Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 19

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s Monday press conference from Lambeau Field. - More Audio | Video | Watch ’The Mike McCarthy Show’ Packers-Panthers Game Center

OK, I'll give you the injury update. Ryan Grant has a mild ankle sprain, and we're hopeful he'll be able to go Thursday with the short week. He'll be day to day. Johnny Jolly has a significant shoulder strain, and it will be at least a couple of weeks, at a minimum. With that I'll take your questions.

(Will Jolly need any surgery?)

Pat doesn't have enough information, so just like I've stated, I'll use the exact words that he gave me, that it's going to be a minimum of a couple weeks. A lot of swelling.

(How do Harrell's chances to play look this week?)

He'll definitely have a chance to be part of the rotation.

(How did Jolly injure the shoulder?)

It was either the first or second play of the game. He had his arm extended and someone fell on his shoulder. I haven't seen the film so I didn't see the specific play but that's the feedback I was given.

(He's really made some strides this season, don't you think?)

Johnny Jolly? Absolutely. Johnny is having an excellent season for us. Young improving player. It really started for him in my opinion in the offseason. He actually came on strong more in the practice environment last year. But he had a very good offseason program. Johnny is probably the most instinctive defensive lineman we have. Johnny is progressing and will be a good player here for a long time.

(You used Jenkins inside there, would you prefer to go that way or get one of the bigger tackles in there?)

That's something we'll really use today to go through. I haven't even met with the defensive staff yet today. My time has been spent on the Detroit defense this morning. But we'll have a personnel meeting this evening.

(Is the short week more challenging for the players or the coaches?)

I think it's a challenge for everybody. You come off a Sunday game, play a short week, it's definitely a challenge for the players. And it's a challenge for the coaches. Everybody is creatures of habit, as far as what you go through in your week of preparation and to work Friday, Saturday and come in today and do all your different situations. So it's a challenge, but they have to go through it also.

(How do you handle Clifton, Harris and Woodson when they're used to getting rest during the practice week?)

They're going to have to get their rest. I think it makes sense not to try to push them on a Tuesday, which is equivalent to a Thursday practice, on a Thursday game schedule. Once again, we'll always do what's in the best interests health-wise for our football team. Preparation is very important, I know I've talked about that a lot, but the most important is to make sure we're ready to go on Thursday.

(Is Tuesday a normal practice or is it scaled down?)

I'm going to have to adjust it. Once again, we've been preparing for this week really as far back as our bye week, the way we approached the Kansas City game coming off the short week Monday night, and the way we practiced last week, as far as doing the pad work versus no-pad work. But once again, when I get all the medical information tonight, I'll probably even cut back even more in Tuesday's practice than I originally anticipated.

(Will you go without pads the whole week?)

Absolutely, we won't put on pads.

(Can you take a huge step forward in nailing down the division this week?)

Absolutely. This is a very important football game for our division race. Detroit has played ... I've been impressed with what I've seen on film, starting last week. Just to play in the Thanksgiving game period, I've experienced that in my time in Kansas City, it's a great atmosphere. It will be nationally televised, there will be a ton of energy in the building. I was impressed with Ford Field last year when I was up there for our game against them. And then on top of it, with everything going on in the division. This will be a big challenge for us. Our guys will be ready to play. But we've got a chance to take total command of our division with this win.

(What goes into your thinking at the end of the half with the defense on the field, taking or not taking a timeout after a sack?)

Well, my initial thought there was very similar to, I think it was the Denver game a few weeks back. We had the ball in the second half, and I was just going to let the clock run out. But with the sack, I took the timeout and I thought at that point maybe they'd try to run the football. But they stayed in their two-minute and they obviously had some success. Anytime you have a negative play like that I think you do need to take a timeout. I'm fine with the decision, but my initial thought, talking about it before that series was just to let the time run out and go into the second half.

(You had all three timeouts. Does the thinking change if you have only one or two?)

Correct. I think so. Plus there's other factors too. How are you playing? How's your defense playing? How are they playing? That all goes into your thought process.

(Jolly told you after the game he'd be ready to play. What changed since the end of the game?)

He's got a lot of swelling. Pat McKenzie is very concerned, and they'll do some more tests today. He's got swelling throughout the shoulder. Just like he said, it's a significant shoulder sprain. And that's really the point I was trying to make yesterday, and I thought I did, maybe I didn't make it clear. The players are always going to tell you for the most part that they're going to be ready for Thursday. But when Johnny went back in, and he actually hurt it again on the big block, on the touchdown return, is the second time he hurt it. It's unfortunate, but Pat's concerned about it.

(I'm sure you're disappointed for him, but is that one of the few positions on the team where you have enough depth so the injury won't hurt that much?)

Well, it shouldn't. We have 11 for a reason. We do have a lot of depth. Like you said, I feel bad for Johnny Jolly. I thought he was having an excellent year. But it's an opportunity for one of the other guys to pick it up.

(How does it impact how you put together the 45?)

There's different elements each week. Minnesota, you carry nine for certain reasons. Last week we carried eight offensive linemen for medical reasons. Special teams really factor into your inactive list as much as anybody. So those are week-to-week decisions.

(Will you consider using Tramon Williams on regular punt returns?)

We've talked about it. He's worked there. But I'm very happy with Charles Woodson. His decision-making has been outstanding. He's very sure-handed back there. But it's definitely something we've talked about.

(Does Marinelli run a pure version of that Tampa-2 defense?)

I don't know if any of them run the pure version anymore. I think it's just like anything in football. As time goes on, people see the certain coverage played just a basic way, you're able to attack it and hopefully take advantage of it. I'll say this, what I've been impressed with Joe Barry since he's been there, I think it's significant from this year compared to last year. I think they do an excellent job of jumping routes, jumping certain pass concepts. You can see they're reading the combination of a two-receiver side, if a guy jumps, they seem to be doing a lot more of that than I remember them doing last year. It's just like every coordinator. He takes the system and he puts his stamp on it, and they're doing some variations. They're doing a lot of A and B gap pressure, more than they've done in the past, playing what we refer to as jam fronts, bear fronts. They're doing some different things.

(Any chance you'll have Collins or Bubba, or is it too short a week?)

I'm doubtful on Collins and Bubba, but tomorrow will tell the story. Those guys are both making progress. I know Nick is pushing himself to get back out there.

(How was Rouse yesterday?)

Rouse had a solid game from what I was told. Like I said, I have not viewed the film of the game. But my understanding is he played well.

(Brett's over 100 passing efficiency, what contributes to that success?)

Brett's playing at a high level. He's definitely improved his consistency since our time here together, along with our offense is improving. It starts up front, to block that defensive line, their four rushers a lot with what we refer to as scat protection with just only five offensive linemen gives us the opportunity to be as wide open in the passing game and spread defenses out. The receiver group, I've been impressed with them all year long, just the way they're catching the football, yards after the catch. Particularly in the passing game, we're an improving offense and we've played at a high level now for probably two months.

(With the receiver group, what did you see that maybe Brett didn't when he made an issue of it in the offseason?)

I think it's like any business. I have the advantage of being here every day with the players. We had tremendous attendance, got a ton of work done in the offseason program. Frankly, this game this week is a game that you go back to the offseason program because that's what this game is going to be about. It's going to be about playing fundamentally sound football. We're not going to be putting in any new plays or trying to win this game with gadget plays and things like that. But when you have the opportunity to be around those guys day in and day out and know that they have so much in front of them, I'm not surprised by their productivity because their ability and work ethic and the know-how has always been there.

(Is there something to be said for the unselfishness of the group, how it can be a different guy stepping up every week?)

Very important component of team athletics. This is a football team that wants to win. I don't think we have any issues in our locker room of that sort. I think we have a locker room of tremendous chemistry, one of the better ones or the best one I've been around, and Brett's doing a great job spreading the ball around, and that definitely helps.

(What did the officials tell you about the kickoff coverage team getting jacked up?)

Just had a conversation with I think it was the side judge. It's like a lot of things in our league. There's rules for pretty much everything that goes on in the game, but a lot of times it's what's emphasized. And I know that was an emphasis a few years back. I just recall seeing the Colts in the training video for some reason. They made me aware of it, and then I had an opportunity to talk to Gene probably at the next time out, and frankly just said hey, we may be over-officiating this particular situation. I just said hey, we'll just cut it out. I wasn't going to get in there ... it's great, I like it, we promote it. But I don't want to get a flag over a bunch of guys dancing.

(Did you get penalized during the timeout?)

It's the celebration rule.

(Don't you have to celebrate something, though?)

Why don't you call Mike Pereira, OK? He'll give you a whole dissertation on it. That's about what I know.

(Did you go to Stock to tell them not to do it?)

Oh absolutely, yeah. I've got other things to worry about. We were winning the game. So it's not dance-and-win.

{sportsad300}(Did Carolina try to take away those stretch plays?)

I tell you, their two defensive tackles, I hope they're the two largest in the league. Those guys were definitely a challenge for us inside. I thought we ran the ball well. There's always things you can improve on, without getting into specifics without viewing the film. But to me, it was a normal game. We were heavy weak-side run in the two-back, and they walked the will linebacker up on the line of scrimmage, so we went to the strong-side run. That's a normal progression that you schematically go through in games. But I'm happy with the progress we're making, because the fits are better on the lead zones, which is a direct carry-over to the stretch, the one-back stretch. We've got a lot of production out of our one-back run game and we need to continue to do so and just try to make sure we're balanced in all our personnel groups.

(Are you at the point where teams are concerned about your running game?)

Well, I would think so. Run defense is a very important part of winning football. That's our starting point when we talk about defense, and I'm sure it is for most places.

(After the Jets game last year, was there a moment when something changed?)

After the Jets game? I'll just say we stayed consistent. I don't remember any big speech. I know I had to talk to the team at length that Monday after that game. But the approach and attitude has been the same since the day this coaching staff started with this football team, and that's the goal as we move forward. I think consistency is vital through the highs and lows, because you have to stay off the roller coaster, and it's easy to do in this business. We try to be consistent in everything we do. Preparation and performance. So nothing changed from my seat.

(What have the Lions done to change their team around this year?)

They've had a lot of personnel change, and they're in the second year of their program. I think that football team looks the way Rod Marinelli wants it to look. You can see it on his defense. Those guys fly around now. They play with a lot of energy. I think Joe Barry is an excellent football coach. I've competed against those guys for a number of years down there in the NFC South. And it starts with defense, starts with them up front. They're very active. I think Sims is playing very well for them at the linebacker position. I think Kitna does an excellent job managing that offense. And they have playmakers in that offense, they have the ability to spread you out, and they have run the ball in spots throughout the season. They're a good football team.

(How much has your coaching staff improved?)

I think we definitely have improved. One thing the national Football League has taught me, you're either improving or you're not improving. You don't ever stay the same, and that has been very evident in my time in this profession. You just look at the basic things that are involved. Our communication is a lot better. We all know each other better. Our weeks of how we prepare for games is a lot more smoother. Once again, there wasn't a lot of us that worked together in the past. We may have history with each other, but not in these certain roles and so forth. We know our players better. I think they did an outstanding job in the offseason program with the one-on-one time they spent with their players. That definitely helps you, because the relationships are stronger, they have a better understanding of their players, they have a better understanding of how to use their players. So those are all parts of the way we've improved, and we need to continue to improve. Yeah, we've put together some good game plans, but good game plans are based on players executing the game plan. That means they have a better understanding of how we want them to do things. They're playing with a lot of confidence, and we need to continue to stay one step ahead of our opponent.

(Do you like the challenge of a short week or would you rather not have to deal with it?)

I don't view it that way. When the schedule comes out, I set the schedule and go it's a great game to be part of. It's a tremendous environment. It's part of history in the National Football League. I can remember as far back as being a young child watching Thanksgiving football and eating the turkey between the games. Your peers, everybody is going to be watching you play. I think it's going to be a great game. It's going to be a great environment.

(Did you think Calvin Johnson was the best player in the draft this year?)

He's clearly the most talented from the measurables and his ability he showed on the football field as a wide receiver that I've seen since I came in this league. I thought the guy was off the charts.

(There was a report on ESPN before the game that some of your players have been offering bounties to other players for things like tackles, defensive guys offering linemen money to hold Adrian Peterson under 100 yards, and the league is looking into it. Are you aware of that?)

This was on ESPN? I have no knowledge of that. I have not been made aware of that. I haven't talked to Ted today, so if it's something that happened today and we have not spoken. But I have no knowledge of that.

(Are you concerned with Crosby's two missed field goals?)

Well, the partial block it was kicked low. You could see that from the field. I saw that right away. And I don't really recall him hitting a line drive. So I don't know if he missed it, or if his plant foot wasn't in the right position, because the thing that's consistent about Mason Crosby is his lift. He gets the ball up so fast. I do not know why that happened. And the second one, I think he fell into that put it right outside the right upright and it's going to come back in, because usually when he has missed it's because he's been aggressive and he misses left. But the third one, I know he hit that one strong. That's how I saw those, but I haven't seen them on film yet.

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