Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 9

(Anything to be concerned with Jennings and Jones?)

They both wanted to finish practice. (We're) just being cautious. This is the healthiest we've been all year medically and I just want to make sure we're ready to go. They experienced some tightness three-quarters of the way through practice, so I sent them up for treatment.

(How about Woodson?)

Woodson bumped his knee on the turf yesterday, just had some swelling. He'll be fine. We know Charles will be ready to go.

(Is Al Harris feeling better now?)

I think he's a prime example of the health of our football team. Even Charles Woodson practicing Friday and Saturday, they feel a lot better. The break's really helped them and they're just getting ready to go. The bye week really helped us.

(Did Blackmon help himself today with the way he tested?)

They were positive the way he tested. Tomorrow morning's going to be a big indicator for Will, how he feels in the morning.

(What's realistic for Blackmon? Can he still help you somewhat?)

The return game is the biggest factor that I think he can contribute in the football game. Also sub-defenses is something you have to be concerned about because he hasn't taken the reps with yesterday's and today's practice, so that's a decision that we're going to have to make probably tomorrow.

(Has Spitz looked pretty good to you?)

Jason's done a nice job. He's taken the full amount of reps and looks to be ready to go.

(With the amount of big plays the offense has had this year has that been more of a point of emphasis?)

I think the biggest part it's a credit to our players, particularly our perimeter players when they're given the chance, putting the ball in their hands and they have done great things with it. I think it's illustrated with the yards-after-the-catch totals that we produced this year. The pass protection's a lot better. The quarterback's played at an extremely high level. That's all part of the equation, but a big part of it is putting the players in position and those guys have taken full advantage of that this year.

(How would you rate your coverage units on special teams?)

I think we have good coverage units and I think the special teams area will be a huge factor in this game like it is most games. I'm very pleased with the progress we've made throughout the year. We had the wakeup call in Chicago in the punt area, but our special teams will be ready to go.

(What can a healthy Bubba Franks give you this time of year?)

Veteran player, smart player, does all the little things very well, complete tight end. He does a very good job in the run blocking, protection. Very instinctive in some of the things we've asked Bubba to do the last two years and just a quality receiver as far as understanding coverages and being able to separate, particularly in the red zone area.

(What's the biggest challenge for the secondary with the way Matt Hasselbeck throws the ball?)

I think the biggest challenge is Matt, when he's throwing on time, he's very accurate, has a very good understanding of the coverages and what the defense is giving him pre-snap and post-snap. So the battle at the line of scrimmage, the releases will be a big part of our challenge in the secondary.

(How much do you think you missed Barnett in last year's Seattle game?)

I think Nick is probably one of the better Mike linebackers I've even been associated with. He's one of the catalysts of our defense, clearly a leader on our defense and does a very good job playing to this scheme. The scheme fits him where he's able to be productive, so we're not going to make any excuses for last year, but he's an important part of our defense.

(How does them having WR Deion Branch back change their offense?)

He's another playmaker. Any time your flanker receiver does not play in the West Coast offense, that in itself says a lot. Most of the passing game historically starts with the 'Z' so he's put in position to be productive and we all know his history and his ability for big plays and those types of things. He adds another playmaker to their arsenal.

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