Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 30

OK, I'll start off with the injuries, the one true injury from the football game involving Brett Favre. He's been diagnosed with an elbow bruise. It's different than the injury he had last year against New England. It has more to do with the muscle, the belly of the muscle around the elbow. It's not as severe as last year, and he aggravated an old shoulder injury to his left shoulder. He was in for treatment today, and we see him playing next week against Oakland. With that I'll take your questions.

(Any nerve damage?)

Not that I'm aware of. I was told the injury was to the muscle. Last year it was to the nerve against New England.

(Did he get feeling back in his hand?)

It's starting to come back. Just to quote the medical staff, his streak is not in danger. He'll be OK.

(Would you consider resting him if it puts him in better shape for the long-term, like with Woodson?)

That's something we could talk about. We're less than 24 hours away from the actual injury. So being on the long week, that's something we can talk about Tuesday or Wednesday.

(Do you feel the shoulder is not an issue?)

No, I don't think that's an issue at all. That's actually the lesser of the two.

(Do you feel a sense of relief about this injury?)

Absolutely. Anytime you have a player go down in the game, and you receive the news this morning that he'll be able to play in 10 days, that's a big sense of relief, especially when it's your quarterback.

(He described the shoulder injury as a separation. Is that not accurate?)

Aggravation of an old separation to his shoulder is the way it was defined to me

(In the early part of the game, was trying to go deep part of your game plan or how they were playing you?)

Going through the game, we had some shot plays off of some actions, particularly our one-back package, and then we had the flea-flicker a little later. The three calls there, we we went into the football game to be aggressive, to try to get after their secondary off the action game. It didn't work out that way. As far as the decisions, the one where he had the pressure and he tried to throw it over the top, that was not the correct read. The flea-flicker, I wish he would have had the No. 2 option there, the crosser. But other than that, we played pretty much the way we normally play. We had a lot of three-step drops. I thought Aaron did a good job once he got in there with that. The two turnovers offensively factored early. The pass protection wasn't what we had hoped going into the game. The turnovers and the pass protection offensively were the two biggest negatives.

(The third-and-1 to Driver, did he have him there?)

Third-and-1 was something we saw on film. That was the first third-and-1 call. When we go through our call sheet with our players on Saturday mornings, which would have been Wednesday morning with our football team this week, we have first calls if the situation is right. That was the first call. We saw something on film that we tried to take advantage of. We had the defense that we wanted, and the execution wasn't there. The coverage was tight. It looked like we had an opportunity for a big play there.

(Do you wish you'd run the ball there to get the first down and keep the drive going?)

Not at all. It was an opportunity for a big play. Big plays don't always just come on first and second down. Third-and-1 is an opportunity sometimes. They went to a 6-2 type defense with four linebackers and four down linemen. There were match-ups throughout the secondary that we liked. I thought Donald Lee was also in position for a big play on that play, and then we had Vernand Morency out there in the flat. So I have no problem with that call.

(It looked like he had Lee open. Was that the better read there?)

No. Donald Driver was No. 1, Donald Lee was No. 2.

(The play you challenged with Al taking the ball from Owens, what are you allowed to challenge?)

If you watch it on film, it's clear. You have one referee says it's a catch and forward progress. And the other referee comes in and says it's an interception. The ruling on the field was it was forward progress. Once you're in the area of forward progress, then the completion is done. You can't go backwards. So what I attempted to challenge was the incomplete. Just the conversation, I thought their crew did a good job with the communication part of it. He could not go back on the forward progress. Once it was declared forward, obviously the completion was in tact.

(Do you think forward progress was stopped?)

That's why I challenged it. That was a call that frankly should have went our way. But the forward progress, once you make that call, the interception is out the window. It's not an option as far as the challenge.

(So that's different than the rule they changed for replay with down-by-contact and change of possession?)

Once they clarify that the call on the field is forward progress, the only thing you can challenge is incomplete, complete or interception. So you're really knocked out of the box in a sense of challenging that particular call.

(But you did anyway?)

The conversation that we had, because obviously we huddled with John Parry and a couple of those guys, and what I attempted to challenge was it was an incomplete pass. Because I was hoping that the interception would have been ruled an incomplete pass, but it just didn't work out that way. They couldn't overturn it.

(Can you talk about Al Harris' play?)

Al Harris and really the secondary as a whole did not play very well. That was probably our worst performance of the year, and it all comes down to fundamentals. Al did some very positive things, but what's frustrating, it's something we talked about as a team the night before. When you get in those big games, the big-game environment, it was a great environment, great learning experience for our football team, it comes down to fundamentals. Make sure you have your feet, your hands in the right place, make sure your eyes are in the right place, and a common error throughout the football game was our eyes and vision, we were not looking at the right things, and that was clear across the board in the secondary.

(Were there just checks and switches that didn't go right?)

Really, that's what it comes down to. If you're in a match concept, man-to-man is probably a better description for everybody here, your eyes shouldn't be in the backfield. If your eyes are in the backfield, and you're responsible for a man, it's going to create big separation, and we had that happen a number of times. We gave up 11 explosive gains. That's way too much. Nobody should score 37 points on our defense. I think Dallas is a very good football team. I thought they played at a very high level in the first half, but we made way too many mistakes. Our mental errors were way up. We were not very detailed in the first half.

(On Tramon Williams' penalty near the end, do you see a day they'll have replay take a look at that, when clearly two officials had different opinions on a play?)

I don't think so, because I think now, the football game would probably be four hours long as opposed to three hours and 10 minutes. But that's what it comes down to. There were a lot of penalties called in that game. I don't concern myself with penalties. Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't. I can't control it, but it is part of the process. The only thing I look for week in and week out is the crew, that they communicate with you. You've already made the point, one saw it one way, one saw it the other. I agree that Tramon, he did look back initially for the football, then got his legs tangled. So with that description it should not have been called. But one guy saw it one way, one guy saw it the other. Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't. That's a big play in the game, but third-and-18 is a big play in that game. There's a lot of big plays in that game. There are a number of plays we could have made without the referees that could have changed the course of that football game.

(With the team so beat up, how big is this extra time off?)

I think this four-day break is huge for our football team. We've played a very disjointed schedule, really coming off the Denver game. We had a challenge Monday night, then away at Kansas City, and then up to Detroit and turn around and play another Thursday night game in Dallas. It will be good for our football team to get healthy, and I anticipate when we come back here Tuesday everybody should be healthy. Johnny Jolly may not be ready yet, maybe Bubba Franks. But this will really help us, and more importantly just to get back on a normal flow, a normal week.

(Can you talk more about Aaron Rodgers?)

I thought Aaron played very well. I'm proud of him. I think it's something you like to see a young quarterback, especially in his position, backing up Brett Favre is not the easiest thing for anybody, just because of what Brett's accomplished. But Aaron played very well. Aaron gave us an opportunity to win that football game. I thought he did a great job with his feet. He came in, established a rhythm at a point in the game we were behind and we needed to stay aggressive to try to close the gap. I just can't say enough about his preparation, because I didn't even blink. I didn't throw anything out. I've been in that position before when you have to go to your backup or go to your third guy or even your fourth guy. I went through it in San Francisco, and you just start crossing plays off the chart, and that wasn't the case last night. I thought Aaron did an excellent job.

(Who was your emergency third quarterback?)

We didn't have one. Actually, Brett Favre would have gone back in. Ruvell Martin is our emergency guy.

(Are you inclined to stay at guard the way you finished that game?)

As we move forward, we will probably talk more about that. But if we played tomorrow, I would probably go with Junius and Jason. And I understand what's going to happen to Daryn Colledge and this is not all about what went wrong is all about Daryn. It was a very competitive situation for some time now. I look at that group of linemen, particularly those three young guys, they're all at about the same point in their career, they're all playing about the same level, and we're just trying to find the right combination, keeping it competitive. Daryn has struggled with some things he needs to improve on, and has just been up and down with it. But I cannot say enough about that group from a character standpoint. I love the way they work. I love the way they interact together. It's a very healthy room, it's a very competitive environment, and it will make us better over the long haul. So Daryn Colledge is still right in the middle of everything. He's probably the most versatile lineman we have. He can play four of the (spots), and he's emergency center too, so you could make a case he could play all five positions up front.

(Did you think he had responded well to the initial challenge a couple weeks ago and are you surprised by this?)

I think he responded very well. It's just something he's struggling with. He's a young football player. He's played a lot of football, but he's in his second year. Once again, Daryn, Jason and Junius are all really pretty equal in their productivity, in their performance. We're just trying to find the right combination and we're keeping it as competitive as possible.

(What about the corner sitaution?)

Very similar. I think it's the same way. I think Tramon Williams is an individual I'm very proud of. I like the way he takes advantage of his opportunities. You see improvement every time he gets an opportunity, whether it's coverage units on the special teams, now he's kickoff return, punt return, and it's the same thing with the corner. Jarrett struggled in some spots, we gave Tramon an opportunity, and he played pretty solid.

(Bob said after the game you were planning on rotating those guys. Was that right?)

I think what Bob was trying to say is the same thing I'm saying about the guards. Will Blackmon, now that he's back, when I look at that group, and it's really as they went through the whole offseason program, those guys do everything together, and they're all about at the same point in their careers as far as the level of play. Tramon Williams, Will Blackmon and Jarrett Bush. I think really those guys, we're just keeping it competitive, keeping them all involved, and whoever steps up we're going to go with him. But just keep it competitive. I think we have a bright future with that group. A lot of depth there.

{sportsad300}(When they were sending Owens in motion, was he supposed to be passed off or followed?)

It depends on the call. Really, what it depends on is who the other player that he's crossing with, if you want to refer to it as a stack or bunch, whether it's a two-man or three-man formation. Because going into the game, I don't really want to get into the detail of all of it, but it really depends on who the other guy is, because you can only double-team one guy, and based on the match-up with the underneath coverage element, that individual who we feel is at a disadvantage will get the primary help from the safety. That's really what happened on the plays you're probably referring to.

(On the third-and-18, should Al have dropped back?)

Absolutely. Al should be a lot deeper on that particular play.

(How do you think this group will respond to their first loss in a while?)

They're going to respond. I tell you what, I like our football team. I'll take this football team anywhere. I'm not concerned about what this game means, not at all. We'll play anybody, and I think we've proven that. I think we've proven that because of the way we play on the road. We'll play them in the parking lot, Dallas, Texas, it doesn't matter. I'm not concerned with that. I'm about one thing. We're about winning football games and improving, and that game last night, we had some things that jumped up and bit us, and we need to fix that, because we're too far in our season to have the mistakes that we made last night. Whether it's the big-time environment, maybe that was it, but I tell you what, we'll learn from it, and that's my job. We'll take Tuesday, we'll work on Dallas and do some self-scout things. We're going to treat this like a bye week, and we're going to clean some things up and get ready for the fourth quarter of our season.

(Did you get an accurate spot on that run right before the field goal?)

Yeah, it was close. You can go back on those spots, inside six inches to a yard, you can fight them all you want.

(Are you concerned with your kickoff team?)

Didn't play very good. Special teams was an area that I thought we would have a favorable matchup. It was almost like we took turns. I thought our coverage and return units did not play very well.

(It looked like you had them fooled on the onside kick. Did it just hit Kuhn inadvertently?)

It wasn't designed that way. It was a shame, because it was there. It was something we saw on film, and you could see it on the first kickoff, with the spacing. It's unfortunate because I thought that would have been another big-play opportunity with the momentum swing there. That would have definitely helped, take a series away from that offense, too.

(Why was it so important to be so aggressive, with plays like the flea-flicker and onside kick?)

I like to think we're aggressive all the time. You guys go back and forth. I don't run it enough, and now we're being too aggressive. What is aggressive, throwing the ball?

(I'm not saying you were too aggressive, just saw some things we haven't seen ...)

We're playing to win. Those things are there. We talk about them every week. They're opportunities. To score points in the NFL, it's about big-play opportunities. That's why we talk about explosive gains on defense. You have to have five or less. They had 11. So that was a big-play opportunity in field position. We lost the field position as bad as we have all year in that game. But it was about taking advantage of an opportunity, and that opportunity was confirmed on the first kickoff.

(Do you need to consider signing a third quarterback?)

We've been talking about that all along. You get to this point in the season, there's talk about possibly adding a third quarterback.

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