Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 4

(Was Bigby not at practice today?)

Atari was not at practice today. He had some traveling issues. He missed the meetings and practice.

(Is he on his way?)

He's here. He's in the building. I haven't spoken to him yet.

(Is that one of the hazards of letting guys get away?)

That would classify as a hazard, yes.

(Was he derelict in his scheduling or anything?)

I haven't spoken to him. I will see him when I get back inside. He arrived when we were at practice.

(Is that automatically something you have to discipline him for?)

That's something that he and I will deal with.

(But you gave guys an extra day to travel, right?)

Correct. It will be dealt with.

(You had a plan when you came in here two years ago. What's your reaction to how well it has worked?)

I didn't go into it thinking it wouldn't work. You always have bumps in the road. We had some bumps last year. We were able to navigate much better (this year), particularly earlier in the season. I felt the comparison from last year to this year was the way we started the season. Last year there were some tight games where we did not make the plays at the end of the game to win. This year we did. As the year went on our confidence grew and the ability to play all three phases, contributing week in and week out, in my mind, we were able to establish being a good football team. That was the goal all along, to develop a program that puts you in position to win championships year in and year out. We were able to get that done in Year 2.

(What did you see as an outsider that needed to change?)

Everybody has opinions on the outside. Once you get inside to be able to take what's in place, I can remember speaking at the press conference when I was hired here, the fact that everybody wanted to talk about rebuilding as if we were in a rebuilding stage. Having worked here in Green Bay in the past, I've always felt that this was an incredible organization that had so many resources. Frankly, it's something I talk to the players about a lot. We have no excuses not to be successful here. We're given unlimited resources. We have an incredible fan base. We have history. We have tradition. We have so many things to tap into. That was something that was already in place when I arrived. What Ted and I brought to the table was the type of culture that we wanted to establish here. We accomplished that last year. I changed some things with scheduling. Those are smaller components in my view. They are important because we did change. Player acquisition is a big part of it too. We're bringing in the right type of player that fits our program, and it's paying dividends.

(How do you self-assess what you've done this year? We could all make the argument you got hosed in the Coach of the Year award.)

Any time you are a part of those conversations, to me, that's enough. It's flattering to be mentioned in the same breath with a football coach that's won 16 football games. I think the season New England's had is incredible and it's a tribute to what Coach Belichick has established up there with his program. I'm not trying to take away anything from what we've accomplished. Just being a part of those conversations says enough about your football team and your coaching staff, that you're doing things the right way. You're program is definitely pointing things in the right direction. It's all about winning championships. To me, that's the bottom line. All the awards and that are gravy. The true goal, and always will be the goal, is to win the championship.

(When do you think you'll get Spitz back on the practice field?)

It's positive every day. Talking to the medical staff this week, talking with Pat this morning, he thinks he's making very good progress. He won't practice until next week, to answer your question. He won't practice tomorrow. I don't have the exact day that he will go. But they're very optimistic that he'll be ready.

(What about Blackmon?)

He and Jason are very similar as far as timetable. Will will not do anything until next week. We'll actually probably test him on Monday to see where he is.

(What kept Kuhn out today?)

He had a bruise and just needed a couple days off.

(Do you emphasize to the young guys that this is an opportunity that doesn't come around too often, or is there something to be said for not knowing and just going out and playing?)

I think all of these questions and topics that come from the media and the reality of the experience that we have as a football team are things that we have talked about today and will continue to talk about. They are not a part of our primary focus. Our primary focus is winning with the fundamentals and primary techniques that put us in this position we're in today. We're just tightening our focus. We're not going to add a bunch of new plays and new defenses and totally get away from what brought us here. That's important. My experiences in playoff football, when you look at the game and the things that did not go well are fundamental things that you practice every day. That will be our focus.

(Brett hasn't had much success in the playoffs of late. Do you look at those games at all or does it factor into anything you do?)

To answer your question, no I haven't. The benefit of Brett being here so long and some of the people that have been here with him, that information is readily available to you, maybe not as detailed as watching film. The second part of your question, I don't think it factors in how he's played this year and what he's been asked to do in this offense. Those are situations that he can learn from as an individual but I don't think it affects our football team.

(You've talked a lot about opportunity, and you don't go 13-3 and get a first-round bye all the time. Is that something you talk about with your team?)

Maybe I didn't fully answer the question. That's not something that's been answered today or talked about today. That's something you talk about through the course of the year. Something you talk about when you're 10-1. Something you talk about when you're 12-2. I told them the story about my first year in the National Football League as a rookie assistant coach. We played in the AFC Championship Game and went to the Pro Bowl. I thought this is great stuff. Pro football is awesome. I haven't been back since. It's hard to go 13-3. They realize that, I'm hopeful. They've been told that. Those, to me, are topics of discussion. I think it's important to continue to educate your team. Mike Eayrs does an excellent job. He'll speak to the team tomorrow about playing in playoff football as far as a case study viewpoint. It's supporting the message that I'm giving them throughout the year. It's an important game next Saturday and it's hard to be put in this situation. By the same breath, our focus is playing to our strengths, putting our best foot forward and playing to our ability.

{sportsad300}(In four of the last five games, you've had no sacks. Is the pass rush playoff-ready?)

I would say so. We also have done a better job with our percentage of pressure. We've picked that up. If people are going to keep six, seven blockers in consistently against us, we're able to combat that. I'm very comfortable with the way we're playing right now. I'm not naive to the fact that we have to go out and play our best football.

(With Coston's injury, what are you looking for from Colledge this week and next?)

I thought Daryn played well against Detroit. More importantly, I think Daryn Colledge has handled this particular situation that he's been a part of very well. He works extremely well. It's important to him. You see more urgency. You see improvement. That's what you're looking for. Like everybody up front and our whole football team, he needs to play his best football right now. That's what we're holding each other accountable for. Look for him to line up and play well for us at left guard.

(This is the third time he's had to respond to his job security. What have you seen from him in the immediate games after one of these challenges?)

I think he's responded. He has not played as well as he would like, as far as over the long term. I see him in James Campen's office. I see him doing extra work, coming in here on Tuesdays and doing all the little things that you look for in a pro. I have no problem with Daryn Colledge the person and the work ethic. I think he does a very good job, especially for a young player. We tend to forget that Daryn, Jason and Tony Moll are second-(year), Junius is a third-year player. They've been asked to play a lot of football quickly in their career. That's fine. That's who we are. It's no excuse. I think he's working to get better and he handles it very well.

(How has Morency handled his season, going from starter to injured to third-down back?)

I hate to be redundant here saying everybody is great and handling everything well. But I think he's handling it very well because it shows in how he's played throughout the season. The training camp injury was significant, more than we thought when it initially happened. I know it's frustrating for him. Once the season started he was able to go through a full week of practice. It's taken him probably half the year to get back to where he was last year when the season ended. I felt last year he was playing very well. I was talking to Mike Stock today. We were going over all the special teams players and Vernand has played very well for us on special teams. There were a couple excellent pass-protection blitz pickups in the last couple weeks. You're seeing the little things that he's doing at a high level. He brings a lot of energy when he has his chance to play. I'm pleased with the way that he's responded, especially overcoming the injury that he had in training camp.

(How do those Mike Eayrs talks go over with the players? He usually has a lot of interesting stats. Do guys dig that?)

I think so. I wouldn't have him do it if I didn't think so. He normally does it on Thursday in a normal work week. It's not every week. It's based on if there's a topic that Mike and I feel that he needs to hit. He just brings it from a whole different approach. There is statistics background to it that supports a case study that he may look through. He has an excellent delivery, a professor approach. Most of the time they clap for him when he's done. It's a very positive exchange of information. He has a unique personality. He does a good job of delivering the message.

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