Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 15

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

(How is Bubba Franks' knee?)

Bubba's knee ... I just spoke to Pat briefly in the training room. He wants to do some more tests, but it looks like he has a knee sprain. He may be a couple weeks. I don't have an exact diagnosis for you right now.

(Does that mean you'll have to pick up a tight end?)

Well, we have Mr. Krause. He's been with us on our practice squad and he's done a nice job. So he's definitely someone we would look to if we have to go in that direction.

(Any other injuries from the game?)

Frank Walker has a knee, they're just going to send him over and have him scanned. I'll know more about him probably later this afternoon. Brett had an ankle, he's fine. I just saw him briefly in the training room. Juice Coston has the ankle. Will Blackmon, I'm just trying to think of the guys ... Cullen Jenkins, they're looking at him. He got hurt on that one high-low situation, so he's getting scanned, but I think he'll be OK. Then we just have a bunch of bumps and bruises.

(Who will benefit most from the bye from an injury standpoint?)

I think all of our guys will. It's an opportunity to get healthy. Every bye week I've been associated with, it's an opportunity for guys to get extra rehab, hit the strength and conditioning for the push down the stretch here as we go into our final 10. I think every one of our guys will benefit from it.

(What's the work schedule for you and your assistants?)

As far as group meetings, we'll work today and tomorrow, and then we'll do a bunch of individual things Wednesday, self-scout types of things. And then we'll work Sunday. So really, the coaches are off Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

(In this time, can you find something to get the run game going? Is that one of the goals?)

The goals are to make sure you go through your self-scout, which frankly we do every week Monday and Tuesday morning. We have a very good idea what our strengths have been so far, the things we need to improve on, and to pertain to your question about the run game, we'll take a look at that probably tomorrow as a staff. We talked about it this morning with the offensive staff, just looking at some things, really the areas we want to highlight. It's just more fundamentals, technique, pad level. I think going with one back in certain situations will help us get some rhythm there. And the play-caller needs to have more confidence at times. I'm being critical of myself. So those are things we talk about all the time. But we'll look at every part of our offense, defense and special teams over this period.

(When you say pad level and fundamentals, are you referring to the guys blocking or the guys carrying the ball?)

I'm talking about the guys blocking.

(Are you surprised that group has regressed as a run-blocking unit?)

Well, we haven't improved. I wouldn't say we've regressed. We have not improved in my opinion. The things that bother you more are the common mistakes. You're going to go through a game where you may have had a better line call versus this particular front, things like that. And when you deal with so many combination blocks, maybe you came off to fast, you didn't come off not fast enough. That's why you play the game. It's not played on a chalkboard. So those are things you're always continuing to work on. But when you see the same mistakes over and over, Chad Clifton on the back side, he needs to do a better job of that. That's a common mistake week in and week out. So we need to improve in that area. There's a number of things you could say through our whole football team that exist. There are some guys who are doing things really good in certain areas, but the common mistakes we're making, that's what we need to improve on, and frankly that's coaching. And I think every football team in America goes through that during the course of the year.

(It seemed like some games last year you ran the ball really well, but the personnel up front hasn't changed.)

Well, the attempts, number one, if you want to get into what's different this year and last year, the first thing is attempts. But also, the benefit of the run game is not the actual back carrying the ball and achieving yards. It's what it creates, and the quarterback has taken advantage of that with some of our, we refer to them as the quick slant off the run game. So if you want to be statistically correct, you could make a case to factor that into your run game. I don't do that, but that is part of your run game. Your action passing game comes off of your run game. To me, when you don't run the football, it compounds itself and your problems are ahead. That's what we're focused on, because you want to have all your horses. You want to be able to get in and out of the number of concepts you have in your offense so you don't become one-dimensional.

(Do some of Clifton's problems come from not practicing?)

We just need to do a better job there. I don't want to get into a player. Just mentioning his name, now everyone wants to jump on it. I'm just using that as an example. There's things that we need to do better, and it's the common mistakes that are happening over and over again. That's the things that bother me.

(Were you tempted at all to practice more this week to work on those things?)

I would have practiced one more time this week. I just presented it to the team. We would have practiced Wednesday. The problem with practicing early, and I went through every scenario with Matt Klein frankly back in the spring, and we revisited it around training camp. You practice early you don't really get the full benefit of doing the fundamental-type practice, which you'd like to get done in the bye week, because you're still coming off of a game. Wednesday their bodies are really not all the way back. You have to be smart with Wednesdays. But then, with us playing a Monday night game, then you have a practice later in your bye week and now you get into the scheduling where now you're practicing seven, eight times before you play a game. I've done that before. We did that in New Orleans one time, and you can overdo those things. Really, the bye week emphasis, number one, was to get healthy, and number two, to make sure we're totally detailed on the things we need to improve on and the direction that we're going to go as we move forward. And we'll highlight those. When we come back, Monday and Tuesday's practices we'll have a little more individual time than normal so we can work those fundamental things. We'll do more padded practice things earlier in the week and then back off later in the week as we get ready for the Monday night game. Because the thing you have to factor in is you have a quick week with an away game coming in Kansas City.

(Are the players here at all after tomorrow?)

They have requirements. They have a workout, weight-training and conditioning responsibility, and then 30 minutes of cardiovascular a day are the points of emphasis over this five-day period.

(But they don't have to be here after tomorrow?)


(How do you get a common ground with committing to the run game but knowing that passing gives you the best chance to win?)

I think a very common approach to football is when you play your opponent, regardless of what side of the ball you're on as far as offense or defense or vice versa, when you go into a game and you plan to play against that defense, and they have had a week's preparation now, especially after five, six weeks into your season, everybody has tendencies. Identities are formed, people know the way you would like to play the game, who you're trying to get the ball to and so forth. When I watch film and I say it all the time to the coaching staff, if we're playing a defense that has the ability to run a 4.6-type 40, play at that speed, it's our responsibility to be balanced and create common looks and give them different things, if we can slow them down to 4.8. When you line up and do the same thing over and over again, you're really letting the defense play a 4.5. That's kind of an analogy that I use a lot, and that's the danger you fall into if you become one-dimensional.

(What happened on Brett's deep balls yesterday?)

He had a couple that were in the air too long. The one in particular, I think he could have helped himself with his footwork. That's something as you move further along in the season it's hard to practice. Especially Greg Jennings is a guy that you like in those types of situations, and I think his inability to practice the last couple weeks can factor into that. Deep balls have always been an issue in my experience because you don't have the opportunity to practice them as much. You wish you'd hit more of them in training camp and you just kind of find that common ground of getting those things repped. But that's something we have the ability to get behind people, which I thought we did yesterday, but converting those throws was not done well enough, obviously.

(Are you going to work on moving the ball against the Tampa-2?)

We need to move the ball against the Tampa-2. I always liked it when people played me Tampa-2 because you want to run the ball. It really goes back to the run game question. We need to do a better job of taking advantage of the seven-man box. If you've got two backs in the backfield, and you cannot run the ball well against a seven-man box, you're playing uphill. And we have done that the last two weeks, really I'd say the last five quarters. But being critical of the offense, we only ran the ball I think five times in the first half. So you can sit there and say it's not good enough and this and that. We had a number of, we refer to them as box-rule runs, at the line of scrimmage where our runs went to passes, and that's part of it, that's the way we play. But we need to improve our productivity versus a two-shell defense, whether it's cover-2, 4, whatever form or fashion we get that.

(You said you ran the ball in the second half last week because of the defense. Why didn't that carry over to this week?)

There were certain personnel groups where I felt we could get the ball deep, and that was evident in the second half. We had a couple opportunities and we didn't hit them. There was also a personnel group where we actually had the big play to Donald Lee that was a two-shell defense and we had some runs we tried to operate in that personnel group that they ended up taking away, because they weren't going to give us a two-shell look again because of Donald Lee's big play. That's part of the game. We've still been very productive with the underneath passing game. I thought our vertical passing game for the most part was good. We did not operate as well as I would have liked in the vertical passing game. We saw a lot of just three-man rush, which we've been getting a lot here the last couple weeks, three-man rush and dropping eight, and we've been able to take advantage of it. The touchdown throw that was called back was that type of situation. When you have that much time, that's the negative of dropping eight and rushing three, is if the quarterback is patient, and we were blocking five that particular play, you have more time to get the ball thrown downfield, which we did to Bubba. I'm just using that as an example. That's the way we play. We're a multiple personnel group. We try to get in and out of personnels, and try to take advantage of how they're going to play us. Because if you are one or two personnel groups, you'll probably see five or six defenses versus that personnel. If you're a multiple personnel group, you pretty much can dictate that you'll see two or three defenses, and we felt like we had a pretty good beat on what they were doing early in the game. The first 15 plays of the game was the approach to get that information, but frankly, we didn't execute very well.

(You have the youngest roster in the NFL, yet you're winning close games. Where does that come from? Is it the older guys helping out? Is it coaching?)

It's always coaching. I don't have to answer that every week. I think it's the maturity of our football team. One of the emphases this week was you need to overcome adversity, and adversity comes in different forms week in and week out. We were in a ballgame Sunday night last week where we had a number of things go our way, and then we had a number of things not go our way in the second half, and we did not overcome that to win. That's something we wanted to build on this week, and frankly, we played a lot worse in some areas in this Washington game than we did against Chicago, but we found a way to overcome the adverse situations, whether it was a penalty that went against you, turnovers, a number of different things, and found a way to win that game. I thought our defense clearly stepped up and carried us down the stretch there. You could just feel them getting stronger and stronger as the game went on. That's good team football, and that's the way you have to win. It's not always going to be pretty, and when it's not pretty I get to stand up here and answer all the negative questions week in and week out. I understand that. But that's how you win in this league. You're not always going to win 31-24. That game may be more fun to watch, but 17-14 is a good win.

(The last two weeks you've had trouble moving the ball in the second half. What needs to change there?)

Probably coaching, right? Stay with that theme. We need to execute better. I wish I could sit there and say it's just one thing. We had some opportunities. I think that was a very good defense that's playing well. I think it's a talented, veteran defense that's playing well right now. It's not just one guy, one thing, the play call, things like that. It was not our best half of football, and we need to get it cleaned up.

(On the TD to Jones that was called back, Tauscher was OK with Favre behind him, but Favre moved past him and the flag came out. Is that the right call there?)

In my view, I thought Tauscher was fine, and once again it was a three-man rush. I disagree with the call, but that's football. Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't. And that goes back to the adversity question. You have to overcome those types of situations, whether it's the defense making a big play, a penalty that you think should have went the other way, that's all part of the game. And I was proud that our football team continued to battle and find a way to win that game.

(It was the same thing with Clifton, right?)

I'll just say this, I don't ever agree when they throw the flag against us. So you can put that out. You don't ever want to see the penalty go against you. Those are tight calls. Those are calls that sometimes get called, and they're calls that, ... it happens both ways. They were big plays in the game. But that's the way it goes.

(Does he need to disengage when the ball gets in front of him?)

I'm sure he saw the cloth, and that's when he called it. You'd like him to see the whole play. I didn't talk to the officials. But you can't keep holding onto a guy when he's turning to run away from you.

(You mentioned going with one back. Is that Wynn or Jackson, or what are you thinking?)

We'll give some time to that whole rotation. We have an extra two days of practice in our prep for Denver, so we'll get a few more reps that way. I think Brandon has been very consistent. You could make the case that he's been the most consistent back as far as doing everything that's asked at that position. DeShawn has done some really good things running the football. He gets nicked a couple times during the course of the game, comes in and out. I'd like to see him fight through that. And I think Vernand has been solid for us in his situational play. That's tough to find the right formula there with those four guys.

(But you can't really have open auditions during the bye week, right?)

Auditions are over, yeah. We're going to do what we need to do and we feel give us the best chance to win the game.

{sportsad300}(Where are you ahead of the game? What are you most pleased with?)

Overcoming adversity. I think our football team has matured in that area. I clearly feel we're further ahead at this time this year than we were last year. But there's a number of things that I talk about all the time when I talk to the football team. It needs to look like this, whether it's your preparation, whether it's a certain drill, the fundamental time, the classroom environment, the practice environment. I think we're in that routine that I felt we finally hit down the stretch last year, and I actually talked about in our team meeting Saturday night, on how stacking successes, and my messages are pretty consistent over and over again, and just using the prior week's positives and negatives from the game to keep reinforcing how we need to continue to improve. Hey, we're a good football team. We're 5-1. And they don't hand out victories in this league. So we're proud of the fact of where we are. We're tied for the best record in the NFC. That's all great. But we're not interested in being a darling football team in Week 6. We have a lot of work to do. We want to be playing our best football down the stretch of the season, and that's our focus because if we do that, we'll win a lot of games, and we take it one week at a time. Statistics to me are a barometer. They're red flags. They give you an indication you need to look at this or look at that. The most important thing about a statistic is why it occurred. And that's positive statistics too. There are some things that may look really good on the stat sheet, but the facts of the matter are they're not as good as you think they are. And that's the way we view it.

(Has the league notified you of any decision on Koren?)

No they haven't.

(How beat up is Jenkins and how much is that affecting him?)

I thought he was off to an excellent start until he got into that high-low situation and he was hurt on that play. Just watching the film and talking to the defensive coaches, they felt that he was getting back to where he was, because he has been nicked the whole year. He'll definitely benefit from this week off.

(Why have you struggled to cover tight ends so much?)

Well, number one, we played some good tight ends, but we knew that going into the game too. I thought we did a much better job with changing the coverage in the second half. We were playing more an underneath with help over the top, just to give you a vanilla version of what we were doing earlier, and we just weren't disciplined on a couple of those. And I think our safeties did a good job of covering him in the second half.

(How much will it hurt to not have Bubba if he's out for a few games?)

I think Bubba is off to an excellent year. This is my second year with Bubba. I know he's had big years in the past. But I've been very pleased with the way he's been playing. We're definitely going to have to keep that going. But I also want to be smart. We're not just going to run certain packages, personnel groups and so forth, just because they've been good to us in the past. We're going to just continue putting our players in the best position to be successful, regardless of who they are, and not try to ask guys to do things they don't have a lot of reps in, they're not comfortable in, or it's not their strength.

(Do you have to be careful with Lee, then?)

I don't know how you can. We've talked about only carrying two tight ends, and how much productivity do you want to get out of the tight ends. The most important statistic in my view about the tight end position was that they all played 16 games. I've said that here before. Now Bubba has his injury, and so now you need to adjust. Just playing those guys 50-50, rolling them in the one tight end sets, and then they obviously both play in the two tight end sets has been very good to us. I'm very, very pleased with the way the tight end position has performed. Now Krause has to step in if it's his opportunity, and we'll just make sure we put him in positions to be successful.

(Do you expect Morency to be healthy after the bye, or will his routine continue?)

That's a good question. If we practiced this week, we'd still go with the Wednesday, off Thursday, practice Friday routine with him, and that's just kind of where we are. Until he feels better, I couldn't tell you if we'll ever get out of that routine.

(On that last punt, when you gave them an extra 10-15 seconds, what do you do to prevent that from happening in the future?)

It's situational football. There's an area of the field that you take the penalty. I wouldn't do it there because it was on the 45-yard line. The mechanics of snapping the ball with two to one seconds left is something that is practiced. We did not get that communicated. There's a check and balance on every boundary communication in game situations, and it starts with me. That was poor game management right there.

(Were Crosby's misses related to his footwear or were they just missed?)

I haven't talked to Mason, but just the communication with the coaches, it was slick out there, and I guess he didn't drive on the ball the way he normally did, which maybe he was quicker with his follow or his rotation or whatever his exact fundamental. I wouldn't over-evaluate it. He's a talented kicker. I think he's fundamentally sound. More importantly, he's young. He's going to improve. But he needs to make those kicks. Exactly why he missed it, we didn't sit there and slow down the tape. I haven't gone that far with the coaches on the exact fundamental breakdown or where his footwork was at and so forth.

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