Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 2

Read the transcript of Mike McCarthy’s press conference Monday from Lambeau Field.

OK, I'll start with the injuries. We had a number of players banged up from the game, but the one significant injury, Brandon Chillar had a broken hand. He will have surgery today, and with the information that will come out of the surgery, the forecast will probably be a couple of weeks, and I think he'll then be able to play with a club. With that I'll take your questions.

(Anybody else who might be in danger of missing practice time this week?)

Yeah, I'll just go through. Nick Collins, he had the ankle contusion. I think if he does miss it will be minimal. Donald Driver had the stinger. Knowing Donald he'll practice every day. John Kuhn just had a knee bruise. We'll see how he is on Wednesday. Derrick Martin with the concussion. They say he's fine. And Aaron Rodgers has a toe sprain on one foot and has the foot sprain on the other. So Aaron will probably miss some time this week.

(Do you think you'll have Finley this week?)

Jermichael Finley? Jermichael was very sore on Saturday, so we didn't work him out on Sunday. So we'll just see how he progresses. I thought he made leaps and bounds on Thursday and Friday. I think he'll be questionable to doubtful, in that range.

(How about Jordy?)

Jordy, I think he's probably another week away.

(What's your starting point going to be with the offensive line this week?)

Offensive line, I'm going to take the week, very similar to last week. I'm going to see how Chad Clifton progresses through the week. I also want to see how Mark Tauscher progresses through the week. Then have an opportunity to grade the film this morning and go through the corrections today with the offensive linemen who played in the game. We'll take that through the week, just very similar to what we did last week.

(Last week you said you would start the week with the guys who finished the game. Will you do that again?)

We'll take the week to work through it. I don't have all the information. I want to grade the tape first with these players. We'll look at our options as we build the game plan and work the plan through the week.

(With Aaron having injuries to both feet, are you concerned about the movement parts of the passing game?)

Just speaking with Aaron after the game, I haven't spoken to him yet today. I think he'll be fine to play in Tampa. I don't think it's going to change the way he plays. Just visiting with Dr. McKenzie, I think they're injuries that just need to settle down a little bit. Wednesday and Thursday, he'll probably do very little, and we'll shoot for Friday, is kind of our general plan as we move out of today's rehab.

(The amount of times he's getting hit, the concern about how to keep him upright has to be a top priority, right?)

That's a negative, that's a negative in our play right now. Our sack numbers are clearly out of balance. That's something we'll continue to work through. We'll have an opportunity to watch the tape again today with the players. The way we're game-planning and the way we're doing things, we should be more productive in our pass protection. That's something we'll continue to improve on.

(In retrospect, would you have been better off with Clifton and Tauscher out there?)

I would think that would fall under the category of convenient criticism. We talked about it at halftime, something we talked about before the game. Really, I think Chad's situation and Mark's are totally different about where they are as far as their readiness to play. But coming out in the third quarter, we clearly established ourselves. Frankly, the third quarter and halfway through the fourth quarter, our passing game, you can't play much better. We made some errors there going down on that last drive before the field goal attempt that frankly cost us an opportunity to score in that area. But the way the offense was playing in the third and beginning of the fourth quarter, we didn't feel there was a reason to change.

(Why was it so difficult to get an offensive rhythm early?)

A lot of the variables that happened up there in the Metrodome I felt carried over to the first half of this game. The number of long down-and-distances. The ability to be knocked out of a run-pass mindset. It's the negative plays, and the sacks are a big part of it.

(How will you address the penalties, especially the one with Jolly?)

Well, Johnny's penalty is totally uncalled for. I still haven't seen tape on it. I'm going to have to get it off the TV copy. There's no reason for it, there's no explanation for it. He needs to be more accountable for that. That's four points that shouldn't happen. Plus, I think that's another seven plays we added to the Vikings offense versus our defense. Those are things you can't do. B.J. had the personal foul with the facemask. That's more of a technique thing, You have to move your feet and get off blocks so you're not reaching for ballcarriers and things like that. Some of the other penalties that we had I felt were gray-area calls. Sometimes they go for you, sometimes they don't. After-the-play penalties, there's no excuse for.

(Did you speak to Jolly after the penalty?)

Briefly, just briefly. Frankly, I didn't see it. I talked to Mike Trgovac about it and Mike addressed it on the sideline.

(After the game he didn't seem very remorseful ...)

That's what I was told. It sounds like Johnny and I will probably have a conversation here shortly.

(So that's not acceptable to you?)

Correct.

(If you had seen it, would you have benched him to send a message?)

Well, that's always a nice thing to jump up and down as a head coach, but also, what are you gaining? Is it the opportunity to send a message, but is it also an opportunity to take away from your defensive coordinator something you practiced all week, something you prepared for. He's been a very productive player. Those are the things you weigh against. Obviously if I had seen it, I'm sure maybe emotion would have entered my decision-making. But I think you have to be careful making drastic changes like that. 45-man roster is a little different than having 53 players out there. Now, not to say that we have other D-linemen that couldn't do what Johnny does, that's not the point. But when you practice things, you have things clean, and you're playing a multiple-personnel offense, you set your template as a defensive coordinator, and you rep things specifically, those players are in there for a reason. By benching somebody, you could be taking away from your defense.

(In addition to what Jolly said, did you see the things Cullen Jenkins had to say about the defense?)

Yes I did. Jeff just made me aware of them. Our schedule doesn't change. I've been with the coaches all morning, going through the tape. Cullen and I will have a conversation.

(Are you concerned the defense is losing faith in the 3-4 or losing faith in the game plan?)

No I don't. I just think we need to handle frustration, adversity, however you want to put it. We're the fourth-ranked defense in the National Football League. We're leading the league in turnover ratio right now going into the Monday night game. I've said it before, and I'll confirm it here, I'll confirm it today again in the team meeting, I'm not interested in having Pro Bowl players and having a 27th-ranked defense. Our interest and our focus is on being a top-three defense in the league. It's utilizing all of our players. Sometimes players are asked to do things, to sacrifice so someone else can benefit from it, and that's part of the deal. That's the way we operate. We have a lot of good players on defense. It's not about one guy getting his. That's not the way we operate, and that will be our focus, and it has been our focus since Dom came here.

(In these two big games, Favre had no sacks or interceptions, he threw seven touchdowns. Are you concerned you defense, as good as it is statistically, hasn't risen to the occasion in these two games?)

I think these questions are a lot like the way the game goes. These are all individual specifics that you're trying to pull out of the game. Frankly a big part in my opinion of our defense not having the opportunities is the way the game's gone. Number one, we clearly were outplayed on special teams. We were minus-154 yards in field position. It's hard to win like that. I felt both teams were very balanced going into this game. You look at the statistics, you get in Week 6, 7, 8, 9, your profile of your teams are pretty well set. They played with a shorter field, they played with the lead. Both games are almost mirror images of themselves, and we didn't get going on offense fast enough. I felt that in the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter, that's the way the game was supposed to be played, and we only did it for a quarter and a half. The pressure was starting to get to their quarterback, and things were starting to happen where we were having opportunities to potentially get our hands on the ball. You want to play that way for four quarters. We didn't get that done.

(If someone like Cullen has a question about the defense, are you open to hearing it as long as it's behind closed doors? Do you not like it because he made it public?)

Wouldn't you? Absolutely. We talk about communication on all levels. I don't ever want to come in here and put specifics of a player's business out in the public, especially before I even had the facts to correct him with it. But sometimes there's things that are so obvious. Johnny's penalty. How do you get around that? You don't do those types of things. It's about communication. If your concerns are that personal and that strong, the conversation should happen between players and coordinators before it ever gets to the media.

(Will you replace Chillar with Bishop?)

Or A.J. I think A.J. is playing well. I think he had 25 reps in there. We'll look at A.J. and Desmond there. I'm very comfortable with A.J. I think the way he is playing; I think he has been very consistent. Desmond has made some big plays but I like the consistency of A.J.

(Were you able to look at the kick coverage and identify anything there with Harvin?)

Well, we had the opening kickoff where frankly just the technique of the lane discipline and the way we attacked their lead blocker on their back side, it was a technical failure there. Where they had the double-team, we ran around the double-team so we created a big seam in there and that is his strength. He's a vertical returner. We knew that. It's important to make those guys bounce. I felt that our plan as we moved through the game was better. We had the two squibs. They weren't very good kicks, but one was recovered for a fumble and the other one was effective. Now the one he returned at the end of the third quarter with a minute or so left, I thought that was a big impact play and it shouldn't have happened. That was not what was designed. The kick was not done properly, and Mason and I have talked about it. It's a momentum swing. I felt that Harvin swung the momentum twice in the game. We went up 3-0 and he brought it right back and they go up 7-3. We feel like we are playing at a very high level, our crowd was fantastic, I thought that was a big shot in the arm for the Vikings on the kick return there at the end of the third quarter.

(Is Crosby healthy?)

Yes, he's healthy.

(It was simply a slip on that?)

That's the communication we had, yeah.

(On the flip side of the return game, how would you assess Ahman's performance?)

I think Ahman needs to play. I think that was evident, just to get comfortable back there. He had a couple of kicks there into the wind, just adjusting to that, and he lost his footing on the one. Just timing things up as far as what we're asking him as far as his course and his read and so forth. Frankly, he looks like a football player that hasn't played in a while. That's what you talk about being in football shape. He'll continue to get that, get his legs more underneath him, and I think he'll get more and more productive as we move forward. But I like what I saw. I like the way he attacks. His downhill running style I think is a very good fit for what we are trying to get done on kickoff returns.

{sportsad300}(After an emotional game, a lot of fans want to fire everybody. Where do you view this team is at, and how do you respond to somebody who's gone off the deep end?)

We're 4-3. We're 4-3 for good reason. I think we have not handled two prime-time games very well. I'm confident that we'll learn from these experiences. I thought we would have learned more from the first game up there to this one. We had some repeated mistakes; that's frustrating and something that we take with full accountability as coaches. When you see common mistakes that happen, it's disappointing because you know you are repping those things and you're preparing. We have to look at our preparation because it did not get from the practice field to the game field for whatever reason. But I think these are definitely experiences, these two games against the Vikings, I think these are definitely experiences that we can draw from. There are so many more positives to our football team in my view than the negatives, but the thing I don't like about is the valley between our positives and our negatives is too big right now. The way we play at an extremely high level...our bad plays need to be closer to our good plays is the point I am making. You're going to have some plays that don't go very well, number one. Number two, you need to respond from those. We had a big third-down conversion and they convert and we kind of drop off a little bit, the next play it's another big play. We've had a number of those this year. Same thing on offense, you're moving the ball, moving the ball, sack, third-and-long. So we need to overcome those types of things. Our good plays need to overshadow our bad plays, but we've just got a little too big of a valley right now.

(Do you think you're a good football team right now?)

Do I think we're a good football team? We're a 4-3 football team and there is a lot of football to be played. I'm very confident we'll continue to improve. This football team works very hard. We are young in some spots, so there will definitely be improvement in those areas. We have an opportunity to go down to Tampa and come out of this game 5-3. That will be our focus. Winning on the road is tough and so forth. But it's not even midseason yet. I understand the urgency of our fans. I think we've got the best fans in the world. I thought they were tremendous Sunday in Lambeau. We talked about it as a staff; frankly I think it might have been louder this week than it was in the playoff games that I experienced here. We need to take advantage of that. Losing two games at home doesn't sit well with anybody, trust me. It's something that is emphasized over and over and over again, but we're a good football team that has an opportunity to improve.

(Are the Vikings just more talented at this point?)

What's talent? Everybody has got talent. I think they've got a lot of really good players. I respect the ability of their players over there. I think it's very obvious. Their quarterback has made a big impact. That's something, that quarterback productivity, they haven't had in the last three years that we have played them. I think Percy Harvin, from a field-position standpoint, has made an impact, and their defense has been a staple over there for the last couple of years. They are a different team than they have been the last couple of years. There is no denying that.

(On the sack where Allen wasn't blocked, you said it was a miscommunication. Can you educate us on what's supposed to happen there?)

I'm not going to go through the specifics. You have communication, declarations, things like that. As far as the sacks, I tell you this every week and we go through this, I haven't corrected it with the team yet. We need to do a better job with the sacks, whether it's declaring the right linebacker, whether it's a technique of a lineman, whether it's the time clock of the quarterback, we're not doing a good enough job in pass protection.

(We're not trying to assign blame, just trying to understand what happened ...)

It's the declaration of the protection or a technical aspect of the offensive play or it's within the time clock of the quarterback. That's how sacks occur

(Was that similar to the Peterson play against Detroit?)

Peterson play against Detroit?

(Where the left tackle blocked down and Julian Peterson came in straight up the middle?)

Correct. Not the same defense, but the same type of communication, yes.

(Some teams plan to have a second running back come in, say the third series of a game. Would you consider something like that with Ahman?)

I'm not going to commit to a rotation at any position today.

(Rodgers is leading in passer rating, he was the player of the month for October, yet he's getting a lot of criticism from the populace. He's 10-13 as a starter but it seems like he's a pretty effective player ...)

He's a good football player, but it's a team game. It's about wins and losses and the ability to pull it all together. You look at everything that evolves around your football team and Aaron is part of the solution. There is no doubt about it. He is definitely one of the positives, but he has things he needs to work on too, just like every member of our football team.

(When you prepared your defense for this game and the blitz package for Brett, did you think he might not recognize some or do you just figure there's nothing he hasn't seen?)

Really, when you play an experienced quarterback or even an experienced center or an experienced protection unit, however they communicate the starting point of their protection, it's really an illusion to go out and think you're going to fool people all of the time. It's not the fact that you are going to fool offenses. You might want to make them declare a different way and you're throwing hot. You may win the declaration aspect of it, but the reality of it is to try to create an edge, a better leverage point for your defense on their offensive player. That's really what it comes down to. It doesn't matter if you're rushing four and playing coverage or if you rush four that is disguising a pressure scheme or pressure five. It's about winning one-on-ones, whether you are run blocking or you're in a pass rush. That's football. I understand the schematics; trust me, I do. That's how we make a living but it still comes down to fundamental football. Once again, we've done a lot of positives. We're 4-3. We need to learn from this experience, but to go out and think you are going to trick everybody every time you blitz, it's not realistic, especially with a veteran quarterback. He's probably the most experienced quarterback in the history of the NFL.

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