Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - June 19


(What are you going to do on vacation?)

Oh, shoot, it's not really vacation. Vacation, I have about a week left. I'll be in town for another week just to kind of tie some things up for training camp and some personal things. Then I'll head down to Texas and spend some time with my daughter, Alex, and then I'll come back and move into the new house with Jessica and then I'll probably get back to Texas before camp.

(Since today was kind of the last day of school, how was the focus?)

I thought the practice as a whole was pretty good. I wouldn't say it was the best practice of the week. Really just took out the practice at the end there just to thank the guys for the extra time and the effort that they put in this offseason. Clearly I think it's the best offseason that we've had to date (with) the individual time that the players spent with the coaches, the commitment to the offseason program and the strength and conditioning all the way through the OTAs, and I really like the way our offseason came to a conclusion here with the mini-camp at the end. It's an exciting time for us. We felt like we had the opportunity to improve through this learning process because that's really what this time of year is. I liked the way the rookies jumped in there and picked things up. It puts us in a very good position to start off camp healthy and ready to go.

(You've worked with some elite quarterbacks; how important is it for the quarterback and a wide receiver to have good chemistry off the field?)

I don't know what the case study would conclude on a relationship off the field. I know the relationship in the facility and on the practice field is very important. Some cases the personal relationships have been very strong; sometimes they haven't been. It's just the mutual respect and understanding to put the extra time in, and that's where you see those relationships grow and become something special. Hopefully Aaron (Rodgers) is in the process of developing that with his receiver group. It's something that takes a lot of extra time and it's something that takes more time than an OTA or a mini-camp. It's that extra 10-15 minutes after practice and so forth. Once again, that's why I go back to the offseason program. You have guys that have been here since March 17, putting the extra time in, and that's where those relationships develop.

(Of the guys that weren't able to go because of injuries, who do you think will be ready for training camp?)

I would like to stand here and tell you that everybody is going to be back and that's my anticipation based off the conversations with our medical group. We may limit some of our players to one-a-days early, the ones that are coming off of significant injuries, but my hope is that we'll be healthy and ready to go when training camp starts.

(With Brett Favre retired, have you seen any of the veterans stepping up in a leadership role, especially Donald Driver?)

I'll say this; really this time of year is about improvement. It's a teaching and learning environment, so as far as getting up and saying something that needs to be said in an important time, those are things in my experiences that happens more in season. So the opportunities really haven't presented themselves for that. The fact that the veterans that have not been here in the past have been here, so you can take that as a sign of them trying to lead by example in participating. I'm sure there are signs of it but nothing that just jumps out at you that you can say this particular veteran is doing more than he has in the past.

(The structure you used this year with mini-camp at the end, do you think that will be what you do going forward?)

I like it. I like it compared to the three that we've been involved with here. I clearly like it because we've talked time and time again in here how important it is to teach and progressions and I clearly think this is the best format for the younger players to catch up to the veterans and also give the veterans the opportunity to go through the strength and conditioning program without being interrupted because you are able to get six, seven, eight, nine weeks of strength and conditioning where it is not interrupted by practice and so forth where it interrupts their training. I do really like this format.

(What do you want guys doing now?)

What has happened this week is we've had players weigh in and we've targeted their assigned weights. Everyone will have a conversation with Rock Gullickson and his staff and it's more of an individual basis of what they'll from today and when they get back on July 27. A number of guys are going to individual workout places that they like or a part of the country that they want to be in and so forth, and that's something that you've really in the last five years a lot of guys doing. We encourage them to do that. I think it's a great opportunity for them to step away from our organization, our facility because they have been here since March, and train in a different environment and spend time with their families and get ready to go.

(Do you give them the message of watch yourselves and stay out of trouble?)

Absolutely. Be safe and be smart. I can't tell them enough. I say it to the football team all of the time. I talked about it this morning in the team meeting and it was the last thing I said as we left the field, just be safe and be smart, and enjoy the time away with your family. It's important to spend that time with your family and make sure you take care of your business and make sure you're ready to go when you get back.

(Considering where you finished last season and the roster you have, is this a Super Bowl-or-bust type season?)

It's Super Bowl for me every day. I don't operate that way as far as trying to build up a bunch of what I would refer to as false confidence and trying to sell tickets. Fortunately we don't have that problem here. Our tickets are sold out forever. As far as our roster, with the names on the board, the talent level on our depth chart board, it's the best that it has looked since I've been here, especially at this time of year. The amount of work that we were able to get done from March until today has been the most productive that we've been able to get done in my three years. What does that lead to? We're trying to win every game, so I don't believe in predictions. I don't really get caught up in them. Once again, we're trying to win every single football game, and this team has a team that has the ability to be something special and we felt that way coming off our offseason last year. We felt good about the direction we were going. I think our challenges are going to be a lot different this year. The obstacles that we're going to have to get over are going to be a lot different. We just have to go out week in and week out and find ways to win games. That will be our focus. That's the one thing I can promise you.

{sportsad300}(Is it a different mindset between being the pursuer and being the pursued?)

Oh, absolutely. There really is, but I still believe that once the ball is kicked off, everybody is playing to win. That part I know will never change. Whether you are the favored, whether you are not the favored, wherever you generate your confidence from, those are all things that every team goes through. I'm a big believer in real confidence, and that's something that we'll stay in touch with. I'm not a big believer in false confidence because I think that it will blow up in your face at some point. This is a team that needs to continue to grow. I think we took steps in that direction, based on how hard they worked and what they've put into it, so it's really phase one. We've just completed phase one. Training camp is phase two, and then once the in season starts it will be phase three. I'm very pleased with what we have accomplished in phase one.

(What is your biggest concern heading into training camp?)

Health of the defensive line. I'd just like to see those guys get healthy. You never want to see one particular group kind of dominate the medical report. I think that will take care of itself here over the next month. We went through a situation last training camp with the running back group being hurt, so you can see how that affects that position, but it also can affect the way your offense or defense, whatever segment the injuries occur in, it affects the way you go through training camp. The only things I ever concern myself with, I like to think I don't worry but I am human, I do worry, I concern myself, is just the health. I think if you are healthy, you have an opportunity to play at your highest level, and that's really the job of the coaches to make sure we stay in tune with that. The only thing I ever worry about is their health.

(It seems like there have been a lot of off-the-field incidents around the league, but not here. Is that luck, the team stressing it, high-character guys?)

I think it's a combination of all of those things. I think, number one, it starts with the player acquisition. I think it's a tribute to the way Ted Thompson and the personnel department goes about their business and the individuals that are targeted to bring into Green Bay. I think it's also a credit to the organization. When you pull into the stadium every day, you have the 'G' sitting up there on top of the stadium. That's something that we all have a responsibility for and to uphold that, and that's something, for Ted and I, it's a daily focus of ours. That's the first part of it. I think it's a credit to our community. It's a great place to live; it really is. The pace of the environment and the culture of Green Bay and the surrounding communities, I think it's excellent and I think our players feel welcomed here. There is a comfortable feeling. People say good morning to you. The Midwest I've always felt is a very friendly part of the country. Luck is part of it too, I'm sure. Knock on wood, I hope those things don't come across our football team. You hate to see it happen to other football teams. I think it is a combination of all of those things.

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