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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 15

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s Wednesday press conference. will post these full transcripts after each of Coach McCarthy’s press conferences during the 2006 season.


(Comment on the long injury report)

Yeah, how about that. We had a physical game on Sunday and had a bunch of guys nicked. We had a number of guys out of practice today, but hopeful to get most of them back tomorrow.

(How did Miree and Morency look?)

Morency is further ahead than Miree. They both practiced, but Mo is further ahead.

(New England always has a lot of talk surrounding their injury report, how much do you look into them?)

I think as far as the injury report, I think there is a competitive advantage, and when I stand up here, frankly I keep in mind what is in the best interest of the football team. As far as playing games with the injury report, I do not. As far as how other people use it, I don't have an opinion or an interest in it. That's the health of our football team, and our practice was adjusted today based on the health of our football team. We practiced in shells only and did extended walk-throughs and things like that. You guys (media) were down there for the beginning part of it, so that's why we went about it the way we did.

(What caused Tauscher to go from doubtful to out?)

It's a groin injury that we'll know more about. They're telling me in the 10-14 day period, so we'll have more information then. It's just based on the way he was injured.

(How come Favre wasn't able to complete practice?)

He practiced and went all the way up until the blitz drill. He has an ankle that's really bothering him, so we put him in the rehab group after the group period (of practice). He actually worked everything that we had in today's plan, except he didn't go through the team drills. I anticipate him going tomorrow.

(Thinking back to 2000, do you remember your evaluation of Brady? Why did everyone miss on him?)

I had an interesting experience with Tom Brady. He trained in New Orleans with a speed program under Tom Shaw, and I had the opportunity to visit with him when he was going through the draft process. My recollection was he was very bright, a very talented thrower. I had a chance to visit with him in New Orleans - legally, of course - he played Alabama in a bowl game, and I think really his experience at Michigan playing behind Drew Henson (was a factor). He'll go down as probably one of the greatest late-round draft picks as a quarterback. He's a young man who's done a lot in a short time, and he's a hell of a football player. He's a big part of their success and a big focus for us this week.

(How important is this game as a measuring stick?)

It's very important with where we're at in the season. Everybody wants to talk about playoffs - I want to talk about getting to 5-5. If you get to 5-5, then you can start thinking about the next one, and the one after that. It's very important for our football team to get to 5-5. We're playing an uncommon opponent, and we try to prepare for the 3-4 defense in the off-season because we play I think four teams (with that defense) this year. It's different when you get into the weekly grind because today we had a lot of teaching. Really, our focus is to get to 5-5, and this is a great opportunity to do that at home.

(Is the playoff talk strictly external or is there some internal talk about that goal?)

Externally. We're focused on New England. That's my message. You worry about things you can control.

(Do the concepts change in zone blocking against the 3-4?)

Absolutely, it's different. They play off the ball, so there are different challenges. Very similar to the challenges we faced in Miami.

(Seemed to handle it well down there)

Yeah, but if you look early in the game, it was tough. They're a two-gap scheme, off the ball, and it presents a different challenge than you train in because we see so much four-man line and the Tampa defenses we see in our division. That's why when you play an uncommon opponent in a week's preparation, it's a challenge.

(What are the key elements you see in the Patriots franchise that keeps them as a consistent contender?)

I think the biggest part is the consistency in their coaching and in how they draft to their scheme. You're looking at a lot of draft picks over the years, and that's a team that has a lot of depth. They've had a number of guys leave, but they've plugged guys in and kept going. And, they got the quarterback. He's a special player. As long as they have him and play good defense and don't give up a lot of points (they'll be a contender). There are a lot of key factors, and they've set the bar here in the last five years.

(Is third down recognition the most difficult part for the offensive line?)

It depends on how you view it. If you sit there and look at fronts from a personnel matchup, yeah, that's probably pretty tough. But if you sit there and look at fronts based on the look - I don't want to get into coaching seminar 101 here - but there are only so many fronts you can play. It depends on how you can declare your protection scheme and are conscious of your matchups.

{sportsad300}(How have they been so tough on third down?)

I think they do a very good job on both sides of the ball, and I think it's a common thread through actually all three phases in the way they challenge your matchups, or what they feel their matchup advantages are. That's very evident in their third down defense. Most teams, when you coach on offense and go against a defense, the first thing I look for is where a guy spends most of his time. They run a 3-4 defense on first and second down, but they also, in my experience, can't remember when I last coached against them, they also carried a 4-3 defense too. I've had that turned on to me from the last time I played them, so you have to be ready for the 4-3 even though they haven't shown it here of late. That's who they are on first and second down, but on third down, you're getting bracketed coverage and all kinds of blitzes, so that's where the multiplicity comes in as a challenge.

(Do the linebackers now have more confidence with more time together?)

I think it's a combination of things. First thing is confidence, and second, they have been playing together. We've used them more in pressure packages too, so we've given them more opportunities to make plays. They're a young group getting better each week, and we need to continue to put them in position to make plays.

(Is a great linebacker key to a great defense?)

You usually want to feature a playmaker; usually the key guys on defense or even on offense have to be playmakers. Not to disrespect the linebacker position, but I think it all starts up front on both sides of the ball. I don't know how many good linebackers there are if the offensive linemen are on them all day. It's important to win up front where you can have that linebacker, playmaker type available and give him the ability to be a run-and-hit player, an impact player. The linebackers are usually the guys you use in your pressure packages, trying to free up. They make most of your tackles and can make a big impact in the game.

(What do you see out of New England's running attack?)

I think they have three excellent backs. They run the ball very well when they've tried to, and I think all three of those guys will be a challenge for us. If you look at Faulk, he's still a very productive player. They're using a combination of Maroney and Dillon, and I think all three are very good players.

(What makes Donald Driver so successful?)

His heart - he obviously has talent. Watching him in 1999 and seeing where he is at today, he is a guy that goes full speed all the time - in practice and in games. The guy's a winner - huge heart.

(What did you think of him as a rookie 7th round pick in 1999?)

I thought he needed to go to McDonald's. I just remember him being really thin. The one thing that really jumped out was his speed and jumping ability. I can remember that training camp where he made a number of fantastic catches, and that's where he jumped out and was given an opportunity to make the team. Once again, very willing, will do anything, the smile. You remember the smile. But it's a credit to what he has done. He's done a great job with his body. He has bulked up since then and he's very durable, a tough guy. But he makes plays. Everybody talks about how fast he is. I haven't seen anybody catch him yet. He's a playmaker having a great year.

(Did you ever envision this back then?)

I'm not surprised by it. I don't think I sat there and said that guy is going to be an all-pro, but it doesn't surprise me. He took every rep, the guy can run all day. He has incredible endurance. He's a hard worker. No surprise at all that he is where he is.

(Is Moll better with his technique or still playing mainly on aggressiveness?)

Tony is a tough kid, and I think that's the reason we went with him early. He just stuck his nose in there. And we've talked about this before. I think when you take those linemen, particularly when they're rookies and move them around like that, it's a little bit of a disadvantage for them from a technical standpoint, but it is a great education because they're learning what the guy next to him is doing too, because they're playing all three positions. So I think from a scheme education standpoint, he's definitely improved, and technically he's improving too, just on the basic principles that we do. But until he really gets to hunker down in one position, you'll really see him blossom. But he's a competitive kid, and we'll continue just to play the way we've been playing with him.

(Do you like the vibe you're getting from this team, loose but not too loose?)

I think it's a locker room that has a lot of character, and it still has leadership from the past successful days here. I'm not one to have it loose. I think they're confident. Because I think when something gets loose and comfortable, then complacency stands in. I don't think that's a problem here at all. I think you're seeing the confidence increase, particularly over the last five weeks, because they're playing better. One thing, I wish we were a little healthier right now, but shoot, everybody does at this point in the season. But there's a lot of positive things happening, and I think there's very good chemistry and character in the locker room right now.

(What do you think the atmosphere will be like with this big game against the Patriots on Sunday?)

I'll say this, the fans at Lambeau have never disappointed, just starting from our home opener. The Arizona game was electric, especially the way we performed, and the crowd was exciting, and we're looking for the same thing here. Frankly, New England is undefeated on the road, and we're aware of that, and we're going to call on our fan base to step up again like they always do for us, because it's going to take that type of effort from everyone involved to win this football game.

(Do you get the sense Favre is enjoying himself more, drawing some juice from all these young guys?)

I think he's in a lot of ways similar, but a lot of ways different, ... that's saying nothing there. But I see a lot of similarities in his passion and the way he plays the game from '99. The guy loves to play, loves to practice. I think like most older players, you get into the individual drills, some of the things you've done over and over again, that doesn't really fire them up. But he loves blitz drill, loves team drills, things like that. His preparation is better than I remember it in '99. He's on a coach's level. When you talk to him, he knows exactly what you're talking about, whether you're talking about runs, blocking schemes, protections. So I think he's really enjoying himself. I think he's in a good place right now. He's fairly healthy, and winning takes care of a lot of things. He's in it to win. How many more individual things do you need? I'm not speaking for him, but he's about winning, and I think he exemplifies that in the way he practices and the way he goes about his business on gameday.

(Do you get the sense that enjoyment factor is important for his future?)

I can't speak for him how much you want to do something he doesn't enjoy, so yeah, I'm sure that's a factor.

(With Bodiford and Humphrey on IR, will you go with Morency on kickoff return?)

If Morency goes, he will probably be the kickoff returner.

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