Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - May 3

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference from the Lambeau Field auditorium prior to the final rookie orientation workout on Sunday.

(How much thought do you give to signing another quarterback? You have three already, so do you run the risk of taking reps away from someone down the line?)

It's something we'll definitely talk about. We went with three quarterbacks in last year's training camp really because with Brian Brohm and Matt both being rookies, we wanted to make sure to maximized their opportunities, plus with Aaron being a first-year starter. We've talked about possibly going again with three this year because of the youth of those three guys, but I'll say this about Brian and David Johnson. I think they've done a very good job with their two opportunities here. You always look for the quarterback to be able to walk out of that classroom and go down there and conduct practice, and they've done a very good job of that, I will say. You can see why they were both very productive players in college. They're both very instinctive with the football, they see the field very well. But those are really conversations that we'll have afterwards. We will go with three like we did last year or potentially add somebody. The 80-man roster really makes it a challenge.

(When did quarterback school run? Is it done now, or is it still in session?)

It continues to go. It will go all the way up to the OTAs.

(What kind of advancement have you seen from Brian and Matt there?)

Really I think the question could be better answered if you ask them. I think they both would reiterate how important it is for a quarterback going from his first year into his second year because the first year you're trying to learn the language, you're trying to get in and out of the huddle, there's too much thinking going on. Where now, they totally understand not only what to do but why they're doing it and why everybody does it, how it all fits together and flows for them. Then you have the whole fundamental aspect of it. And that's the beauty of it. I've always believed in it. You can really see gains in your quarterbacks every year. It's been nice to watch Aaron grow yearly and attack the things you want to improve on fundamentally, and it shows up in his game on Sundays. That's truly the benefit. We're going through the same process with Matt and Brian, and I know they both feel very strong about the improvements that they've made. Brian said 'I was never aware this stuff went on,' in conversations with him. The ability to go back and watch the film, every snap from last year, all the different run concepts, all the different pass concepts, spending the extra time in protections is really the biggest challenge for quarterbacks when they get in the pressure situations. So it's a valuable opportunity for quarterbacks to expand their experience.

(Is Rodgers still doing QB school, full participation?)

Yes. Well, we work with their schedule. They're here for the offseason program too. It's not about locking a guy up in a room and making him go through a school. It's a voluntary process, and there's things that you want to hit. You have an outline and you have a plan to get through them. They have personal lives. There's traveling that they do on the weekends and so forth. They're at the Kentucky Derby this weekend. You fit those kind of things into it. It's just a matter of getting through the information you want to get through before you start the OTAs.

(What can you get done on the field with those guys?)

Well, you're not really allowed to have coordinated practices. It's more just individual drills with their coach. The drill work is more fundamental, but the ability just to watch film, have them go through the cut-ups, get questions answered, stick around, have lunch, and just make sure that they're progressing.

(All three of them went to the Kentucky Derby?)

I don't know exactly. Yeah, I think all three of them did go. You could ask them that.

(Are there certain things the quarterbacks still enjoy about QB school and certain things they don't?)

They're all competitive athletes. I think they enjoy the drill work. Just a simple figure-eight ball drill, it's as competitive a drill as you'll ever see. Some people wouldn't think it's a big deal, but they compete in every aspect of it. Aaron is extremely athletic and Matt and Brian are younger guys, so they really have tested him, jump-roping drills, all the way through.

(How do you feel about how you're sitting at that position now?)

I feel a lot better this year than I did at this time last year. You have some experience with your starter. Aaron I think has put together a short but an exceptional body of work coming out with the first year that he's had. And both Brian and Matt Flynn, just watching those guys grow. They competed during training camp last year and you have to eventually make a decision, but it's going to be a very competitive situation for both guys. I think we've got two talented young quarterbacks that I think everybody is going to be impressed with when we line up and play some preseason games.

(Is this when Gannon made a lot of his growth too?)

I don't want to speak for Rich, but this was really the first time in his career, I want to say this was '95 we were together, that he had been through this type of operation. When you're a quarterback and you go through a couple different systems and then have the ability to not only learn the system but work on some fundamentals and you see your game improve, I know it's something that he believes in. Rich may even be coming over in the near future here to spend some time with our quarterbacks. He did it two years ago. He's a big believer in the quarterback school and breaking the position down. It's a position of such demand when you get into the group activities. When you watch practice, you watch the D-line, they go through their individual drills, and you watch the linebackers go through their individual drills, same with the running backs. But the quarterbacks, you lose that time and you're always trying to grab that when you get in-season, training camp, and there's just not as much time committed to the fundamentals. So really the spring is your best time to really attack it and try to get improvement on it.

(I never heard it called QB school until you got here. Was that your idea or Marty Schottenheimer's?)

Paul Hackett was the one that I learned it from, and it was on Marty's staff in 1993. It's funny the way the equipment dress has changed since '93. When you put the old films on and you see Montana and Rich Gannon and the players you've worked with in the past going through the same drills, these guys get a kick out of it. They think it looks like it's 50 years ago. Maybe it is a long time ago. It's funny how it's changed, but fundamentals are fundamentals, and those are drills that I obviously believe in. I think Tom Clements does a phenomenal job working the fundamentals with the quarterback.

(Through two days, what's caught your eye about Raji and Matthews?)

Well, they're both big, physical men that have exceptional athletic ability. I think that's something that everybody will see right away. They're definitely prospects that will contribute to our football team. I don't question that. Whether it's a backup role or special teams or however it sorts out. I'm definitely excited about having both B.J. and Clay here.

(Can you talk about one of the tryout guys, right tackle Dane Randolph from Maryland?)

He's done a nice job. He's done a nice job. I know James Campen, and I talked to Joe Philbin a little bit last night. He's definitely someone who's made an impression with both the coaching staff and the personnel department. This has been great work. I always look at my notes from the prior year, and Friday's practice was similar to last year's practice, and we kind of had a drop-off Saturday last year. But this year these guys really picked it up. We have one more practice today at 10:30. But as a group, they've done a really nice job picking up the defenses, doing the special team work, and also on offense. And he's done a nice job also.

(You've signed three of the tryout guys the last two years. Is that the number you have in mind this year too?)

It could be more than that. But it's really, this 80-man roster really puts some restraints on you. You have to calculate and try to project some guys too. We're not set on a final number yet.

(What do you think of Talley from Delaware?)

Mike Trgovac likes him. I think he definitely has a chance. Just the body types that you're looking for. You are making a transition to a new defense. I think both him and Wynn have really been impressive, particularly you watch the team run period and the second team period, those guys really show up.

(When will you make a decision on the tryout guys?)

Probably later today, probably no later than tomorrow. Ted Thompson will have that for you here probably within the next 24 hours, because obviously we want to communicate to the prospects and their agent.

(What did you think of the punters?)

Good. I thought their workout was good yesterday. I don't want to mess up their names ... the University of Pittsburgh, he's a stronger leg. He's been impressive. I know Shawn, he likes both those guys. I had a chance to watch their punting on film this morning. We're going to work them again today, and maybe we might even have one of those guys.

(How did you find the Pittsburgh guy? He's been out of football a couple years.)

He's from Pittsburgh.

(Besides that ...)

Well, he's been working the camps. You have a lot of these kicking camps going on, and Shawn Slocum has participated in those, as far as looking for prospects. Eliot Wolf does a very good job in that aspect of tracking those punters and kickers. We have a board very similar to our draft board as far as the players that are out there, and he's definitely someone that we've been looking at.

(The 80-man roster makes it tough, but do you anticipate taking two punters into camp this year?)

I would think so, yeah. I would think that's a safe bet, yes.

(In these three days, are you getting everything accomplished you hoped to with the rookies?)

I really do. I feel very good about what we've done from an administrative standpoint. As a coach, you'd probably want to do a little more football. We always take a look at everything we do from a schedule and structure standpoint, and really try to set next year's schedule. So we may look at maybe just doing a little more football and maybe a little less administrative. But it really gives these guys a chance, and the feedback from the prospects has been they feel like they'll be able to come back here, I think it's the 17th of May, and just jump right in and get to the football, and that's what you want. The orientation in my view is definitely the way to go.

(Logically it does make sense, but you would think more teams would do this ...)

There's always, like anything in this business, two ways of doing it.

(You didn't do this your first year, right?)


(So is the downside that you could do more football ...)

Really the theory is if you talk about teaching, you should always teach to the youngest, the lowest, however you want to view it, individual in the room. Really the opportunity to be able to coach such a young football team the last three years, I just felt this was the way to go. We tried it the first year, and we thought it went very well. And this year again, we actually switched some things around this year that we didn't do last year. Rob Davis says this is an excellent platform for him to initiate his relationship with those guys to get them pointed in the right direction, and that's a big part of it. Because a lot of times individuals don't have success in their profession not because of what they actually do professionally, it's the other distraction, the other angles of things that are coming at them. We're trying to eliminate them, or reduce those stresses to our players, so that they can concentrate on football.

(What happens on May 17?)

They'll come back here, and really what we'll do is we will mirror what the veterans have been doing in the offseason program. The whole thought process is for the rookies to have a complete understanding from the first time they step on the field on OTA No. 1, that they've been through the offseason program training, exactly how the veterans have trained, and that week there they'll work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, just like our vets have been doing throughout the offseason program. So they'll know exactly what's expected of them in the weight room and really the tempo. That's one of the biggest adjustments that a college player has to make when he goes to the professional level is just the pace, the speed, the tempo of the drills, the weight room, the practice field and so forth. So we're trying to acclimate those guys as quick as we can.

(Pickett was on vacation during the draft. Have you talked to him since then about some of your thoughts?)

I've talked to Ryan Pickett, and it's definitely an opportunity for him, No. 1, to be the nose guard of this football team. When you look at our defensive line and some of our veteran players on defense, we're making a scheme change, but there are individuals we feel very strongly about. I've said it since the day we made this change to the 3-4, Ryan Pickett will be an excellent anchor for us at the nose guard position. We want flexibility in the rotation with those defensive linemen. That's why B.J. will work the nose guard and the left end position. Cullen Jenkins, we'll probably move him around more in the sub groups and so forth. So we're trying to, if you recall two years ago we had an excellent rotation we felt in the defensive line, and we're trying to get back to that. Justin Harrell is looking better and better each week in the offseason program. Johnny Jolly has been productive for us in spots. It's a group we're trying to bring together and get some more flexibility with.

{sportsad300}(Is the transition with Kampman going OK at this point? He hasn't been eager to speak publicly about it.)

He hasn't been eager to speak about it publicly? Well, I think it's going well. I can only judge, ... actually Aaron was here today leading the chapel this morning for the rookie orientation. We had chapel and mass here this morning at 7 o'clock. I know Kevin Greene is excited about working with him and the individual time that they've spent up until this point. Personally I think this is really going to help Aaron Kampman. I know change is always different for people, but if I recall I think Aaron has 35, 36 sacks since I've been here the last three years - 33 of those, 33 1/2 of those sacks have been in sub defense. So his sub defense responsibilities are not going to change. That will look very similar to the way you view our defense. He's had 3.5 sacks on base defense. This base defense will help him with more pressure opportunities because of the ability to not always have the same fourth rusher coming out of the same front. I think this potentially has a chance to help Aaron in normal down and distances as far as pressures on the quarterback, because he's done an excellent job obviously, the statistics support that, in the sub defenses.

(I was informed Collins was here last week. Did he participate?)

Nick? Yes.

(Is everything OK there now?)

I don't do the business aspect of it. I know I'm obviously in front of the microphone here. My responsibility clearly with our players is we need to progress forward as a football team in the football aspects of developing in the offseason program. We all have business, there's a business side of it, and that's always the difficult part of it. Sometimes people want to blend the business and the football part of it together. In my opinion, that's not the benefit for the football team. We respect everybody's business situations. He's going through one right now. But we do have a new defense, and Nick is a main communicator in that defense, and for him to come in here and to work with Darren Perry and try to catch up on what's been going on here is important.

(When he was here, did he meet with Darren?)

Yeah, spent a lot of time, spent a lot of time with Darren. Had a chance to meet with Dom, who is in the offseason program.

(Do you expect him to come back, or was that a cameo appearance?)

I could see him coming back in the near future, yeah. You keep trying to make it about the contract, but it's about football. Everybody is accounted for. I'm very happy with the communication of all of our players as far as what's going to be expected of them in the OTAs and the mini-camps.

(Did you meet with him?)

Yeah, I saw him. I visited with him.

(Did you impress upon him the communication aspect of this defense?)

Nick Collins and I communicate very well together. I feel good about our relationship.

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