Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 30

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference Monday from the Lambeau Field media auditorium.

(Did you get any time off this weekend?)

Yes, we had an opportunity as a staff to take some time off and regroup. More importantly it was a good time off for our football team, our players, and hopefully we'll be healthy and ready to go with everybody tomorrow.

(Coming out the other side of three games in 12 days, how do you feel about it?)

Well, we feel very good about the three victories. It's definitely a challenge for your football team, especially physically. We've had some players hurt. We've lost obviously Aaron Kampman and Al Harris for the season, so we knew this three-game stretch was going to be very challenging physically. Now with the time off, we feel like we have a chance to regroup and take a run at these last final games. We really like where we are as a football team.

(How's Chad's hamstring injury?)

Chad, he was in here today for treatment, had some testing done. Pat McKenzie will probably make a determination on him in the morning. He may miss some practice time this week.

(Mason missed another kick, a shorter one this time. Are you concerned about his accuracy?)

I have confidence in Mason Crosby. Obviously you want him to make every kick. We've been very aggressive with our approach as far as taking chances outside the 50-yard line and so forth. To answer your question, I'm not concerned about that. I thought as a whole in the game against Detroit, our special teams needs to play with a little more confidence. We had the opening kickoff that we fumbled, and I felt from that point on we were playing a little cautious. We just need to clean up some fundamentals and play with the confidence we were playing with against Dallas and San Francisco. I kind of saw that as a common thread through our special teams in the Detroit game, and we'll definitely get that done this week in practice.

(Did his earlier miss affect your decision to go for it on fourth-and-3?)

No, it did not. You plan both sides of that play call, whether you go for it. Fourth-and-4 or less is something I felt very confident going into the game, as far as from a game plan standpoint. Got the defense we anticipated in that particular situation. I just felt that we were moving the ball very productively, especially I think it was the first seven series of the game, we were moving the ball up and down. I just didn't feel we were producing enough points, and I wanted to keep it going. That had nothing to do with Mason's kick earlier in the game.

(How do you think the defense did without Al and Aaron?)

Our defense played well. The first three quarters, I thought our defense played at an extremely high level. That's really something we've done the last three weeks. We feel very good about where we've started the game with the defense. The productivity that we've been able to hold the opponent offense down in the first three quarters of the game and then we gave up some productivity to Detroit's offense in the fourth quarter. So that will be an emphasis for our players this week. But overall, I thought the performance was very good from a productivity standpoint, and obviously with the takeaways, was a huge part of our success against Detroit.

(Did you scale anything back with Brad or Brady in there, or in the sub-packages?)

No, we really didn't scale back. The volume may have been a little less going into the game. But the way Dom called the game, I would say and I'm sure you observed that, we took an aggressive approach to the football game. I thought the way we stopped the run is always the key, and try to make the offense one-dimensional. I thought the way the reps worked out with Brad and Jeremy Thompson and Brady also having the ability to play some, I thought that really helped us. I liked the mix we had there at the outside linebacker position.

(With your schedule this week, how will you treat tomorrow?)

Tomorrow we'll work normal down-and-distance on the Baltimore Ravens, and we'll also correct the Detroit game. Our practice will reflect that. We'll work on Baltimore, normal down-and-distance, and then we've got a big block of time. We want to work on fundamentals. It will be a padded practice. It will be a fast, aggressive pace, and we want to get right back into it.

(Do you anticipate anybody else missing practice time this week?)

I think Chad is really my only concern. I think Jordy Nelson is going to be OK. Allen Barbre, Ahman Green and Brandon Underwood all worked out, so I think they definitely have a chance. These decisions will be made tomorrow, but those are the five guys that have a chance to possibly miss practice.

(How much time did the staff take off?)

Well, probably half-day Friday. About two and a half days off.

(And you came back to work today?)

As a full staff today, starting this morning.

(Only the injured players are here today?)

That's correct. We're back tomorrow morning in the weight room by 7.

(Did you watch the game last night with two teams you play in the next few weeks?)

I watched it last night. I watched it into the fourth quarter, and then I was actually watching Pittsburgh's offense versus Baltimore's defense before I came in here today.

(Did anything stand out to you watching them?)

It's always interesting to watch teams in the same division. It's something that you have to put a lot of credence in as far as game-planning, because both those teams know each other very well. They played each other three times last year, and this was obviously a big game in their division last night. There's definitely a lot you can take away from the game.

(Your defense is now No. 1 in yards allowed. How do you look at that?)

It's building confidence with our defensive ranking right now, and it's something that we wanted to generate more productivity for more players. I think the scheme is doing that. We're doing a very good job of stopping the run, and that will be a major focus as we go into this next game. I think Baltimore's running game, particularly their three running backs will be an excellent challenge for us. But statistics are a barometer. It kind of gives you something to look at both from a positive standpoint and a negative standpoint. We still need to keep focused on doing the little things, and that's the way we approach it. Being No. 1 in Week 12, 13, 14 really doesn't give you any merit. You want to be No. 1 at the end of the season. But I think our defense definitely is on the right pace to be the championship defense that we anticipate we'd have here.

(Has Jones showed enough to stay in that role?)

Yes. I thought Brad did a nice job. I thought he played well. But I also liked the fact that Brady and Jeremy were able to get 10-15 reps in there also. I really like the mix we had there at the outside linebacker position, because obviously that's a big void with Aaron Kampman out.

(You mentioned confidence twice, talking about special teams and defense. Why do you think confidence is so important going into these last five games?)

Confidence is the key in my opinion to winning in the National Football League. You're always trying to build confidence, whether you are going from spring practice into training camp, from training camp into preseason games, preseason games into regular-season games. You can't buy real confidence. We talk a lot about as a football team the difference between false confidence and real confidence. So confidence is a big part of being successful, and it filters all the way through. All the way through your running the football, stopping the run, big-play opportunities, it's what you're trying to build. To me it's a major contributing factor in being successful in the NFL.

(How do you feel going into this stretch?)

We feel healthy and we feel we're confident. We've very, very realistic. There is a lot of positives about our football team and that's a challenge that we need to make sure shows up every week when we play, that we reflect the football team that we've been up to this point from a positive standpoint and we've got to keep working on the negatives and make sure we improve on those. Our margin of error is going to need to be a lot less than it has been in the first 11 games because it's December football now. This is the most important football that we'll play all season.

(These next four games you could call the winter part of the schedule. Is there anything that tells you how effective you might be in the conditions?)

Well, running the football and stopping the run, practicing outside definitely helps. This is Green Bay Packer football. It's playing in December. We feel we're talented on the perimeter but it starts up front. This is the time of the year where people have to run the football and stop the run and be productive with all of the aspects of the game that come off of stopping the run and running the football, so that will be our focus.

(The special teams coverage units rank near the bottom. Why so many struggles and can that get turned around?)

The coverage units are something that have played at a very high level, and it's the one or two that break out a game, and that obviously shows up in the statistics. If you look at the last three games, and that's kind of where it gives your team a truer sense of where you are, I thought the Dallas game we played extremely well. I thought San Francisco we played very well, except for the one that came out. Then we did some things in the Detroit game that you cannot do. We'll correct that, but we have the people here to do it. I'm very confident in our scheme and how we approach it, and our special teams will be a big factor going down the stretch here.

(Is there any area you really think you need to pick it up a notch?)

It's really like I have already said. There are some positive things that we have done as a football team. We have to make sure that we continue to work at those and make sure that they show up in the games. Our turnover ratio is something we spend a lot of time in, taking care of the football and taking it away. That has to be something that we win week in and week out. Stopping the run, running the football, covering the football, those are the things that we need to focus on because to me those are big factors in being successful. We'll continue to work at those. We have an extra day of practice this week and we're going to spend that on the fundamentals of our play.

{sportsad300}(Has Tauscher been more of a steadying influence than you anticipated?)

I think Mark has been steady. I think Mark has been consistent. I think he is hopefully ready to go a full game now. I thought we have been smart with him as far as his reps. I think the No. 1 positive for our offensive line is the fact that we have had the same five guys line up two weeks in a row. That's something that we have been challenged to have in earlier parts of the season. If we can get those five to practice together and play together week in and week out, I think that will definitely give us the continuity, confidence and the production that we have had here of late. We've been very productive moving the football on offense. It starts up front, but frankly, they need to practice together and play together and I think that has been a big part of our success.

(Does Tauscher bring a measure of confidence to the O-line?)

I think Mark definitely brings confidence. He brings experience. His personality, he's a very steady, consistent person. He doesn't swing high, doesn't swing low, and you cannot have enough of those types of people in your program. We feel we approach the game of football that way as a coaching staff and as a locker room, and I think Mark definitely fits right in line with that.

(With the transition to the 3-4 and the defensive linemen, have they fit into the 3-4 or has Dom moved some things around to make them more effective?)

I think it is a combination of both because of the body types that are here in Green Bay, and really the fact of the matter is we're playing so much sub. We're not playing a lot of base defense right now. That is really the way the offenses have approached our defense. So with that it's kind of taken care of itself.

(Where would this defense be without Charles Woodson?)

I think Charles is having clearly his best year as a Green Bay Packer. I don't know if there is anybody playing any better in the National Football League from a defensive perspective. He's been extremely productive, very flexible as far as the different positions that he is playing, and the things that we're able to do with him schematically. His toughness, his anticipation, he's playing at a very high level.

(Have you seen anything change with him since you got him in 2006, anything that would explain how he's gone from good to being great?)

He's always watched a lot of film. He is definitely one of the smarter players that I have been around from the defensive side of the ball. I think his relationship with Joe Whitt and Dom Capers and he is being utilized from different angles, different positions more, so we're creating more opportunities for him to be around the ball.

(A lot of rookies fade toward the end of the season. Where do you see Matthews and Raji now and do you have any concern about that?)

I really don't have a concern for either one of them, and frankly it's just because Clay didn't start right away. It isn't like he has 11 full games under his belt. He had the break there in the beginning with his injury situation, and the same with B.J., so I'm not concerned by the number of snaps that they have played. That's something that we track every week and we talk about as a staff. We talked a lot about it as a staff with the three games in 12 days. But I just think with our rookies and our whole football team, to have a second bye week before the five games is definitely something that we feel is an advantage for us.

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