Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 21

(How did Pickett do today?)

He was in the rehab group today. I have not gotten a report on how his rehab went. He was there for the jog-through and then he came back up top for rehab.

(Is it a tough decision with him, not wanting to make it worse?)

He's ready to play. He feels very good about the progress that he's made throughout the week. That's something with 48 hours left to the game that we need to be smart with. Ryan wants to play, he feels that he's ready to play, and Pat McKenzie is a little more cautious at this point. We'll take him all the way to the game because we still have two days left.

(What do you lose if Ryan's not in there?)

Very consistent, very good player for us all through last year and again this year. He's clearly the anchor, the two-gap. You talk about staying square, all the basic fundamentals and technique that are important in playing defensive tackle, particularly in the run game, I think Ryan Pickett is a perfect fit for our system and has played at a very consistent level for us.

(If the field is wet, does that reduce your chances of playing him?)

That's something you factor into it. The weather report seems to be changing the last day or two. I know earlier in the week they told me between 8 and 10 mile-an-hour winds, and now they think it may be higher. You have a weather pattern that's supposed to come in. I was also told it was supposed to be 40 degrees down there tomorrow. So those are things, that's why you go over there early in the morning and you make those calls at the stadium.

(Do you have any thoughts on putting Franks on IR or is he still making progress and getting closer?)

Bubba has made progress throughout this past month. We've had some up and down periods on his progress. But that's something you considered all the way through, if we thought it was going to be this long. He had a very positive day today. He felt very good this morning. All indications are coming off the practice field, he kind of gave Pepper a thumbs-up as we were walking off the field there. The big decision for Bubba will be really how he feels in the morning. We'll see how he is.

(What's impressed you about Justin Harrell's work ethic?)

Justin's a young, improving player. I think you just look at his performance the last two weeks. He's like a number of our younger players, he just needs an opportunity, particularly in live reps. So he's made progress, and if Ryan doesn't play, this will be a big step for him because obviously his reps will increase.

(Looks like it turned out you needed all those D-linemen you kept on the roster.)

Absolutely. We've been fortunate to have our injuries occur at a position where we have a lot of depth. Injuries are part of the game. But definitely, it has worked out to our strength. But going back to the 53-man roster, we kept 11 linemen because we felt those 11 players were part of our best 53 players coming out of camp.

(Can you describe what the coaching staff does to make sure substitutions run smoothly during the games, particularly with the perimeter players?)

Every football team has a network of communication. We're no different. I wouldn't say we do anything different. Just the same way everybody runs similar plays, it's just how you train it and the urgency and the importance we put on that specific function of our offense. I think Jimmy Robinson and Edgar are two of the key guys as far as substitution during the course of the game. I think they do an excellent job of communicating that.

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