Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 3

(At this stage of the season, how much importance do you place on looking at the standings?)

We're aware of the standings and where we are in the standings. Those are secondary focuses, is the way that I speak to the team. I can't speak for the players. I'm sure they're well aware of what everybody's record is, everything is so publicized. But we're more in tune with what our record is, 4-4, and the things we need to improve on to keep moving forward.

(How important are these two division games coming up?)

Division games are very important, no doubt about it. Division road games are probably the toughest road games that you play throughout the year, in my opinion. So this week's challenge will be big for us, no doubt.

(Several times in the game, the defensive backs had the ball in their midst. How many did you feel were potential interceptions?)

I would say we had two or three legitimate opportunities for turnovers in the game, and we did not get any of them.

(How much do you expect turnovers from this defense?)

We practice turnovers every day. We have a drill, in our practice format that's ball security. It's based on taking the ball away, there's different types of drills that we do, and also on the other side of the ball, drills to make sure we take care of the football. We're counting on those opportunities. Those are opportunities in the football game that you have to make plays, and that's what it's all about.

(The defense was so solid the second half. What happened those last two drives? Was it fatigue or something else?)

I didn't see fatigue. I know someone asked me that yesterday. We didn't do the little things. I thought in the second half, the number of three-and-outs we were able to accomplish just kept giving the offense back the football. That's a big part of the reason why I punted in that situation. My heart wanted to kick the field goal, my head told me to punt. And we did not do the little things to get off the field, and they obviously had the field goal attempt there at the end of the game, and some of the similar problems happened on the drive in overtime. They made a couple plays. The back-shoulder throw on the fade-stop, or whatever you want to refer to it as, that's a good play by their offense, so give them some credit. But as far as the gap control and tackling, we need to do a better job.

(What broke down in the red zone opportunities?)

Red zone. Disappointed offensively with the red zone production. We had a number of minus decisions down there. We need to do a better job of taking what the defense gives us, staying within the offense. But our decision-making was poor as a whole in the red zone, and it factored in the outcome in a number of those series.

(Was that a missed check, that fade to Greg?)

Correct. That's one of the minus decision I'm referring to, yes.

(What went into the decision not to have Jones up yesterday?)

James Jones? Well, when you're healthy as a football team, there's a lot of tough decisions to make as far as putting inactives down. Those are good problems to have as a football team. James Jones' particular situation, probably like the other guys that were put down, usually it comes down to special teams responsibilities. You look at our roster, there aren't too many of our players that are just a one-dimensional type player. We put a big emphasis on special teams, and a lot of those decisions for the inactives are determined by their special teams.

(Can you assess your defense halfway through the season, or are you just getting healthy now so it's tough to see what you've got?)

Health has nothing to do with it. We need to play better run defense. I think we're a physical defense, just the way we're structured. Scheme-wise dictates that. Bump-and-run, two-gap inside. I'm disappointed in some of the continuous gap control problems that we've had. Floating to the gap instead of attacking the gap, just the fundamentals of football. You're probably tired of hearing about it. But there's a number of different fundamentals and techniques involved in gap control. And we do it as good as it can be done, and then we slip up and it costs us, and it's happened too much to us this year.

(You keep going back to that. How can you change it?)

It's part of football. That's why you have individual periods, and that's why we play the games. Technique. It's all about technique and the ability to do it right, play in, play out. That's the challenge every week.

(What are your thoughts on how Al Harris performed yesterday?)

I thought Al played very well. I thought Al coming off his injury had an excellent week of practice, and wasn't tested pretty much at all during the course of the game. I thought both Charles and Al played at a high level yesterday.

(How about the job Daryn Colledge did, and do you think Clifton will be back this week?)

As far as injuries, we had no significant injuries come out of the football game. We had just a number of bumps and bruises. Chad, from what the doctors have said, has passed that situation of the reaction that he had, so I fully intend for him to practice Wednesday and be ready for (Minnesota). The first part of your question, Daryn Colledge played very well. It's a credit to him. I can't say enough about his flexibility. You watch him during the course of a week, the practice reps that he takes throughout the line, he is pretty much repping almost every position. On short notice he goes out there and we graded him out as a winning performance.

(Is that his natural spot? Left tackle?)

You could have him there with his experience there. I think he could play probably either tackle. Really the only position that I would be hesitant to put Daryn Colledge and where he could possibly not be effective right now is center. I think he is a winning performer at either guard spot. He has proven that in the past. He also has natural abilities at the tackle positions. So he has a lot of attributes, particularly in our scheme that benefit him at tackle, but his versatility, his intelligence, his anticipation, recognition and so forth, he is very valuable inside at the guard position for us.

(What does Mike Montgomery give you and how was his performance?)

Mike is a tough guy. Mike is a physical guy. He is a guy that plays with excellent leverage if you look at his body type and the way that he is built. He played pretty well yesterday. He had a couple of contain issues that he actually responded very well (on). His ability to drop into coverage and he had an excellent opportunity for an interception there says a lot about his ability as a defensive end.

(I'm sure the Kabeer decision was a tough one, but with Montgomery and Hunter back, does that make it easier with the depth there?)

We feel we have good depth at the defensive end spot. They are young as a group, so the sights put on the ability to improve is important for that group. I think Jeremy Thompson just continues to improve with every rep that he gets. The coaches were real excited about the way he played in the Indianapolis game and progressed through the week of practice. He has shown improvement. It's good to have Jason Hunter back from the hamstring injury. It was a lot longer than we expected. I know it is good to have him back on special teams also. Pettway has done a really good job for us on special teams and also has the ability to be a speed rusher. Its' a group that we feel we can continue to develop.

(Was Grant dealing with cramps or why was he going in and out?)

He took a couple of shots on his hand. He had a bruised hand so we pulled him in and out a few times. I thought Ryan ran the ball very well. He was running hard, probably was anticipating getting him up around 25 carries was the goal. We had a number of carries actually where the ball was thrown instead of giving it to the back when the ball should have went to the back. I thought Ryan Grant's performance was probably one of his better ones of the season. I would have liked to have got him some more opportunities.

(Did you have a chance to watch Harrell at all, evaluate him?)

He was OK. He was OK. The one big run, he gets cut off from his gap responsibility. I thought he played better in the pass than the run. That's really an indication of where he was last year and that's where he started off yesterday. It was good to have him out there. It was good to have a four-tackle rotation, so I think it definitely helped us.

{sportsad300}(Bush said he got a finger on that first field goal try but wasn't on the field the second time. What was the reason there?)

Based on the personnel that was in the game if I recall exactly, Charles Woodson was in his spot so he waved him off. That's the decision we made.

(How was Rodgers' shoulder this morning?)

Fine. He is sore, but I anticipate him practicing on Wednesday. As far as what his pitch count will be, that is something we'll determine Wednesday morning in the Wednesday medical meeting.

(What was your evaluation of his two fourth-down throws?)

I don't agree with the tight end's quote, Jermichael. But we were expecting man in that particular situation. It's a hot situation for that particular play. Jermichael had a poor release. He was too high, and Aaron was trying to back-shoulder him. It's a play that we practice all of the time. It's a common throw in our offense. That was the 4th-and-1, I can't recall the play on the second one...

(The slant to Jennings ...)

The slant, I didn't like the route. It was Tampa 2 versus the drag slant, and it was actually the look slant side. I would put them on execution. I'm fine with the calls.

(Is Aaron's Monday soreness any less than it was 3-4 weeks ago?)

I didn't ask him that.

(On those sacks, could he have gotten rid of the ball or were there no real options?)

I'm trying to go through all four of them. The sack-fumble, we're in the pressure situation, the ball should be out. The one sack I know was on a seven-man protection and they brought four rushers. He should be able to hold the ball a little longer there than he did. They had an inside stunt that we didn't pick up where the back-side tackle came clean. That's the only one I can think of. The one where he was hot with the ball when we were in the empty formation, the ball needs to come out.

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