Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - May 2

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference Sunday following the completion of rookie orientation.

(Overall did you get everything accomplished you wanted to with the rookies this weekend?)

I thought we had a very good weekend. I was very happy with the quality of work, and I just expressed that to all the rookies. You always look for improvement individually, as a group and obviously as a team. Friday's practice was a little rough which is probably normal around the NFL when you're bringing that many new individuals together, and Saturday's practice was very good, and actually I'm excited to see today's practice (on film) because I thought they practiced very well. Even the quarterback play, they didn't have the exchange problems. I thought the tempo was obviously great and these guys were excited about their opportunity. I don't know if it's come together this fast, this year compared to prior years, but I thought the work was very good. We got a lot of quality film on every player. We did some fundamental drills, particularly on special teams that will really help us on our evaluation. I thought it was a very good camp. I'm very pleased.

(Moving forward into OTAs, how is it different this year, especially defensively whereas last year you were installing a new defensive system?)

Well, the first year of putting in a new system, regardless of what side of the ball you're on, there's always a transition, because to do it the right way in my opinion, you have to teach your system of football. So sometimes you may be teaching elements and principles that you may not use during the course of the year, but you have to put it in that way because you want to build your foundation, you want every piece to fit into place when your put your system in, so you try to avoid as much of what I refer to as rope learning, where you're just learning plays, you're just learning a defense because of, we need it this week. When you teach concepts as opposed to just individual responsibilities, it definitely helps individuals see the big picture. Big-picture players are obviously your smarter players. We're in the second year of our defense, so now what we're doing, what we're practicing to start OTAs all the way through training camp are going to be the things we feel directly apply to our players' talents and to the opponents that we'll play in the 2010 season. So Year 2 to me is always, it should be much cleaner for us as a defensive football team.

(What are your impressions of the new quarterback after seeing him live for three days?)

Athletic. I like his huddle command. Actually today was his best practice of the three. Made a nice play in the scramble drill. So did Chris, also made a nice play in the scramble part of it. You always look for improvement. He had a nice big third-down throw out in the flat that was a tight throw. So you look for those types of things where he's able to get the timing and just play the game with new receivers and new scheme, new language. But I thought he conducted himself very well. He is a good athlete, Noah.

(Can you tell at this point how quickly he is at getting it out?)

I'm not an instant evaluator. I want to give you an honest answer to your question, but he's practiced three days, and he improved. Friday he bounced a number of balls in the dirt, which happens, but he didn't do that today. I think he's a good athlete. He has power in his body, has fast-twitch in his body. I'm looking forward to working with him.

(How much evaluation can you do with these rookies in three days?)

You get an overall athletic ability assessment, and also you have the opportunity to see where their strength levels are. There's nothing like evaluating an individual in person as opposed to on video. Just bone structure and all those types of things. How they fit into your roster at this point. Let's be honest, there's a number of tryout players that you may like to sign but you may not able to too. So you're doing comparisons to players you already have on your roster. There's all different kinds of evaluations that are going on.

(Do you spend more time on special teams just to get more video on these guys because that's going to be their best chance this summer?)

Special teams emphasis is really two-fold. I think special teams drill work is always a good evaluation for your whole football team, because you can run pretty much your whole team through those drills, minus maybe the quarterbacks. With that, you get strong indications of what they can do, as far as their movement skills and so forth. But also, special teams is an emphasis for us. We need to improve in that area, so we actually looked at a couple drills with the rookies that we're going to do with our whole football team. So it was an opportunity for the coaches to get out there and go through the drills live and make sure the drills are ready to apply to our team when they get here in the OTAs.

(What did you think of the punters?)

They punted well today. We worked primarily from about the minus-40 going in, so a lot of inside the 10 and 20 work today, and I thought they really punted well. I thought Chris Bryan had a very good day today.

(What's the schedule for the coaches and players between now and the OTAs?)

The coaches, we're working, so we're on a normal schedule, and we'll continue to prepare for the OTAs. We have some individual work going on between our coaches and veteran players as they're here for the offseason program. The rookies arrive May 16, two weeks from today, so we'll take one day and go through the physicals of our whole football team that we always do at the beginning of OTAs, and we'll get started, I think it's the 18th or 19th, will be our first OTA practice.

(What do you expect the participation level to be?)

I think the participation will be very good. Our offseason program numbers, I'm very happy with, especially with the landscape of what's going on from a business standpoint with some of our players that every team is dealing with right now. Our numbers have been excellent throughout the offseason program since the middle of March and I anticipate the same for the OTAs.

(Are you disappointed a couple more of those restricted guys aren't signed in time to start those?)

I think it's important to put things in perspective, and for the individuals not here because of where he stands in the arena of business, then you have to respect that. If that's in their best interests from a business decision, then I respect that. You always want all your players here because it's an opportunity for the individual to improve and it's an opportunity for the group to improve and ultimately for us to prepare as a football team.

(Any rookies have any conflicts with school?)

Bryan Bulaga is one, he definitely has. He's on a quarter system, so I think he may be one who may not be able to be here early. I'm not sure of the rest of them.

(Has Rodgers been taking part in all the quarterback school, and if so, what can he get out of it, and what also have you seen out of Pizzotti?)

Aaron has been here throughout the offseason program and the quarterback school. He's doing very well. He's working on his fundamentals that you need to continue to focus on. Him and Matt and Chris, it's been a very competitive quarterback school, to answer your question there. Chris has really improved. Actually we do a video the first day of quarterback school on fundamentals, and then we do it the last day, just the number of things that we addressed and then we do it at the end of the quarterback school. I'm excited and curious to see Chris' video this year, because I think he's made a lot of fundamental improvements and I think it showed up this week, and I thought he did a nice job handling the offense this weekend.

(What were you able to see out of the three outside linebackers - Zombo, Knicky and Russell? That would seem to be a place where one of those guys would have a real opportunity, given your numbers.)

I like all their attitudes and their energy, and obviously playing for Kevin, it's definitely a part of the deal. I like the way they competed in the one-on-one drills. Every one of them flashed in some of the team drills. You can see why they were productive football players in college. I think all three of those guys have a chance, but those are the type of decisions that we'll sit there today, Ted and I and go through and evaluate and see how it fits.

(Do you still need to add more numbers there, besides those three guys, maybe a veteran?)

Yeah, we're definitely looking at that position. I think our defensive line group ... I think if you stand back and, I'm not speaking for everybody here, but the offensive and defensive line, just from a pure personnel standpoint this camp I thought was very impressive. I was really impressed with the offensive line group and the defensive line group. That's something that you have to factor in as you move forward too.

(What are your impressions of Quarless and do you think he has the maturity to handle everything that comes with the NFL?)

Well, he struggled Friday, which a lot of the guys did. I think that's a good experience, personally, because there's always that transition to pro football that every player goes through. It's different. You spend all day Thursday traveling, you have a nice dinner and you think what a wonderful opportunity, you probably don't sleep a whole lot Thursday night and then Friday you're in meetings all day and you really don't get to practice until 4 o'clock. You could cut the anxiety and stress with a knife down there on Friday, and then you see Saturday's practice was dramatically better, and I'm speaking particularly about Andrew, because I thought Andrew practiced very well the last two days. You could see the athletic ability, some of the things he did on the punt team and the special teams, his athletic ability with his body type is something that we really value, particularly the tight end position. The ability to run down the middle of the field and make the adjustments, on the route adjustments on a two-deep shell or a three-deep shell. I thought he did a nice job.

{sportsad300}(A lot of times with rookies you talk about needing a year to get in the weight room and get stronger. How does this group compare with some of the other groups you've had, with how quickly they can adapt to the strength of the game?)

I'd point to the offensive and defensive line first in regards to your question, because clearly there's more size in the offensive line group and the defensive line group than we've brought in for this weekend in the past. They're bigger men. With that, I think their strength levels are probably, as far as looking at it from a movement standpoint, I don't know exactly how much they push around. Because actually the weight workout Saturday morning, we really backed off them more than we intended to, and that was because of a product of Friday's practice. We felt we probably pushed them a little too much Friday. I think the coaches were probably as excited as the players to get down there Friday. We broke some records for reps in drill work and so forth. Some of the guys were, the whole team was tired after that. So we went through a lot of movement drills and so forth in the weight room and didn't really get the assessment from a weight room evaluation that we intended to do.

(Do you see anything you want to tweak with this rookie camp, or do you like the way the whole thing is structured?)

The structure and the scheduling, I felt last year we finally got the quirks worked out, and I think that was evident again this year. Really, the format last year and this year were identical, and I felt that we probably did a better job with that because you always learn more about a camp or an OTA and you're always trying to improve it every year. But I was very happy with the structure part of it, going all the way through the first night, the way we welcome them, the transportation was cleaner, the medical part of it was a lot cleaner this year. We weren't running around here Friday morning trying to get players tested and so forth. I thought Rob Davis' segments were smoother and more condensed. Because it's like anything, you try to give them a lot of information, but at the end of the day you need to pick the four or five points that they really need to understand and have completed by the time they leave here so when they do get back here May 16 they're ready to jump into the football.

(Are you going to sign any of these tryout guys?)

Yeah we'll definitely probably sign one or two of them. That's something we're going go up there and talk about right now.

(You said the guys will go through physicals on May 16. Do you know whether you might have guys like Havner or Blackmon or Lee?)

Well, they're all here, and they've been here. But as far as if they're going to pass the physical, I'm not exactly sure. Pat McKenzie, we always err on the side of caution and lean towards making sure they're ready for training camp, and that's just being smart. Coaches don't like that, but it is the right way to go. I'm sure probably we'll know more in two weeks.

(What's your feel for Al Harris? He looks good on those videos.)

The communication has been very good between our trainers and the group he's working with in Florida, and I anticipate Al will be in town here in the near future.

(Do you watch those videos?)

I wish you wouldn't have asked me. I haven't watched them in a couple of weeks. I don't want to disappoint ... the first couple ones I thought were pretty funny.

(Will he be up here for OTAs?)

I'll see him here in the near future. We need to get an evaluation on him medically first.

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