Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 1

(Are you still holding out hope that Clifton will be able to play?)

There is a chance, and really the plan for Chad Clifton is just to see how he goes through the rehab today. There needs to be some type of testing before he practices. He has improved every day, but just like I said the other day, if Chad doesn't practice, he won't play.

(So will you test tomorrow and then maybe he could practice Saturday?)

Yeah, really I need to get the information back today on how his workout went today. It's clearly a medical decision by Pat McKenzie and Pepper Burruss.

(How about Jenkins and Woodson?)

Cullen Jenkins has a groin. I anticipate he'll practice tomorrow. Charles had a foot coming out of the St. Louis game, and I anticipate he'll practice tomorrow too.

(How is Rodgers a different quarterback compared to his first start here last year on Monday Night Football?)

I think Aaron Rodgers clearly has more experience than the game last year. Obviously it was his first start as a starting quarterback. He has a year under his belt. He has two experiences against the Vikings under his belt. He had the opportunity to play up there in the Metrodome, which always is a tough thing for a quarterback the first time, going up there noise-wise and so forth. I think the biggest thing is he clearly has more experience.

(Do you talk to him any differently this week with everything going on?)

Yes and no, if that is a good answer. The thing about Aaron and our relationship, it's an every-day conversation. He's in here on his day off so I have an opportunity to visit with him on game-planning on things. We have probably talked more than most weeks about the expectations of the week, the things outside of the game that are going to be on his plate obviously more this week than other weeks. But the most important thing for Aaron is to play quarterback.

(Any concern that he won't stay unfazed by the matchup?)

The most important thing is to go through the preparation week and get everything done that needs to be done and do it the right way and do it better than he did last week. That's the goal and I think that's where the personality of him being even-keeled and so forth, I've never had a problem with the way he prepares for games. I thought he practiced very well today, clearly one of his best practices of the year. He just needs to continue to build off of that as we build off the game. Now, hey, it's going to be exciting. Monday Night Football is always exciting. This game is always an emotional game. I don't think that he'll be throwing it into the stands on his first pass or anything like that, but I think it's only natural that everybody is going to be gunned up for this game.

(What have you seen from Favre on tape?)

I think he still throws the ball with good velocity. I think it was clearly evident just on the last throw of the San Francisco game. It was an excellent throw and a great catch. I think he still has good feet. He's always had great command of the line of scrimmage, just the way he has handled that aspect of it. I think he looks sharp.

(Are there ways you can exploit him with the knowledge you have of him?)

The most important thing that we can give our players and we do so as coaches is just his tendencies. It's no different than any other quarterback. Frankly, if we give our players too much information, we are slowing them down. So I'm more concerned about that. I'm more worried about overdoing it than under-doing it. Dom will set his plan accordingly like he does every week based on what we think their offense does as a whole. Obviously their running backs, both Adrian and Chester, are a big part of their offense, so that's a focal point. I think their perimeter group is clearly better than it has been in the past. I think they are definitely improved on offense just as a whole, so you've got to look at the big picture. This game is not just about Brett Favre. They're a good offense and they challenge you with their formations and personnel groupings and things like that, so that's what we're getting ready for.

(With the relationship you had with him, how hard was it for you to tell him that the team was moving on?)

I really don't even want to go back to that because it's just like I told the team today, anything that I need to say in here today needs to be about the game. Yes, I think it was a very difficult time for everybody involved. It is not something that you would ever want to go through again. I think that's the reality of it, but this is about a football game. I don't need to be coming in here talking about things that happened a year ago that my football team needs to answer questions about. I'm not trying to avoid your question. There is nothing positive to come out of this if I'm going to sit here and talk about last year.

(Favre said he is not out for revenge. Do you buy that?)

It doesn't matter. Those are his thoughts. I'm not going to comment on his thoughts and his words or anybody's thoughts or their words in Minnesota. We're really looking forward to playing the game, like we do every year. There is definitely added juice to it, no doubt about it, so we'll just leave it at that.

(You have had some success at Minnesota. Is there one thing you can point to?)

They're clearly a different team at home, like a lot of teams are, but the noise is a factor over there. It definitely shows up for their defense. Their defensive line is very talented. You talk about the first four and even the guys that rotate in there, I think it's a very talented group. You have to manage that. We didn't manage it very well last year. The times that you do have trouble over there, that usually plays into it. We address it, we work on it. To me it's another fundamental or technique that you work during the week. We'll concentrate on that and we've just got to a better job of really cleaning our own house. That's really what we spent the extra day doing. We did some self-scout things and we need to improve on those things if we're going to have success over there Monday night.

(Is the first priority containing Peterson?)

When you look at an opposing offense and an opposing defense, you always look at their starting point. No different if I'm looking at their defense, is their starting point pressure or getting it done with the four-man line? Just like their offense. The starting point of their offense is running the football with Adrian Peterson, so definitely. That's the starting point of any defense that's going to play them this year, and that will be ours.

(What has Rodgers improved on most from last season?)

Just the intangibles in the locker room. He's a lot, I hate to use the word mature, but it's not new. He has the experience to draw from with his teammates, the things that he's gone through, and we're still a relatively very young football team on paper, but we still have a number of players that have been around here two, three, four years and so that part of it is developing a lot more than it has in the past. On the field, I think he has better timing with his receivers. He's played with all of those guys at least two years. He has total command of the run game and pass protection. I think he's just overall a better quarterback.

(Antoine Winfield said Rodgers might throw the best deep ball. Can you talk about that?)

He's gifted with a strong arm, and the big hands, long levers and things like that, I think it really all plays into his ability to torque the football. He's able to throw the ball deep but also with a lot of height. He has the strength to throw the velocity throws, the shot throws, but his ability to put height on the ball and throw it down the field, he's definitely the best at throwing the deep ball that I've had the opportunity to work with.

(The Vikings' run defense is strong, but Grant has had some success. How important will that be?)

Running the football is so important every game. Sometimes you're going to run it more than others, no doubt about it. But you have to be able to run the football week in and week out. Ryan has good numbers against the Vikings. Their run defense has been outstanding for going on three years now. But it's part of the game. It's something we're going to have to do, especially on the road. You can't have these guys, they're an edge defense, you don't want them teeing off on you all day, running up the field.

(Even though they are talented in that area, you can't just surrender and abandon it, correct?)

That's part of playing the game. I think ultimately when you become one-dimensional, regardless if it's run-pass or pass to run, you're usually playing to the strength of the defense.

{sportsad300}(You talked about Favre's good feet but he has been sacked quite a bit already. Do you think that is just him being out of sync a little with a new team?)

I've watched his game tape. I've watched two games of him on game tape. As far as breaking down the sacks and so forth, he missed some training camp, maybe that factors into it, I have no idea. I just looked at him physically to see where he's at and if there's anything from our past that you can give to the defensive staff. I didn't spend a whole lot of time evaluating their schemes and so forth.

(The Metrodome is not an easy place to play, but what is your confidence level in the offensive line?)

Very confident. It's a new week. We're going to improve on the things that we worked on this week and last week. That's the way we operate. That's what I believe in as a coach. That's why we go padded practices Wednesday and Thursday, because of the ability to work on the little things. Frankly it's a benefit of a young team as long as you stay healthy. You have to work at those things year-round because the first thing that goes on your football team is the fundamentals if you don't work at it.

(Do you get the sense that a lot of the players don't care about the Favre angle?)

I don't ask them that. We're not sitting around talking about it. You have to remember, I don't know how many, Jeff would probably know better than I would. There's a number of our players that have never even met Brett Favre, that were not teammates of him. So you only have half of them that were teammates together. I'm sure everybody has a personal opinion, but truly, we're focused on getting to 3-1. This is a tough game every year. This is a game that's played with a lot of emotion and that's what we're focusing on. We know we have to play a certain way against this team, no different than you do every week. That's really where our focus is. I hate to disappoint you, but we're not spending a whole lot of time talking about it.

(Do you think it is maybe more about them playing for their guy, Rodgers?)

I'd like to think we're all playing for the Green Bay Packers, personally. That's the conversations I've been a part of. I understand how individuals sell tickets and the way sometimes the focus shifts from one guy to the next. I get that part of it. But at the end of the day, it's a team focus.

(Do you think Rodgers learned a lot from Favre and did you encourage that?)

Absolutely. Yeah, I think every quarterback that's played here has had an opportunity to learn from Brett. Anytime you have a longtime starter in place in your program, it's obviously because of good reason. The guy's a damn good football player, so you need to take full advantage of that. Being a quarterback coach, you always point to the No. 1 guy when you're talking to your No. 2 and No. 3 quarterback. I think Aaron would echo that, that he had an opportunity to learn a lot from Brett.

(The game in 1999 against Seattle, did you have to calm Favre down?)

Didn't do a very good job of it.

(But you could tell it was necessary?)

I think he was definitely excited about that game. I could remember the first interception like it was yesterday because he tried to throw it through three people to the post down in the red zone. He was gunned up for that game. But frankly, he was in some tough spots in that game too. I'm not just crying because I was his position coach and it didn't go very well. But that was a rough night. That was a rough night.

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