technical things that he's fully capable of correcting, and that will be our focus. He's a very talented kicker, he's our kicker, he will be our kicker, and he will kick it through the uprights. That will be our focus as we move forward with him.

(Are you sticking with Jeremy as the holder?)

Jeremy, we'll stick with Jeremy with the holder. Just like I talked about yesterday, it was a change that was made more mentally for Mason, the punter, and everybody knows how the operation works. The punter and the kicker, they spend all their time together. There's more opportunities for them to work on it, based on Matt Flynn's other responsibilities in practice. This is really not an indictment on Matt Flynn or his holding ability. This is something that from a confidence standpoint we felt would help our operation. The ability to spend more time, like Mason and Jeremy do. That's a big reason we made the switch.

(Are you worried about Crosby's confidence level?)

Well, I'm sure he doesn't feel very good today. We're very honest, and I'm sure he would be too if he was standing up here in front of you. He needs to kick that ball through the upright there. That was an important field goal for us. To drive the football and come away with no points there, we've done it a couple times this year. It's a lesson that needs to be well-learned as we move down the stretch here. We're going into game No. 15, and he needs to do a better job of making key field goals. I think he's kicking the ball extremely well in the kickoff part of it. We're asking him to do more in that phase than he's done in the past. He didn't have a very good pre-game in Pittsburgh, and part of that carried over to that kick.

(If it were Week 7 or 8, would your thinking change on the kicker? Is it too late in the season to think about a change?)

That's really a hypothetical, and to go back to that ... I do, I have a lot of confidence in Mason, because I've seen him kick at a very high level, and he is very talented. He is relatively young in his career, and I fully anticipate we'll fix this and move past this, this stage that he's gone through. That's how I view Mason as part of our team.

(So do you think it's more of a technical issue or mental?)

That's an open-ended question.

(He's been missing from the right hash. Is there something he needs to adjust?)

When you watch the last two particularly, what he did from a fundamentals standpoint is something that is very correctable and something he has done later in the game. I would say if anything, without talking to Mason yet, his confidence probably took a shot yesterday and we need to help get him past that. At the end of the day, we'll have a great week of work and he needs to do a better job of making that key field goal. That opportunity is going to come in the game. There is nothing that we can do Monday-Saturday that is going to create that situation for him.

(Did you go into the game thinking it would be as pass-oriented as it was on both sides?)

It did not surprise me. We were obviously fully prepared for it. I think it was evident on both sides of the field. Both offenses were extremely productive. The second half was all about offensive production. It did not surprise me. I'll be honest with you, I was a little, not surprised, I was impressed on how well the playing surface was because I know they have had some history in the past. They have the high school, the WPIAL All-Star games, all four games in one day there and the field is always replaced after that. Anytime you have a field that is not in order for a couple of weeks, you potentially have some issues. But I thought the field was in great shape. I'm sure that had a little bit to do with it too.

{sportsad300}(Are you giving guys time off for Christmas? Have you changed anything for this week?)

We've adjusted that today frankly. The players are in there right now. They were in this morning with their weight training and conditioning phase and responsibility. We had a team meeting at noon. We'll correct the film and then we'll move on, we'll start Seattle. We usually don't start Seattle, the opponent team, until Wednesday. There is a lot of individual time that players can either come in Monday or Tuesday on their own. We're going to start that process today, and then with that we're going to encourage them to have some one-on-one time tomorrow in here, and once again moving on to Seattle. Our Wednesday will be very similar. We've added some extra meeting time on Wednesday. Thursday will be a full day, Christmas Eve, add a little extra time there, and then the players and staff will be off on Friday. So we've extended our work on Saturday. We're doing the same amount of work; we're just kind of moving it around, making it up here Monday, Tuesday and Saturday for the time that we won't be here on Friday. The players will be off on Friday.

(It's all about winning, but do you find value in a loss like that?)

I think you gain experience from every opportunity, and I think yesterday is an experience that we'll definitely be able to draw from as we move forward. You always want the victory, because with that victory comes that big chunk of confidence that goes along with it. It would have been very helpful to go into that environment, playing the defending world champions when they are basically on the ropes fighting for their playoff lives, and we did not get that done. But there are a lot of things in that game, and I just look at the one aspect of adversity. I think that has been a real strength of our football team. It's been a very important aspect of the way we have won games here in the last month and a half, and it was very evident in that game yesterday. So there were a number of opportunities that did get away from us, but we definitely responded time and time again to a very good football team playing at a high level, and those are the things that we'll carry forward.

(What can you say about Aaron's performance? Is that one thing to gain, his leading three touchdowns in the fourth quarter?)

I thought Aaron Rodgers played probably one of his better games here in Green Bay, just for the fact that the way it started. We had every intention of going in there and punching them in the mouth, and frankly I thought they punched us in the mouth there in the beginning of the game. I love the way our team responded and I like the way he just stayed steady. He never flinched. He had some adversity obviously with a couple of hits early, some dropped balls early, but I thought he was very consistent. He handled all of the pressure looks. I thought Scott Wells and Aaron, just from an adjustment standpoint in our protection scheme, did an outstanding job. I thought the protection unit was outstanding, starting up front with the offensive line. I thought Brandon Jackson played as well as any running back I have seen in pass protection. I thought he played at a very high level. That was a big day for Aaron Rodgers.

(The run-pass ratio was skewed. Are you OK with running the ball as little as you did?)

It's about points; it always has been. I think running the ball and throwing the ball statistically, it just makes you look at that area. I know you go through the run/pass ratios all of the time. We don't always play that way. We have a quarterback and an offensive unit that can handle a lot of adjustments at the line, and I think we're very good at that part of it. If it's running the ball versus a better look, we'll run it, and if it's throwing it versus a better look then we'll throw it. That's a starting point. Sometimes we line up and just throw it and sometimes we line up and just run it. The way the defense plays you when you are a multiple-personnel, multiple-concept, multiple-formation offense, has a lot to do with the direction of the game. Walking into the game I thought we would be a little more mixed run/throw the football, but the way they played us on first and second down, I thought we did a good job of attacking their defense.

(On that second series when Aaron got hit, was that a five-man pressure?)

It was the inside fire zone, middle dog cross, however you want to refer to it. I can't recall if it was just a three-dog zone. I would say it is a four-man pressure.

(Did you get a chance to review the Clay Matthews sack/fumble that was overturned?)

Yeah, I watched it on film this morning. John (Parry), the official, he gave me the explanation and said he had a very good view of it. Watching it on our tape, I was surprised it was overturned, but obviously they had different camera angles and so forth. He gave me an extensive explanation on the sideline and he was confident overturning the play. That's the way it goes sometimes.

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