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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 31

(How'd Barnett look?)

Nick looked good today. He missed yesterday's practice because of an illness. He looked fine. Full participation.

(How important is it to have Clifton back, not only playing but also practicing?)

It's very important for Chad Clifton to be back practicing because it obviously leads to a better performance. I think that goes for anybody. Just to have the ability to go down there in the padded practice and work the fundamentals and so forth. It doesn't matter how much experience you have, you still need to stay after the fundamentals. So it's great to have Chad healthy and it's great to have him back practicing.

(How much has Korey Hall been able to do in his limited capacity?)

Korey, he's coming along. I think he'll be a stretch to play this week. The elbow is definitely settling down some compared to Monday.

(With Woodson, normally you've waited until Friday for him to go full. Is he doing better or did you just need him for something today?)

He's feeling better, and there's some things today we wanted to look at with Charles in there as opposed to the Friday schedule.

(When you switched to the 3-4, a lot of talk was about blitzing and more pressure, but that was not your primary thought, was it? It was run defense?)

I think there's a number of factors. Maybe I haven't made myself clear. Going all the way back to the decision, there's a number of factors that I felt it was important for us to go to the 3-4. It's not like the old scheme couldn't stop the run schematically. No. 1, I've addressed the personnel changes, and I think it benefits your whole football team, the body types on special teams and defense. The scheme, going against it from an offensive standpoint, the challenges that it does have in run defense in how they go about it. It's night and day compared to the way we played in the past in the four-man scheme, because our old scheme, it was a four-man line scheme, but it was a unique scheme. So those are all factors. And the pressure, the different types of defensive personnels that are used. There's more usage of defensive personnel groups in this system than the old system. Those are all factors that were part of the change.

(I'm just asking because you're No. 1 against the run. How much of that success is Dom's emphasis on it and how much is the scheme?)

It's really a combination of everything. I think it's an excellent scheme versus the run, but it's like anything else. When you're in your run calls, it's obviously very good. But to me, run defense is the best example of team defense, because when you play good run defense, there's no selfishness in defense. Everybody is doing exactly what they're supposed to do. Everybody's in their gap, and someone is taking two blockers, and that's what good run defense is, whether it's 3-4 or 4-3. Starting with Dom and the defensive staff and the players totally buying into that particular scheme is why we're No. 1 in run defense.

(How has B.J. played in place of Pickett?)

B.J. is getting better. B.J. is getting better with all his snaps. There were some things last week from a fundamental standpoint that he'll learn from. I go back to training camp. When you lose live reps, you lose padded practice reps in training camp, you never get them back. There's some opportunities that he's had in games where he's gained experience that he'll definitely value from here in the future. I think he's getting better every time he gets a chance to play.

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