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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 8

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference Tuesday from the Lambeau Field auditorium.

Good evening. The two injuries I'd just like to comment on. Nick Barnett had a knee sprain. He may miss some practice time this week. I'll know more about Nick in the morning. Also Ryan Pickett had a hamstring strain, and he'll definitely miss some practice time this week. And we've got a handful of other guys that are banged up that we'll evaluate again in the morning. With that I'll take your questions.

(Could Barnett possibly miss the game?)

I really can't even speculate with the amount of information I have right now.

(When you watched the film, what did you think of the penalties?)

Well, first I have not had the opportunity to watch the game tape. Just leaving here late last night and not being able to do the prep work on Chicago like the other assistants, I jumped right into Chicago this morning. We game-planned to stay on a normal schedule as a coaching staff throughout the day, and I'm here with you. I'll probably get to the game tape tonight. But the penalties, too many, no doubt about it. You can talk about the game being tightly officiated and all that, but still. We knew Walt's crew calls a lot of penalties. We break down the officials just like you do your opponent, but we also knew we had a very highly competitive and physical football team in the Ravens coming in to Lambeau Field. It was a physical game, it was hard-fought. We'll look at every penalty like we always do. It will be evaluated, it will be something to discuss with the players and then we'll move on from there.

(So you don't feel you can talk in an educated way about Tramon Williams' penalties? Do you have any feel for those?)

I saw the replays on the scoreboard. That's what I've seen, I saw it live. I would classify it as a competitive penalty that I'm sure there are some technical aspects of it that we'll discuss with Tramon and we'll continue to work it through our workweek. That's part of playing corner in the National Football League. They went extensively deep with the football in the football game, and you have to have zero memory to be an effective corner in this game. So if you want to play pressure defense, our corners are out there on an island sometimes, and I like our corners. I like the fact that they're being competitive, they're combative, and we've just got to clean up some technical aspects of it I'm sure, and we'll do that as we move forward.

(When a player draws penalties like that, is that going to draw attention from other teams? Will they try to pick on him?)

I think if you just pull up our depth chart when you're going to game plan for the Green Bay Packers, you're going to see Charles Woodson on one side and whoever else on the other. I think that would probably be a starting point. I can't speak for other offensive coordinators. But Tramon knows that, and he welcomes that competition. We have potential answers for that in our scheme. That's all part of playing the game. If people are going to start game-planning us based on which guy has a number of penalties, then that's great. I don't think that's the way you approach games. I know that's not the way I approach them. But it's all about putting players in position and working the technique, and we'll continue to work on those things as we move forward.

(You mentioned seeing the replay on the scoreboard. Do you have any communication during the week with the guys in charge of that, to talk about when you want to might want to challenge something? It seemed when you wanted to challenge the TD you had to wait a while. Isn't that part of the home-field advantage to get that quicker?)

I didn't think it was as late as you're stating. Maybe it was. First of all, it was a bad challenge. That was an emotional challenge. I should not have challenged that. I wish I had that one back. But I think the scoreboard people do a good job, and I thought they actually did a very good job last night with the number of replays. I had plenty of information. There was an angle I thought the ball moved, and I reacted to it, and I should not have did that. That was not a very good challenge, obviously.

(On the Grant fumble there were a lot of replays. Did you see something clearer there?)

Actually, up top they had it quicker than I did. The communication came from up top, Joe Philbin and the staff in the booth. That's really the benefit of playing on Monday Night Football, let's be honest. You have more cameras, there's more angles, you have more information. There was a break in the action with the pileup and everything, so I had plenty of time to look at the replays.

(How ready is this team to go on the road for this final stretch here?)

We're relatively healthy. We have a few guys that I'm hoping, no surprises tomorrow. That's always, when you play on Monday Night Football, Wednesday is really like a Tuesday. So I worry about the health of our football team because other than that, we're a team that's won four games in a row, that's the obvious. We're a team that's winning games, but I'm excited because I think our best football is in front of us. If we continue to keep working during the course of the week, keep growing. I see our defense getting better. I think offense has done things better week in and week out. Our time of possession, just that alone is the way we're controlling the ball, obviously complemented by the defense. That's the type of football that we want to play. Now, can we do better in certain situations and so forth? Absolutely. Statistically you can probably point to some things we need to do better, but statistically we're doing a lot of good things. Special teams, we have to quit letting the big return come out of the gate, particularly when (there's) the ability to swing the momentum back. We have to make field goals. So we'll continue to work on those types of things, and I think we have an opportunity to play better football and that's what I'm excited about.

(When you play three of four on the road, how much of a challenge is that?)

Well, road games are always a challenge. You're playing uphill from the time you get off the bus. There's no question about that. I think we've played well on the road through my tenure here. I think the way we're built offensively helps us play on the road. We're familiar with playing in Chicago this time of year. It seems like we almost play the same weekend down there every year, so that's nothing new for us. It's a rival game and that's the way we're approaching it. You can throw the records out the window. We know we're going down there to a playoff-type big rival game, and our guys will be excited to play in this game, and we're going to take them one at a time.

(What does that mean, that you feel you're built offensively to go on the road this time of year?)

It means a lot. As far as getting into specifics and everything, I think we have the ability to run or throw the ball, and we have the ability to handle the crowd noise. That's a credit to our communicators on offense, and just how we do things. It's a credit to the communication system that we have. I think our offense does a good job communicating in loud stadiums.

(You've said your best football is ahead of you and your team is on the rise. Coaches talk about peaking. Are you in the movement toward that peak?)

I don't have a flow chart in my office or anything like that. I keep my eye on the target, what needs to get done in the short term and in the long term. My short term is what is going to be done tonight and the long term is to beat the Chicago Bears. I think we're doing a lot of positive things. I know we come in here and have to talk about the negatives all of the time, and I'm not complaining. That's the way we play in here, but there are a lot of positive aspects and variables of our football team. The most important thing is those positive things, we need them to show up every week and we need to continue to improve. I think youth plays into that. I think we had some injuries that play into that, so with those factors involved, I think we have an opportunity to get better. I think we can play better. I think our defense has hit their stride. I think our offense hasn't hit their stride for four quarters, and I think the same thing for special teams. Then you do that one game, then you've got to do that two games. That's really how we approach things.

(Did you think that was rustiness early on with the passing game, the drops and missed throws?)

I think it would be convenient to do that. I'm not of that mindset. I thought we came out of the gate fast and moved the ball right down the field. They came with a pressure call; we had the receiver open. They did a good job of batting the ball down at the line of scrimmage, so we had to settle for three there. But dropped balls, missed kicks, those things can't happen. That's why we practice and we expect the players to do those types of things. We did a lot of positive (things). The thing on offense, we moved the ball and then we got into that penalty phase there where the down-and-distances changed and everything. We had an opportunity to have a pretty big night offensively. We have played good enough to win, and we'll correct that and move forward.

(What did you see on Aaron's interceptions as far as the decisions and execution?)

The first one was pure decision, and the second one was a poor throw. So that's how I grade those, and I don't need to see the film to do that.

{sportsad300}(With Pickett, isn't a hamstring pull for a guy in his position a big deal?)

It was funny, and I think it's an excellent question. It depends on who you talk to. Some people think those guys don't even have hamstrings and why are they pulling them. I'm kidding. I think in talking to Ryan about the injury, he got extended and he said he tried to jump over a player on a pass rush. Yeah, definitely, you need your legs to play in this game, especially in the trenches. It's definitely something I am concerned about. His history, every player has history with injuries, he has come back relatively fast in the past so that's what I am hopeful for.

(B.J. limped off at one point. Is it the same ankle?)

I'm not sure it was the same one, but it was an ankle sprain. It doesn't say. I think he is OK. He is one of the guys on the list that Pat will look at again in the morning. I am not avoiding questions, but you've got to remember that I just talked to B.J., and this is very common. You talk to the players and they're great, and you can talk to the doctor and they may be out three weeks. So it's always that difference between the doctor and the player and most of the time it is somewhere in between.

(Coaches talk about guys no longer being rookies. Are B.J., Clay and Brad Jones getting to that point, and how vital are they to what you want to accomplish?)

Yeah, you have to be happy with the production of the rookie class. I think they have come in here and contributed to our football team, and that's obviously exciting for everybody. Clay didn't really have an opportunity to be a rookie. He had the opportunity to play early and he has done a lot of positive things. He won the game ball on defense, so I think that tells you what we felt about his performance this past week against the Ravens. B.J. had to fight through the injury early and now he is coming on and he is just getting better with every rep. Brad had his injury in training camp and so forth. Yeah, I'm very excited about the rookies. We don't talk about them as rookies anymore, and T.J. Lang has played a lot of football for us too. We're very excited about what our draft class has contributed so far.

(Is there any common thread with those guys? They all seem pretty mature and smart ...)

Well, I'll say this: the players that come into the NFL, particularly the ones that come from big-time programs, they're well-educated, they are exposed to a lot a lot more. If you look at take for instance Clay, the defense he played in college. There are a lot of pro principles in that defense. I think his adjustment has been pretty smooth. I think B.J. was well-coached in college and so forth, so I think it has made their transition pretty smooth.

(When it was 17-14, the Ravens really tried to come after you guys and tried to intimidate a little. Did you like how your team answered?)

I'm not sure what you are referring to. I thought it was a physical game from the get-go. I think there was a little more activity after the whistle. There was definitely some of that going on. I addressed it before the game, I addressed it again at halftime, I didn't want any of the penalties, any of the extra-curricular activities. You always protect each other out there. That is something that is a given. But when we were ahead 17-0, we anticipated that the activity was going to increase, and it did. I really felt the slug...that part of it really didn't faze me. It's just when you have so many penalties and the back and forth and the momentum shifts and the takeaways and giveaways, that's why at the end of the evening I was very pleased with the way we handled the adversity of all of that. It's definitely something, like I stated yesterday, that we can carry forward as a football team.

(You were happy with Spencer when he stepped in and Lee is a steady player. But is this just a different offense when you have Jermichael Finley?)

Definitely. You ask any of the players in that locker room, Jermichael Finley is a difference-maker. We knew that last year. You look at the way he finished the season. Some of the things we tried to do with him at the end of the year and then coming out of the spring, he was a big part of our thinking from Day 1. You go through training camp, and just watching him grow each week. He had the setback with the knee injury against Cleveland and it's great to have him back. He is a matchup problem. His touchdown, it speaks volumes. You motion a guy out of the backfield and you get the one-on-one. I thought Aaron's throw was excellent there and he goes up and makes the catch. I would definitely classify Jermichael Finley as a difference-maker.

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