Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - May 21

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

(Why didn't you practice outside today?)

We're going to stay inside throughout the OTAs. It just gives us a constant practice environment, just from things that work a little better for us from a mechanic standpoint. We're not going to go out on the grass until training camp like we did last year.

(Are the fields not ready yet?)

They could be but it's just not in the best interest in going on the grass fields right now, not when there are all of those other things involved in getting those fields ready.

(So you'll be inside for the mini-camp as well?)

We'll be inside, yes. You guys don't like it inside? It was nice out there today.

(What is the nature of Justin Harrell's injury?)

Justin Harrell had minor back surgery. Something that flared up early in the offseason, and we're just taking it slow. Really the defensive line group as a whole I'm concerned about, just a number of different factors as far as getting him back a little later than you'd like to. The 80-man roster and those types of things all factor in that decision. It is a surgery that was minor in nature. The specifics of it, I'm not as educated on it probably as I should be. He is fine; he is doing well. He could probably be back sooner than later, but we're going to take it slow with him. Also, Daniel Muir has an injury to his pec and he'll be ready to go here in probably another week or so. But we're just being cautious with those guys, because with the 13 linemen that we have, we anticipate that being the number that we will probably take going into training camp. We just want to make sure those guys are healthy for the training camp work.

(Because Harrell missed time last offseason due to injury, how much does it hurt him to be missing offseason on-field work again?)

Any time, particularly a young player, misses time it's not to his benefit. I have also in my career seen players, young or old, go through stages in their career where injuries happen one after another. Will Blackmon is someone I just had this conversation with, he's just going through kind of a negative period, and that is the same thing with Justin. He'll be fine. We're probably being more cautious than we normally would because, like I said, the roster spots and 80 guys in camp also factor into that decision.

(Have you heard from Al Harris or Charles Woodson on if they will be in at all?)

We have communication with both Al and Charles. Charles has been in and out of town. I talked to Al probably about a week to 10 days ago. In their particular case and where they are in the years, their work during the OTAs will be limited, but we'll definitely hit our targets with them.

(Do you notice anything different about Aaron Rodgers and how he is going about his business?)

I'm around Aaron all of the time, so I think he has been very steady and very consistent throughout his offseason, his quarterback school involvement. I think as a whole our practice was better yesterday than today. I thought he has put together two very nice days. I think he has done a nice job in his new role. He just needs to be the same guy and be consistent every day, and he has done that so far.

(How are his teammates responding to him?)

He is popular in the locker room and everybody has confidence in his ability. This is his time, this is his opportunity, and I fully anticipate the full team being behind him.

(They say the toughest thing is to replace a legend; do you like his mental makeup?)

Definitely. I like a lot of things about him. I like the combination of his mental and physical makeup. Replacing Brett Favre wouldn't be easy for anybody, regardless of their size, speed, mental capacity. It's important for Aaron to stay focused on things he can control, and that's a big part of my responsibility and the coaching staff and we'll continue to do that.

(Is he throwing with more velocity than when he first got here?)

I think you guys all just made a poor evaluation on his throwing arm, so I know you guys need to step up and admit it. He could always throw the ball. I was at his college workout and his arm strength was never a factor in my opinion. But I definitely do think he throws it probably better now than he did, just overall his body, his conditioning and his strength have improved. I would say he does throw maybe with more velocity than he initially did. Aaron Rodgers has a strong arm, always has in my experience with him.

(Can you talk about Allen Barbre taking some reps with the first unit at left guard??)

Allen is in competition for one of the inside spots. Really just like we've had the last two years, we'll continue to play different combinations of players there. Daryn Colledge, you'll probably see him at every position on the line. Jason Spitz has done that for us in the past, and we're giving Junius Coston more work at center. It's just that flexibility, the uniqueness of the athletic ability of the offensive line; it's a very athletic group. Allen Barbre would probably be one of the more athletic guys in that group. You're just trying to prepare yourself for that 45-man roster. Those are always the toughest decisions to make. It's an easy trap to fall into; you sit there and work four, five, six centers during the course of spring and training camp, and then you come to game day and you only have two. That's really what we're trying to accomplish.

(Why isn't Ryan Grant doing anything?)

Just because of his contract situation.

(Is that a concern at any level?)

I think it's important to separate those types of situations. That's a business process that the organization and Ryan are working through, and I think he's handled it very well.

(Is that the organization's choice or his choice to not be on the field?)

I couldn't even tell you. I'm not that involved. My relationship with Ryan is as his coach, and he has been here every day through the whole offseason. He has been lifting here four days a week. He's up on the third floor all of the time with Edgar Bennett, so he is getting himself ready. As far as where they are and what they are talking about, I have no comment on it because I am not involved.

(Do you like his approach that an unsigned guy he is still here working on his conditioning?)

He is getting himself ready to play. Would I like him out there with everybody else? Absolutely, but he's not under contract right now, so it's clearly a business decision.

(Do you like the intensity of these OTAs? Is it more laid-back or is it like training camp?)

I've been very impressed with the quality of work yesterday and today. Just as a coaching staff we have discussed how much we have improved in year three, which I think is natural and you should see that from year one to two to three. Just the way we took the field yesterday and the crispness of the practice. The rookies, it was a repeat for them as far as what they did in rookie orientation. You could see there is very good carryover there. Today is always a hard day just because of the amount of offense and defense that goes in on the second day. You get into sub-packages and things like that, so today was a little more challenging, but I have been very impressed with what we have been able to accomplish and I think we're off to a good start.

(What have you seen from Brian Brohm so far?)

Brian would really kind of fit into the category with the rest of the rookies, just like I stated. I think he went out there yesterday, both he and Matt (Flynn), and it was a little bit of review for them and he was quite natural. Now today there were some concepts that he has not repped with his teammates, and you could see the roughness and just the natural process that he is going to have to go through just like any other quarterback goes through. I really like the way he picks things up. He is a sponge. He's a quick thinker, you don't have to repeat things with Brian, and I think he is a good fit for our volume and what we ask the quarterback to do.

{sportsad300}(How valuable are all of these reps for the young quarterbacks without a veteran guy around?)

It's very important. You ask any quarterback that has had to come up through the ranks, and I've been around enough of them, to just know the importance of having those two reps at the end of team and try not to script the same play for the guy every time. Just be conscious of all of those little things, because the reps are so valuable. I've seen Rich Gannon go through it, I've seen Jake Delhomme and Matt Hasselbeck and all of those guys that have had to work their way up through the roster, being the third quarterback to the second to the first. I can't express how important it is for them to be able to sit in that second and third chair and gain the experience of watching the guy in front of them. Frankly, we'll see how it goes this year with the three quarterbacks at training camp, but it's something that I've talked about doing all of the time, regardless, because just the way our training camp schedule has gone and just with the amount of work we have been able to get done in the spring. This year is a little unique, when we release the training camp schedule in a week or so. I'm not sure when Jeff (Blumb) is going to release it, but our workload is less than it was last year, so the amount of reps that quarterback gets is important. Having that fourth guy, it really kind of gets in the way more than anything in my opinion.

(When did Harrell have the surgery?)

It was early. It was very early in the offseason program.

(Was it related to lifting weights or anything like that?)

That's what brought it on. That's where it flared up on him, and then we addressed it.

(But you expect him to be ready for camp?)

Oh, absolutely. It was one of those situations where you're going back and forth, and we just felt it was best to do surgery now so he'd be ready.

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