Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 20

(Other than Jeremy Thompson, did any other injuries come out of the game?)

No, we've just got a bunch of bumps and bruises. Jeremy Thompson, I anticipate him practicing.

(What was the thinking on Justin Harrell not being activated?)

Justin Harrell, at the end of the week, we just decided that he needs some more time. You have three weeks to get him ready, so we'll move forward with him continuing to practice and make sure he's ready when we activate him.

(Guys like Aaron, Atari and James, will they stay behind to rehab or do they get away and do rehab elsewhere?)

It's really all based on the individual injury, the ability to have the proper care. I spent a long time last night with the medical staff, going through each player, based on who's staying and what needs to get done. It's really done on an individual basis.

(Are any of those guys staying back?)

There's a number of them staying back, yes.

(When you were done with that meeting, did you say to yourself when we come back we should be a relatively healthy team?)

That's what I told the doctor. Really, the basis of last night's conversation was really to decide exactly how to go forward. I talked to those guys a little bit on Friday and Saturday, because or originally we were going to practice Wednesday. But really, as a football team, the most important thing they feel is a number of these guys just need rest. Every injury is different, just as far as the treatment that goes on with each guy. But the goal is to have the majority of our football team come off of this bye healthy, and that will start with Monday's practice.

(What do you do Tuesday? Just meetings?)

Tuesday is more like a Monday for us. We're going to go back through all the Colts film, and we have some things we need to do as a football team. We have a life skills program coming in from the NFL, so we have a number of things to get done before we break.

(What time are you done that day?)

Afternoon, early afternoon.

(Was the thinking if you lost, you'd practice Wednesday?)

It was really where we were as a football team. Performance definitely factors into that, but really the determining factor of how we move forward on the bye week is the health of our team. That's why we're not going to practice on Wednesday.

(In the past when you've talked about rest, you've still had guys do a workout program...)

Absolutely. There's a conversation with strength and conditioning. I'll address all these things tomorrow with the football team, the number of workouts that they need to get done, and that will be laid out clearly tomorrow. They'll be in here tomorrow, also part of their day will be a workout. The strength and conditioning aspect will be part of their bye week. They're not going to just go sit at home for five days, I can promise you that.

(With Collins' emergence, is it experience or film study or any one thing you look at there?)

I think Nick has kind of grown up in this defense, number one, as far as the understanding of the scheme. The maturity of recognizing the opponent is definitely an asset that he's gained through film study, to answer your question. But I think Nick is off to a great start. The ability to fight through some nagging injuries too. He's really kind of come into his own this year.

(Did it make you feel any better to see Aaron perform in adverse weather conditions, with the strong winds, considering what you'll likely see later in the season?)

It's a really good experience for our football team, because when you get to this time of the year, you start playing in wind games, the weather changes, the field changes, and that's around the country. So you have to be more in tune with the proper footwear out there. In Aaron's particular case, it's important for him to now file that experience away. It's important to know if the wind is going left to right, there's certain corners of the end zone that you can't push the ball out of bounds and things like that. Those are all part of playing the position and those are the small conversations that go on during the course of the game.

(Is the plan with him to keep him inactive until next Wednesday?)

We'll answer that on Monday. We had some more tests done just to make sure to see where he is. The feedback was positive, but he's one of the players that really just needs to rest, with the soreness, and let the shoulder settle down. We'll meet Monday morning and see where everybody is.

(From above, the field didn't look very good, but was the playability OK?)

Yeah, I thought it was excellent. You didn't see anybody slip. They did some things to it, and I don't know exactly what the procedure or anything is, but it's part of this time of year. Grass doesn't grow in October in Wisconsin, so you have to make sure the footing is right, and that's a good surface. I thought it played very well yesterday.

(What has Charles Woodson shown you throughout this season?)

When you think of Charles Woodson, number one, his performance level has been so high, and he's consistently kept it up there. He's been able to fight through the injury and do it with hardly any practice. I thought that he was as dialed in yesterday as I've seen him. I thought he did an excellent job. Particularly in the secondary, I thought we did a lot better job getting our hands on them. I thought our younger players also did a much better job of that. But I thought that was clearly one of his better performances yesterday.

(When he wasn't practicing, was he getting by on just talent or extra work in the film room?)

He's got a ton of experience. He's always been a smart, tough football player. I think just the way he plays, particularly at his position, the way he throws his body in there, he's as physical as a corner that I've ever been around. But the ability to get it done in the meeting rooms and in the jog-throughs and into the gym and make sure everybody is on the same page with the checks and so forth, they've done a very nice job of that.

(Do you have any comment on the Brett Favre-Detroit Lions story?)

No I don't. I was trying to imitate you, but I didn't do a very good job.

(What did you think of the pass rush yesterday?)

I thought it was better. I thought we did a very good job, particularly just with the pass rush and keeping six in the box in the run game. We wanted for the most part to keep two over the top of their perimeter group as much as we could throughout the game, but anytime you have one less than they do in the box, or as many as they do in the box, you always want to have one more, it's really a tribute to your defensive line the way they're able to get off blocks and keep their run average under four yards a carry. I thought we played well up front. I thought we played very well throughout the whole defense.

(With Pickett, will he be able to go without a brace when you get back or will he have that for a while?)

That's a good question. I'm not sure. He came out OK. He was struggling a little bit there at the end of the game. I think he had 22 snaps. That's about where we wanted to keep him. Offensively, really the time of possession and keeping the snaps down, particularly early in the game, I thought was very helpful for our defense, because a majority of their snaps came in the fourth quarter. Hopefully we can get him back to full strength, but time will answer that question.

(At the end of the half, you used your last timeout with 9 seconds left. On third down, was it just too risky to take another shot there?)

Well, the 9-second timeout was clearly my fault. I was trying to get, I had a play in mind, a shot in mind, the spot of the ball didn't really happen fast enough. When you look at that situation, 17 seconds, the ability to have a play and also still clock the play was the target that we hit, that you're looking for. Then we got underneath that and then I actually knee-jerked and I was still going to do it and then I caught myself, let's just kick the field goal. But that was clearly, I should have let that run down to three seconds to kick the field goal. That was a mistake on my part.

(But don't you leave yourself another chance in case of a botched snap, because it was third down?)

Yeah, but we still had the ability to get a first down, and if I would have gotten the spot quicker and if it would have been above 17 seconds, I might have taken the shot that I had in mind, but the spot wasn't as close as I thought it was.

(I mean taking the timeout with 9 seconds left, say if Frost drops the ball, can't you just sit on it and kick again?)

But there are no timeouts. Unless the guy at home helps you out. I should have let the clock run down to three seconds and kicked the field goal is what should have happened.

(How did Williams and Blackmon play and what does that do for their development?)

I'll say this: they are a confident group. You could see the young corners coming out in pre-game. They were, I don't want to call it fired up or loose, but they were into the game. Will Blackmon lined up on Harrison for the most part of the game and Tramon Williams put together another fine performance. Tramon just continues to improve and has all of the ability. They are just doing all of the little things right. When things go good, it's usually your fundamentals are intact. When things don't, that's the first thing you look at, but if you watch the tape you'll see time and time again we did a very good job of getting our hands on their receivers at the line of scrimmage.

(How concerned are you about Ryan Grant's fumbles? Does he need to change his technique for carrying the ball?)

We work on it every day, you know high and tight. Am I concerned? It needs to stop. There is no doubt about that because he has had almost one a game. He's got to keep two hands on the ball in traffic, and that's what happened to him yesterday. But as far as his technique and the way he is trained, it's high and tight. We work on it every day.

(When he fumbles early, what kind of effect does that have on him? Is he too worried about it and then not able to get the explosive gains?)

I would think based on the experience that we've had, because he has fumbled early in a number of games, I have stayed with him running the football. But I know Edgar Bennett is frustrated by it. We need to do a better job there. All of our guys that carry the football need to be conscious of protecting. We practice it every day. We have a period just football security. I don't think it slows him down where he is now running cautiously. No, I don't see that on film.

(Can you talk about the job Tauscher and Clifton did yesterday?)

I thought Chad played very well, very well in the passing game, especially who he was competing against. That's as good as it gets as far as a pass rusher, and I thought Mark did a very nice job too. They both graded out winning performances. I thought our offensive line as a whole, both in the run-blocking unit and pass protection, had one of their better games.

(Do things look pretty good for Harris to return for Tennessee, and if so, do you put him back in the starting lineup right away or ease him in?)

We're hopeful. We're hopeful that Al will be able to go. We'll probably start him with some form of practice on Monday. Dr. John Gray, he needs to be cleared first medically. Once we get over that first hurdle and as we get through a week of practice that will probably answer the second part of your question.

(Are you doing another scan on him again Monday?)

That's up to Dr. John. I'm not sure.

(What happened on the missed field goal? Was it just the kicker?)

He missed the kick. The hold and the snap was fine.

(You appeared to think it was good at first. Was it that close?)

The thing about it is you can't challenge it if it's over the top of the (uprights). Just the way it came off his foot I thought it was fine, but I haven't seen the TV copy of it. How did it look on the TV copy? Close. He just missed it.

(You gave your no comment, but is there any recourse for what happened with Favre and the Lions? Can you call anybody or do anything?)

I'm not going to do anything about it. I have no comment.

(Is there any chance of Woodson's toe healing in the next two weeks or will he deal with that all season?)

As far as today, Pat McKenzie has not seen Charles so I don't know how the foot came out of the game to answer your first part of the question. This time off is definitely going to help him, but it's really how he comes out of the game.

(I've never heard a coach say it was a bad time for the bye, but is there a bad time?)

That's a fair question. I would think if you're extremely healthy and you've won a bunch of games and you're playing at a high level, it would probably be a bad time for a bye. This is a good time for the bye for our football team. I think we need this from a health standpoint, and that's really the primary focus as we go into this week

(What do you do personally during the bye? Do you take some time off?)

Yeah, I'll take some time off at the end of the week.

(Do you have anything planned?)

No, nothing big.

(How about the assistant coaches?)

They'll get some time off at the end of the week too. We'll get a head start on Tennessee and we'll work on them a little bit today and tomorrow and Wednesday, do some self-scout things and just make sure everything is in order.

(You dealt with injuries for several weeks and you got to the bye at 4-3. What did you learn about this team and what does that say about your depth?)

I think anytime you go through adverse situations you definitely have an opportunity to learn. I know I did. I had to learn as a head coach to adjust the schedule. Try to do things that continue to put your team in position to prepare to win. I think there are a lot of things that come out of that. As far as the individual players, a lot of younger guys got opportunities so with that we've increased the experience of our overall football team. I think there is a lot of positive experiences that could come out of this tough stretch that we went through, and hopefully we won't have to go through another one.

(Woodson mentioned the sideline has been better the last couple of games. How much impact can that have?)

I think it's very important. Energy, communication, all of that is good. The one problem we have on the sideline is it seems like most guys want to get on the field. We need to back up a little bit, but those are good problems to have. Our team is into it. They believe in one another. The offense is rooting on the defense and vice versa. That's all part of competition. That's the environment you want to play in. That's the environment that we stress to our players to keep because that's when we play our best football.

(Have you noticed the same observation?)

Oh, absolutely. That's something I watch a lot and that's something I talk about a lot. I think it's an important part of our workplace on Sunday afternoon.

(You called out the crowd last week. Did it come through for you?)

I didn't call out the crowd. We have a great crowd. No, I thought our crowd was great.

(Guys mentioned it had an effect. Did you feel the same?)

Absolutely. Our crowd was awesome, especially on the third downs and when Indianapolis was using the no-huddle. That's a big part of it because it is all about communication. When you have a team that's playing, everybody runs a 4.6 40, but when you've got a football team that is hitting on all cylinders and they are communicating and getting lined up, they are really playing at 4.4. When you are not hitting on all cylinders and you're not communicating, you're usually playing at 4.8. That's how I watch the tempo of the game a lot of times. Usually when guys slow down and they are thinking and not playing, it is probably because of some breakdown in some type of communication. Maybe they didn't get the call clean or getting on the same page with the guy next to him, so that is a big part of it.

(The ball Aaron threw at the goal line in traffic, he's done that pretty rarely right, trying to force it?)

It was a tight throw. Just watching the film, it was just a basic slant play. He missed the throw. I would have liked to have seen him dump off there, but we were actually fortunate that it wasn't a turnover.

(How did Chillar do in his extended playing time, and will you look to use him more than as a matchup guy, or is that his role?)

You know what, when we talk personnel every Tuesday as we go into the week as far as the offense, defense and special teams coordinators, you're always talking about utilizing your personnel. The one thing we've been able to do throughout the year, I think it's been every game this season if memory serves me correct here, is we've had six linebackers up every week. It's just the ability to utilize those guys because I think they all bring something to the table and I'd like to see us use them more. Situations in the game really create those opportunities so we have those things in our defense, but it's really being comfortable enough to utilize guys when you think it gives you the best chance to be successful.

(How did Brandon do?)

He played very well. He actually graded out very well.

(I can't remember the timeline, but is the McCarthy family scheduled to expand soon?)

Pretty soon. You'll be the first to know, trust me.

(When is she due?)

Pretty soon.

(How does that work? Do you have some contingencies?)

How does what work? She's going to have a baby just like everybody else in this world.

{sportsad300}(What if it happens during a game?)

Middle of the game? We'll be fine. It's going to work out fine. How does it work? That's great. Do you guys fine each for questions like that? That should be a fineable question right there.

(A.J. said his groin is fine. Will he be back in the nickel with Barnett or is Chillar just better for you there?)

I'll just say this, I'm glad we're at the bye and I think it's great we came out of the game the way we did with A.J. only playing a couple of snaps. He has a chance to get healthy and that's a very healthy situation to be in. That linebacker group is clearly the best group that I have seen from one through six, any way you look at it. Those are good problems to have, and I tell you all of the time we don't just have 11 starters. I think in hindsight it was a good move that A.J. didn't have to play as much this week.

(Are you as detailed in baby preparations as you are in game preparations?)

It's been 17 years since I have been through this, but I don't remember doing a whole lot. I'll carry the bag and make sure there is gas in the car, things like that. I can handle that.

(Is there a chance it will happen during the bye?)

There is a good chance, yes. There is a chance.

(The 12-men-on-the-field penalty yesterday, Cole was about 25 yards away from the line of scrimmage trying to get off. Does the league have to look at that rule and so as not to just call a cheap penalty?)

I don't think so. Really that goes back to communication; we shouldn't have been subbing in that situation because you only can go down on the 30-yard line. Peyton was smart to take advantage of us trying to substitute there. You can't substitute when you get down past the twenty. There is just too far to go. That's one of the beauties of no-huddle.

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