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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 13

(What's the status or Ryan Pickett?)

Ryan Pickett had a tricep strain. He'll be questionable probably this week. I don't know how much practice time Dr. McKenzie sees him being able to work through. Just like a lot of these injuries, we'll see where Ryan is on Wednesday. But I'd probably label him as questionable if I had to today.

(So he didn't tear it or do anything severe?)

It's a strain to the muscle is the way it was described to me. That's his status.

(What's the plan with Justin Harrell this week?)

Justin Harrell will really follow the same medical procedure that we've taken with all the players that have come off a significant injury. He'll be full practice Wednesday and we'll just see how he does throughout the week. He hasn't been in that particular environment for quite some time, so they just want to make sure they give him the proper progression of working his way through a full week of practice.

(Is it a real possibility for him to play this week?)

It's really the way the practice will go. I want to see him practice Wednesday and Thursday through the padded work, and then there's always an evaluation of all of our players Wednesday and Friday is the way we're scheduled. I'm sure Friday's evaluation from Dr. McKenzie will play into that. But the first step for Justin is to go through a week of practice.

(With Pickett, did you dodge a bullet with that type of injury?)

When you look at the big guys, and you look at Chad Clifton and Ryan Pickett and what some of our guys have played with in the past, you always probably have a little more hope just on a normal basis. I think really how he feels Wednesday and once he goes through a rehab segment where they work the muscle and see the fatigue and the strength of it, it's something that we're just going to have to get more information on throughout the week. Ryan's a pro. He's played with a lot of different types of injuries throughout his career, so I wouldn't be surprised if he's able to fight through this. Time will answer that question.

(How's Brandon Jackson's condition?)

He just had an illness.

(Like the flu?)

Flu-type symptoms. Correct.

(What about Rouse?)

Rouse, Pat didn't think he was in a situation where we would have to hold him. Just based off the report he gave me, I would be hopeful that Aaron Rouse can go on Wednesday.

(Did anything else pop out from the game injury-wise?)

No, nothing. Nothing big. A lot of little stuff. Long list, still.

(How'd Rodgers come out this week?)

Didn't have a setback, that's how it was described. So we're hopefully moving forward. He's sore again today, which I think is normal. He'll be dealing with that for some time. But we didn't have any setbacks.

(What's he proved to you and the team over these last two games?)

I think as an individual, just the ability to play through pain, his pain threshold is obviously high, which is important when you're able to keep going and not only start football games but perform at the level he's performed at. I think everybody involved is very pleased with the way he's played the last two weeks just from a pure productivity standpoint, and to be able to play at that level fighting through this injury I think it says a lot about him.

(Do you worry about running a quarterback sneak with a guy with an injured shoulder?)

I was asked that yesterday. If we felt it was a problem, I wouldn't have it in the game plan. We had it up a couple different ways, and he's actually pretty good at it. He has the ability to accelerate the crease and keeps his legs moving, and a lot of it too is the technique the quarterbacks use. I've had quarterbacks in the past who get way too high and take unnecessary shots. Based on his type of injury as far as the load of the weight and the pile falling on him, we didn't think that was a concern.

(Is that a higher percentage play than lining up smash-mouth with the running back?)

Well it was actually inches. We were in a situation where you need inches, so that's a very effective play.

(But you've done it longer than just inches ...)

What's the difference between 10 inches and a yard? Excuse me, 36 inches, excuse me. We were inside a yard. The communication, the way you call plays, someone is in charge of down and distance, and there's a play for third-and-1, there's plays for third-and-2-to-3, there's a play for inches. Under a yard we classify as inches, excuse my math.

(How much catching up does Wynn have to do, or is he in good shape from being on the practice squad?)

DeShawn Wynn was moved up on Saturday afternoon and ended up playing in the game on Sunday. I think if you just look at the touchdown play, the blitz pickup that he had in the game, I think that there is a great example of someone that has been here but that's taken advantage of his reps. He's done a very good job with the opponent stuff, and we're blessed just to have him ready to go in that type of situation. You wake up in the morning and you find out that Brandon Jackson has been up all night with the flu-type symptoms, and you're able to not blink and he goes in and he played well. He graded out very well in his performance and he didn't really have any practice reps.

(What happened with Lumpkin? Last week you thought he might have a decent chance to be up for the game ...)

He was hurt, he was re-injured in Thursday's practice. That's why we made the decision to move Kregg Lumpkin onto IR and that's how DeShawn Wynn was activated.

(You've said it was a messy house the last couple of weeks. What areas got a good cleaning Sunday?)

Fundamentals, and that's something we need to stay after just as we move forward with our plan for the week. I'll meet again tonight with the coordinators, just as we set the practice plan. I think we still need to stay committed to the extra time that we've put into the individual periods and work on the fundamentals. It was a positive day yesterday, but there's still some things that we can continue to work on, and I'll probably stand here and say that to you all year. When I don't, that means we're playing extremely well. But we did a number of things better. I thought the run-blocking unit was better, but there's still room for improvement there. I think we can do a better job of winning more of the one-on-one blocks, the situations that we were put into in the game, and defensively, we had a couple assignment situations that weren't detailed. They play with a very high tempo on offense, very similar to us, so they challenged us as far as getting the defensive call in. We had a very fast 40-second clock on offense. So just those types of situations, and those are all aspects of playing on the road, and they're going to come up again when you go on the road. Those are things you just continue to reinforce, continue to emphasize, continue to practice, and it all comes down to those fundamentals, those little things you're always looking to be on top of.

(For all the rushing attempts, why weren't you able to break a couple? Was it the one-on-one matchups you talked about?)

I think I've really already answered it. I thought there were a lot of positive things, but time and time again, whether it was the finish of a block or the breaking of an arm tackle, it's always the little stuff that makes a big difference, it really is. If you watch the film closely, you'll see it. You'll see a lot of positive, a lot more positive aspects of our fundamental play was evident yesterday compared to our prior competitions. But we can do a better job, because we had some opportunities for some runs to come out the back door, and it didn't happen.

(On Grant's second run, he cut it back for 17 yards. Were there other opportunities for cutbacks that he missed?)

When you are involved in zone running, a lot of people refer to it as option hole running as far as when you are trying to categorize or define the read of the back, and there is an initial landmark. We refer to it as a dot. We have a dot that we put on every front and that's really the starting point of the read, and then off of that comes either a front side or potentially a back side cut. Sometimes you can overanalyze that, and that's what you've got to be conscious of. That's what happens when you are coaching running backs because you don't want to put them in a position where they are robotic, and that's the beauty of zone running. I thought just from a decision standpoint, we grade run game decisions no different than we grade the pass protection decisions by the center, and no different than we grade the quarterback in his decision-making in the passing game, but from a decision grade, Ryan had a good day.

(What did you tell Wynn when you cut him on the first cutdown? Did you ever think he'd be back here someday?)

Absolutely. When I called him into my office today we talked about his experience here and why we made the decision. We told him there was an opportunity that we may bring him back on the practice squad.

(At that time, was he behind Morency and Herron on the depth chart?)

If you recall, the decision to move on, the only negative that I would only say about DeShawn was his availability, and that factored into the decision of him being released at that time. He has come back and has done a great job. He hasn't missed a practice. He competes and he does all of the little things. We had him in on third down and I think that tells you a lot about how we feel about him when he didn't have one snap of practice this week. I just go back to the touchdown because that was an impressive blitz pickup he made, and it was a factor in the protection for Aaron to step up and make that throw.

(What did you think of Jeremy Thompson this week?)

Played well. I thought he played with a lot more urgency, played with a lot more speed. I think that's something that you always look for in your younger players. Also Jordy Nelson; you see Jordy playing faster. I think Thompson definitely made a step in that direction. That's a common progression that younger players go through because the speed of the game in the NFL is so much faster than anything they have ever experienced. We thought he played with much better tempo and much better urgency. He had a good day.

(Could you imagine Tramon Williams playing as well as he has for Al Harris?)

You look at Tramon Williams and he is definitely someone we have pointed to here the last two years. He is a young man that came to our organization as a free agent and has worked his way up. He has tremendous athletic ability. I think he displays that on the field time and time again just from some of the plays he makes from an athletic standpoint, and he did it the right way. He worked and earned himself a spot on special teams, and performed well there. Now he is having an opportunity in the defensive backfield and has performed well. He is just a young man that you could see the ability in and continues to grow. Same thing, he had a couple of things, he needed to detail his play a couple of times yesterday and those are things that he will learn from. He is a very conscientious young man and he is definitely someone that personally I like to point to when you refer to a young player coming into your program, taking advantage of the environment and structure and extra coaching and the one-one-one attention that is available, particularly in the offseason, and it just shows the benefits. He's a great example of that.

(He doesn't have a big frame, but he doesn't appear to back down from anybody ...)

Oh no, he's very competitive. Always has been. He showed that early in his time here. That's one of the things we liked about him when he was on our practice squad. He's a competitive young man.

{sportsad300}(Given what happened with Lumpkin, will that affect how you deal with hamstrings from here on out?)

I think every year you have the injury of the year, and we have had a number of hamstrings. We've had a number of knee sprains too. It just kind of goes that way. If I thought there was something that we were doing as far as our practice structure or what we were doing in our strength and conditioning program, we would have changed. Every medical meeting that we have involves the medical staff and the strength and conditioning staff. When we meet on Wednesdays and Fridays, when we go through the whole health of our football team, there is eight of us in that room. The diagnosis is given from the doctor, what is the rehab, and so forth. That is something that we instituted last year because we felt it would have everybody on the same page. I don't think we have a structural problem. It just kind of goes that way sometimes with injuries.

(How much longer will you wait for Al Harris?)

Al had a scan today. Just the information off the scan, there was significant improvement, so obviously we are moving in the right direction. So we'll see what the other doctors' opinions (are). That's just one doctor's opinion. We'll send his results out and get back more information. I think he will be hard-pressed to make it this week, but I think after the bye is realistic.

(What do you like about using Chillar with Barnett in nickel situations?)

If you look at our depth chart the one thing that has been consistent for us as far as activating players is we have six linebackers up every week. It's a group that has really, really improved in our time here. I really like the depth of the linebacker group. We have the opportunity to play those guys more and just being smart with your reps. You had A.J with the groin strain so we limited his reps a little more this week than last week and I think it really helped him. I thought he played better and Brandon Chillar had the big play on the pass breakup. We're just trying to utilize our personnel as much as we can, A, from a competitive standpoint, but our medical situation has kind of tilted us this way.

(Talking about the injuries and the health of the team, when you see what Seattle is going through, do you look at your situation as not so bad?)

I don't share that viewpoint. Injuries are part of the game. We just stay focused on managing our own particular players. Everybody goes through it. It's tough when you play without your starting quarterback; there is no doubt about it. I think Matt Hasselbeck is an excellent quarterback, but I haven't really given it much thought.

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