Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 1

(Do you have an update on Aaron, and what's your plan for him this week?)

Aaron Rodgers, our plan today after consulting with the medical staff, Dr. McKenzie, we're going to not throw him in practice today and tomorrow. He will be re-examined again on Friday morning, which is customary in our medical process through the week. The players go through evaluations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Aaron will follow the same pattern. As far as his progress that he's made from Monday to today, he's gotten better each day in rehab. He's very positive, feels like he's improving, and I'm going to give him every possible chance to play in the game.

(You said before that Wednesday's practice would be an important indicator. Him not doing anything but handoffs, how should we read that?)

How should you read it? You can read it just how I'm going to read it. I'm going to wait until Friday to see when Dr. McKenzie re-evaluates him and make sure he's making the progress to make sure he's ready to play. Aaron Rodgers, when you talk to him today, I'm sure he'll tell you he's going to play, he wants to play. It's just a matter of gathering all the information. If I said he was going to practice Wednesday, maybe I was a little ambitious. We have evaluated every player that's ever been injured with the same process all the way through. Monday, they see the doctor. Sometimes if there's additional tests, Monday night, Tuesday. So usually by Tuesday evening when game-plan decisions are being made, you have a little better idea where you are. That was the case last night with the quarterback position.

(Would you consider playing him Sunday if he was limited or didn't practice at all on Friday?)

I'm going to give Aaron Rodgers every chance to play in the game. I really can't comment on it until he sees the doctor Friday. I know he's young and there may be a concern about him missing practice reps and so forth, but like I said, I'm going to give him every chance to play in the game against Atlanta.

(Is it strictly a pain issue or are there range of motion issues?)

Strength. I think anytime you're dealing with joint injuries, it's the strength, to make sure he's in position to operate and not have further injury or anything, be able to perform at the proper level too. Long-term effects, long-term vision with Aaron will be primary focus, so we'll be smart with him. Every time I say we're smart you guys think he's not going to play, so you can do what you want with that. But we're just going to take it through rehab. He felt very good this morning. He felt like he made a lot of progress from Monday to Tuesday and then Tuesday to Wednesday. He's got the full range of motion and the things that he struggled with a little bit on Monday, they were much better today, so we'll see how the week goes.

(Is he actually trying to strengthen the muscles in the shoulder or is he just resting?)

No, he's in rehab. He's going through a number of different exercises, starting with throwing a tennis ball, to a heavier weighted ball. He's already started that progression. He's rehabbed it pretty hard. He was a little sore this morning based on the amount of work that he went through yesterday. He was here in the morning, left, had a massage and then came back and worked it again later in the afternoon. He's on top of it.

(Do you think Aaron feels any additional pressure to play this week because of his predecessor?)

I did not have that conversation with him. We're focused on his individual injury and just to make sure that he's able to play and being smart with him. We're not going to do anything crazy. I'm not going to ask any player to put himself in harm's way for one game, especially this early in the year. I haven't talked to him about anything like that.

(What do you like about Pettway?)

Pass rush and special teams. Just the little that I was involved in the evaluation, the special teams is the part that he'll probably be up this week. He'll have an opportunity to compete throughout the week's reps and have a chance on our special teams. You're always looking to add pass rush. It's a shame for Cullen Jenkins, on a personal note, just to see Cullen go through what he went through last year, played hurt all year, and then had an incredible offseason, was a staple in the offseason program, and did all the extra stuff and really was off to a great start. I would classify his first four games as dominant, time and time again, just the way he graded out, and for his season to end the way it did, it's unfortunate for Cullen.

(How did Flynn and Brohm look in practice today?)

I was actually impressed with both of them today. I thought they did a very good job of taking to the coaching points, playing fast, as far as the vision, had their eyes in the right places and threw the ball well. I thought the team overall, I was very pleased with the energy and the pad level. We spent an extra probably 10-15 minutes on the fundamentals today, and that's the way you practice. That's what I told them afterwards. Now, there were some re-dos. We had some mistakes that were made which sometimes happens on Wednesday, because it's an installation day. But I thought our football team, quarterbacks included, had a very good practice, and that's what I was looking for.

(Does the Jenkins loss hurt more in the base at right end or inside on nickel downs?)

I tell you what, he's played so well in both. He's been so disruptive on first and second down as far as at the end position to blocking with the tight end, he was definitely in a favorable matchup, and was disruptive in the run game and equally or even moreso disruptive in the passing game. I'm just telling you from the four grading sessions we've had after our four games, he graded out extremely high. He was a game ball winner, I can't recall if it was the first or second game, and he was playing extremely well in Tampa up until the time he was injured.

(If you go with Montgomery, where does he give you the most?)

Mike has the reps. He's the natural to slide up into first and second down, and you'll see Mike there, particularly as a starting point, but we've always rotated our defensive line, and we'll continue to do so.

(Is it definite that if Aaron can't go Flynn would start, or are you taking another look at Brohm as well?)

It's no different today than when we made the decision on Matt and Brian, and I told Brian exactly what I'll tell you right now. I look at those two as one. We're getting them both ready. Brian had a number of reps today. This is the most reps he's had probably in a culmination of four weeks as far as with the first team. Our goal is to make sure Matt and Brian are ready for this game. It's a challenge. Tom Clements is working a two-a-day mindset with those two guys and we'll do everything in our power to make sure they're ready.

(What's your evaluation of the job Frost has done? Are there concerns or do you see things to work with?)

There's definitely a lot to work with. I think he's talented. I think his first impression was very high, and we need to get back to that. It's not a matter of can he punt. It's the consistency that we're looking for, and that's part of the reason why we made the change. I want the ball kicked inside the 20. The coordination between the punter and the cover guys, we need to improve at. It's never usually just one aspect when something's not the way you want it. We need to do a better job. We didn't do a very good job in punt protection last week and that's been a staple for us. So everybody got a big kick in the butt, and it showed up today at practice. We need to get back to fundamentals all the way through our football team.

(Are Flynn and Brohm competing in practice then?)

No. Matt Flynn will be the starter if we would go that way, but I want to make sure Brian is right there next to him ready to go.

(You just want him prepared in case?)


(When you evaluate the mistakes, is it a bunch of little things or one major thing?)

The one constant, the thing you have to always look for when you evaluate mistakes, is are they the same mistakes or are they, like you said, maybe a better to describe it is a bunch of little things. The negative as a team, the mistakes that are common, are the penalties. That is the one thing that we have had to address every week. It seems like they are high around the league just when you watch the games. I don't know if that's accurate. I haven't studied it, but I know that ours and the timing of them, has been hurtful and it's really affected our down and distance and things like that. So that is the thing that we have focused on. We've talked about these penalties here before. Pre-snap penalties are unacceptable. You have combative penalties, and you look at the combative penalties where poor judgment is used. So that's really the major focus of the common mistake that is made the first four weeks. It has showed up in every game. The bright spot of it is the last game was our least-penalized game, so we're getting better. So with that, the second part of it is the little things, footwork, pad level. I thought the line work today was outstanding. Just the team run was very good. We practiced today like we need to practice. It reminded me of training camp, and that was the challenge that was given to the football team. If we can take one of our night practices at training camp and get it to show up on Sunday, I think everything else will be just fine.

(What did you think of Matt Ryan coming out and of what he's done so far?)

I think you have to be very impressed with what he has done so far. He's won two football games. The thing you notice from him was very smart. Having the opportunity to also talk to his college coach, Jeff Jagodzinski, you knew you were getting a well-schooled college quarterback as far as the preparation so he would meet the challenge of being ready as quick as he can. Fundamentally sound as far as point of release, played with good vision, played in big games, won big games. You can see where just in the early stage of his career they have already gone no huddle with him. I think there is a lot to work with. I think he is a quarterback that has a promising future, but he's still young.

(Are you encouraged Hawk was able to go through the jog-through? Where do you think he's at?)

I think A.J. will do everything he possibly can to play. No different than Aaron. I'll give him every chance to play. I think any time you have a little bit of history, A.J. hasn't been hurt a whole lot here. He just had the one injury in training camp, so you have a pretty good barometer, a pretty good read on him. We'll give him every chance to get ready to play.

(You mentioned Brooks the other day, and when he had the shoulder problem in 2002 he played the next week and played well. What approach did you take with him?)

I would say it's similar because the thing I remember about that, his injury was a little different as far of the location. If I remember, Aaron got hit from behind. His was awkward the way it happened, but it was a strengthening issue. That was one part that is similar. I would say he probably didn't practice much during the week because you have to get the swelling out and so forth. But Jake Delhomme I did remember finished the game. It was in Baltimore.

(What do you do with Aaron during the week, except for rehab?)

He is still in all of the meetings. He was at the jog-through today, and frankly we started him off and I said just cut his reps down there because the number of the run game things, he has a lot of reps in that area. Some of the protection things we were doing we felt the reps were better used for Matt or Brian. We'll just keep him sharp mentally. He's a very conscientious, detailed quarterback. He's been in the system three years, so that's the way we'll go.

(Is it realistic to have him hand off with his left hand to save the wear-and-tear on his right shoulder?)

If he has to change hands to hand off, then he won't play.

{sportsad300}(Where's Bigby at?)

He's getting close. Atari would like to try to go this week, just the communication that has been given this week. Hopefully he'll be able to put it through the test process and we'll see where he is, whether it is tomorrow or Friday.

(How bad did Hunter pull his hamstring?)

He won't make it this week. I think they are hopeful for next week. That's my understanding.

(Are you contemplating any changes on the O-line?)

No, we'll stay with the five that started last week.

(It looked like Clifton was getting more work on fundamentals today. What's the reason for that?)

Absolutely. I think, like I said earlier, the whole team needed it. We have structured the whole practice with the emphasis on fundamentals. We went more to a training camp-type schedule as far as the time that we put it into the fundamental periods. We call the group period, which is fundamentals for the line, but it's more group for the perimeter. That was clearly by design for everybody.

(Do you plan to go with pads again tomorrow?)

Yes, we'll be in pads again tomorrow.

(What's your impression of Michael Turner?)

I think Michael Turner is a very physical running back. He has incredible lower body strength, just having the opportunity to break him down through the free agent process when he was in San Diego and competing against him last year and seeing him a couple of times this year because we obviously played Detroit and as we prepare for him this week. He breaks tackles. He has more speed than you think he does. He does an excellent job of finishing runs, so he'll be an excellent challenge for our run defense.

(Have you been fortunate injury-wise your first two years, and how much of a challenge is this now?)

Injuries are part of it. I don't concern myself and I always felt that one of the benefits of being a young football team was the ability for your team to practice week in and week out and improve. My focus is very simple for our team: it's about doing whatever it takes to win and to make sure we are improving each week, and I don't ever get away from that. Injuries kind of challenge you that way, and that's why you adjust your schedule. You take segments of your practice and you put it in more of a teaching environment, which we refer to as our jog-through, but then we took a big 25-minute block and we put it back to fundamentals because that's the part that we have to continue to improve on. So it's just another challenge frankly. Challenges come at you so many different ways. You have to overcome it, so that's the challenge we have right now.

(Your team hadn't lost two straight games since the 2006 season. Is that something you pointed out to them?)

I didn't point it out to them. I think I had enough negative things to point out to them. I didn't need to pile on. That's important, that's a nice statistic, but we're focused on the next one. I think we do a very good job of that, whether we are successful or things don't go the way we would like. I think this football team does a very good job of preparing, staying confident, being realistic of why things happen, positive or negative, and that's the way I want it. That's the environment that we've created and that's the environment that we want to maintain.

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