Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 17

Read the transcripts of the press conferences from the Lambeau Field media auditorium on Thursday. Mike McCarthy Joe Philbin | Bob Sanders | Mike Stock Ryan Pickett | Chad Clifton A.J. Hawk | Nick Barnett Audio | Video | Packers-Giants Game Center

(What is Wells' situation right now?)

I think Scottie will be fine for the game. That's the communication that he has given me and the training staff. Just being smart with him because it's a glute strain.

(How did Will Blackmon respond today?)

He responded very well. He practiced the whole time today so he's progressing and we'll just see how the week finishes for Will.

(How important is getting pressure on Eli this week?)

Well, putting pressure on the quarterback's something that is a primary focus for us every week. It will be again this week against Eli. They run the ball very well. They're very physical up front. You know, you want to make any offense - particularly the Giants offense - be one-dimensional, and that will be a focus.

(What have you seen on film with the forearm Shaun O'Hara gave Kampman in Week 2?)

That's something that happened in the past. Things like that happen. They're part of the game. I don't have a comment on that.

(Have you cautioned your players about those kind of plays?)

We'll be there Sunday. It's going to be a physical contest and we'll be ready to go.

(Have you been pleased with your intensity in practice?)

Great energy today, execution was a lot better. We had some things we needed to clean up from yesterday. We accomplished that. I thought the energy was excellent, the tempo was very good. When we finish, on the norm (it's) between five, eight minutes ahead of schedule. We were eight minutes ahead of schedule today, so I thought today's work was very good without viewing the film.

(Is it harder to maintain a normal focus with all the extra distractions this game brings?)

I would like to think it's the other way. It's something I've talked about more in the offensive meetings. It's important to enjoy this process. We're one of four teams that are playing this time of year. The energy's been great. That's what's expected. I thought we started a little slow in yesterday's practice but the team work was outstanding so you can read into that a little too much. But our energy level has been good and it seems like they're handling all the extra distractions.

(Charles Woodson mentioned that your relationship with him has evolved. What's your philosophy on how you deal with different players?)

I think it's very important when you establish your program, especially at the professional level, that the program is wide enough to fit a number of different player personalities - veterans, obviously rookies, they get right in line and do what they're supposed to do. But I think it's important to have that in place. Charles and I had some big-time growing pains in his initial stages here. We've made it through that and the benefits have definitely outweighed the negatives, so I can't say enough about him, how he's bought into our program. He's one of the most unique players that I've been around (with) the practice time that it takes for him to get ready for football games. Turn the film on, it's clearly evident that he plays at an extremely high level and overcomes a number of injuries throughout last season and again this year.

(What kind of general reasons was Woodson fined for?)

You can't fine somebody for not being here for your offseason program. There are rules in every program. The one thing I do not budge on from a discipline standpoint is fineable offenses. There's no negotiating involved in those type of situations and he was involved in some of those situations.

(How unique is your corners' style of play in today's game?)

Well, not a lot of people do it, but it's something that I've always believed in. I was part of the staff in Kansas City and we used to practice against those guys every single day and any time you can disrupt the offense's timing and rhythm in the passing game, that's definitely playing to the advantage of the defense. That's something I've always believed in and I go back to Dale Carter, Albert Lewis, James Hasty and that group in Kansas City and that's the way we played there. That's the type of defense that I wanted when I became a head coach. Bob Sanders had that in place, so we're fortunate enough to keep the system, but I think there's two different types of style of play. There's outside leverage, you know, keep it in front of you, react to the football, or get inside of them and beat them up and challenge them, and we're definitely inside of them and beating them up and challenging everybody at the line of scrimmage.

(Do you feel that Woodson's perception of Green Bay before he arrived here is the perception that everyone has?)

I don't think so. I've never been part of that type of communication. I know when I was here in '99 and came back last year, I mean Oneida Street really grew a lot, so I thought there was a lot going. This was a heck of a town compared to what it used to be seven years ago, in my opinion. I think it's a great place. It reminds me of where I grew up in Pittsburgh. I'm an inner-city kid, there's a lot to do here, so I think our environment is a benefit to our athletes because we do have less distractions. The quality of life is not as hectic that you could potentially have in bigger cities.

(What is it about Donald Driver's personality that makes him not upset about not scoring?)

Donald Driver's always been a team player. I think it speaks volumes about the way he approaches his job, the way he helps other receivers based on his experiences when he came through here in Green Bay, his rookie year. Very high-character individual. He knows he's still the primary threat and he's the flanker in our system. That is the No. 1 receiver so his opportunities are there. The way games shake out it's not like we're running the ball and throwing it 10 times and he's not getting opportunities. So I think it speaks a lot about him as a person.

(Is Driver drawing more attention than he maybe has in the past?)

They definitely draw more attention to him, when he's in the slot in particular. Third-down coverage you see more bracket to him and he definitely gets a lot of attention out there.

(How crucial is Ryan Pickett in stopping Giants RB Brandon Jacobs?)

Ryan's the anchor. He's one of the anchors of our defensive front. He does a great job staying square. That'll be a key factor in our run defense this week and he's been excellent all year. It was great to have him back last week and he'll be a big factor.

(What in your mind makes a good locker room leader?)

You lead two different ways, by example and then really, well I shouldn't say just two different ways. I think there's a lot of different ways to lead. We have some excellent leadership that's by example. I think that everybody on our football has opportunities to lead in different situations. I think it speaks to a lot of the people in our locker room, they're with the plan, they're part of the program, they understand the vision, they keep everybody on course.

(Who is this team's locker room leader?)

I think we have a number of different leaders. There was an article - I didn't read it, Jeff (Blumb) was telling me about it - where they named the players, it was interesting to hear who the players felt were the leaders in the locker room. And that's probably the best indicator because in my view the locker room chemistry is the most important part of the room and it's about the players. Rob Davis was one of the guys that a number of people talked about, Aaron Kampman, Brett from a different angle as far as what he's done and how he goes about his business. Some people mentioned Charles Woodson. I know he does a great job, particularly with the defensive backs. Aaron Kampman, I said Aaron Kampman. Ryan Pickett in the defensive line room. He's definitely one of the guys they follow. Donald Driver, clearly, in the wide receiver room. Mark Tauscher in his room, so we're very fortunate in that area.

{sportsad300}(Is Chad Clifton one of those guys that leads by example?)

Clearly. I mean Chad leads by performance. If you ever had to play without a left tackle that is not very good at pass protection, you appreciate Chad Clifton. Chad Clifton makes my job as a play-caller very easy.

(What has been the driving force behind your defense's general improvement in tackling this season?)

I like to think it's clearly based on the emphasis of the way we practice. We don't tackle in practice but the fundamental of tackling is emphasized - low tackling, we talk about it all the time. I thought Al Harris, we had some guys in the Seattle game that really did a great job, Atari Bigby. So that's something we preach. I know all defenses preach it but I think we're a much better tackling team this year than we were even last year, and I attribute that to the coaches and the players buying into it.

(What's the biggest factor in your defense getting off the field on third down?)

I think it goes back to the foundation of our scheme. Our starting point is to attack the offense and if you watch people play situational football, first and second down there's a little more base, not as much pressure that occurs on first and second down that normally occurs on third down. As we go through third-down defenses, almost week in and week out, third and 5-to-8 is heavy pressure. That's pretty much universal, so when you have to turn on the pressure, turn on the aggressiveness in your scheme on third down as opposed to first and second down, there's something that you're, in my opinion, not doing all the time. We challenge you first, second and third down and I think a lot of our base concepts of what we do on first and second down carry over to third down.

(How has your schedule been this week? Are you spending more time in the office?)

I tell you we really benefited from the extra day. It's worked out great. They've had a lot of extra time to spend in the film room, so other than that, everything's been normal (except) the wonderful extra time I get to spend with you people. But my schedule's been pretty normal.

(Is there more value in a big hit than just solid tackling?)

I think so. I think it's a good point. I think Atari's hit in the Seattle game was a turning point. I mean it generated a turnover, but it definitely lifts up the sideline, lifts up the home crowd, so it definitely brings energy to your team.

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