Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 23

Ok I'll start with the injuries for the week. Breno Giacomini had an ankle sprain in Saturday's practice. He will be out for the week and for the game. Greg Jennings had a slight concussion, symptoms of a slight concussion. He might miss one day of practice. I anticipate him being ready for the game. Joe Porter, pretty much the same thing. Had a concussion in the game. I anticipate he may miss a day of practice and be ready for the game. Donald Driver had a knee contusion. He'll be questionable for practice. Spencer Havner had an ankle sprain but we'll see where he is tomorrow. I don't think he'll make practice tomorrow. Brandon Jackson, wrist sprain, same as last week. Korey Hall, I anticipate him being ready to go with his knee sprain. Justin Harrell has improved. I anticipate him practicing tomorrow with his hip. And Aaron Rouse had an ankle sprain, and I think he'll be fine for tomorrow's practice. With that I'll take your questions.

(You're 0-7 in close games that have come down to the wire. Something always seems to go wrong. Does the pressure get to your team?)

I do not see pressure as a problem for our football team in the fourth quarter. You look at the number of things that have gone right and the things that have not gone right. I wouldn't say it's individuals out there pressing or doing things outside of the scheme or doing things that are totally different than the way we operate. We've had some execution issues in some spots, and we've had some breaks go the other way. We've had opportunities to win games and we haven't converted them.

(When you look at that in totality, are there any conclusions you can draw about why it happens consistently?)

Conclusions? Well, it's important to take each week and we'll do it at some point as we get ready for the players coming back tomorrow - being on a short week, we're spending time today on Detroit - and evaluate all the things that went wrong and correct them and that's how you move forward. I don't think there's just one element of negativity that we can just say, OK, let's eliminate that and we'll be fine. I don't think it works that way.

(When you lose so many close games after being so good in them last year, there's no common theme you can find in that?)

It's about opportunities. It's about opportunities -- can your offense make the play that puts you over that hump? Maybe they did not one week. Is the special teams unit going to make that play that puts you over the hump? If they did not, is it the defense? I understand statistically how we want to continue to break down the situations. We do the same thing as a starting point with the stats. But you have to look within the situation and correct and move forward. It's not just the defense is not doing this or the offense is not doing that. It's a team game, and we've had a number of opportunities throughout the game. There's plays in the third quarter, frankly, that you can look at and say, boy, that had a very big impact on the game. You can take the first series in the second half. We come out of the locker room, we feel like we're in control of the football game, our defense goes out and goes three-and-out. They're not playing very well if you want to look at from their end. The momentum is clearly on our sideline. Our sideline has a ton of energy, and we give them a big shot in the arm with the punt. So there's plays like that that factor in the outcome of games too, that didn't happen in the fourth quarter is my point.

(Did Bush not hear or see Blackmon there?)

I think it was evident, just based on the way his body language and that, that he did not get the communication, because he never responded to it. We have not gone through that correction period with the players. The players are not in here today, outside of medical.

(In general when that happens, is that on the guy who gets hit by the ball or the returner for not making it clear?)

That would fall in the area of, they need to communicate. It's a kick that looked like the wind got it a little bit. That was my feeling on the field, not that I felt the wind was a factor in the game, but kind of going in that direction, Chicago had the one I thought Hester did a good job of reacting to. But that's the communication from the returner to Jarrett Bush in that particular instance. Obviously it was not, ... he didn't hear him because he didn't react to it.

(When they have a helmet on and the wind is whipping through and they're blocking a guy, how are they supposed to hear?)

If you watch it on film, you can see Will Blackmon - I saw it on the replay without studying the film of the special teams - you can see Will, there is communication. Communication is verbal and non-verbal.

(They're supposed to glance over there while blocking to check on that?)

Verbally, he's trying to get his attention. He's running up there for a reason.

(You haven't seen the film of the special teams?)

Just a very little bit. I saw some on the plane.

(The blocked field goal, was it low?)

Just like I said last night in the press conference after the game. I felt the kick was low on the field, and based on what I saw on the film it was low. Now based on the hold and everything else, I haven't talked to Mason and Matt to talk about the mechanics of it. But it was a low kick.

(Is Johnny Jolly on the field-goal protection team?)

Yes he is.

(So who was out there?)

We had Allen (Barbre) and, ... we made the adjustments on the field-goal attempt before that. If I remember correctly, Johnny got hurt before the one before. Really, the protection had nothing to do with it. I know Alex Brown got his hand on the ball, but he was actually falling inside from what I saw. It was a poor kick.

(Barring a guy coming in free, a 38-yard field goal shouldn't be blocked?)

A 38-yard field goal, when we line up for a 38-yard field goal with no wind, I fully expect to make it, yes. I would think that's accurate.

(Did he just mis-hit the one low and left earlier?)

Looked to me, without talking to the special teams coaches, I think kicking is very similar to quarterback play when you break down the fundamentals. I felt that Mason over-strided a little bit on that. But those are things we need to talk about. We haven't sat with the players yet and talked about that.

(Did Manning just do a great job on that kickoff return or does Bush have to find a way to get him down sooner?)

We need to get him down sooner.

(Did you consider challenging the spot of the ball on the fourth-down play?)

We had communication. I didn't have enough thorough information based on where we were in the game. I don't recall the exact time. I think it was 3 minutes, it was over 3 minutes, three timeouts, that part of the field. I didn't have enough information that I felt that would have been the right call to make at that time. I'm comfortable with the decision there.

{sportsad300}(Did you get a chance to see it on film? Was it a favorable spot for them?)

No, I didn't. Are you talking about on the field? We have communication upstairs, so based on the communication upstairs, I didn't have enough information to challenge at that point in time. I felt the timeouts were important based on moving forward with the game.

(You didn't see it on tape or anything?)

I did not.

(Is that a hard thing to challenge?)

I would say this. I know I haven't seen the film, and I'm sure it's really close. But you have to have clear information. I saw it live, and I was told on the TV copy it was close. But I'm comfortable with the decision there.

(They amended the TD run to 3 yards in the press box, which meant he would have been a yard short the play before. That's why we're wondering ...)

Oh really. Well, you know how that works too, though. You have to put it on one of the yard lines, so there's a yard give in the statistical world.

(Is it hard not to consider the Lions' record as you get ready for this week's game?)

We're going to treat the Lions no different than any other opponent we're playing. You talk about where the football team is. You talk about what you feel their strengths are and their weaknesses and how we're going to attack them. I'm sure there will be a lot of outside media attention around the situation, but we're not going to spend any time on that. We have no control of that. We have no input on that. We have no opinion on it. This is a division opponent. Division games are always tough. They're going to come in here, play hard like they always do, and it's going to be a challenge. Every team brings a different set of challenges to you, and we expect no different from the Detroit Lions.

(But you don't want to be the team that loses to an 0-15 team, so does that add motivation?)

We're going to prepare to beat the Detroit Lions. They're a division opponent.

(How do you think Rouse played?)

I saw production, and I saw some plays he can obviously correct. I thought he bounced back from his injury, but that's about as much input as I have.

(What was the difference in the run game from the first time you played the Bears?)

I didn't think we finished very well in certain segments. We had a number of runs that, my goodness, I thought they were coming out time and time again. I would say it was more execution, particularly maybe more on the backside.

(What about Grant's part of that? Sometimes he explodes through the hole but almost finds contact when it looks like he's about to break a big one. Do you get that sense?)

I disagree with your opinion.

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