Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 12

(Did you decide what to do at linebacker?)

Yes, we're working all the combinations between A.J. Hawk moving to mike, Brandon Chillar and Desmond Bishop. We're double-training, and also you could put Brady Poppinga into that sort there. We're going to double-train all those guys to make sure we're ready to get in and out of our different personnel groups.

(Any inclination whom to start?)

They're all going to be ready. You guys go to practice. I'm sure you may have an opinion on who's going to be there. We just can't wait to get to Sunday for a number of reasons, particularly who's going to play mike linebacker. A.J. is getting a lot of work there, and we just have to be ready just to be able to move in and out of our different personnel groups.

(How different is that position in the scheme than will?)

There's definitely differences, but it isn't like they haven't been trained there before. Once again, it's A, getting the reps at the position, B, getting the reps in a specific game plan against your opponent. I'm very confident with a week's work that we'll be fine.

(How serious is Blackmon's quad?)

He had a bruise, contusion. They just wanted to be smart so it didn't lead to anything else. Based on the medical report this morning, I anticipate Will would probably practice tomorrow.

(How's Aaron doing after Sunday?)

Aaron Rodgers? Aaron practiced today. I know we put him in a limited category. He did probably 90, 95 percent of the practice today. It was good to have him out there throwing as much as he did just to continue to work on getting the timing down with the perimeter exercises and the game plan that we're going to use this week and so forth. This is the most he's practiced since the injury.

(Was he beat up at all from some of the hits he took?)

I think it was just normal soreness. Nothing that would have kept him out of practice today.

(You mentioned on a radio program that him not practicing has affected him. Can you explain?)

I think missing practice doesn't help anybody, and I don't remember how the question was asked or which way we went with it, but particularly the quarterback. The first thing in my experience for quarterbacks that goes is your footwork is not as sharp as it can be, and your timing can be off. This is no excuse. He's played well when he didn't practice, and he didn't have his best games when he didn't practice. You can do what you want with that. We're a big believer in preparation helps our performance, and I know from an offensive coordinator standpoint I've always believed when your center, quarterback and your backs practice all the time, the offense from a responsibility standpoint is built from the inside out, so it's important to have the middle of your offense there to get the constant continuity, particularly in the communication of checks and adjustments and so forth, and that gives you the ability to be sharp on game day. I think it definitely helps when everybody practices, especially the quarterback position.

(Did you expect the way Aaron started so well that there'd be a rough patch, is that what he's going through now, and is that normal?)

I think that's fair. I think every path is different. You always want to stay on the positive path, but I think we're naïve to think that we weren't going to hit bumps in the road. I think every experience that he's had, both positive and negative, it's important for us to continue to build off them. The negative things that happened in that Minnesota game, we need to flip them into positives. We cannot let bad performances happen in our game. You have bad plays, but to have a bad overall performance, that's unacceptable. And that goes for everybody on our football team. We talked about it as a football team. I told them, you can have a poor play, but you have to move on to the next one, because we can't have a poor performance, and that's what happened to us this past week.

(What has given you the most trouble with the Bears?)

I don't really view it that way, because I think every game has been so distinctly different. If you go back to my first year, we played them in the opener and then we didn't play them again until maybe it was the last game of the season. Anytime you go through a season as a football team, there's such thing as September football as opposed to November and December football. Teams change from the beginning to the end. I like the way we match up against the Bears. I'm sure they feel they match up very well against us. I think our teams are in different places this week than we were probably last year. I don't view it as we have problems with the Bears. I look at last year's game at home, going back looking at that, we had as productive a half offensively as we've had in a long time, but turnovers. It all goes back to fundamentals. We have to do the right things this week. We need to play our game, play to our strengths, play to our crowd, all those things that are important that apply to this week's contest.

(When you look at the division, how much of a sense of urgency is there this week?)

Well, urgency was our theme last week. I thought for a lot of it, it was there. It's definitely urgent. We're in November football. I think once you get to November, the standings really start to mean something, and that's where we are. We're one game behind the team we're playing this week, so it's important for us to beat them, and that's really the way we view it. I think our urgency has shown up in the way we prepare. I thought today's practice was a good practice. The meetings today were very good, and we'll have another one today. I love the way the team works. They play hard. They're supposed to play hard. We have to make not just one more play than our opponent, we have to make a lot more, and that's our focus this week.

(Can you describe your philosophy on penalties? We're used to coaches saying all penalties are bad, but you don't view it that way.)

Well, they're all bad because they affect your team. But I'm not going to stand here and say we're never going to be penalized. I think that's ridiculous. We practice not to be, we have referees that are at practice every day, and I have a sheet that tells me the pre-snap penalties, the combative penalties, so we're no top of it. I have a card in my pocket that tells you how many penalties we had today. It's part of our structure, it's part of our training. But when you want a style of play, there are going to be combative penalties, and there are going to be penalties you don't agree with. I'm not going to talk about those. There's nothing positive that comes out of it. It's a waste of time, and I don't want to waste my money either. It's part of the game. I don't like the fact of how many penalties we have, but I don't agree with every penalty that's been called. The pre-snap penalties are unacceptable, and we train that way. It's built into the way we practice and so forth. We need to continue to eliminate those.

(Is that something you've developed working your way up, where other coaches you worked under viewed it the same way?)

Probably say so, yeah. Probably say so.

(Do you punish guys for pre-snap penalties?)

We pull them out of the drill. That's our punishment.

(You've faced both Chicago quarterbacks. Do you prepare for both, and what are the different challenges each presents?)

To answer your question, yes, you prepare for both and that's really in the film study because the way we view Chicago's offense, we think they are game-plan specific as far as how they are going to play us. You don't see them repeating everything every week. They have repeated concepts, but we have an expectation of how they are going to play us conceptually both in the run and pass. I think Kyle has a stronger arm than Grossman. I thought Kyle was playing at a very good level when he was in there. They are different in stature, those types of things, so those are all things we address and talk about. We do have experience playing against both guys, so we don't feel like we are at a disadvantage.

(Is Jeremy Thompson's groin a significant pull?)

Jeremy is not as good as we would like (him) to be. It's going to be a challenge for him to practice this week, so he's definitely questionable for the game.

(Will you fill that roster spot this week?)

As of today, no. We have talked about a number of different options. We are healthy too, so we don't feel like we need to just run out and sign somebody to sign him. Also, we have guys on our practice squad that we are excited about as well. I probably shouldn't have said that.

(With the running game's progress the last few weeks, how do you balance the progress you're making there against facing a team that's so committed to stopping the run but that has struggled against the pass?)

That's really all part of your game planning. How are they going to play us this week? That's the question you prepare to answer during the course of the week. I think we have a very good system of breaking down the film and putting together the plan. We move in and out of different personnel groups for a reason, we move in and out of different formations for a reason, and we'll take the same approach. Are they going to load the box like you saw a lot of in the Tennessee game? Those are the questions that really will be answered on Sunday.

(Do you feel good about the progress you've seen from the run game?)

I feel good about it. I think the run-blocking unit is more in sync. I think the fact that those guys are practicing together. We're having the same line for a couple of weeks, I think that definitely helps. We're getting a little more continuity there. Chad Clifton is practicing today and tomorrow; I think that will help us too. Keeping Daryn Colledge in the same spot for a little longer during the week, I think all of those things are positives. I think Ryan Grant has really hit his stride now. I think he definitely is playing like he did last year. He is stronger and so forth. Once again, I'm probably at fault. I've got to get him the ball more.

(You talked about guys missing practice, has that affected Chad too?)

I think as far players, practice and performance, they are all different. I think every player's medical situation is probably different. Every player, where they are at as far as their experience level is probably a tad different. What position they play definitely factors into it some. Do I want everybody to practice? Absolutely, but I'm not naïve to the fact that when you get seven, eight, nine, 10, 11 years in the league, there are certain things that probably don't benefit your body during the week. We do everything possible in the best interest of the player to get them ready to play, and that's really the bottom line. I've been a part of it, I've made that mistake too as a coach where you probably do too much with your team or a particular player during the course of the week and it can affect them on Sunday. I've made that mistake, so I try to be aware of that.

(Are you trying to get Chad to practice a little more because he's been inconsistent?)

I think it will help Chad if he practices more during the week, and I think Chad would probably say the same thing.

(After what Minnesota did, do you expect you're going to have to brace yourself for a lot of pressure?)

I don't look at as bracing myself. I don't want act cocky here or anything, but we're going to attack it, that's for sure. There were pressures in that game this past week that we have seen before, we have practiced before. There is some carryover from the Vikings defense to the Bears defense as far as the origin and what their beliefs are. We anticipate seeing potentially the same things that we saw last week. Frankly, offensively it does help you a little bit with the three defenses that we do play in the division because there is some carryover from the Lions to the Vikings to the Bears.

(Do you still want the run game to be your identity as November and December progress?)

Bottom line is scoring points. It's important to run the football because you establish the line of scrimmage. We're going to get the ball in the end zone any way we need possible. Frankly the way they play has a little to do with it too. When you run the football there is usually a free hat in the front. That's the design of the defense. They're not going to let you outnumber them. That's the way the game is played, but when they've got two more hats than you, you probably shouldn't be running the ball at that particular time. Those are the things, you just want to stay out of the overload situations where your players don't have a chance to be successful.

{sportsad300}(Where does this Bears defense rank in terms of creating turnovers, stripping the ball?)

If you look at Lovie, when he was in St. Louis and I was in New Orleans and he is there now, I think Lovie has done an excellent job with ball extraction. I think it's always showed up in his team. He has players that have been there a while. You look at their veterans, the guys that definitely, it's part of their program. I would definitely say that they are one of the better teams, no doubt about it.

(What have you seen on tape from Matt Forte?)

I think he is a talented back. He has been productive and he gives them flexibility because I think he can do all of the runs, the inside and the outside. He has excellent range, good size. I have been impressed with a number of games. They have been in our cutups most of the year, so we've seen a lot of their games from the offensive side of the ball. I think he's done a nice job.

(You just played the Titans and then the Bears did. Is there any advantage in the overlap of those two films?)

Absolutely. I think it helps you both sides, scheme and personnel. How do they handle certain personnel, that's all part of your game plan.

(Can you talk about Mark Tauscher getting the Man of the Year?)

I just saw that. Jeff showed me the news release. I need to thank Mark personally. I think it's great for what he has done in his career and the way he has given back. For him to be honored is a credit to Mark and all he has done. Once again, he is a great representative of the Green Bay Packers. We appreciate that.

(What kind of season do you think he's had?)

I think he has had a good, solid season. One thing about Mark, you get the same guy every day and that is important from a coach's standpoint. You know what you are working with. He's solid, he's a pro's pro, he always practices. He's a tough guy, he fights through the injuries and so forth. He's been a true professional for us in my time here.

(You seem more upbeat ...)

I'm tired as hell to be honest with you. I had a rough night with the baby. I'm faking it I guess. I'm just kidding.

(Are you trying to change the energy around the team?)

Am I that down in here before? We're excited. This is a big game. I don't know if you know this, but this is a pretty big rivalry here. I know you are new to town. It's an important one. Yeah, we're excited about playing this game.

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