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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 6

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


OK, I'll start with the injury list. Mark Tauscher did not practice. He is still doubtful with the groin. David Martin, he practiced limited today. He did not take part in team drills. He has the injury with his ribs. P.J. Pope practiced today, Ben Taylor practiced today, Nick Barnett practiced today, Patrick Dendy also practiced today. Ahman Green and Charles Woodson did not, and Noah Herron did participate today. So with that I'll take your questions.

(What did you see with Martin in the workout?)

He just did limited, did the individual drills. He did not participate in the padded work. He's still very sore. He made a nice catch in the seven-on-seven, and he's working his way back. So we'll evaluate him in the morning and see if he can do more.

(How much do you think you've missed him?)

He's a productive player, particularly on the inside routes and the vertical. I think he was off to a good start. He was productive for us when he was in there and we need to get more production from the middle of the field right now.

(What did the latest tests show on Tauscher's groin?)

Mark feels better than what the tests have shown. So we're probably more realistic potentially next week, than this week. This week is looking slim. But he felt very good about his workout Tuesday, down in the indoor facility. It isn't like the tests can tell you everything. You have to get feedback from the player, and the strength that he shows in the workout is probably the determining factor. But he's getting better.

(Was it a tear with the muscle there?)

I'm not going to get into the specifics of it, but he does have a tear in the groin area.

(How much does your knowledge of the 49ers personnel help you this week?)

Anytime you have an opportunity to be around players, or even coaches, on an everyday basis, you have insight into things that you do not from the outside. We've taken into account as far as when we game plan and in our personnel matchups and things like that. But they're a team that has really changed a lot personnel-wise since I was there last year. I did spend time with the coordinators, kind of like I always do, probably a little more than normal. We're hopeful that it will help out a bunch.

(Did you see this kind of season coming out of Frank Gore?)

Yeah, I think Frank is a special running back. He's very instinctive. He runs with excellent pad level. He has the ability to break the long one, and he can get in there and get the tough yards. He's a guy we were excited about last year. He was hurt most of the season last year. He's definitely a major target for us this week.

(Have you made any decisions with the changes you talked about Monday?)

We're getting more people involved as far as reps and things like that. But the course of the week as far as how players do will determine how much they play or how much other individuals don't play. We're just looking to do different things with some different guys and things like that.

(Is it like an open tryout feel?)

No, we're not having tryouts in Week 13 or whatever week we're in. We're just trying to use our personnel to the best of our ability. We have some individuals that have done some very good things, and we're going to give them some opportunity and create some competition at some positions.

(Any changes to the starting lineup?)

I don't think it would be to our benefit to get into who's playing where if there are changes.

(Can you talk about any individual guys you see potentially expanding roles?)

I think it would be in our best interests if we don't. Frankly the practice week will determine that. We've created some opportunities for people to get more playing time and so forth, and we'll see how the week unfolds. But it would be to our advantage as a football team if I didn't discuss it here.

(What do you want to accomplish in these last four games?)

I want to win them all, that's what I want to accomplish. We need to win the football game this week. I know everybody wants to talk about big picture, but the biggest picture I'm looking at is the San Francisco 49ers, away, at Candlestick Park, Monster Park excuse me. So that's our focus. Stay in touch with the reality of where we are and what we need to do to fix it and stay the course.

(Do you look at players and coaches with a critical eye for next year?)

I think that's an ongoing process. Everybody wants to talk about that because of our record right now, but that's my responsibility regardless of your record. Critical eye, evaluate, however you want to phrase it, that's a part of my responsibility.

(Are you getting as much out of Kabeer as you thought you would?)

I think Kabeer has been solid. I think he's been playing the defense, what's asked of him. I'd like to get more productivity with him on third down and pass rush. He and I have spoken about that. I think he's been solid against the run first and second down, but it's really the coordination between himself the tackle and the support element to that side. Once again, I don't think it's just one thing. I think he's had a solid year.

(Would you consider playing him less so he could be more explosive on third down?)

We talk about all situations with all of our players, and how we can maximize their talents and so forth. As far as what we're doing with this guy and that guy, frankly it's really not a benefit for me to talk about it.

(Is the injury still a problem for Greg Jennings?)

I think he's still trying to get his body back. He struggled at the end of the week in the Friday practice. He feels better today. I don't know if you want to call it lingering, but at this point in the year, most every player has something that's bothering him. I think it's a part of going through his first NFL season and fighting through the number of practices and games and the expectations of being a starter in this league.

(Some of the young guys have only played 12 or 13 games in a season, any concern there will be a drop-off?)

I'll say this. As I've been in the league, I think the emphasis, the strength and conditioning programs in college, particularly the bigger schools that have the resources and the structure in place, you're seeing the college athlete in my opinion better conditioned. People want to talk about the rookie wall, I don't think you see that as much as you may have years ago. You look at A.J. and some of our other rookies, I think their conditioning has not been a factor. I haven't seen any emphasis to think our rookies are hitting a wall.

(In retrospect, did Jennings make the injury worse by coming back so quickly?)

The bottom line when it comes to injuries is it really comes down to the player. I'm trying to recall what game it was we were out there, the home game and he just quite wasn't ready. He wasn't going to say that he couldn't go. It was evident it was probably not in his best interests, so he did not play that week. So to sit there and second-guess it, I have not. I can't speak for him. But I think our players, our training staff, our strength and conditioning staff, as a whole they do a great job of fighting back. You see them in there all the time for extra treatment, they're very pro-active with the things they do to stay healthy, particularly this time of year. Greg being a young guy, he's very conscientious, very mature as far as his approach to staying healthy. So I don't think we pushed him back too fast, but he did come back quickly based on the type of injury he did have.

(Has it affected his progression at all?)

I'm sure it hasn't helped him. He hasn't had the comfort he had particularly early in the year as far as coming out of breaks and things like that. The one game that stood out to me was the Buffalo game. He had a couple opportunities to step out of things, and you could see his strength wasn't quite 100 percent, particularly his lateral speed and things like that. So hopefully he'll be ready to go this week.

(Was that after he aggravated it in the Buffalo game?)

It was in the course of the Buffalo game, I'm not sure exactly when.

(Favre's been short on a couple of deep balls ... is that his elbow or something else?)

I can really only go off of what Brett says and watching his preparation during the course of the week. I thought he threw the ball extremely well in our preparation last week and felt like his arm was back. He did take the shot on the sack this week against the Jets. If you go through the deep throws, I'm just thinking out loud here, the one to the right down there in Seattle, the one to Donald, I think with the wind and the snow at the time, it was a ball that hung up there for a long time. That's one that jumps to mind. The go route out here against the Jets, he underthrew it. There was some wind there in the first half. I don't think it's anything from the injury. I think it's more the conditions. As far as fundamentals and things like that, I don't think it's anything of that nature.

(Are you satisfied your receivers doing all they can to win jump balls?)

I wouldn't say we've had a whole bunch of them. We had the one interception over there in Seattle where it needs to be our ball or nobody's ball. The other one I don't know if the receiver could have gotten to it because it was over top of him. But I have no reason to say no, off the top of my head.

(What can you get out of Holiday this week?)

It would help if we can get him to a meeting first before we take him to practice. We'll know more about him. But he's very bright, good-looking kid. I had a chance to watch his cut-up again yesterday, so we're excited he's here. He was late for practice. We had some issues with his physical and things like that. We'll know a lot more about him once we have a chance to meet with him today.

(He just walked on the field when he got here?)

That was it. Missed the stretch and everything.

(What are your thoughts on college quarterbacks making that transition to another position?)

I'm for it because I think anytime you watch players come into this league, the one thing that's been constant in my experience is the best players are always the smartest players. You go back to great players I've been fortunate enough to be around, they not only knew their assignment, but they knew exactly how their assignment fit into that particular scheme, the anticipation of the defensive schemes they were going to encounter, so to answer your question, what better training could you have than that, playing the quarterback position. So I think from that standpoint they have an advantage. Now the disadvantage obviously is they have to learn a whole different set of skills to play that particular position. But just going through last year, we had Arnaz Battle out there, he was a former quarterback, and now Holiday here. You're seeing more and more guys come into the league and be successful. I think it's something I would look at as a positive in the evaluation process.

(Will you look at Holiday as a return man? Just punts?)

Yes, potentially yes. Just punts right now. Just based on what I was told.

(How would you characterize the mentality of the team right now?)

I think it's a team that's hungry for a win. I thought our practice today was physical. Frankly we had too many guys on the ground today, we had too many guys getting tied up. It was a physical practice, it was a solid practice, we need to get some things cleaned up. I think after this morning's meeting we were able to move on. You'd like to think you move on on Mondays, but that's not necessarily the case. We're a football team that needs to win a football game, and we're going to do everything in our power to get ready to beat the San Francisco 49ers.

(Is some of that physicality frustration?)

I don't think so. I think our guys work hard. It's a hard-working group. I think that's one constant you've seen throughout the season. They compete at practice, they do what they're asked. Their individual drills are technical and physical in structure. I'm very pleased with the way they work.

(You're not flying out there Friday are you?)

No, we're going to go Saturday.

(Will Holiday be active on Sunday?)

There's a chance he'll be up, yes.

(On punt return?)

I'm not there yet. I was just trying to get him to the receiver drills on time.

(Who's your most consistent player on defense?)

Most consistent player? I'd have to say Aaron Kampman.

{sportsad300}(Is the run breakdown because you're not getting enough yards on first down, so you have to go to the pass?)

First, we need to do a better job running the ball on first down. That's something that has not been a positive for us. Second of all, we're doing more at the line type run things that are resulting in more pass. So that's the second part of why our attempts probably aren't where they should be. And frankly, some of these games we've been in when you get behind, you can sit there and say all you want, yeah, I want to run the football, but it's a little different when you look at that scoreboard. Until you sit in that chair, you know what I'm talking about. For as poor as our performance was in the first half, we stuck with the run and it was very productive for us in the second half, but that clock's running. We've had too many of those lopsided games, and that affects it. Those are all excuses. The reality is we need to run the football more because we've got backs that can do it, and we need to do a better job in the run-blocking unit consistently. It's something we need to do a better job of.

(If Aaron Rodgers is healthy does he go in at the end of that game Sunday rather than have Brett go the whole game?)

That's clearly an option, yeah. That's definitely something that would have been considered.

(Because Bouman is a veteran do you not have to look at him as far as the future?)

That, and frankly, I don't think it's bad when you keep your starters in and let them play at that particular point. We're all part of the reason why we're in that type of game, so frankly I don't think it's a negative thing to sit there and all be part of it when it finishes that way too.

(When you look at the three or four potential Pro Bowlers on your team, is it disappointing that talent hasn't translated into a better record?)

The way I view our football team is we are a football team. I don't look at individuals and shoulda coulda wouldas. We're a football team that needs to improve in certain areas. There are areas we have improved in, and we need to win football games. I'm not riding the roller coaster of woe is me. That's my answer to your question.

(Can you get Green the ball in other ways?)

Absolutely. I think you see him getting the ball on checkdowns. The thing we've gotten away from is a lot of our just base dropback pass game, our base normal down-and-distance passing game, because of the emphasis on protection. That's affected the attempts for the backs, that has affected some of the attempts for the tight ends. Like I talked about Monday, that's kind of where we are as an offense. When you throw the football, I'm of the opinion that it's protection first, because if you've ever played a season with four quarterbacks, you'd understand why the philosophy is what it is. That's just where we are. To answer your question, yes, we can get him the ball in the passing game.

(Are you limited on third down because of the amount of work Ahman can handle?)

I don't think he limits us on third down. He plays on third down. As far as the number of reps he can go in a row is really the factor of what down he's in. I don't ever go into the game and say you're only going to play first and second down. He does factor in our third down packages.

(When you talk about the base passing game, are you talking about getting more receivers into the pattern or taking deeper drops with the quarterback?)

Both. Six, five-man protection schemes, the seven-step schemes, things like that. I don't want to say you can't block them, but if you don't feel it's in your best interests to take seven steps and drop all day, you're not going to do it. We don't do a whole lot of that.

(Has the number of reps for Green decreased because of his asthma?)

Every time he comes out it's not just because of his asthma. We have a rotation with all the backs and it's really with the theory of a 60-minute game. You're trying to get him the ball so many times and you're trying to keep his reps at a certain number, but also Morency and Noah have been productive players for us, so we're keeping them involved too. It's really a combination of keeping everybody involved. It's not just go in there and go until you can't go anymore. That's not the approach.

(Have you been surprised by what he's been able to do this year coming off that injury?)

I've been very pleased with his performance. I think the Wednesday rehab day has really benefited him and given him the extra day to get his body ready. Yeah, I'm very pleased with the way he came off the injury because you haven't really seen a whole lot of drop-off.

(If you can't take deeper drops in the passing game, what do you lose on the other end, explosive plays?)

Yeah, you could make a case for that. If you go back and take more time to throw it, you obviously have more time to get open, get deeper, things like that, definitely. That's an area that you'd like to do everything, and we will. Maybe this week, we'll see what happens.

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