Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - May 4

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference on Friday. Coach McCarthy addressed the media on the field inside the Don Hutson Center after the first rookie orientation workout.


(What does Stocco have to do to get a signed contract?)

We're going to take three practices, look at him. I was very impressed with John. He has excellent recall. I thought he picked up the verbiage very well the first day on the job compared to other guys I've worked with. So we'll evaluate him after three practices.

(So Sunday you might make a decision?)

We'll sit down Sunday and we'll talk about all the guys that have been here.

(Your initial impressions of Justin Harrell?)

I thought Justin looked good. He's very athletic. He's the size we look for, he's everything we thought he was on film. I thought he had a good day.

(Will you keep him out of contact drills the first couple of camps?)

I'm just being smart in the competitive periods. Once again, when we put this orientation camp, or whatever you want to call it, together, it was really just an instructional drill work and so forth. Like all coaches, you get a number of bodies and then you want to get into team. He's in the final stages of his rehab, so we're just being smart. The kid feels fine.

(If Harrell works out, can your run defense be a real strength this upcoming season?)

I think he definitely has that body type, that's part of the reason why we drafted him at 16. Run defense and running the ball on offense are things I think you need to do to win over the long haul, particularly when you get into playoff football. So that's definitely the focus, one of the focuses.

(Will the kickers and punters be doing much?)

Just a lot of individual work. Are you talking about doing punt? No, we're not going to get that far. Once again, it's really just to introduce them to the practice environment, the classroom environment, like today we met with the security and media, community relations, tomorrow we'll do player programs. So it's all the things you like to spend a little more extra time doing, particularly with the rookies, and that's really what the focus of the weekend is. This is really secondary.

(Will you be able to see them kick any field goals?)

We're not going to make any judgments off of what happens out here physically this weekend, on any of the players.

(Were you ever with a team where you did it like this, with a rookie orientation?)

No, this is my first time.

(Can you go through your thinking on that?)

I just have a general thought process on everything I've done since I've been here. I think it's very important, particularly with young players, and you could even say young coaching staff, or a coaching staff for the first time being together, to do things in a progression. You sit out here and watch this practice and you just reflect back to last year, if you just took this group and threw them in with all the veterans, they're clearly at a disadvantage. I was just talking to Robert Brooks over there during practice, and he was talking about his experience the first camp. Not a lot of veteran players help the young guys. You'd like to think that they all do, but that's who they're competing with for a job. You're able to eliminate a lot of the anxiety of a new guy coming into a new situation. To me, there's so many positives out of doing this camp, because I think it really gives a guy a chance to come here in two weeks and feel like he got something out of the weekend instead of just walking away from here totally lost and like, oh my gosh, I've got so much work to do. So my whole thought process was just to stay in progression of teaching the football team.

(What are your thoughts on Jackson and Jones, what you saw out here?)

I thought Jackson's feet were everything we thought on film. I think he has very good start and stop, that's one thing you were able to see out here today. James Jones we thought he was extremely physical, one of the most physical receivers in the draft, just the way he catches the ball, extends his hands, all those things were evident today.

(What can Clark Harris do to win a spot at tight end?)

Once again, this weekend he needs to get off on the right foot. Learn the offense, so when he comes back and he's able to compete. He has to compete whether we keep t here tight ends or four. He just has to do all the little things you're looking for.

(What did you like about him coming out of Rutgers?)

You look at his size, I thought he showed toughness. Once again, when I look at a tight end, I like the versatility we use in our tight ends, either being an on-the-line player, a displaced player or a movement player. I think he has those attributes.

(What happened to Wynn?)

I think it was a calf. I'll know more once we get him up top. I think he had a calf strain.

(What are your impressions of this rookie receiver group?)

The one thing about our group, if you look at them, youth is a positive, particularly guys that have been here. I told the rookies today, the veterans have been here since March 19 getting after it. You look at Calvin Russell, he's put on probably 8 to 10 pounds of lean muscle mass. You're just seeing guys develop. Clowney and Jones I think both bring a dimension to our football team that you like. Clowney can really run. You can see his burst and his fast twitch out here today. You just never have enough good skill players.

(Is having Russell in here, a guy you had here last year, serve as a reference point for you when you compare him to other rookies?)

That's a good outlook. I didn't view it that way, really. The six members that are able to be here today were clearly players that have not been credited for pension. That's a league rule. We were looking to add whoever could participate. That's why they're here. I didn't view that as I looked at the group. I was actually sitting next to him in a meeting today, and I was kind of joking with him and I said boy, it's kind of nice to be sitting in here year two as opposed to year one, because he said last year, I was lost, and then he had to go out and compete with the veterans last year. So it's interesting to watch a guy develop from year one to year two.

(With where you've ranked in special teams the last two years, what's a realistic jump?)

I don't look at statistics, I don't set my goals based on statistics, but it's an area we do need to improve in. I think we got better, A, through the offseason program, because we were very young. Everybody wants to talk about the youth of our football team, it was clearly the youngest part of our football team, from an area of offense, defense or special teams. And I think with this group that we've added, we definitely improved the talent level there.

(Did the rookies watch the veterans work out in the offseason program yesterday?)

They're actually not allowed to come to the facility until 4 o'clock. So that was obviously finished by then. We really didn't have any interaction between the rookies and the vets.

(What did you think of Red Batty and Pepper Burruss at corner and Joe Philbin at middle linebacker?)

Like I say, the more you can do they'll keep you around. I don't know if that's going to help them, but we're trying to make things work the best we can.

(I was joking, but is it challenging with only 31 guys to try and really accomplish a lot out here?)

I'm perfectly fine with that drill with those individuals involved. You take it from the classroom, you take it from the drawings, from the film, and then to the gym to the walk-through and this is a natural progression in the jog-throughs. And the pace that we do the job-throughs to me are valuable reps. So once again, it's just progressionary teaching, and I'm very comfortable with the number, because it's really accomplishing what we want it to. It's the individual, get your hands on the guys, walk them through it, let them ask all the questions they probably are not very comfortable asking in front of a veteran or in front of a group. So this is the time to get all that out of their system, so they feel like when they do come back, because what they're doing today is exactly what they're going to do in two weeks when the veterans show up. So it's really giving the young guys an opportunity to step right in and try to compete.

{sportsad300}(What does Werner have to do to catch your eye in the next two days?)

Well, he's obviously very athletic. We have the movement screening that we've done with our whole football team in the offseason program, and he had a perfect score on that today I was told. So his athletic ability is exceptional. I asked him if he could dunk a basketball, and he kind of chuckled at me. But once again, we're in shorts and helmets right now. I don't think anybody's ever made a football team in underwear, and we'll see what he does when he gets the pads on. But I'll tell you, he brings a dimension that you're looking for at tight end as far as his physical ability.

(With your young receivers, what would be the appeal of bringing in a Keyshawn Johnson to that group?)

Well I think anytime you can upgrade your football team, whether it's with a veteran or with a younger player, that's something you have to look at. Obviously Keyshawn has been very effective, more than effective, he's been very productive in the National Football League, so I think you have to look at all those situations, and that's what we do.

(How do you weigh that versus having a young guy's growth being stunted with a veteran player in front of him?)

I go back to any individual that's brought into this organization, whether it's a player, whether it's a coach, or anybody that touches your football team, I think the bottom line is fit. Does he fit what you do, and do you have someone else on your football team that may have the same attributes? So I think, what I've found as I've walked through this league, fit is the thing that sorts out those decisions.

(Can you get an idea about guys who have been rehabbing from injuries, like Justin and Brandon, how they're doing?)

I don't think really injuries is something you're going to be able to evaluate out here. You just want to see them move, see what kind of shape they're in, see what their recall is as far as the classroom and the mental ... see if they're able to take to the techniques you're going to use, what have they done in the past. It's a little bit of a learning process for both sides, coaches and players.

(Did you throw the entire playbook at them today?)

No, we put in our offense in nine installations, and really the defense kind of follows suit because obviously the offense tells the defense where to line up. So we'll put our offense and defense in over a nine-installation period, and what we went through today was the first installation.

(Will you do the same things the next two days or do things change up?)

Same thing. We'll work on installation number one all weekend.

(Are you familiar at all with James Jones and his background?)

I spoke to him last night at dinner for a while. He's a Bay Area kid, and we talked about San Jose and Santa Clara and things like that. As far as getting into his family life and everything, I personally have not had a sit down with him.

(Guys that go through that kind of stuff, as a coach do you see a hunger there, a characteristic that runs through guys like that?)

That could be the case. I don't think I'm qualified to comment on that as far as the information. But I'll say this. He's a hungry individual. You watch the way he plays, he's extremely physical, just in his body movement, the way he goes after the ball when he competes. If that's where that came from, he definitely has it.

(What does Jackson have to do to earn that starting position?)

I'm not going to sit here and put expectations on individuals. But if he earns that spot, I'm all for it. But I also know he's got a group in front of him that's working very hard. I look at Mo, Vernand Morency and what he's done with his body in the offseason, and P.J. Pope and that whole crew. So I think we have excellent competition. Who plays how much, or who's starting and so forth, those are all things that will be answered.

(You had the rookies dine last night overlooking Lambeau Field and showed them a highlight film. How important is it to expose them to Packers history and tradition?)

I think it's very important. Just the way it was handled in the past, we kind of went with the same format last year, and I felt like we were really doing them an injustice. Because we have the resources, we have a tremendous tradition and history, and I thought it was very important for them to understand that from the first day they got here. I was very pleased with the program we had last night. I thought it was first class, I thought it was very informative, and a number of them were visibly touched by it, particularly that film. So I think they are fully aware of the opportunity they have in front of them.

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