Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - May 20

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s Sunday press conference. Coach McCarthy addressed the media inside the Don Hutson Center following the last minicamp practice.


(How much of the playbook were you able to get through this weekend?)

Our offense, defense and special teams are installed in nine installations. We went through the first and second one, so whatever percentage that falls, about 25-30 percent. It's the same thing we did with the rookies, we did it this weekend, and then when we come back in OTAs in 10 days, we'll go back and do 1 and 2 again. It's the foundation in which we teach everything off of.

(Did you see the rookies getting more comfortable after going through the rookie orientation?)

I thought the work was exceptional. Once again, we compare it to the past. When we were here at this time last year, we're way ahead of where we were this time last year. Just watching the pace of practice, finishing 4, 5, 6 minutes early every day, that's a reflection of the tempo and the understanding. You're not stopping for corrections. So I feel very good about the amount of work we were able to accomplish this weekend, but more importantly the tempo and the competitiveness with which they practiced.

(How did Ingle Martin do?)

I thought Ingle had a nice weekend. Most importantly, he's on film now. He can watch himself. We'll go through the corrections with him. It's nice to see yourself show up in the cut-ups. You're always watching somebody else. That's important for a quarterback. I thought he did a nice job. It starts with managing the huddle, running the offense, things like that. You can see that his time has been well spent. I think Tom Clements has done an excellent job with both Aaron and Ingle throughout the quarterback school, and once again Ingle benefited from it this weekend.

(What did you see from Paul Thompson?)

Paul is pretty much like Jerry was two weeks ago. He's learning a new language. I don't know if you noticed, he struggles getting it out of the huddle a little bit, that's a natural process that he'll go through. But we'll work with the rookies all week, and we'll get him caught up.

(Where were Al Harris and Charles Woodson today?)

Al Harris, he actually rehabbed. He had a back. I guess the Saturday a.m. practice. We had him down here for the p.m., and it just locked up on him so he's up top. Kept him in rehab. And Charles had an event Saturday night that he was excused for.

(How about Johnny Jolly?)

John Jolly had a personal emergency. He left this morning.

(What do you have at cornerback in Blackmon and Walker?)

When we went through the offseason program, we selected a member of our football team each week that did the best job in the weight room and also the individual workouts, and of the nine weeks, three of them were defensive backs. I think that just tells you what kind of offseason all those guys have had. I think the young guys, there's excellent competition there, and you just go all the way down the line. So I'm very happy with the progress Bush has made, Blackmon. I think Patrick Dendy has had an excellent weekend. Williams, really, all those guys have done excellent. A lot of competition there.

(Is Jason Spitz here? What's his ailment?)

Jason Spitz, yes. I think it was a calf.

(Woodson said he wasn't going to be here for OTAs in June? Are you OK with that?)

I've talked to Charles, and my conversation was different than the one you've had. But we'll talk about OTAs when OTAs are here.

(Do you have a gauge on what the attendance will be at the OTAs?)

Not today.

(Where are you at with the red zone offense?)

Once again, our football game in my opinion is clearly about fundamentals and situations, and red zone is an important situation. So the emphasis on red zone is always prevalent throughout our practice structure, and it will be even moreso particularly on offense. It's an important factor to winning. As coaches, we need to put the players in better position to be successful, so we have to make sure we highlight their strengths. That's what you go through when you go through the scheme evaluation, and we've taken the time to do that, and frankly we just have to get the timing down. You want to be aggressive in the red zone, but in the same breath you have to be able to run the football. On first down, our run game was not as productive as it needs to be. So those are all the types of things we will address throughout the spring and throughout the summer, and we will be more productive in the red zone.

(What did Favre get out of being here, and what did the team get out of him being here?)

I think, number one, I hate to sound like a broken record, which I guess I am. He's the leader of our football team, he's the quarterback of our football team. Just to have him here and the conversations of the corrections that went on last year. Really, our weekend was about corrections for 2006 and the vision for 2007. It's important for the whole team to be part of that, and we were able to accomplish that. Frankly, I had a couple of one-on-one's with him, just pure football, and that's always a good session. Those are ideas, and just the little things you have to make sure you have in place as you move forward in your installation.

(So was he making suggestions or were you bouncing ideas off him?)

We're in the constant suggestion mode as we move forward. He's got a tremendous volume of knowledge of football, so it's not really a matter of suggestion, it's the little things within the scheme that we're already doing. Once again, it's what we did last year, what we're going to do this year. Because you can be jack of all trades, master of none. I've said that over and over again. You can't just go ahead and do everything and just add volume, volume, volume. Volume is not the answer, and that's not the way we'll go. It's doing the things that, a, the quarterbacks feel very confident in and he has a tremendous amount of experience to tap into. I think it's important for us as an offensive coaching staff to take advantage of that. Just those type of conversations.

(Did you see any improvements in Morency show up on the field?)

I think number one he's in much better shape, I shouldn't say shape because he wasn't out of shape when he came here, I think he's physically advanced more than when he arrived last year. He's stronger, maybe even a little quicker. He has a total understanding of the offense now as opposed to learning it on the run throughout the season last year. I'm very excited about him. He had a number of big plays for us when he did have the opportunity. I think we can expand with him in the passing game, the checkdown part of it and the third down. Once again, I think he's a guy who sees the opportunity and has to take full advantage of it.

(What do you like about James Jones?)

He's a young man that's very physical. I think he has a tremendous upside. The thing we really liked when we saw on film about James was two things - his short-area separation, he's able to separate from people, and he always catches the ball extended away from his body. That's what you're always trying to teach young guys, and he does it extremely natural. I think the young man has a bright future.

(How does Bubba Franks fit into your vision for this offense?)

I think Bubba is in much better physical condition than he was last year. He looks leaner, I think he's moving a lot better. Once again, another veteran football player who has a lot of experience. We asked him to do some things a little different last year, and he has a better understanding of that now. We are adjusting some things as we move forward with the tight end position, and I think we have excellent competition. But Bubba Franks is a veteran football player, and we expect him to contribute to our football team.

(How much more will Harrell do during OTAs?)

We'll know more, we're going to keep the rookies here this week, in the strength and conditioning. If you'd ask him, he's ready to go. With all of our players that are coming off medical issues, we're just being extremely cautious because once we release them, they're full go. I really don't have an answer for you. I'm hopeful he will go by the end of the first week.

(What do you see in Ruvell Martin confidence-wise this year compared to last?)

I think he's an excellent illustration of our football team. He was someone trying to win, trying to be successful, and now I see a bunch of individuals out there expecting to win. I thought he had a very productive weekend. He's playing with a lot more confidence, and just the understanding of what they're asked to do. Just the little stuff, how we prepare, how the meetings go, how we practice. So I feel very good about Ruvell and very good about that receiver group. I think you see a total group effort as far as the understanding and the way we're moving forward. He's done a nice job.

{sportsad300}(Without Jackson, Wynn and Beach this weekend, are you looking forward to seeing more of the RB competition in June?)

I cannot go backwards. No jobs were won and lost today, or this weekend. Opportunity is abundant throughout our football team, and that will all be answered in time. You know, these sessions are very important, if they weren't, we wouldn't have them. But we are in the instructional, the learning phase, in the phase where we're just trying to put things together. What really counts is when we put the pads on. Training camp will obviously sort all this out, like it does year in and year out. Yes, we want everybody here, but like I said, no jobs were won or lost this weekend.

(Will you have Beach or Wynn for OTAs?)

Once again, they're medical issues. They're not serious issues. They're just things they need to overcome, and when they're ready they'll be back out here.

(Safe to say Coston lost the kick return job today?)

I think we had another drop in there, too, didn't we? I think they scored it that the offensive line won. I'll leave that up to Winston Moss. That's a big responsibility, and I think he can handle it.

(What was that drill for?)

Obviously, with that drill, you're here you watch it every day. It's for ball security. We have different ways of emphasizing it. The O-line and D-line are able to hack away at the perimeter guys, so we felt we're an equal opportunity outfit here, so we gave them an opportunity to get after the big guys.

(What did you see out of Coston, working with the No. 1's?)

Well, he won't be returning any kicks. So that's one thing. But very athletic, very young. He's a very young man. He's younger than the rookie class last year. When I look at 'Juice' I just see a guy that's getting better. He's once again done a great job in the weight room. Just the techniques, it's a different run game than what they were asked to do here two years ago. So I think he's really improving.

(What have you seen from Donald Lee?)

Donald Lee - can I just say ditto? Donald Lee has a very good understanding. I think he's done a very good job, and I think he really showed up in the vertical passing game which we obviously need. It generates big plays particularly from the inside position. He's worked very had - that whole group has - as far as catching the football. They've been down here doing ball drills probably two or three times a week, and I think you're seeing the benefits of that show up in practice.

(What will be the role of that whole tight end group in increasing red zone production?)

Well, once again it's opportunity, number one, and the second part of it is productivity. We need to create more opportunities to winning inside because that's where the tight end position factors. So, they will be given those opportunities, and we just need to increase the productivity of it.

(Do you have a starter there?)

No jobs were won or lost this weekend.

(Is Tony Moll going to play strictly tackle?)

Well, I'm of the opinion that when you have young lineman, and we have a number of them, if you want them to progress you need to keep them in one spot. Now, once you get closer to your 53 and then you start getting into who's active on your 45, that's not really the case. I've been through this it seems the last three or four years in a row where you have a young guy that is talented and you want to get him up on the 45 so you have him playing two or three positions, his progress doesn't move forward as fast as you'd like. I would like to keep all of our young lineman at one position for now so they can progress, and when they do move to multiple positions, I think the transitions will be easier for them. What Tony did last year, and really that whole group as far as playing two positions at one time, I think it's not the norm, and it's a credit to the individuals who did it. Really, (with) Tony we're thinking more of a right-left side combination. If you play right tackle and then go play guard, your footwork is totally different. To answer your question, we're trying to let him play as much right tackle as possible.

(How encouraged are you with the progress of the offensive line?)

I'm very encouraged. I spend a lot of time with those line coaches. They're the guys that are always there at night when you're leaving. When we first got together in February (in 2006), there were a lot of holes on that depth chart as far as there was nobody there, not the people that were there. In just a short time, it's a credit to Ted Thompson, the personnel staff and the coaches and their evaluation on the number of young guys we've taken and the quality of young players we have there. I think we have a very, very bright future starting this year with the offensive line.

(How far has Hawk advanced and how good is that group as a whole?)

I think AJ Hawk is a primetime player in the National Football League, and I think that will be proven as he moves forward. He's very talented, a linebacker that can play in any scheme. I think that speaks for itself. You can see his comfort in our scheme, and he is definitely a run-and-hit explosive type player and does a good job in the passing game. I think Nick Barnett is a frontline player too and Brady Poppinga is probably the most improved of the whole group. And the young guys behind them - I think that group has a lot of competition in the backup area, but those first three I've been very impressed with.

(Have you gotten any commitment from Favre regarding the OTAs?)

He'll be here nine of the 12.

(What do you like about Frank Walker?)

Boy, he's an explosive player. That's what we liked about him with the Giants last year, and I thought, you know this was the first live work to see him, and I thought he was extremely competitive, and he was in on a number of breakups. Once again, we have a very competitive situation at defensive back, and I think Frank is an excellent addition.

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