Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 5

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s Monday press conference from Lambeau Field. - More Audio | Video | Watch ’The Mike McCarthy Show’ Packers-Chiefs Game Center

OK, I'll start with the injuries. Nick Collins has a knee bruise. He'll be at least a couple weeks. Ryan Pickett also has a knee. I think he'll be fine by the end of the week. Tracy White had an ankle sprain, and Ryan Grant had a concussion. Those are the four injuries of significance, and with that I'll take your questions.

(How comfortable are you with Rouse stepping in on an every down basis?)

I thought Aaron played solid. He graded out in a positive light. But if he has to go, I feel very confident in him, just like we played when Nick went down. We'll be fine.

(For Collins, you said a bruise but it's a couple of weeks?)

Yeah, a strain. Knee strain, bruise. Did I not use the right choice of words? Everybody saw it, it looked a lot worse on film. The evaluation was actually positive. The MRI was positive, based on what Pat McKenzie said, because we all figured the worst the way he went down. But he said it was going to be at least a couple weeks.

(Is that just a rest thing, or is surgery needed?)

He has a ligament strain. Rest, yeah, no surgery.

(How concerned are you about the penalties the last couple of games?)

It's a concern, especially the number of them. It's frustrating too. Because there's some of them, you don't know what to tell your defensive players. Everybody knows we play man-to-man, we're at the point in the season, really in the second year of our defense, and you are attacked each week with certain types of pass plays, a lot of them we refer to them as cross country, crossing routes, and pick plays, blatant pick plays, and things like that. We're running into some situations where we feel the defender has established his territory and there are collisions there. Some of them have gone against us of late, and I'm hopeful that they'll balance out. But we're not going to change the way we play. That's the way we play, that's who we are. We're always going to err on the side of being physical. We're a bump-and-run team. We teach the technique, get your hands inside, every single day, and we'll continue to do that. But I can't deny the penalties and the number of yards that we've given up is a concern.

(Can you talk about the play you challenged, what's the process?)

We have a network of communication. We have coaches in the box. Every stadium is a little different as far as where the TVs and so forth are at, and the communication clearly came from the box. It was on the opposite sideline, it was on the Chiefs' sideline. I did not see it from my point of view, and that came from up top, and I threw the flag.

(So you hear in your headset the coaches saying to challenge it?)

I was on the line. My headset, I'm on line 1 with the offense and on line 3 with the defense. We have four lines of communication. I'm on line 1 and 3.

(Is that a process you evaluate to see if you can make it more efficient?)

We have a network of communication. Mike Eayrs is in charge of game management as far as the time clock and things like that, because of my involvement with the offense. But we have coaches in the box that are responsible to try to get the view up top. When you're on the road, it's no accident it doesn't go up on the screen. That's part of home-field advantage. We have a network of communication, and it's worked out fine.

(With the penalties, is that one of the things on your card that you talk about with the officials before the game?)

Those are all of our concerns about them, so maybe the card they give to the referees is a little longer, because it must be working.

(Clearly one time the offensive player initiated the collision and drew the flag. Do you tell them to watch for that?)

Absolutely. Those routes are very common. We see a lot of them week in and week out. Those are things we ask them to watch for. And hey, they're judgment calls. If they see the whole thing, they make a good call. And if they don't see the whole thing, sometimes it goes one way or the other. That's part of the game. I don't like it, but it's a choice of how we play defense. We have more this year than last year, and we're working to get it cleaned up.

(You have 26 penalties the last two games but they aren't all related to that ...)

Well, the pre-snap penalties there's no excuse for. I'm not going to sit here and say that's OK. You don't jump offsides. You go to our practices. You don't false start. There's no excuse for that. I think the one Mo had with the kicking, we've had two kicking penalties in two games, so that's something that we need to clean up, educate our players on that situation right there with the lateral pass on Brett. So you have some of those stray-bullet type situations you can continue to learn, especially with the experience level of our football team.

(But wasn't that a good play, kicking the ball out of bounds?)

In hindsight, it's an opportunity to educate your football team. You really need to treat it like a fumble. Falling on it is the same result. So it's an instinctive play, I agree with you. It's a player being instinctive. When you make mistakes that are in a competitive nature, an instinctive nature, trying to eliminate a bigger mistake, those are the kind of things you can live with. It's the pre-snap penalties, the poor judgment penalties are the ones you need to eliminate from your game.

(You can't deny Woodson does a lot of holding. Some of those are legit, right?)

Absolutely. This isn't about the referees. Frankly, I'm not going to waste my time to even get into the officiating because it's a non-issue. I can't control it. It's part of the game. I'm well-aware of how we play. By no means are we always right, that is not my message at all. Yeah, we do hold sometimes. And they hold us too. It goes back and forth. That's why we play the games. We'll just continue to educate our players and practice it and play better technique.

(With the time Rouse missed in training camp, how has he accelerated his development?)

He's done a nice job. He's very bright. If you go back to the OTAs, he picked up the defense very quickly. It's his opportunity, and a lot of young players get their opportunity this way. I have no concerns about him. You don't really know until they play in the real games, and it's his time.

(How's his cohesion with Atari?)

It's all part of it. It goes on, every NFL team goes through it. We're going through it right now offensive-line wise, and now we've had some continuity (disrupted) in the back end of our defense, and that will be a challenge. The things you worry about and the things you really work on are the communication needs to be sharp back there. As long as they're communicating and taking the gray area out of their decision-making, based on their checks and everything, I think he'll be fine. That's the hard part.

(How far away is Bubba Franks, and, in his absence, could you talk about the play of Donald Lee?)

I think Bubba is still a couple weeks away. He feels good. Every time I ask him how he's doing, he gives you positive feedback. He's doing a lot of extra rehab. Donald Lee, actually he got the game ball on offense. His yards after the catch. The third down catch that he had on the out route, the throw and the catch on there was something special. That was a big play early in the game on that conversion there. Donald Lee is a young man that's totally bought into the offseason program. He's taken advantage of every opportunity through the offseason. He's really stepped up since Bubba has gone down. He's been very consistent, even when Bubba was in there when we were playing both of those guys. I can't say enough about him. I'm very happy with his production the first eight games.

(Facing Adrian Peterson for a second time, will that help or is that not a factor?)

I think it definitely helps you. Now you know what he's capable of. He's a special player. He's clearly one of the better players I've seen come into this league in my 15 years in the NFL. To me, he has it all. He's big, he's strong, he's fast, he's tough. He has a chance to take the ball the distance every time he touches it. This will be a great challenge for our run defense. We've been good on run defense. He got out on us twice up there in Minnesota, so we'll definitely be focused on him this week.

(On Jennings' second touchdown, how close was Boone to deflecting the ball out of Brett's hand?)

Well, if Brett doesn't throw with the anticipation that he did, we would have had problems. We were clearly beat inside. If I recall, it was a quarterback hit. He did get hit. But the anticipation, it's a two-beater, and the matchup of Greg on the mike linebacker was obviously something that Brett was on top of. He threw with such anticipation. It's a great throw and an excellent route by Greg. Big play in the game obviously.

(Has Brett's confidence in Greg grown more since Greg has been able to practice more, now that he's over the hamstring problem?)

Absolutely. Greg Jennings, his rookie season, he burst onto the scene if you recall, and he had the significant high ankle sprain down there in Miami, and really never got back to full strength. Then he started off this season injured. We're excited about Greg Jennings, and I think you can see why, just in the last couple weeks. When he's healthy, he has the ability to move the chains with the underneath completions, but his yards after the catch, he's something special, him and Donald both are so consistent in that area. But he also has the deep speed to go deep. Good football player.

(Brett has said he has 'it'. What's 'it'?)

He can play in all aspects of the wide receiver position. He has speed, he has quickness, he has a clear understanding of coverages. He feels his way around the football field. That was the thing that impressed us about Greg last year. He was so mature. His route-running, coming out of college, he was very mature in everything he did. He catches the ball in his hands. He's just an accomplished receiver for being so young.

(Do you have some concerns about how Colledge is playing?)

Yes I do. He didn't play very well yesterday, and he needs to perform better.

(Are you contemplating any changes on the line at this point?)

That's something you always talk about. It's an area that needs to improve.

{sportsad300}(The coaches have said A.J. Hawk hasn't had many playmaking opportunities. Is that true, and was yesterday a rare opportunity for him?)

I think sometimes when you look at the linebacker position, everybody wants to say playmaking opportunities, and if you don't blitz him you're saying he doesn't have any opportunities. A.J. Hawk has been very solid throughout the year. And for as much coverage as he's been in, when you don't talk about him, that's a positive. Because usually when you're talking about somebody, it's not in a positive light. I think he's been very steady. He has made plays. He made a couple of plays on Tony Gonzalez yesterday in that game. I'm very happy with A.J. I'd like to see him downhill a few more times, but you don't' just blitz to blitz. Our defense has been playing very well, particularly the run defense and the pass rush, and he's a big part of that.

(The interception at the end of the half, did that have a chance to be completed?)

There was poor pass protection. The quarterback couldn't follow through on the throw and I didn't like the route. To me, those were the two biggest factors in the play. It's disappointing. To play the way we had up until that point and to go into the half at 7-6 was not where we wanted to be. I thought we did a lot of positive things up until that point. The only negative was that we didn't have a lot of points on the board. I thought our team started fast in all phases. For them to get that interception and get seven points out of it, that was disappointing.

(Was that supposed to be a comeback route?)

It's a shorter comeback. We call them pumas. A comeback is 20 yards. It was a 15-yard comeback.

(Did he not come back far enough on it?)

He just opened the gate, as we refer to it. His angle was too high and too sharp to the sideline, which gave the corner the ability to undercut it.

(Were you being aggressive at that point, thinking that would be a 2-minute drive to score?)

We had two timeouts at that point. It was a third-down call. I was anticipating cover-2. He played quarters, which is very similar. We had a third-down call in our six-to-10 package. He went to the puma, which is the right place to go versus quarters. The execution just wasn't there.

(Outside of that route, how would you assess how Koren played?)

Koren looked like a guy that played his first football game of the year, to be honest. I think he'd tell you the same thing. I don't think he totally had his feet under him at times. I think his mind was playing faster than his body sometimes. He needs to play. He did some good things. He's competitive. He's exciting. He's a playmaker when you get the ball in his hands. It was good to get him back there on kickoffs. He needs to continue to work.

(What has caused the resurgence in the deep balls the last two games? Is it the defenses you're facing? The play-calling?)

Thanks for the lay-up there. The deep ball is opportunities. I think the play-action pass, thinking off the top of my head, three of the four in the last two games came off fakes in play-action. You can credit the run game for some of that because it creates the match-up to a certain coverage that you're anticipating. It's all about execution. Brett made the throw to Donald, the second one, you talk about anticipation. The throw to Greg Jennings, he had pressure on that one too. That was a great throw and a great catch by Donald. That was off of run action. It was a run that we used earlier in the game, so that set that up. The second one was off run action too. Both of them to Donald were off of full fakes and that's set up in the run game. Both of them in Denver were off play-action. You can credit the run game with some of that. Throwing the ball deep, we refer to them as shot plays. You're looking for a certain time in the game. You need to set them up and we've been able to do that of late. The quarterback throws the ball deep very well and we have receivers that can go get it.

(Did you do it a lot in New Orleans? Was it a key component of your offense?)

I've told you all the time, and I know the numbers don't reflect it, I'd run the ball 50 times a game and throw four or five of those a game in a perfect world. That's not always true in the NFL because it's all about match-ups. When you have the opportunity to set those plays up, you're able to cash in on them. All of those big plays come off the play-action game.

(Has that basket at practice been there all year, that big basket the quarterbacks try to throw into?)


(Have you used it all year?)

Yes, all through training camp. It replaced the garbage can. You know when you throw in the garbage can, the angle on the garbage can is not as realistic as the basket.

(The first time I saw it was last week ...)

Yeah, it's been out there.

(It's been said the young players don't realize how tough it's supposed to be to win on the road. Do you buy into that?)

I think it makes for a great story. I think our players realize, young and old, that that was a tough game going into and a tough place to play. This group works hard, stays focused. I tell them everyday: smart, tough, fundamentally sound. They're in tune with that. That's the way we grade them everyday. You make smart decisions, you play tough and you're fundamentally sound. We try to keep it as simple as possible. The No. 1 thing that I like about our football team, and we talk about it all the time and they believe it, is that someone is going to step up each week to make that big play to win the game. That was evident yesterday against Kansas City. You can't keep going on that way. We do have common mistakes. I echo this at every press conference but it's the truth, it's on the film -- we need to improve. That's what we have to stay focused on.

(Is Corey Williams OK and how thin were you at that position down the stretch?)

His evaluation was not done before I came in here. I'm hopeful and I don't think it's serious. I thought we were OK down the stretch.

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