Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 19

(Driver is listed as 'not injury related.' You had said there were some little things he was dealing with, so is he just resting?)

Donald Driver, I'd like to talk about him for a second as far as number one, I guess it was Monday in here in the press conference, the intent was to give him off today and tomorrow, just from a medical standpoint, because he had a number of different things wrong with him. So I just wanted to let him rest. But he's had a personal situation that has come up, and he's dealing with that right now. He's been excused.

(Did you have a chance to talk to him? How is he dealing with the situation?)

Any comments from me would be inappropriate, frankly. He has been excused and he's dealing with that.

(Do you expect him to be back in time for Monday?)

That is the intent, yes.

(Today did you just do individual drills?)

Today we basically broke up a Wednesday workload and really spread it out between today and tomorrow. I just wanted to make sure we did most of our heavy work closer to the game. In the past I've done the heavier work in the beginning of the week preparing for Monday Night football games. I prefer it later in the week, particularly the padded work. I wanted to give them an extra half a day really to rest and get an extra lift in this week. We've come off three very physical football games, so with that we had some individual work and basically get started on first down against the Saints today was the goal.

(What else did today's schedule consist of?)

Meetings. We had meetings. We had lifting, meetings and then a short practice.

(Are they done after this now?)

Yes. There's a player programs opportunity that will occur at 4:30, and that's optional.

(What are your thoughts about going up against New Orleans' high-powered offense and Drew Brees?)

The Saints possess an excellent challenge for us. Their offense is No. 1 in the league. They have the ability to attack you a lot of different ways. I think Drew Brees and Sean Payton are a very good match as far as the way Sean attacks a defense and Drew's ability to run the wide-open offense. They've had different backfield sets due to injuries and so forth, so they do have some different playmakers back there. Also their perimeter group is very good. I think their offensive line is probably the most improved area from our time playing them two years ago. It's an offense that will be an excellent challenge for us. Going down to New Orleans is a challenge for any team because you play indoors. It's a lot like the Metrodome. It's very, very loud. Monday night it will be a big-time environment, and that's what we're preparing for.

(Aaron seems to be really strong with the comeback routes, but are you running as many vertical routes this year?)

As far as the number, I couldn't answer that accurately right now. But they're still in every game plan, sometimes it doesn't go maybe the way you'd think. Our 20-plus plays, I'm comfortable where we're at as far as the big-play category. But as far as the four-vertical game, whether it's a 2-by-2 or 3-by-1 formation, that's still part of our weekly package.

(Are defenses doing anything to take away the deep passes that were so successful earlier in the year?)

Well, I would think the success we had earlier in the year would definitely be part of their preparation. Sometimes you have certain plays up based on a certain defensive scheme that you like it against or a potential matchup. We have the ability to have shot plays, down the field throws, vertical throws, those are all categories that are in our game plan each week. Now, do they get called or how many get called, really how the game shakes out determines that.

(Do you prepare as if Reggie Bush is playing?)

I think you have to. You always prepare, ... we can't control their injury situation. We just study the film, study the depth chart, and we'll prepare for all the potential players we feel are going to play in the game Monday, and he's definitely one of them.

(What kinds of challenges does he present?)

He's a dynamic player. He has the ability to score from anywhere on the field, whether it's a punt return or a sway screen, or how they tend to get him the ball on the perimeter. It looks like he's running the ball between the tackles better than I recall in his rookie season when he played up here. He's a dynamic player.

(Have you followed the situation in Philadelphia where some players didn't know that games could end in a tie, and do you take any steps to make sure your players know the rules?)

Well, I didn't really follow it. I've obviously heard about it. It's kind of hard not to. I was asked a question on a radio show I think on Tuesday. We have a team business category in our team meeting on Wednesdays and also media topics, and we addressed that today, so I think all our players, if they didn't know, they know for sure now.

(Have you ever prepared for a guy and then he doesn't play, and has it affected your team?)I've had it happen, and it's happened both ways. I've had preparation for a certain individual where he didn't play, and you felt like it may have affected you, or he went out on a play in the game, went out on the first play or the second play, and it affected you. I can also recall a game when I was with the Saints, we were playing the Giants on Sunday night football. It was the Joe Horn telephone game. This is a sub story to that story. We had a player that was declared inactive after we sent the active list in, and he was our fullback. He was the only fullback we had on the roster, Terrelle Smith. And I had probably 10 of the 15 plays in the first 15 were two-back plays. So I had to make the adjustment. I don't even think I went out for pre-game. And we played extremely well that night on offense. So like I said, I've had it happen both ways.

(Are you satisfied with the pressure you're getting from the guys up front, and does it match what you're getting from the secondary?)

I think it says a lot too, just from the way they're turning the ball over. It all fits together as far as in the four man rush, the ability to take away the quarterback's first option, that's the way the whole thing fits together. But am I happy? Yes. I think we're doing a solid job there. We're always trying to do better, whether we generate pressure with four man, five man. Like I said, it all fits together, as long as we're covering them down and the ability to put pressure ... How you put pressure on the quarterback varies each week based on the quarterback you're playing. Is he mobile? How does he deal with the pocket? Does he slide, does he step up? All those types of things. We're comfortable with that.

{sportsad300}(Do you feel you've got three starting caliber corners now, and how much of a benefit is it that you had Tramon starting when Al was out when you're now playing such a potent passing team?)

I think it's very beneficial. I think that's an excellent point. Tramon Williams having the opportunity to start and match up against the top first or second receiver against very good football teams was great experience for him, and he showed that he can do that and we have confidence in him. It just goes back to all these younger players that are having a chance to play in games, or take another step back, or even getting practice reps that they may not have been able to get. Those are all things you're looking for when you're a team as young as we are, to keep developing those younger players. I think Tramon Williams is an excellent example of a guy that's taken advantage of every chance that he's been given here, and he has stepped up to the plate and been successful every time.

(Was Colin Cole dealing with something in the game that limited him in the second half?)

Yeah, I think his elbow was bothering him a little bit there in the second half. He had some opportunities. I know as a front we felt that a few sacks got away from us there.

(Do you expect to replace Nick Barnett on the roster this week?)

Potentially. We talk about different options every day, but as of today we have not made that decision. But it's definitely a possibility. Nick's surgery is tomorrow.

(You've talked in the past about player availability being a factor in playing time. Is James Jones falling into that category?)

Because of his availability? To answer your question, I would say no. James has gone through a situation with his knee that he's having some re-occurring effects to it. I think like any young player that hasn't been hurt, he has to learn to play with it, and that's really what he's going through. I really look at the factor of practice and the way he played in the game. He only had a couple opportunities because he did bang the knee again, but we're starting to see James come back and participate the way he did in training camp. I clearly thought he had probably one of the better training camps of our second-year players. We're just trying to get him back to that level.

(Is Dr. McKenzie doing Barnett's surgery?)

That is my understanding.

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