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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 31

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s post-game press conference on Sunday. has posted full transcripts after each of Coach McCarthy’s press conferences during the 2006 season.


OK, I'll start with the injuries. Cullen Jenkins was hit in the face. He returned. Nick Collins had a thigh. He also returned. And Zac Alcorn got the wind knocked out of him. He also returned. So we had no significant injuries. And with that I'll take your questions.

(Did Favre say that was it, to you?)

No he didn't. How about the game? It was a hell of a game out there tonight, wasn't it?

(Nice way to finish the season?)

Great way to finish the season. I can't say enough positive things about our football team, especially the defense, six takeaways today. I thought they were outstanding, and it was great to see that group really come together down the stretch. Offensively we did a number of positive things, just had the one takeaway. And I thought our coverage units on special teams were outstanding. So very thrilled with the victory. Finished 5-1 in the division, four in a row, so we feel outstanding about that as we move forward into our off-season planning, and this is something we feel will carry over.

(The opening drive seemed to set the tone for the whole game. Was that vintage Brett?)

Well, we really wanted to come in here and establish a good run and pass mix, and be able to do some things at the line of scrimmage, and he's been excellent at that all year as far as keeping us in a very favorable play selection. I thought he did an outstanding job, especially on third down. We had guys like Ruvell Martin step up and make some key plays. Holiday was excellent too in his opportunities. The first drive, I agree with you, set the tempo.

(Why didn't Jennings play?)

His wife had a baby this afternoon. He got the call late last night, flew back to Green Bay, and he's with Nicole. Once again, there's nothing on that football field that's more important than the birth of your first child, so he was where he needed to be.

(Can you talk about the secondary and the job they did against Grossman?)

I thought they were outstanding. It really starts up front. I thought we put good pressure on him all day, especially with just the four-man rush, particularly early. Charles Woodson is as instinctive a defensive back as I've ever been around. I thought you saw Nick Collins really start to come into his own. He's been making big plays down the stretch, with his two interceptions and almost had a third one there at the end. Once again, I thought it was an outstanding defensive effort. We had the one big play over the top there in the second half, but very pleased with the defense.

(What's been the difference with the defense down the stretch?)

Well, you have to start with Bob Sanders and the players. You guys were all over him at the beginning of the year. We had a number of explosive gains, and a lot of questions with that. They stayed the course, and I've said it before, you just see the continuity and confidence, especially the last four weeks. I thought they dominated the game. They kept the game in favorable field position for us where I didn't feel we had to extend ourselves schematically offensively, and with that I thought our coverage schemes also did well.

(Did the defense get more time playing together to iron out the communication mistakes we saw earlier in the season?)

I think we clearly overcame that here down the stretch. You could really say the last four to five weeks, we played as good a defense as anybody in the National Football League.

(Favre got really emotional afterward, do you get the sense you just watched his last game?)

I tell you what, you guys do a great job asking the same question as many different ways as possible, and I'll answer it the same way. We can talk about that in the postseason. It's an emotional football game. He's played more games than anybody in the National Football League as far as starting at quarterback, so I'm sure it is emotional. How many more games he has left, I do not know.

(What will you remember most about this season as your first as coach?)

Well, clearly the finish. I think it's important, anytime you establish a new program, a new structure and everything you're changing, you know you're going to have speed bumps along the way. And we definitely encountered those as we moved forward through the beginning of the season. We didn't win some of the tight games we had opportunities to win. We let some leads get away in the second half. But I'll clearly remember the stretch, because you saw a vision, you saw a plan, and you saw people stay to that plan, and played very good football in the last four games. That's going to be my significant memory as we move forward.

(What did you tell the guys after they were out of the playoff picture?)

It was really in line with what I told them on Tuesday. We really needed to focus on beating the Chicago Bears because there were so many positive things that could come out of winning this football game. Obviously with the possibilities of playoffs, that's important. But it's an arch-rival game, we talked about the significance of the rivalry throughout the week, the ability to win four in a row, the ability to go 5-1 in the division. Those are all important factors, and clearly the momentum you can carry over to the off-season. So that's what we stressed all week starting Tuesday when we came back together after our four-day break and I hit them again with it today at noon in the team meeting.

(Do you think you would have been a dangerous team had you made the playoffs?)

I clearly do. I think your best football is for December, and we put our best football forward in December. But it also shows the importance of starting fast, which we did not accomplish at the beginning of the season. Yes, that's hypothetical, but I wish we would have gotten in because we were doing a lot of positive things.

{sportsad300}(What does Brett mean to this team?)

He means a lot of things. I think if you'd ask him, I don't want to speak for him, but it's how I view it also, his leadership, the way he practices, the way he prepares. As a quarterback, I had a chance to coach him in '99. He prepares much more today. He's on the level of a coach as far as his interaction and communication with the other players, as far as his input in game-planning and just always ... if anything, it's always too much, and that's a challenge. Clearly his leadership is the thing that stands out this year. Just the way he went about his business, and frankly he's still a very good quarterback. He makes plays that, you'd like to sit there and say that was the scheme and so forth, but we put a lot more on his plate than he had in the past as far as at the line of scrimmage, checks and things like that. So his leadership and his ability to play the position.

(The players are saying, whether or not he decides to retire, there's no doubt ability-wise he still has it.)

If you talk to some of the players that had the opportunity to walk away from the game on their own, you'd like to walk away, as you refer to it, with some gas in your tank. Like I've told him already, his gas gauge is well over three-quarters. He's got a lot left in his tank. That's just where he's at. He's not your normal 37-year-old, that's for sure.

(Can you talk about his performance tonight?)

Once again, I thought he did a very good job in the run and pass mix, as far as what we did at the line of scrimmage. I thought third down we did a very nice job moving the sticks. I thought he played a solid game.

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