Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 26

(What is the outlook for Mark Tauscher?)

Our plan with Mark Tauscher is we obviously rested him today. We'll have the same plan tomorrow and Friday is medical evaluation. We'll see how much work he'll be able to do on Friday. I know Mark is very optimistic. He has been very positive about his chances to play. We'll determine his practice participation on Friday morning, but he will be down today and tomorrow.

(Does Jennings have a rib injury?)

Yeah, he got hit in the ribs. Just being smart with him because it's technically Tuesday for our players.

(How was the work today with so many guys limited?)

Did not have to adjust the practice schedule today even with the number of guys limited because of coming off a Monday night game. We were able to get all of the work done that we intended and I don't see the number of limited participants being a factor in our preparation during the course of the week. I think it will definitely improve a bunch by the end of the week.

(How bad is Pat Lee's injury?)

Pat Lee, he is potentially going to be a couple of weeks. I don't foresee him playing this week or next week is the early indication.

(Is it a sprain or a tear?)

Knee sprain.

(What do you recall about working with Jake Delhomme?)Jake Delhomme, a very passionate individual. He definitely came up the right way in the NFL in my opinion. He had to work for everything that he has achieved. It's really a credit to him as an individual. He was a very, very raw prospect, but always very ambitious and very hard working. He had a unique, natural leadership ability about him. You could see that even in his years as the backup quarterback with the Saints. He's a tough competitor. He does a great job managing their offense and he'll be an excellent challenge for us this week.

(He said you were pretty hard on him?)

That's the way it is supposed to be. No, he's put in the extra time. He's a hard worker. I'm very fond of him. He's a man's man. He's been successful and it's a credit to his hard work.

(What have you learned about Aaron Rodgers' mental makeup this year, and how does that apply to this week with trying to bounce back?)

I think Aaron Rodgers is definitely a young man with high character. He has handled every situation that has been thrown at him. He is going through the process of being a first-year starter and we've had our share of bumps in the road. I like his consistent approach on a daily basis. He takes the participation in practice very seriously. He is really focused on getting better. I think he has a very bright future. It's all in front of him, and he's going about it the right way.

(How difficult is it as a quarterback to play catch-up like Monday night?)

It's no fun for the quarterback. Any time you become one-dimensional from an offensive standpoint, you are playing in an uphill mode as I refer to it. It's definitely a challenge. You have to manage the game from a whole different perspective. The pass rush is definitely in the favor of the defense and you've just got to be disciplined and be smart with the football. You'd hope that you're not in that position again, but I think history would tell you that you're probably going to be and it's something that he can learn from. Just the offense being held accountable; it was a three-score game and it was our responsibility to get it back and we did not do that and we need to learn from that.

(You lost by three scores on Monday, and the previous week you had a big win. Do you want them to look at Monday for motivation or look at the previous game for confidence?)

I think you need to look at them equally. I think every game you play in this league is an opportunity to learn and grow, and if you don't look at it that way, you're really missing the boat, and that's been the message. We went from one extreme to another. We went from a game that you play the way you want it to look like and then we went to the next week to a game that's not what you want it to look like. So there are learning experiences on both ends of that spectrum, and it's important for our team to take that with them forward. It's something that we talk about it all of the time and you're probably tired of hearing it. Really our focus is about winning and improving, and you can improve off of negative experiences. That's our intent coming out of the Monday night game.

(Is it difficult to keep players focused on one game with the playoff picture looming?)

I don't think so. I think the sense of urgency is a lot more evident this time of year. That's why I think November football is so different than September. It's part of the characteristics of this time of year. The NFL season, it starts coming to a point and it gets tight at the top. That's the time you have to put your best foot forward and play your best football.

(Are you happy with where the run offense has been lately?)

I'm trying to give different answers, but it's about attempts with us. It really is. I liked the first half last week. I think over the last four or five weeks we're blocking the right way. If you look at our combination blocks, we're a lot tighter, our pad level and our footwork. I think we have definitely improved over where we were the first month of the season, so I'm very, very happy about that. The production has been good when we get the attempts, so I think we're definitely headed down the right road as far as the way we want to play this time of year.

(You have had success on 3rd-and-1; what do you attribute that to?)

I think a lot of that is just the maturation of our offense in that particular situation. Frankly, there's things probably a year ago or two years ago that I probably wasn't comfortable calling having in that particular situation at that time, and I think that's just part of our development as an offense in the run-blocking unit, and utilization of our personnel. John Kuhn has done a great job with his opportunities. I just think it's a little bit of the growth of what we've done with our players and schematically in that particular situation.

(Is Aaron recognizing the tight ends more or are they just playing better?)

I think it's really the opportunities that are presented to any of the perimeter guys. It's a pretty competitive group as far as the ability to get touches. Those are good problems to have. It's a credit to our perimeter group. We're very pleased with A, the flexibility of the tight ends as a group. We've gone to three very athletic body types, and those three tight ends are asked to do a lot of different things in run-blocking and protection and the passing game. We're a lot more versatile at that position than I've been around in the past, and it may not show up in the numbers, but those three tight ends have a lot more responsibility than they have in the past in this offense. They don't get enough credit for that. The positions that we ask them to block from and the movement and the shifts and their ability to also be a pass-protector, those are all things that give us the opportunity to try to create more personnel matchups with our other positions. You'd like to see everybody get the ball, because they're definitely all capable of it. Of any of the three, you feel very comfortable with any of them playing the Y position, which is the starting position. I really like the makeup of that group.

(Is Carolina unique with the two home-run hitters at running back?)

That's the way they'd like to play, so I think it definitely fits into their philosophy. When you play Carolina, you're going to see very good defense, excellent special teams and smart quarterback play, and it starts up front running the football. I think that's something that's been consistent with John Fox and his program, and that will be their approach coming into Green Bay, I can promise you for sure. And that's our approach to stopping them.

{sportsad300}(When the temperatures start to fall, what challenges does the passing game face?)

Well, we live in it, so I don't think it's anything that we have to make a big deal out of. We'd like to get outside at least once a week is always my goal. The ability to practice in it would be something of a benefit. But it all falls into the focus and ball security category, and those are things we work on every day.

(Since you tasted success last year, how challenging has this season been with all of the ups and downs?)

I think every season really has its own face and creates a whole different set of challenges for you. You've heard me speak on it before. The first time I stood in front of our football team I told them their biggest challenge here in Green Bay will be handling success. And it's not only the ability of the individuals to handle success whether it's a new contract or recognition or having a winning season, it's really the challenges of how people now look at you and how they gun for you and all the different angles these challenges can come at you with. It's part of our business. We had a successful year last year and things haven't gone as great as we'd like up to this point. But that's something that you talk about and you try to prepare for. It's part of the National Football League.

(How do you feel the players are handling the situation they are in now?)

I think they're still very confident. We had a good team meeting today, and things were addressed and we've moved on. I had an opportunity to talk to a number of them. I like their mindset. They're excited about being home and playing against the Panthers, a football team that's having a very successful season, and the fact that we're going to be here for two weeks. This is a very important game, no question about it. But we're very confident in our ability and looking forward to this weekend.

(You have talked about how you like this team's work ethic and attitude. Have you been able to pinpoint what is holding this team back?)

That's part of what I spoke on today. It's not 'you did this and you didn't do that.' It starts with the head coach. My job is to connect all the dots. Connect the dots from practice, preparation throughout the week and make sure it carries over to the game. We did not do that Monday night, for whatever reason. I went back and went through the steps and addressed the things we need to continue to do better. I was disappointed in the way we played because of the way we did practice. I'm tired of telling them, but we need to carry it over to Sundays. It's disappointing to watch them work as hard as they do and be as ... our practices this year are clearly in my opinion better than they were last year. I think our Wednesday and Thursday practices are very crisp here the last three or four weeks, and you feel good coming out of Thursday and Friday. I don't recall walking off the field on Friday thinking 'boy, we need to make sure we hit these three or four things in the walk-throughs tomorrow on Saturday mornings,' and we need to carry that over to Sundays. And that's a challenge. It's all part of any season, and we'll just continue to go about it the way we do. I'm excited about it. I think they're going to play very well this week.

(Is it possible you won't fill Nick Barnett's roster spot this season?)

That's really kind of a day to day, ongoing. It's something our personnel department looks at and basing the decision on the right person or right fit.

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