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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 23

(Is that something from the game with Collins' calf?)

Yes. Nick had a calf injury in the game. Just kind of swelled up on him yesterday. He did not practice today, and I don't think he'll go tomorrow. It will probably take the week to see if he'll be ready.

(Would you go with Derrick Martin there?)

Correct, yes.

(Are you getting used to not having defensive linemen in practice?)

I don't know if we're getting used to it. We're working through it. Our D-line has been nicked up here in the last couple weeks. I think by the end of the week I think Johnny will definitely have a chance, him and Cullen. Ryan took a step backwards, so we'll see what happens.

(Just in the few plays he had?)

The plan was just for him to play in the one personnel group, and we were only in it five times. That actually worked out well. I was hoping for him to play just in that one personnel and as a backup, and the least number of reps the better we felt for Ryan. But he's feeling it, and we're going to take a little more cautious approach this time.

(With Underwood back, does he go back in the mix in the dime package?)

We're working Underwood, Bell and Ford. When I do my inactive list every week, right there on the depth chart, we believe in having competition throughout the week. It's healthy. So all three of those corners will have an opportunity to potentially be up. We'll see how that works out this week too.

(But none of those guys is competing with Jarrett Bush in nickel?)


(With the receivers and tight ends you have, are you surprised at the number of drops you've had, and is it too many?)

Yes, we've had too many drops to date throughout the season. Whatever our rank is now, however that plays out. We have a very talented perimeter group, a perimeter group that gets a lot of notoriety. They've very productive. But there's not one individual in that room I would not consider that has plus hands. We need to catch the ball all the time, because they can, they have, and that's our focus as we move forward. It's something that we've kind of gone back and forth on all year, and we'll continue to work it and emphasize it and I believe it will be corrected this week.

(They all have that yards-after-the-catch mentality. Is that part of it, that they look to run before they've got it?)

Their drops are focus, and that would fall in line with your question. Yards after the catch, it starts once you catch the ball, and sometimes we do take off a little quick, and they do have good hands. If you watch them in the drill work, they all have exceptional hand-eye coordination. But there is a major emphasis on yards after the catch, and that sometimes has bit them a little bit, taking their eye off the ball.

(What kind of influence has Kevin Greene had on Jones and Matthews?)

I think Kevin has had a very positive influence on the young guys. They're doing it exactly the way you want them to do it, and he's played the position. Just to have, A, your coach that's someone that played the exact scheme with you from day one, I think it definitely helps the teaching curve. I've been very impressed with Kevin's approach. He's a first-year coach and he's done everything we've asked. He's got incredible passion. But I really like the way his position group works. They're focused, they're hard-working, and they definitely resemble their coach.

(What have you seen in terms of progress from Matt Flynn this season?)

I think Matt Flynn has clearly improved, just to watch the way he throws with the anticipation that he throws with now compared to last year, really compared to earlier in the year. His velocity improved. I saw that maturation throughout the quarterback school. He's throwing with more velocity than he did last year. His time clock is quicker, which it has to be from year one to year two. That's the biggest improvement that I've seen in quarterbacks when they go from their first to second year. Just the anticipation that he's playing with, and really running the opponent squad week in and week out against our defense is extremely helpful, because he's seen every pressure look that's in football, and the ability to have quality reps like that, I think he's really improved.

(Is there any hangover from Sunday's game?)

Obviously there's no hangover. We went to a different schedule. I addressed it in the locker room right after the Pittsburgh game, and we actually spent some time with the players on Seattle on Monday, which we normally don't. We introduced the Seattle Seahawks to our football team on Monday. Most of our players were here all day yesterday, so we really jumped into the Seattle game and I thought we had probably one of our better Wednesday practices. We were off the practice field almost 11 minutes early, so we were moving. We had a couple repeated plays, plus we shifted from inside to outside. I was very pleased with the work so far today.

(What are the points of emphasis with the Seahawks' offense and defense?)

We have some history with Seattle, and they've changed some. But offensively with Matt Hasselbeck, they're doing a lot of the same things based on personnel groups and so forth. You always start with the quarterback. I know Matt didn't have a particularly good game this past week against Tampa. But he's someone I know personally and here in the building we have a lot of respect for. The thing about Seattle, it really started with Mike Holmgren up there, is just the tempo that they play with. They do a great job of pressing the line of scrimmage, playing fast pace, holding your substitutions on the sideline. Those are the types of things. Schematically we go through it just like we do with every team. We feel that we match up well against their offense, and their defense is similar to what they've played in the past. We like our matchups, we're at home, it's an important game for us, and we're approaching it as such.

(Have you seen on tape that age or injury has caught up with Matt a little bit?)

He's been hit. I can see early in the season I think he had a streak there with the back injury. But there's a reason why he's played in the Super Bowl. He's seen it all. He's still a very crafty quarterback, so we need to make sure we're on top of our game, because he can still play at a very high level.

(Did you see that from him 10 years ago?)

I'll say this: Matt, 10 years ago, was probably as ambitious as of a young quarterback that I have had the opportunity to work with. He was here every day during the offseason. I thought we made huge strides from his first year to his second year, which in my opinion in the NFL is where you need to see the biggest improvement in player development. He took full advantage of the opportunity that he had and then went on to Seattle. I'm not surprised at all by his success, and he is definitely someone that you root for because of the type of person he is. He is a class act. He has earned everything that he has achieved, and he is still a damn good quarterback so we need to make sure that we are ready to go.

(After last year, you addressed playing better at home. Win Sunday and you're 6-2 this year. Are you happy with that? Do you think you're on the right track?)

It's OK. We have a great home-field advantage. We got stung there early in the season with Cincinnati and then obviously Minnesota came in here and beat us. 6-2 is better than it has been last year, but it's something that we'll continue to emphasize. We're just so fortunate to have the unique home-field advantage that we do, and our fans are definitely there every week. I know they'll be there this week. 6-2 is the best we can do, so that's what we are focused on.

{sportsad300}(You said Grant's TD run was a run-pass option. Do you feel Aaron's batting average is high with those decisions, and how important is that decision-making to your offense?)

Aaron Rodgers from Day 1, even in his younger years when he didn't play, you always felt that his decision-making was probably one of his biggest strengths. He's gifted physically, but we could not do what we do if it wasn't for his discipline and his ability to take in the volume of game plan each week and perform on Sundays. He is a very good decision-maker. Very rarely does he get outside the box. We have plenty of options for him not to get outside that box. It's clearly a strength of the way we operate. There hasn't been too many games where the minus decisions were just totally erratic or uncalled for. I am very pleased with the way he handles our offense at the line of scrimmage.

(That's different than having a quarterback call an audible, right? An audible is a completely different play?)

We ain't going there, No. 1, but No. 2, audibles and run/pass, they are all in the same family. Unless you are in the huddle or the offensive scheme, yes, they probably are the same, but there are differences too. Yeah, you can go change the play at the line of scrimmage. Yes, that happens, but we don't necessarily operate that way.

(You've talked about getting to 10 wins. Have you changed your message on that?)

Why would I? We're at nine wins. We need to get to 10 wins. Everything we want to accomplish will not happen unless we get to 10 wins, and that's been my message for the last month and I continued it today. The 10th win is our focus. When we get to 10 wins and then we'll talk. I think you need to keep your focus simple. We adjusted our schedule so the players could be with their families on Christmas. It's the right thing to do from a personal standpoint and I think it is the best thing for us professionally too because it gives them a chance to get their bodies, particularly get their legs back. We committed Monday and Tuesday, and I addressed that today. 10 wins was one of the points of emphasis, and 31 hours, the importance of starting this morning until the time we walk off the field, the amount of work that we need to get done. That's what you have to do this time of year. You have other potential distractions in front of you and you need to keep your focus tight. We're focused on the Seattle Seahawks because that puts us at 10 wins.

(I ask that because 10 wins might not get you in the playoffs.)

Well, what I have always said is let's get to 10 wins and then we'll talk about the playoffs. It's a two-part...that's what my message has been all along. You guys see the playoff scenarios. They change every week or they have the ability to change. New England didn't get into the playoffs last year at 11; I am aware of that. When you get to 10 wins then you probably start worrying about what is going on around you.

(Saturday is normally a mock-game practice right?)

Saturdays, normally we don't go on the field on Saturdays. We do our work in the gymnasium. It's a walk-through meeting day, but we're going to go down on the field on Saturday.

(On Monday you expressed your feelings about Mason and sticking with Jarrett in nickel. Why is it important to support guys publicly? Is there value in that for a guy's confidence if he's struggling?)

Yeah, I just think it has been my approach since I came here. I think you need to be direct on what your expectations are and the direction you are going. I don't think I have changed. What I have said privately to Mason is not a whole lot different than what I have said here in front of this microphone. He is a talented kicker. He has kicked at a high level. I expect him to have a long career here in Green Bay and we're giving him the resources and the opportunity to do that. He needs to pull through, because he can, and I fully believe that he will.

(What gives you the confidence you have in Bush? He's been rather up and down since '07?)

Yeah, it's also Jarrett is definitely a player that his primary responsibility has been on special teams, and now he has a primary responsibility on defense. It's always easy to be critical of a player when you see a big play go over the top of his head, but I also take those opportunities to look at myself and how are we using him. Are we asking him to do too much? Those are the type of things that you look at through the course of a game plan because at the end of the day we've got to make sure we're giving our players the chance to be successful, whether it's 10 snaps or 40 snaps. That's the way we look at. We definitely feel that it's something we can move forward with because if we didn't, we wouldn't go in that direction. I have all the confidence in Jarrett that the things we ask him to do, he'll be successful.

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