Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 6

(Where did you watch the game yesterday?)

I watched it here.

(Were you by yourself or with your staff?)

I was by myself. Most of the staff went home and watched it.

(Did Seattle winning give you a one-day jump on preparation for this game?)

Well, we were able to break down a number of games, actually I think we had between eight and 10 in the computer. We're actually still waiting on yesterday's game. There's been a delay in the plane coming through Chicago, so we're still waiting for the film.

(Their defense was so dominant yesterday at the start of that game. Is that the best you've seen them?)

I thought their defense played very well, just watching the TV copy. The way they flew to the ball. The one thing that's constant throughout the film study, I think their secondary has very good ball skills. They do a good job of reacting to the football. Their linebacker play is a strength of theirs. I thought Kerney was a big factor in the game yesterday. Those are the type of things we've seen from their defense.

(What else jumped out at you as you watched that game besides their defense?)

I think Matt Hasselbeck does an excellent job as far as the tempo that he brings to the offensive side of the ball. I thought the way they started the game, they started very fast, up-tempo and was able to get in front of Washington. He had the turnovers in the second half. I thought they ran the ball in spurts, and special team play had the big play with the wind there. I was impressed with their football team. I thought they played at a very high level of energy and did what they needed to do to win the football game. There's big plays, big momentum swings throughout the football game, and Seattle did a nice job.

(Do you see any similarities between their team and yours?)

Similarities? I think if you look at numbers, if you look at the statistics, the breakdowns of the teams there's a lot of similarities. Their defense looked to have a high number of pressures early in the game. I think they pressure more than we do overall. There are some similarities in pass attempts in their offense compared to our offense, built around making the quarterback successful. And I think their special teams look to be pretty good too. They have the big returner in Burleson. I think it will be an excellent matchup.

(The degree of familiarity, having played them last season and this preseason, is that a good thing or a bad thing?)

I haven't even thought about it. I think that's part of playoff football, because most of the time, or a lot of the times you play an opponent in playoff football that you've already played during the course of the year or have played, whether it's preseason or last year. Having an opportunity to play on Monday Night Football up there, it was a big game, a snow game, and those are things you can look back on and draw from as far as your preparation for your football team. I had a chance to go back and look at that game again today and just revisit some of the objectives and things that we had going into that game. So we look at everything.

(Is the preseason game tape worth anything? They were missing a lot of guys.)

They sat down a lot of guys on defense, as I recall, and I think their two tackles also on offense. I went back and watched the first quarter. Just more personnel match-ups was what I was looking for out of the preseason game.

(How well do you know Mike Holmgren and do you like matching wits with a guy like that?)

On a personal level, I really don't know Mike Holmgren. I had an opportunity to visit with him when they were here for the preseason game. He was here visiting with Ted and Mark Schiefelbein and some of the people that have been here a long time. I guess he had not had the opportunity to see the new facility and spent quite some time in the building that day of the game, so I had a chance to meet with him then. Professionally, I think he's clearly one of the greats in our business. I think what he's done speaks for itself, and anytime you have an opportunity to compete against a coach like Mike Holmgren, it's something you look forward to.

(Is this an unusual situation, to go up against a coach with a street named after him in this town?)

Unusual? I think it's probably the most unique situation in pro football. I don't know if anybody else has had to do that. I haven't thought about it. Maybe I'll stay off Holmgren Way for a while, for at least the week.

(What did you talk about? Did he have any advice for you?)

Not really. It was more of just sitting around and listening to the old Seattle stories and his time here. We really didn't get into that. But he was very impressed with the facility and talked about the changes that had been made. He expressed the time that he spent here was very positive.

(What about Hasselbeck? You've talked about the good relationship you had with him in '99 and you told a funny story once about him diving into the end zone...)

It was in Minnesota. I think Matt's playing at a very high level. He was a young quarterback at the time and I was only able to coach him for one year. He's a wonderful person. I think a lot of him on a personal level, and professionally, he's done a great job with his career. Those are the type of players you root for. Obviously I won't be rooting for him this week. I'm proud of what he's accomplished so far.

(Would you mind relating that story again about Hasselbeck jumping over the pile during the touchdown celebration?)

What, the story in Minnesota? I think it was a Monday night game, and there was a fake field goal and if I recall, he threw the touchdown to Jeff Thomason. Do you remember the play? Matt went in to celebrate and he jumped up and missed the pile and landed on his face. So, I'm sure you could dig it (the footage) up. It was pretty comical.

(What did you think of him saying "We want the ball, and we're going to score" after the Seahawks won the coin toss in that 2003 wild-card playoff game here at Lambeau?)

Jeff and I were talking about it earlier. I was actually watching the game on TV, so I do remember it. I personally thought it was funny. Just knowing Matt, I thought it was funny that it came across the TV the way it did. And if I recall, I think Ryan Longwell might've been out there, so I just took it as, he was amongst friends and was having some fun with it. So it didn't surprise me, but I thought it was humorous.

(Could you see that his wrist was bothering him as you watched the game yesterday?)

Probably just like you did, I know they commented on it and made reference to it a couple times after plays, but I haven't seen the coaches' tape yet. But it looked like the ball came off his hand pretty accurate.

(What kind of difference has Patrick Kerney made to that defense?)

I just think with his production No. 1 is a huge difference. Just being around Patrick when he was in Atlanta and I was in New Orleans, he's a player that brings it every single down. So he brings a lot of energy, and I would think he's probably a good leader in their locker room. He reminds me a lot of Aaron Kampman. I think they're similar players. But he's definitely been a positive acquisition for them.

(You're confident in your own coaching ability, so are you looking forward to the chess match against someone who's a legend around here like Holmgren?)

Absolutely. But I look at it more as our football team versus his football team. Mike Holmgren calls plays for their offense and I call the plays for our offense. So as far as going up chess match-wise, that's really, there's not as much of that actually in the game. But as far as the week, preparation, getting your team ready to play, that's all part of it. I think anytime you have an opportunity to compete in the playoffs against a coach of his stature, it's something you really look forward to.

(Brett admitted after that '99 game in the weeks that followed that Holmgren got into his head a little bit. That's a long time ago, but do you remember what he was like in that game and why he won't be fazed by facing Holmgren now?)

I remember the '99 game. I remember the six turnovers in the game. I think it was a Monday Night Football game also. And I think Brett really pressed in that game, because I can remember the first interception he threw. It was on 22 X Shallow Cross, and they were playing cover 4, and Billy Schroeder was the shallow cross, he was the primary receiver, and Brett tried to throw the post and about three of their players intercepted the ball. He was really pressing. It was really early in the game. And then he had some things go the other way, but he definitely pressed in that game. But I think he's definitely a lot more mature today than he was back in the '90s, last decade.

(Can Ted Thompson offer any insights into the Seahawks' personnel or is he too far removed from working there?)

Ted gave his two cents today. We had a little personnel meeting, I had a chance to sit down with Ted. He knows a lot of their players and has been around Holmgren and that staff, so I had a chance to visit with Ted about it.

(Is there any advantage on the flip side of that, that with 27 rookies, first- and second-year guys on the roster, other teams don't know a lot about them?)

Not a lot of knowledge about our football team? You could look at it that way. I'm sure playing (us) last year helps them a lot, how many new faces we have compared to this year. But it's playoff football. I don't think one or two players is going to factor in the outcome of the game. It's really going to be the collective effort of everyone on the football team. A lot of emotion in these games, a lot of momentum swings, which was clearly evident in their game yesterday against Washington. So that's what we're preparing for.

(How will you handle the week? Will you go pads at all?)

Well, we've had the two padded practices Friday and Saturday, so Monday, tomorrow, we'll come in at noon and we'll do some film. They'll have some strength and conditioning work in the morning prior to that, and then we'll have a film session from probably 12 to 2, and Tuesday will be a Wednesday schedule for us. And we'll go shells on Wednesday and pads on Thursday, then a normal Friday.

(Is your goal to make this as normal a week as possible?)

Oh, absolutely. As far as the way we practice and what we're trying to accomplish throughout the scheduling of the football team, that's definitely the goal. I think routine is important. We talk about preparation leading to good performance so we're not going to change the way we prepare.

(Did you play the percentages preparing for your possible opponent? Did you prepare a little bit more for Seattle?)

Personally I did. I watched mostly just Seattle film. I did not watch the Giants or Tampa Bay. But our quality control coaches had equal amount, they had all three teams broken down and they were ready to go today regardless of what direction the outcome went.

*(Has Al Harris reminded you of his interception against Seattle in the

2003 playoffs?) *

Has Al? No, not yet. It's a long week.

(Is that type of situation, when teams are evenly matched in the playoffs, where it literally comes down to one play?)

I think that's a perfect illustration of playoff football. You talk about big plays and the momentum swings in a game, your key players making those plays. I think that's a perfect example that you've already seen so far. I mean, you watched the Pittsburgh-Jacksonville game last night and the Seattle-Washington (game), the big plays in that game that factored into the outcome. So I think that's an excellent parallel.

(Were you itching to coach or play watching games yesterday?)

No, I was comfortable where I was at. I was comfortable getting ready for the upcoming week. But Friday's and Saturday's practices were the way it needed to look. I thought our work was very good. The competitive periods were what we needed to do. So I was happy with that.

(Did you go first-team offense vs. first-team defense?)

Yes. We went three periods of competition each day. And normal blitz, third-down blitz, red zone. We did some two-minute. Just hit all the different situations.

(Last year's game against the Seahawks tell you about how they don't give up?)

Well, I would think no football team would give up coming into this Saturday's game and Seattle did a nice job in the second half of coming back and taking a lead in the football game. We had the two turnovers in the second half that didn't help us. We had some opportunities, frankly, in the first half that we didn't cash in on. Our defense had the turnovers early in the game that point production off of those would have been a bigger benefit to us. So those are all excellent examples of what we need to do in playoff football.

(Still on the same plan with Jason Spitz and Will Blackmon?)

Yes, they'll both test tomorrow. That has not changed.

{sportsad300}(Does Shaun Alexander look back to being healthy?)

Yeah, I thought so. Watching the TV, they didn't use him as much as his workload in prior years. But he looked to be healthy from what I saw.

(Does he like to test in between the tackles?)

I think he's a very unique runner just because of his running style. He almost lulls you to...I don't want to say lulls you to sleep but he has a different running style where he's moving a lot faster than it may look. He has a lot of strength in his legs, he's able to step out of a lot of tackles. He's the MVP of the National Football League two years ago so I think that tells you the type of player he's capable of being and especially in the big game.

(How important is it for you to have the respect of your players?)

I think it's very important. I think it's important for the head coach to be respected from his players and everybody involved. I don't know how important it is to be liked. I think there's a difference. Some people want to be liked and respected. I'm more interested in being respected and I hope they like me. But I'm not really concerned about it.

(What are you doing today?)

This is a lot like a Tuesday for us. We're game-planning. Really, we're kind of waiting for this last game to kind of finish things up as far as base offense and third down.

(Do the tapes get FedEx-ed to you?)

They're coming on an airplane. They're usually here the next morning. We probably should have had it this morning on a normal day, if it wasn't for the weather.

(Do you get them from Seattle?)

Yes, I think so. I've graduated from quality control. But it used to be my job. I used to have to run to the airport myself.

(How did your meeting with Atari Bigby go?)

It was to the point and I'm comfortable with the way he handled it. Jeff was telling me about some of his comments. He has a sense of humor that I'm sure you're aware of. His sense of humor was not illustrated in our meeting, I can promise you that. But we have moved on and the discipline is in place.

(Did he get the message?)

He got the message.

(Will is affect his playing time?)

It will not affect his playing time.

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