Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 4

(With so many starters out, how was practice?)

I thought practice was good today. It always starts with the tempo. There is some new learning for our football team, no different than every Wednesday when you present the game plan. We only had a couple of repeated plays, but it was great to get outside. I thought it was solid practice. We'll see what the film shows.

(What is the plan with Rodgers this week?)

Well, he did not participate today. He was there. He was involved in the drills, but they just feel with the foot sprain and the toe sprain, as much time as you can to let it settle down. So we'll look at him tomorrow. I would project he'll probably go Friday. Tomorrow maybe limited and have him work Friday, but I fully anticipate him playing in the game.

(Where are you at with the offensive line?)

Offensive line, just going to take the week and work through it. Mark Tauscher had a lot of work today with the '1s', so looking at Mark at the right tackle position. He took the majority of the reps, and Chad Clifton looked healthy today. So really see how Chad responds tomorrow from today's practice. Hopefully they'll both go through the padded practice tomorrow and we'll see where they are.

(Are you more inclined to be cautious with Aaron since he proved last year he could play without practicing much during the week when he was hurt?)

Good point. I think he has definitely shown that he can play on limited practice, just for the three or four weeks coming off of the shoulder injury last year. He hardly threw the ball until Friday or a little on Sunday. So we do have some experience there, but frankly we are just following the medical staff's recommendation.

(Are you considering adding a quarterback?)

We feel we have a quarterback in Brian's situation. I think Brian is really improving. We have repped him as far as opponent reps and even some of the offensive reps every single week. His reps are very similar to the number of reps he had last year, so he's having the opportunity to improve.

(Are you thinking about signing Brohm to the active roster or do you think you are OK?)

For the game? I think we're OK. The week will tell us the full story, but I anticipate us being OK.

(Does Tauscher look ready to go?)

I think he feels like he has his legs totally underneath him. The plan that we have gone through for these three weeks in hindsight was the right plan. I know Dr. McKenzie feels better and better about where Mark is every week. His communication has been positive, but we'll see where he is after every practice. He's hitting different targets every week, but I thought he looked good today.

(What has gone wrong with Barbre?)

Allen Barbre has done a lot of positive things. He is like a number of our players and even some of our team, there are just some areas of improvement that he'll continue to work on. He is a young, developing player. I think he has done a very good job in the run game part of it. It's kind of a common theme and not to be redundant, but I think your positive plays and your negative plays need to be closer together, and we have had a little bit too much of that, referring to the highs and lows of performance.

(Do you see an expanded role for Green or is he still trying to get his legs under him?)

I think that is accurate. I thought Ahman had some opportunities in the kickoff and had some chances. He'll just continue to get his legs underneath him, to use your phrase, and get to where he is in football shape. His opportunities will come as time goes forward, but right now Ryan Grant and Brandon, they are status quo as far as their role and responsibility.

(Obviously Tauscher and Clifton wouldn't solve everything, but how much value is there in their experience?)

No substitute for experience, and Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton have a ton of it. You see that just in the practice today, just some of the things that they do. Anytime you add experience to your group, it's definitely a benefit.

(What is the situation with Spitz?)

Just kind of not making progress. Hopefully we can continue with his treatment and rehab and hopefully make some progress. I know he is frustrated. I know Dr. McKenzie is a little concerned. I say it every time we ask the question about Jason Spitz, it is a low back injury so there is that uncertainty there. But hopefully he'll start to make some more progress here.

(Are you OK from a numbers standpoint as far as waiting on him or might you have to IR him?)

We're going to give him a chance. There is a reason why we are going through the time frame as far as going through the second opinion and I know Pat is going to do some more work on Jason based on our conversation this morning. This is the most offensive linemen we have had on the 53 in my time here, so our numbers are OK to answer your question. But we're going to give Jason every chance to get healthy.

(Is it a disc thing or muscular?)

I'm not going to get into specifics. Those are questions for Jason. If he wants to share the specifics with that, that's his business. That's always been my policy. That really falls under the player's, not responsibility, but that's not for me to speak on specifics.

(How do you prepare for Freeman with so little film?)

A little bit of unknown. You have a college grade on him. You have their college workout and things like that, so you kind of have an idea of his ability. But that's part of playing a quarterback that is going into his first NFL start. We're just going to focus more on the concepts of what they have been doing in the run protection and the passing game.

(Did you watch much college stuff on him?)

Very little. Very little, yes.

(What was your impression?)

I was very impressed with him. I definitely was impressed with him at the combine too. I think he is a big, strong kid that is a football player. You like the way he plays the game, not only the ability to run it and throw it. I think he is going to be a good pro.

(Are you leaning one way or another on Brandon Chillar's replacement?)

A.J. will take the majority of the reps in both base and nickel. That is our starting point.

(Why hasn't Bishop been able to get more consistent playing time?)

Everybody on our team has a role. Everybody on our team has a responsibility. It is based on our evaluations and what the coaches see every single day, whether it's on the field, in the meetings. I feel very confident and comfortable with our inside linebacker group. I think all four of those guys can play at a high level. Unfortunately someone goes in front of the other, and that's just the way it has come out.

(Do you have a time frame on Chillar since he has had the surgery?)

I know he is hopeful to go as soon as possible, but he will not be up this week. A week from now, we'll see what his chances are for Dallas.

(Do you feel like you are getting what you need out of your blitz packages?)

It depends on how you define production. You have blitzes versus the run calls. Anytime you have a blitz versus a run call, there is a little bit of a big/little philosophy or mentality. It could be a big play but it also could create seams for you, so I think we do a good job there as far as the blitz calls versus the runs. Versus the passes, I think there is a bit of a misconception that when you call blitzes guys are supposed to run free and hit the quarterback. That's not really practical or realistic. It's fun when it happens, but also the offense is working on those things. It's no different than what we do every day on offense. As far getting the edges, winning the one-on-ones, I think we're improving. What's exciting to me about our defense is the production that we have gained at this point. We have hit the primary target. Our number one target was to be better in run defense, so we're doing a better job there, and I think we'll continue to grow in our pressure packages throughout our other situations.

(You were obviously hopeful that Havner would do OK at tight end, but have you been a little surprised by how well he has played?)

I'm proud of Spencer Havner. He's a young man that's been here for three years, and every time he's been given an opportunity, he's definitely cashed in on it. Last year he was given the opportunity to be on the 53, went out and played very strong on special teams at the conclusion of our season. This year he's been given the opportunity to be the No. 3 tight end and he just goes in and does exactly what he's supposed to do. He has three touchdowns in the last two games. I think he has a little more ability than people think he does. He runs better than people think that he does, and he's been productive. He's got very natural hands. You've always seen that in his time here. I think he's definitely someone you could point to as an example of hard work and doing what you're supposed to do. I'm very proud of him.

(What was the genesis of that move? Some guys said he was good on the scout team at tight end.)

Absolutely. That's where it started. From the first day when he was on our practice squad, he was on our practice squad as a linebacker, but just like 'Obi', he runs all the tight end routes. Your receivers play DB, your offensive linemen play defensive linemen, that's a very common practice in the NFL because of your numbers, especially this time of year with the injuries. He would go over there and he'd catch everything. He obviously had a natural ability, a knack for playing the position.

(Did you sit down with Slocum at some point and say that you had to find a way to get him on the 53-man roster?)

Well, really where he came in as a linebacker, his vehicle to get on the team was through special teams. That's really what gave him the opportunity last year, because aast year he was on our 53-man roster at the conclusion of our season as a linebacker-special teams player. Going through the spring and trying to build the 53 and gain some strength on special teams, he's definitely one of the guys we talked to about being a dual role, and he's obviously done a great job with that.

(Are you practicing outside for the grass?)

It's great to be outside. It's a great practice field. I know how you guys feel about the past. I'm just thrilled to death the administration has given us the practice field to be out there as much as we possibly can. So you guys can figure out why we weren't out there in the past.

(You were able to beat two struggling teams convincingly. Any reason to think your team won't be ready for another struggling team?)

These are very dangerous games. I know me personally, and I'm not going to speak for any other coach or anybody in the building. These games to me are harder. Everybody looks at numbers, you look at film, you look at their final scores, and you think well, we should win this game. It's a terrible mindset to even talk about. I can't believe I'm even talking about it or saying it. But it's the reality of your business. It's important for us to prepare for this football team. I think it's going to be a tough game. It's always tough when a northern team goes to the south. I've been on both sides of that. I've been in New Orleans and I know what it feels like. There's other obstacles. They're coming off a bye week. That's always a little dangerous, regardless of who you are and who you're playing when a team is coming off the bye week. There's a little bit of uncertainty, plus you've got a new quarterback. We expect different things on special teams. I have a lot of respect for Rich down there, their special teams coach. It's going to be a challenge. It's been addressed. Our guys are into the plan, and we know we're going to have to go down there and play extremely well.

{sportsad300}(In your experience developing quarterbacks, when do they get a grasp for throwing the ball away? Where is Aaron with that and what is the process?)

There's so many variables in quarterback play that there's too much of this or not enough of that. You just gave one example. When to push the envelope, when to pull back. When do you make the tight throw, when you don't, when do you check it down. It's no different than time clocks. You're talking about a quarterback that's had some time clock situations where he's come out and is second on the team in rushing because of his productivity outside the pocket. But then also, when that time clock is not intact and he gets sacked, now it's a negative. You have to work through both scenarios. Because if he wasn't as productive with his feet and he was taking those sacks, now I think you have a legitimate issue with your quarterback. We're talking about an athletic quarterback that makes a lot of plays with his feet, and that's the way he's trained. Matt and Brian are trained the same way, and I've always trained quarterbacks ... I'm a big believer, you can't just win the game from in the pocket. If you do, you've got some weapons around you, and it's a different type of game. It's just something that comes with experience.

(Would you like to see him do anything better in that department?)

That's the one area that has a red line under it, there's no question about it. He's coached every week. I don't know if you guys are down at that portion of practice, but all those quarterback movement drills, that's what the emphasis is for is playing in the pocket and out of the pocket. That's all part of his training. I know his numbers are real high, but heck, we want him to throw more touchdowns. He's got a great third-down percentage. There's a couple third downs that I'm sure he wished he had back. We're going to keep coaching to improve in every area, but that's the one that has the red line under it right now.

(You talked Monday about why it would have been hard to take Jolly out of the game with the penalty, but are you at a point where the coaches have done what they can do and now it is on the players?)

You definitely have to have lines in your structure. Whether it's penalties, turnovers, mental errors, there's no question about it. Where that line stands and where individuals are close to that line, that's ultimately the responsibility of the coaches and at the end of the day the head coach. When that line is crossed, then consequences occur. Trust me, Johnny Jolly has been spoken to. A number of individuals were spoken to Monday. The message and the topics we needed to discuss as a team on Monday were discussed directly, loud and clear. We need to learn from this experience. Yeah, our penalties are too high, and particularly that type of penalty. There's no excuse for it. For it to happen that late, after the play, four points and all that. It definitely factored in the game. I'm confident that our football team will learn from Johnny's mistake.

(Any chance Finley will get out on the practice field this week?)

He looks ... I don't know about this week, but he's never been hurt, so every time you talk to him, every time you talk to the medical staff, he's improving. If he would, it will be Friday. He won't make it tomorrow.

(Flynn played last year at Tampa when Aaron got hurt. How much better prepared is he now if he had to go in?)

Night and day. I think if you talk to any quarterback that's played in this league, you have to make an improvement from year one and two. I think Matt and Brian both have shown that. You guys watched them play last year and watched them play this year. The game has definitely slowed down for them. They're playing faster. I would think Matt would have the opportunity to be a lot more productive if he was put in that spot again.

(What are the challenges for guys that haven't been hurt before?)

You can really just keep going on all the different variables that go into an injury. Everybody's different. There's genetics, the seriousness of the injury, the type of injury, the history that you have with the individual from the medical staff's point of view, how far they can push them, when they need to pull off. Certain guys can push it further than others. It's like anything. You talked about the experience of Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher playing tackle in the NFL. It's no different than having the experience of injuries. You have something to relate to. When you go through it the first time, there's an unknown. All of a sudden it doesn't work the way it used to work. That's something you have to learn to deal with.

(Are you happy enough with Kapinos' consistency?)

I think Jeremy could do a better job. He knows that. That's been addressed. I think he could be more consistent with the ball placement. I would like to see him carry over what he's accomplishing in the practice field and his workouts. I think he's improved vastly in his work since the spring, training camp, and during the practice week. But he can definitely improve his performance.

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