Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 24

(You had a couple of drills today that were pretty frisky for this time of year. Can you talk about your philosophy of maintaining fundamentals this time of year?)

My focus really for the football team this week and especially in December is health and fundamentals. The health issue you can't do a lot about, but you just try to decrease the risk. And fundamentals I think is a challenge of every football team this year. We extended our individual time in our padded practice today, and just staying on top of the footwork, hand placement, pad level, just all the things that are so important to winning football that you have a tendency to get a little sloppy if you let it get away from you in the month of December. And it's a challenge to do it because obviously you don't want to beat up your football team to accomplish that. So that's something you have to find a good balance. But I thought our fundamental work was outstanding today.

(What happened to Chillar?)

Brandon, he's had a back spasm, but I think he's going to be fine. He fought through it today, and the time off tomorrow will definitely help him.

(How about Trevor Ford?)

Trevor banged his knee the last play of practice yesterday, and then he came in today and had a bunch of stiffness and some limitation in his movement. So we had to sit him down today.

(Are you hopeful for Saturday?)

Saturday, the amount of work that we'll do, we'll probably test him and see where he is. He caught us a little off-guard today. Once again, he banged it the last play of practice yesterday, treated it throughout the afternoon and came in today and just had a lot of stiffness.

(You had Collins limited both days. What has he been able to do?)

Nick did the jog-through and really just stood back there and made all the calls today. Just with his calf and the nature of obviously Nick's position, we're just being cautious with him.

(Do you expect a benefit of giving the guys off tomorrow?)

Oh, absolutely. That's all part of it. The rest and recovery for your football team on a Friday is something I gave a lot of thought when I was putting together the schedule. Having a Monday night game and Chicago and Pittsburgh back-to-back, those are three very physical football games, plus it's December. And I just felt if we could adjust our schedule Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and accomplish the things that you normally do over Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, I thought it would be in the best interests of our whole football operations, both personally and professionally. I think this is something I've given a lot of thought to, and I like the way the work went today. I thought our practices the last two days have been outstanding. I was having a conversation after practice that I'd consider giving the players off on Friday as opposed to Tuesday, because the way they practiced today with a day off tomorrow, it was as good as it gets. I'll tell you, we looked like we were in training camp they way they were flying around.

(Bell gave up the TD in Pittsburgh, but he did start for Denver last year a few games. What are your impressions of him since he's been here?)

I like the way Josh Bell has fit in to our program. Very competitive, hard-worker. It is an adjustment for any individual that comes in to a program as late as he has. I thought he did a real good job right away making the adjustments that he needed to for special teams. He had some tough moments in the Pittsburgh game, but he gives you a lot to work with. We feel that he has a lot of good football ahead of him. He's making the transition the best he can, and I like what I see. He's a hard-working young man. He's got a toughness to him, an attitude to him. We're definitely going to give him some opportunities as we move ahead.

(Are you encouraging guys to stay away tomorrow?)

Well, I really am. You never think you would do that as a head coach, tell people not to come to work. But I think the longer you're in this business, the more you realize the importance of stepping away from your desk. And with the amount of work that was accomplished Monday and Tuesday, and then increasing the load Wednesday and Thursday, I feel very good about where we are in our week of preparation, and I've really encouraged players, coaches, support staff not to come in here tomorrow. They need to be with their families. That's the whole design of it from a personal standpoint. We will have treatments tomorrow for our injured players from 12 to 2, but other than that, we would encourage everybody not to be in the building.

(Do you do anything for the guys that don't have families here for Christmas?)

There's a lot of facilitating I guess you could say, more on an individual basis. I know individual position coaches always open their homes and so forth, because you definitely want someone to be with family and friends on Christmas.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Take care.

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