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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 26

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s Tuesday press conference. will post these full transcripts after each of Coach McCarthy’s press conferences during the 2006 season.


OK, I do not have an injury report today. I'll give that to you tomorrow. But nothing has really changed since the game. So with that I'll take your questions.

(Starting and finishing the regular season against the Bears, do you look at this game as a measuring stick for how far you have come this year?)

I think if you just view the film and watch the performance of the Packers in the first game and now watched us play of late, because it's always interesting, we went through it to weeks ago with Detroit, you could see the progress particularly individual players have made. But also we had some things we did a lot better at the beginning of the year that we're not doing very well right now. So as far as a measuring stick overall on the year, I think it's important to take all 16 games, but there's a lot of elements of our play through all three phases we have definitely improved on since Week 1.

(What do you think you were doing better earlier in the season?)

The thing that jumps to mind is throwing the football. I thought our passing game, probably the first six, eight weeks, was further ahead than it is right now.

(What went into that setback?)

Well, throwing the football, a lot of it is rhythm, timing, the precision of the route running. Catching the football is obviously a very important factor we need to improve on, especially after the last two weeks, our performance catching the football. Those are the negatives we need to improve on.

(Are they a lot different without Tommie Harris and with Tank Johnson on the inside?)

They're two prominent players. There's a reason Tommie Harris is in the Pro Bowl. I think anytime you lose players of that magnitude as far as their play-making ability, Tommie Harris is always going to make plays during the course of a game, and you need to account for him. But they're still playing at a very high level. Their scheme, as far as the players, the talent, the description of their body types and everything, fit their scheme very well. They're still a very good defense.

(If you take the field with a chance to make the playoffs, do you question how your team with so many young players will respond?)

It's in question because we've never walked that road together, but our focus is on the Chicago Bears. This is a big football game, period. Anytime the Green Bay Packers play the Bears, that's an important football game. That's our focus. We're working today, we have a chance to have an advantage from a preparation standpoint, and that's what we set out to do today, and we'll take it day by day as we go through the course of the week. That's what we've done as far as our focus on a daily basis, particularly the last five to six weeks, and that's what we'll continue to do. We need to really focus on beating the Bears. I'm well aware, I'm not naïve to the fact that our players are aware of everything around us, but our focus needs to be to win that football game on Sunday night.

(Isn't that an unusual situation, sit around for two days and watch everything else that happens?)

I've never sat around two days. I've sat around for a day, and then you play that evening, and you've already won it during the course of the day, and it actually didn't go very well for us that evening. It's different to sit around all day and play, period. But to sit around all day and have the circumstances we do, as far as how it affects our football game, that's something that we're going to have to talk about, be prepared for, because our focus needs to be on that game Sunday night.

(Was that a situation in New Orleans? What happened?)

Kansas City. We were playing the Vikings. It was either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, we played the Sunday night game, and we had to sit in the hotel all day. It was Christmas, and we had won the division that day because someone had lost, and then we went out that night and didn't play very well.

(What happens if before that game you're out of the playoffs? Do guys still come and play hard?)

Without a doubt. Like I've already said, it's about the Green Bay Packers playing the Bears, and that will be our focus. I don't question that at all.

(After everything that happened over the weekend, how do you feel about your playoff chances?)

We had a lot of things break our way. You could make an argument that everything went our way except for one game. So we just need another good weekend like that, and we'll be fine.

(First year as a head coach, is that what you envisioned it being like?)

I'd say a lot of things are what I envisioned, but it's just the volume of it, the magnitude, because even as an assistant coach and coordinator, I refer to it as the roller coaster, staying off that roller coaster ride between the wins and the losses. Being the head coach it's even more of a bigger roller coaster you could say, and you need to avoid that. It's everything I thought it would be.

(Do you think you've done a good job of avoiding that roller coaster?)

For the most part. It's hard not to. You guys always try to put me on there every Monday, and I appreciate that. But yeah, for the most part.

{sportsad300}(When you were 1-4, 4-8, is it remarkable you're going into the last game with a realistic shot at the playoffs? What do you make of it?)

I think it's very simple, and that's why you have a 16-game schedule. You can't get caught up in 1-4 or 4-1. There's a reason why you play 16 games. It's a very easy mental trap to fall into every week, the shoulda coulda woulda's, because you really need to focus your energy on the present, and then prepare for the future and learn from the past. And that's been my message from Day 1 here. You can't really get caught up in that. That's why we play one more game Sunday night, and I am perfectly comfortable with the fact that we've got to play that football game, win that football game, and then everything else will take care of itself. We're in this position for a reason, so we need to focus on getting to 8-8 because that's all we can control. I think you have to have that mindset every week, because if you don't, you're wasting a lot of energy on things you have no control.

(With the Bears possibly playing two quarterbacks, different players, does that affect your preparation?)

Not really. From what I viewed in the fourth quarter, I don't think they used Brian a whole lot differently than they did with Rex. So we're really preparing for their offensive scheme.

(Was Donald Driver at practice today?)

Yes, he was down at practice.

(How did the players feel after the break?)

Have nothing but positive feedback. Four days off. Particularly the guys that were able to travel, because it is a little difficult to travel this time of year, number one, and with all the connecting flights and things like that. It seems like everybody benefited from it. That's the positive of playing on Thursday night, and our guys took full advantage of it.

(When were you able to start game-planning?)

The staff? We game-planned Friday and Saturday and then finished it up this morning.

(So that staff was off on ... ?)

Sunday and Monday.

(Did the night game change anything as far as the schedule this week?)

The only thing that changed for us is our team meeting went from Saturday night to Sunday morning. We have a set of schedules that are set for the year, and that's something I spent the off-season organizing, structuring, so it's a Sunday night schedule for us, and that's really the only adjustment we'll make.

(You'll still leave on Saturday?)

Yeah. I'm very big in keeping them on the same program as far as getting to the opponent city at a certain time, having a certain time frame for themselves, so that all stays the same.

(Do you have any sense Brett's decision will be affected by whether you make the playoffs or not?)

I haven't taken part in any of those conversations, no.

(What are your thoughts on the Sunday night game? Is that a compliment to your team?)

It's definitely a compliment to both football teams. It's an attractive football game. My understanding of the flex schedule is you have to play your way on to that schedule, and the fact that we're playing on national TV is definitely a compliment.

(Did Barnett practice?)

Just went through the jog through.

(He wasn't wearing a cast. Is he wearing that the rest of the season?)

That's a good question. I haven't checked on it. I don't know how far along he is. I know they were going to break it (down), it was going to get smaller as the weeks went on. But he feels better.

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