Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - June 10

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference following Wednesday’s OTA workout.

(Two weeks in, what have you seen during OTAs?)

I'm very happy, pleased with what we have seen so far in our OTAs. I'll just say that the practices we have had, particularly this week so far, being able to hit all of the different situations, two-minute and all of the way down, short yardage, short yardage went into today, goal line, it's just great to get to the situations, the concepts, this early in OTAs. I think it just kind of shows where we are as a football team in Year 4 of our program, even though we do have a new defensive scheme and we're doing some new things on special teams.

(How has Jordy Nelson looked this offseason?)

Jordy is doing a good job. Jordy is a lot like a number of our players; you see the advancement from Year 1 to Year 2, the opportunity to go through an offseason program. I'm sure he feels a lot better about where he is physically and what he has been able to do with his body throughout these workouts the past three months. He seems very comfortable out there. He plays every position as far as wide receiver goes. He plays 'X', 'Z', 'Zebra', he just rolls in there. Just like you saw as a rookie, Jordy is very, very consistent and I think he has had an excellent spring so far.

(Can Jennings and Driver play all three positions too?)

All of our receivers play all of the positions, and I think that's the beauty of our group. They all bring different talents, different strengths to the table. But to have the opportunity to have the flexibility we have within our passing game conceptually to try to create matchups, I think that speaks volumes about the wide receiver group and Jimmy Robinson, their coach, because they are all very flexible and they all play all of the positions. I have never had a group like this, as far as every man being able to play all of the different positions.

(How are Raji and Matthews looking so far?)

They look like they are going through their first OTA. Every day is a learning experience as far what defensive scheme we have in. Dom Capers and the defensive staff have been installing a lot of defense, getting all of their different defensive personnel groupings in. Raji has done an excellent job and Clay is kind of fighting through a hamstring.

(How have the defensive players handled the transition to the 3-4?)

I like what I see. I like what I see in the classroom environment. I like the way Dom Capers conducts his meetings, the communication involved in the meeting environment from the players, which I feel is very important. I have always felt that way as a position coach, and even as a coordinator, that the communication can't just be the one coach at the front of the room. There is just a lot of communication, a lot of interaction. It's a scheme that is definitely challenging our defensive players because it's more volume schematically. There is more communication involved, but I really like what I see. I think we are a very athletic group defensively. This group makes us bigger on first and second down, which I think is definitely needed, particularly in the run defense area. I think it is off to a good start.

(Are the communication errors easy to find at this point?)

Actually I talked to the team about this today. When we talk about mental errors, I think you can really put them in two categories. We break mental errors down as far as the way I view them, as missed assignments or focus errors. It's very normal this time of the year I think for any NFL team, particularly when you go through change, that your mental errors are very high going through your offseason program. That's normal because you have new players. You may have some veteran players that have not been there as much in March, April, May, so you have different players on different levels as far as their comfort zone of what they are being asked to do mentally. With that being said, missed assignments are really the responsibility of the coach and the player. The coach has to get those players on the same page. We don't take the attitude that if a player makes an error out on the field that, heck, I showed him that two times, he should have that. It doesn't work that way. Good coaches make sure their players know exactly what they need to do, and that's the phase we're in right now. We're just trying to get everybody on the same page. But once a player goes and exercises a particular technique or an adjustment or an assignment seven, eight, nine times in a row and then messes it up on No. 10, that's a focus errors. He's not looking at the right things or his eyes are not in the right place and it's more the responsibility of the player. We're working very hard right now to eliminate the missed assignments and get to the point where are not making the errors because focus is something we work on every day. There is a lot more communication, but like I've said, I'm very pleased with what I have seen so far from the defense.

(How is Anthony Smith coming along?)

Anthony looks very comfortable. Definitely his experience in Pittsburgh has really helped him. He understands conceptually there is probably some things that we ask him to do differently just as far as communication. I always get a kick out of when people refer to, well, they run the same scheme in Green Bay as they run in wherever. It's never exactly the same because every coach tries to take his spin on it and so forth. That's no different between Dom Capers and what they are doing now in Pittsburgh. But he was the furthest ahead of anybody when we started this process. He looks very natural out there. He's an athletic safety. I can see why people were as high on him as they are, and I think he'll definitely factor in our safety group.

(Is the center position Spitz's natural spot?)

Jason looks comfortable at center. I think any time you have the opportunity to play guard first and then move to center really helps you. I have always referred to the center and two guards as the core of our offense. I believe, in every offense I have ever designed, I have always started with the core, and that's the center, two guards, the quarterback and the tailback because everything inside there starts there and it works its way out. That's why I am a firm believer in availability and accountability, and it's because of creating offensive schemes, those particular players need to practice all of the time together, they need to play all of the time together. I think that's when you really see consistency in your offense. So Jason having the opportunity to learn guard and then move to center really helps him. I think he feels natural because our guards do the same communicating as our centers because just think about it. If your center has his head between his legs and he's snapping the ball in a loud stadium, it obviously makes sense to have someone else do the communication. There is a lot of cross-training there. He does look natural there.

(Would you like to keep him in there throughout the preseason and let him battle it out with Wells?)

They're going to battle it out. Scott Wells is coming back from his medical situation. I met this morning with our medical staff and I am fully confident that Scott will be cleared in training camp and Jason and Scott will battle that thing out.

(With Smith having familiarity with this defense, do you see other players going to him?)

That's a good question. Maybe early in the process. Ninety-six percent of our football team has been here since March, the second week of March. They have had a chance to go through it once. Anthony was on the cut-ups. We broke down every game of Pittsburgh. We looked at Baltimore, so there is a lot of film out there. But yeah, I'm sure in their one-on-one segments because I know our players spend a lot of time away from here in study groups and so forth. I couldn't accurately answer that, but that would not surprise me.

(Is your backup quarterback situation the same as last year? Does Brohm have to do something to beat out Flynn?)

We're kind of rolling that way, but I look at Matt and Brian as the same. I think that's a competitive situation that will work itself out. I think they're both two young quarterbacks with bright futures. I really like the contributions that they've made to the offseason program, the extra time that they put in. You watch practice today, they're playing a lot faster. There's a different comfort level, so that's only going to help them. I think we have two very good young quarterbacks here.

(How is Brohm's confidence compared to last year?)

I think he's a lot more confident. I don't think there's a rookie on our team that's not more confident today than he was last year, and when you play the quarterback position, obviously your load mentally, the responsibility that you carry forward every day is a lot more to ask than the other positions. I think just the way Brian carries himself, he's more comfortable in the locker room environment, he's able to express himself more in the classroom environment, and I think it definitely carries over to practice.

(How has Barbre done with the adjustment to right tackle?)

Allen's had a very positive camp. No one wants to, you never try to get too excited too fast, because you don't want to create unrealistic expectations. But every day in the film sessions with the coaches, Allen Barbre has done a very good job so far. I think this is a more natural position for him. Today was a new installation as far as what we saw from the defense, so he had some really tough looks that he'll definitely learn from when he sees the film today, because there is still the newness in certain things that he still needs to see. But as far as what he's done with his body, he's a lot stronger. His weight is up. This is the highest he's ever been, and he's still extremely athletic. And he's a tough guy. He just does a great job finishing things. We haven't put the pads on yet, but I really like what I see so far from Allen Barbre.

(Can you talk about how the safety position works in this defense?)

Anytime you start a new system, you always want to be able to train left and right, because it gives you more flexibility. It's really no different with the outside linebacker. You can really make the same case as the inside linebackers. Anytime you're in the balanced situations, when you're left and right, and don't have to go strong or weak, it gives you a lot more flexibility. That's where we are right now. It just gives Dom more flexibility once we get into game-planning with matchups.

(What have you seen from Jeremy Thompson?)

I think Jeremy is a natural fit for this defense because he does everything the outside linebacker position asks him to do very well. He's extremely athletic. He's a natural pass rusher. His experience playing defensive end really will help him this year as it carries over to the outside linebacker position. He's as natural of an athlete that you'll see out there at that position as far as dropping and doing all the different things. I know our defensive staff, particularly Kevin Greene and Dom Capers, are very excited about Jeremy.

(Where do you stand with the punters?)

The punters? I don't really stand anywhere. They're young guys that are battling it out. We don't have a lot of experience there. I think that's fairly obvious. There's a lot of charting, there's a lot of evaluating with those two young guys. You can't ask more from them for what they've done since they've been here. They've been here every day. They've spent a lot of time with Shawn Slocum and Curtis, and they're continuing to work. But we're not going to answer that question this spring, or this June. Is it summer around here? It doesn't look like summer around here. But we're not going to answer that question in June.

(So you just have two?)

Yes, we're down to two.

(Was Graessle facing an uphill battle?)

Tough battle, but I'll tell you what. He was clearly the strongest leg of the three. I'll say that about him. He's a young man that needs to keep chasing the dream. He did a nice job when he was here. We're getting to the point where I think all the teams are in the NFL, where the numbers are starting, the numbers are evident in what you're going to do with certain players. It was kind of hard to go forward with three punters.

{sportsad300}(How does James Jones look?)

He looks like James Jones of last year. I thought James had a tremendous training camp last year. He's what you're looking for when a player goes from Year 1 to Year 2. He really made that jump. Physically, he's a very gifted young man, in the weight room, and he's had an excellent offseason there. I know Dave Redding and Mark Lovat have been very impressed and he graded out very high in the offseason program. He looks like his old self out there. We look for James to stay healthy and have a big year.

(Is Brian Soi no longer on the roster?)


(How about Jake Allen?)

Yes. Jake had a personal issue. He was not here today and won't be here tomorrow.

(Lorne Sam?)

He's injured.

(How has Raji handled learning multiple positions?)

I don't think multiple positions is a problem for B.J. He picks things up quickly. I know Mike Trgovac likes what he sees in B.J., and it's probably a credit to obviously B.J. and his experience in college. There's new techniques for all those guys up there, and we'll continue to work that. But yeah, I think B.J. is going to be able to play wherever he has the opportunity to.

(Was it nice to have Tyrell Sutton here?)

Fresh legs. Fresh legs. He's had two good practices. He's an instinctive football player. You can see why he was so productive in college, and he's always got a smile on his face. He's been back the last two days, so it's good to have him back.

(Do you know when Brandon Underwood will be here?)

Not the exact date, I do not.

(How has Ryan Pickett looked?)

Good. Ryan is a natural player in there. He was not here last week because of his family opportunity, but I really like Ryan in this new scheme. I think he's a natural nose guard, and he's always been a 'steady Eddie' guy for us both on the field and in the locker room, and I think this scheme will fit him very well.

(Do you see Aaron Rodgers as an extension of yourself on the field and in the locker room?)

I think it's important, number one, for Aaron Rodgers to be himself. I would never ask any player to try to emulate the head coach or any of our coaches. He's truly in tune with the philosophies and the vision of the environment that we've created here, and how we want to maintain it as we move forward. I spend more time with Aaron than any other player on our football team. I think that's natural because of my position being the head coach, but also being involved with the offense like I am. Do I think he's an extension of myself? Yes, I agree. But it's important for him to do that within his own personality, and you can see this football team is definitely starting to have his name on it. It is a football team, but he's very natural leader in the locker room, both on and off the field. And I'm excited about our future with him as we move forward.

(In your nickel package you have had just two down defensive linemen. What does that give you?)

Well, we have more coming, but up to this point, yes, I definitely agree with you. What it gives you is flexibility, because when you identify that, is the guy rushing or is he dropping? So it's the uncertainty of that position as far as the alignment. It gives that particular individual, the defensive end, if it's a four-man line, or the outside linebacker, the opportunity to play with more vision as far as what the offense is giving you, formations and motions and things like that. It definitely plays into the base concept of the defense. You're not sure really who the fourth rusher is.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Action Needed: Update your Packers Mobile App!

Fans attending any games during the 2023 season should update their Packers mobile app due to important upgrades and enhancements.