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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 16

(What happened to Wells?)

Scott Wells, it's a muscle strain, kind of high in his shoulder, chest area, kind of high. So we limited him today. He went through the jog-through, just did limited work. He'll see Dr. McKenzie in the morning, the Friday exam. I don't think it's serious, though.

(From yesterday?)


(Isn't that how that back thing started, with his trunk?)

I think every situation is different. I'm pretty confident that he'll play in the game, unless I'm told otherwise tomorrow.

(So it's unrelated to his previous stuff?)

Correct, yes.

(How'd Bigby look?)

I thought he looked good. It's good to have him back out there. He was able to get some work, and we'll see how he responds to it. It's been a while. I know he was anxious to get out. It was great that he finally passed his test yesterday. I know he's been frustrated with the injury. It was a big hurdle for him, and hopefully we can get him ready for Sunday.

(Is he OK to open it up?)

That's really the biggest part of the test. Anytime you have a hamstring injury, particularly in the perimeter skill positions, they have to have the ability to open it up. That was really what was holding Atari back.

(How'd Justin Harrell look after watching the film?)

I thought he did OK. He looked like a football player that hadn't practiced in a while. He looked comfortable in his pads. We felt he did OK. It's going to take the whole body of work this week before any type of decision is going to be made.

(His back come out OK?)

Yes. He came out OK.

(How about James Jones? Any improvement there?)

He's just working through it. Hopeful really, the way it looks with James Jones, I don't want to totally rule him out this week, but I think he's doubtful for this week and probably won't be back until after the bye.

(How did Aaron look making his passes today?)

Aaron Rodgers? I thought he looked good. He practiced probably, took about half the team reps. We shut him down after a certain point when we got into our situational work, short-yardage and third-down and red-zone areas. I thought his work was quality today. It was good to have him out there throwing to get the timing down of some of the new wrinkles you put in on a weekly basis.

(Any other plans to throw him this week?)

Won't throw him tomorrow, just like I discussed yesterday. We wanted to throw him today. Will not throw him tomorrow, and just make sure he has a sufficient warm-up before the game on Sunday will be his plan.

(With James Jones, having the injury in the preseason and then having a couple of setbacks, do you just wait now until he's 100 percent?)

It's the sprain, the ligament he sprained, when he jams the kneecap, it's unfortunate, and you can chalk it up to bad luck, however you want to describe it, but he's reinjured the same knee the same way almost every time. Just have to shut him down until we can get all the swelling and everything out of there.

(He had said it's an MCL, but because it keeps recurring, is that all it is, or is there a bruised kneecap too?)

He has a ligament sprain, and there's four ligaments, and you're wrong on which one it is. We can play this game all you want. The guy has a ligament sprain, and it's not healed where he's confident enough to play. I wish I had some dazzling way to go through these medical ... I'm not trying to be evasive here. The player is involved, the medical staff is involved, the rehab is involved, and they just don't feel he's able to go full speed to play. He had swelling.

(I'm just working off of what he told me ...)

I'm just answering the question. I'm not refereeing your relationship in the locker room.

(With Rodgers today, did he let it fly or did you have him go 75 percent?)

No, I'd say, I didn't limit any plays, to answer your question. We didn't go through the script and say don't throw this, let's throw that. He took the reps that were in there. The things I really wanted him to work were the situational throws, third down and red zone. Our group period, we had the routes in that period were in the red zone, so he hit all that. That was a good body of work there. The earlier periods as far as the team run and play-action pass are geared towards blitz and third down, so we hit those. It just got to a point in practice, where I just didn't want him to wake up tomorrow with his arm feeling like a Monday morning. We were just being smart. He could have probably practiced the whole practice if he needed to. So we're just trying to work our way back to where he can practice one time during the week and have the endurance where he's not the next two days trying to get swelling out of his shoulder.

(If he couldn't throw as hard as he wanted, would it do any good in practice with the timing and so forth?)

Absolutely. That's all part of the medical evaluation. Trust me, there's a lot of conversation that goes on as far as a practice plan for every player, and every time a quarterback hurts his throwing shoulder, it's all about the end game. What's the best for Aaron Rodgers to play on Sunday? He's proven that he can play in games on limited reps. We felt there's some things that showed up in his particular play from a fundamental standpoint, so we addressed that the best we can without him throwing the football. But I agree with you, I didn't want to see him come out here, run the plays at full speed and lob it out there, that was not the case at all. He threw the ball with velocity and anticipation, no different than he did on Sunday.

(So with his pitch count, did you set that before practice, or were you monitoring him as you went along?)

It was clearly on the communication between Aaron and myself. I just told him if you get to a point where it's starting to fatigue on you, if it even twitches on you to a point, let's just ... because the goal in the conversation with the medical staff and Aaron was that on Friday morning, he doesn't wake up and feel like it's Monday morning. That's what we did not want to happen, and I think we're safe from that.

(Did Al Harris do more or less than yesterday, and how'd he come out?)

He feels good. His conditioning, I mean I was asked a question about the vest that he wore, I was told two different things. I understand now it's a weight vest. He just wants to get back to the level of conditioning that he was in before the injury. Hopefully we'll start giving him some reps where he can interact and get in football shape. Really the plan for Al this week is conditioning and then hopefully we'll do more football-involved aspects next week and going into the Tennessee week.

(If that's a weight for a vest, what has the medical staff said about what you can do to protect a spleen? Is there some kind of padding?)

I'm sure they'll have something, but it's an injury that has obviously occurred from a direct hit so I don't know how much you can really protect that. That's why the caution that goes into a spleen injury is necessary. It's very frustrating for the athlete. Particularly in talking to Al, it's something that you can't feel. He feels like he is fine and there is a little bit of the understanding of you just have to trust it's an internal injury. It's not like a knee joint or a shoulder joint where you know it's time to come back. You have to trust the scan and you have to trust the history that the doctors have presented us.

(So he's still doubtful for this week?)

I would say doubtful to out. It's clearly off the advice of the medical staff. I think if you left it up to Al, he would have played last week, just the conversations we've had based on how he feels. The history and all of the information you gather from all of the different doctors involved, whether it is local, Indianapolis, and the people that have dealt with this injury, it's safe to wait.

(Do you plan on practicing Pickett tomorrow?)

We'll find out tomorrow. The goal Wednesday for Ryan Pickett was to rehab him Wednesday and Thursday and hopefully maybe get some work out of him Friday. The biggest accomplishment as far as the direction we are going is what he is going to wear to limit the tricep.

(Is Hawk back to normal?)

Close. He looked good at practice the last two days. He was a full participant so that's definitely a step in the right direction.

(So when you were subbing him out in nickel, it's because of being hurt?)

That was the plan. I just felt that he had too many reps the first week, so we cut his reps in Seattle going into the game. It was planned that way.

{sportsad300}(With Indy's no-huddle, is there a difference between running that at home versus on the road?)

That's why we need the fans to crank it up when he is under center. That's a planted question too I think because Mike is on our staff. I was counting on one of you guys to ask me. Thanks. Definitely, crowd noise is definitely a factor. I think it has something that we have learned to do very well. We have taught them from day one the verbal and non-verbal communication, they do a great job, but definitely on the road it is a bigger challenge, so we need to get them to scream all the way through the 40-second clock. That would be a nice article for you to write too on the Internet.

(Lambeau was just ranked No. 1 in an survey. How would you rate it?)

It is clearly the temple of football. I think it's frankly something that we have addressed as a football team. People really relish the opportunity to play at Lambeau Field. You want them to fear Lambeau Field is what you want, from crowd noise and fan activity, but it's such a great football experience for everybody involved. We need to make it a worse experience for our opponent. That's the way it was viewed and that's the way it was viewed before a Green Bay Packer and I know that's common around the league. Time and time again, you just look at the players and the coaches from the opponent side of it that say it's such an honor to play here. It's such a unique place; there is nothing like it.

(What's the bigger challenge with the no-huddle, getting your subs in or figuring out what Manning is doing at the line?)

It's like anything. If you are sitting there trying to figure out what he is doing at the line of scrimmage, nobody in their right mind goes up there and changes the play six times. That's not the way it works. There is dummy audibles and there is things that go through it. There is communication as far as protection and the route combination on the outside. The most important thing is to make sure we are aligned properly and that our signals are intact. When we make a defensive signal call we want to make sure the front and the coverage is intact and we're doing what we're supposed to be doing. He's going to try to keep his offense in the best play available based off what he thinks he is getting from the shell of our defense or a certain look based on the matchup. So it's our responsibility to A, keep him disguised from that, or just make sure we are aligned properly to do our job. That's why you play the game. He does a great job of it.

(Is it hard to sub?)

There is opportunities. It's like anything in this, if you want to run the football they are going to have an answer for your running game. If you want to throw it a certain way they are going to try to have an answer. You try to sub, they are going to try to line up real quickly and run a play. That's why you play the game. It's part of the chess match that goes on every week.

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