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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 24

(How's Scott Wells doing?)

He didn't practice today. Scott Wells is injured and did not practice today. We'll obviously take today and tomorrow to see if he'll be ready for Thursday. Dietrich-Smith took all the reps today.

(What happened to him? Was he playing with the injury for a lot of the game?)

Correct, yes.

(What's your concern level with him at this point?)

We're on a short week, so I'm not exactly sure of how it's going to pan out in a couple of positions. You have people that are hurt, they'll be in treatment all day today, like they've been most of the morning, and we'll be here throughout tonight. We'll have a walk-through tomorrow, and then we'll get on the plane and head over to Detroit.

(Was Chad resting because of the short week or is this a significant issue?)

I think Chad will be ready to go. He did limited work today. He'll work tomorrow.

(Will you still have Tramon on punt returns?)

Well, we'll look at the punt returners that are available. Tramon Williams obviously is one of them, Jordy Nelson and Charles Woodson. Those are our three options.

(You spend three minutes a day in practice on turnovers. Is there more to it than that, being plus-14? How have you been so good with turnovers?)

Taking care of the football is something I would think every football team practices, preaches. It's a mind-set, it's also a skill. We have our own period that's dedicated to that, and I think it's a credit to Winston Moss. He runs that specific situation in our practice every day. Our players have bought into it. It's a three-minute shot every day. It's a skill that once again, we feel that we can't practice it enough, and we're getting results on Sunday.

(Were you impressed with the toughness Stafford showed at the end of that game Sunday?)

I think you have to be impressed with what Matthew Stafford did this past week. It's a big win for Detroit, especially coming from behind the way they did. I think anytime a young quarterback can have success and overcome a tough situation like he did will give him and his team a lot of confidence.

(Do you think you'll go with Jones at linebacker?)

We'll take the week to look at that. We've got a couple options with Brad Jones, Brady Poppinga and Jeremy Thompson.

(What's gone on with Thompson? Did the injuries set him back?)

Clearly, Jeremy Thompson's setbacks were definitely medical there at the end of training camp, and he had the other injury also, whichever week that was. But yeah, he's starting to look like I thought he was going to be coming out of the spring and going into training camp. Actually, he's been doing a very good job on special teams, and it will be good to have him up.

(What are your thoughts on the new cornerback? Can he possibly help you on defense this week?)

Definitely. We're looking at all of our options. Josh has been impressive just in the short time he's been here. I want to see him on film today, and he's definitely an option to play.

(Do you think you'll add any more guys before Thursday?)

We're looking at it, yeah, definitely. We're looking at all of our options. We have a full practice squad, so that's definitely something you can look at also.

(You liked the matchup of your rush against San Francisco even though they were third against the run. Is that just a case of the weather getting colder, so you have to be able to run this time of year?)

I agree with your point as far as the time of year. You have to stop the run and run the football. You obviously want to do that year-round, but this is the time of year where it becomes important, especially being an outdoor team, as we are. I think that's definitely an emphasis and there's more of an urgency to get our rushing totals where they need to be. I think the other part of it too is we're just getting healthy. We're creating some continuity up front with the offensive line. I thought our backs have improved each week. I said it in here the other day, I thought Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson as far as their discipline on their course and winning the peek-a-boo battle with their linebackers and so forth, looking for the cutback, I thought our guys did a very good job this particular week. So, A, I think we're improving, and B, I think we're just getting some continuity and getting healthy.

(How big a lift did Brandon give you without Green?)

Brandon Jackson did a nice job. He's done a very good job on special teams. He's been exceptional in third down, particularly in pass protection, and I thought he did an excellent job with his rushes. The one big rush there in the four-minute was a big run for us.

{sportsad300}(The study Mike Eayrs did, where he talked about guys moving up into important roles, what was the thinking behind having him do that?)

On a weekly basis we take the Thursday team meeting, and out of 16 weeks in the season I would say at least 14 of the 16 there is a segment in that meeting that is for continuing education. We're a very young football team. It's important for us to continue to educate our players on professionalism and the game of football. So anytime you have an opportunity to emphasize what is in front of them, we do it from as many different angles as possible. Mike is an exceptional teacher. He does an excellent job of studying case studies from every type of angle that you could imagine that can help our players identify and educate on being a better professional and prepare for situations that are in front of them. We've been doing that since I have been here.

(What were you trying to illustrate with that study to the guys?)

Well, a couple of things. Number one, the importance of their role and the importance of being available. From the day we arrived here we've talked about availability and accountability. Once again, being a young football team, it's one thing to talk about it but you have to put the structure in place and have people ready. Mike just talked about it two weeks ago and you look at what happened this past week's game with Aaron Kampman and Al Harris. You have to be ready for those types of situations.

(It looks like you'll have to play Bush, Underwood, Jones and Bell potentially. Sounds like a daunting task. What gives you the confidence these guys rising up will come through for you?)

Based on what I see every day. Our football team is improving. I think it's evident in the way that we have played the last couple of weeks and our focus has never changed. It's about winning games, doing whatever it takes to win games, and improving. The challenges come at you every week a different way. We have a new set of challenges this week on a short week. Detroit is dealing with medical issues, so are we, and we'll deal with that and get ready for the game. But I have all the confidence in the world in our football team, specifically because these guys have been here since March. A lot of these players you just mentioned, they have been here and they're ready to go and they need to take advantage of their opportunity.

(In a general sense when guys step up like that is it more mental preparation or physical?)

I think it's mental, emotional and physical. It's one thing to get five reps with the 1's during the course of the week and now you're taking all of the reps. So that's a different adjustment. Now you're running out onto the field with the 1's as opposed to being a backup role. There are different individuals that have to adjust their role.

(Thanksgiving Day is a tradition in Detroit and this is their only national TV game of the year. Are they most dangerous here?)

This is a tough football game to play in. Let's make no mistake about it. I was just talking to Nick Barnett about it before practice. Anytime that you come into this Thanksgiving game, you're the visitor. This is the fourth one that I've had the opportunity to play in. This is a playoff-type atmosphere. It's a national TV game. Everybody is watching it, so this will be a tough, hard-fought game. It always is. Every one that I have been a part of was always a tough, physical football game. That's what we're preparing to do as we get ready for Detroit.

(With Calvin Johnson a question mark, do you figure out how your game plan will change if he's out or do you just assume he'll play?)

We prepare for all of their options that they can present to us

(Can Dom still be aggressive when he's missing Al, or does he have to be more aggressive because you can't ask guys to cover as long?)

We're game-planning to win the game. I think there is two ways to approach a game. You go out and try to win it or you play not to lose. We're going to be aggressive and we're going to do what we feel our players can handle and we're going to play as aggressively as we possibly can.

(Does not having Al limit anything you do with Woodson?)

Those are all game plan-specific questions. Every week...

(I wasn't looking for specifics, just if you can have as much on his plate as usual?)

On Charles' plate? I don't think this changes the way we use Charles Woodson.

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