Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 13

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s Sunday press conference from Lambeau Field. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Giants Game Center

(What are your thoughts on your opponent?)

Well, I really haven't had time to digest, exactly ... thoughts as far as game plan, is that what you're referring to? It's an opponent we played in Week 2, very good football team. A lot's happened since Week 2, I would say the same for our football team. We're a different football team than we were in Week 2, and definitely the New York Giants are a different football team. I'm very impressed with their win this week and last week. On a personal note, I'm very happy for Tom Coughlin. I think he's an outstanding football coach and I'm happy to see him have the success today and we look forward to competing against them in the NFC Championship.

(What were your emotions on R.W. McQuarters' interception, that you'd be hosting the NFC Championship?)

It was of excitement. I can't show you right here, as I stand here. But very excited. I'm just excited about having the game here at Lambeau Field. To have the NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field I think is just wonderful for the Green Bay community, for our fans, especially after our fans' performance yesterday. Just to bring the game here is really the excitement that we're all feeling right now.

(Will you look at that Week 2 game or will you focus more on the recent games the Giants played?)

We'll look at all those games. Those games, frankly, have already been broken down. We'll receive the Dallas game I would assume in the morning, so we'll break that down. But we'll look at all those games and we'll start tomorrow with our players actually going back and looking at Week 2 because we did play them and the things that went on in that game, the positives and the negatives.

(Can you talk about the way you handled guys the last two or three weeks and your general health going into this game?)

Well, it's definitely worked. This is the healthiest we've been all year. To come out of the game with zero significant injuries is an extreme positive, and to be going into the NFC Championship as healthy as you've been really since I've been here, is what we were trying to accomplish, and we got that done.

(Are you surprised at the result?)

Oh, I wasn't surprised. I think the Giants have played very good football. They had the run there in the middle of the season of what, five or six games? What are they, 9-1 on the road? So the outcome did not surprise me at all.

(They've won nine straight on the road and that really doesn't seem to faze them...)

That's something that you'll talk about, but those are all secondary topics in my view. We'll be focused on how we go about beating the New York Giants. That'll be our focus.

(As good as you guys have been on the road, how much do you appreciate it when another team has that kind of success?)

Oh, you have to respect the fact that they went into Dallas and they went into Tampa Bay in a playoff atmosphere and won those games. So it's a credit to their players, their coaching staff, the ability to focus and get over the hurdles that road games do present to you, and that's why they're playing in the NFC Championship game. It's going to be two very good football teams battling to go the Super Bowl.

(Are you able to do more in practice this week because you're healthy?)

Are we talking about padded practice and that sort of thing? I could see why you'd want to ask that question, but I'll just say this: That's not the approach that we're going to take. We're going to stay with the same approach. You can also make the mistake of trying to win the game on Thursday. That's been done before. Our practice schedule and our routine will be very similar to what we've done to this point.

(What are the Giants doing better now than they were in Week 2?)

Well, the running game is better. Ward played very well against us that day up there, but when we played the Giants, Eli had hurt his shoulder the week before, and their defense was in the second game of a new defensive system. There were a number of factors that just watching the game today, without studying them to this point that you can see that they're playing very well in all three areas.

(Does the pass-rush pressure they generate concern you? It seems like it comes from all angles.)

Well, when you talk about the defensive line, from a personnel standpoint, I think it's natural to start with the two defensive ends. They're Pro Bowl players, excellent football players. And then the pressure that their scheme gives you, those are the two things you probably start with when you talk about throwing the football.

(Do you give Blackmon much chance to play this week?)

I give him a chance, just off the feedback I've had with Will. He feels better today, or excuse me, yesterday. I don't know if the victory had anything to do with it. He feels better and he's going to take a run at it this week.

(Your last two games have been very impressive. Are you playing your best football now?)

We played our best football game yesterday as a football team, if you take away the two plays on offense. Clearly our best football game that we've played since I've been here, and that's important. This is when you want to play your best football. Detroit was a very good football game for our football team, so we need to carry that momentum, that standard, into the NFC Championship game.

(Will you start breaking anything down tonight or do you go out and get a mental break?)

I've got a lot of energy right now. I'll probably watch a little film before I go home. We're excited. The coaches, a number of them went home to watch it, and they're coming back in. They're going to start on the Giants this evening.

(From your earlier preparation during the bye, how much has your staff already broken down the Giants' games?)

The procedure, you have the quality control coaches break the games down. The first step is to get the information into the computer to generate all the cut-ups and reports that are necessary that come off of the data. And then we did some preliminary game plans, preliminary run game and so forth. So it's just really a starting point. And what we'll do tomorrow with our players is we'll go through their personnel. We'll meet with our players at noon and just go through the personnel breakdown of offense, defense and special teams, and we'll watch some game tape with the players.

(Being one game from the Super Bowl, how do you get your young guys to keep their wits about them?)

Same answer as last week. Those are secondary issues. We'll talk about them in our team meeting. It's just important for us to focus on this NFC Championship game. It's a huge game, and it's at Lambeau Field, and that will be our focus, and it's my responsibility to keep the football team focused.

(Are you doing anything on the field tomorrow or is there just film breakdown?)

Tomorrow's Monday is exactly the same as last week's. The workouts will be in the morning, and then we'll get together at noon. And then Tuesday will be a normal day off, and you could put a big lock on that door, they'll all be in here Tuesday. And Wednesday will be a normal schedule for us.

(Take us through watching the last 2 minutes of that game in your office, with the score 21-17 and the Cowboys get the ball at the Giants' 48 with 1:50 left ...)

Did you memorize all that? That's impressive. I couldn't have done that. I'm impressed. I have a hard time with drama. Let me digest this a little bit. I was excited when the interception occurred. The phone started ringing, and Jeff came in and said we have to get downstairs, so I didn't get very much time to enjoy it. I was excited just for the fact that, like I've already stated, that the game is going to be here. We knew it was going to be a very good opponent either way, and we're just excited that we get to play at Lambeau.

(What are your thoughts on New York's secondary hanging in there?)

I tell you, I think that's a very similar illustration to a number of our players. They're all young. They're young players that have been given an opportunity, and they're improving each week. You could see it just watching them on TV against Tampa and the game today. Young players improving, it's fun to watch, and that's a big part of their success.

(A TV report today said you've made progress on a contract extension. Is that true?)

That's accurate. It's a work in progress. I feel very good about the progress that we've made. I'm just excited about being a part of the near future of this great organization. We're moving forward.

(Your team has been underrated all season, and now you'll be prohibitive favorites this week. How much do you address that with the team?)

To me it's another storyline. We'll talk about it. But we need to stay focused on the tape, stay focused on our plan, stay focused on the tape. Do not get caught up in the storylines. No different than the experience we just went through this week with Seattle with all the different storylines going into that game. That will be our approach and that needs to be our focus.

(Do you think the contract will be done before the game?)

I don't have a timetable for you.

(If you get it done, would you prefer to hold off on announcing it until afterwards?)

We don't have a timetable, OK? We're done with the contract. I think I've addressed it. Thanks. Appreciate it.

(How good was your offensive line against the Seahawks?)

They played very well. Can't say enough about the individual performance from Mark Tauscher. He played very, very well. But the run-blocking unit, I mean, they graded out with pluses across the board. Just very pleased with the effort. Ryan made excellent decisions throughout the game, did a great job on the second level and with that we had the big day in the rushing. The pass protection, I know we had the one sack on the scramble, but the pass protection was excellent too. They played very, very well yesterday.

(How does Jeremy Shockey's absence change their offensive attack?)

Well, he's a play-maker, a Pro Bowl player that's not there for the game. But Amani Toomer stepped up today. They are a good football team. You just see the players that are given opportunities are making plays. I think their quarterback is playing much better. So it will be a challenge.

(What else did you do today? Watch all three phases of the film?)

Yeah, had some meetings. Actually my daughter was in town so I spent the morning with her. She left about noon. But I've been in the office since then. We went through the film, graded the film, had the press thing with Jeff and watched the game.

(What are you like to watch a game with?)

I watched it by myself in my office. I'm boring. There's no drama here.

(You had to be on the edge of your seat when they got the ball back, right?)

It was a great game to watch. I can't control that. It was a great game to watch. I was excited that we were playing at Lambeau. I wish I had something else to tell you.

(Were you second-guessing the coaches?)

Yeah, to myself. When you're playing at this time of year, you can sit there and be critical like you people are of us all the time.

(It turned out you didn't have to sacrifice health to get to this point. Why did you go that route and not take any chances health-wise?)

I would say two reasons. No. 1, it's a long-term plan. I think anytime you put a player in a position - and there's no exact science to this - you have to look at all the different factors involved. You put a player that's injured and not ready to come back 100 percent in a position to play in a big game, like we're talking about Kabeer and Charles Woodson down there in Dallas, your risk is higher for long-term injuries. And that's really what the decision was based off. They both probably could have played in that game. If that was for the NFC Championship game, they both would have played. But we had a lot of football in front of us. And the second part of that was, I believe in our other players. I believe in our younger players and they've given us so much to believe in just the way they have progressed and they've taken advantage of their opportunities. So that's why we did what we did.

(Is your playbook bigger now with the Big 5 set than it was earlier in the season?)

It depends on how you view it. If you sat there and watched every time we were in Big 5 or Big 4, you'd say, 'Wow, they're doing more with that particular formation.' But conceptually on the things that we do throughout, it's not as much without getting into the details.

{sportsad300}(How much will you pay attention to the weather forecast? How much will you believe them?)

Matt Klein gets a lot of slack about the weather. I'm out there in pre-game telling the referees, 'Hey, the snow's going to be out of here right before the game.' So I don't trust them as far as game-planning. So I'll never prepare for the weather as far as how we're going to call a game.

(Can you talk about the way Charles Woodson has played this year? A lot of people think he should have been in the Pro Bowl or maybe All-Pro.)

Well, I agree with your opinion. Charles, during segments of the season, I've had national reporters call and ask about his chances of being defensive player of the year. I think that alone tells you what kind of year he has had. The thing that impresses you about Charles Woodson is his ability to overcome injuries. He's been banged up throughout the season. He's just around the clock in the training room, in the meetings at night with his coaches and the limited practice time that it takes for him to play at his level. I think he's definitely one of the most unique players I've been around.

(Ryan Grant has already faced his team once already this year. Is there any reason for you to pull him aside to tell him not to let his old teammates get inside his head?)

I think it's safe to say that conversation will take place. I don't know how big of a conversation it will be. He's a focused young man. That's definitely something we'll talk about.

(Have you seen it before where a player in this situation gets taken out of his game?)

Absolutely, I think it's natural for any individual, you try to do too much. We all go through it, whether player or coach, you go against your former team and you have some personal emotion tied up, and those are all things you need to be aware of.

(What impact did the return of Ryan Pickett have?)

He played very well. He's clearly our best run defender in my opinion. Ryan Pickett, it was great to have him back healthy. He played very, very well. Cullen Jenkins probably played his best game of the year. That's the type of game we're going to need again this week.

(Has your rotation on the defensive line shrunk and are you concentrating on keeping your starters in most of the game?)

I think that's natural. That happens in playoff football. That's something you talk about every week. You're looking for spots because the energy level is going to be a notch higher this week than it was last week. Those are all things you need to be aware of. I think it would be safe to say this game is going to be won in the fourth quarter.

(How many snaps did you play in the nickel and what did you think of the way Tramon Williams played?)

Tramon played well. I could not tell exactly how many snaps. I did not go through it that closely. Our meeting, we took the quick route today as far as the coaches in the staff meeting.

(Was there any apprehension about playing him so much given his inexperience?)

Not at all. He's earned his spot, he's earned his reps. It's been a very competitive situation in the whole secondary. Zero apprehension.

(You benched James Jones when he fumbled twice against the Bears but you didn't bench Ryan Grant yesterday. Is that just an immediate gut decision or do you think things through for quite awhile?)

It depends on the situation. You have to look at all the facts. You want to take James' situation ... James' situation was using poor technique. I thought Ryan's first turnover, the ball was thrown behind him - it was actually the only minus throw Brett had all day. His body was contorted and he was unable to get himself in position. That's the way I looked at that particular play. But the second one, he had his pads too high. It was bad technique. We corrected it and went on. So, I have a lot of faith in Ryan. I have a lot of faith in James Jones. That's why we picked up with him the next game and never looked back. I think every situation is different, but it's important to hold the players accountable for ball security. We work on it every single day. That's part of what needs to show up on Sundays. That's part of our goal week in and week out.

(The Seahawks kicked away from Koren Robinson Saturday. Is there anything you can do to make sure he gets the ball or are you fine with Tramon Williams getting it?)

Oh, I like Tramon Williams. And if Will Blackmon is back there, Koren Robinson, we like all three of those guys. I have no problem with Tramon Williams bringing them all back.

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