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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 21

(What can Ahman Green bring to the team?)

Ahman Green, it's nice to have him back. We really felt that Ahman would upgrade our running back group. We had the unfortunate injury to DeShawn Wynn. We lost him for the season to knee surgery today. He will be placed on I.R. Also, a lot like Mark Tauscher, the ability to keep improving your 53-man roster. Both veterans have a lot of experience here, and we feel comfortable when the time is right and when needed, however it shakes out, that they will be productive players for us.

(How soon can he help you?)

I think time will answer that question. Really I would like to see him tomorrow in pads. I thought he looked good today. I know the personnel staff, Edgar Bennett, everybody involved with his workout on Tuesday felt that he looked good, but there is always the question of football shape. That's something you have to take the time to see where the players is. We'll have a full padded practice tomorrow. We'll probably have a lot better indication.

(Did you see his workout?)

I did not personally.

(Based on what you saw today, could you tell if he is different from a couple of years ago?)

I could not. We were in shells today and helmets. He still has excellent in-line quickness. He really has the ability to drop his pads and run with forward lean and the things you always liked about his running style. He showed a little burst out there today. Once again, I'd like to see more of him.

(What happened with Wynn?)

It's really something that he has had for some time as far as a certain condition, but then it flared up on him in training camp. It settled down and he was able to play, and I thought he was out of the woods personally. I just feel terrible for DeShawn. I think the path he has taken, the things he has accomplished so far, I really thought he was going to be a big factor for us this year. So he had another setback last week after the Monday practice coming off the bye, and Pat McKenzie did the surgery this morning at 9 a.m.

(So it would have been a season-ending injury?)

I haven't talked to Pat personally. I don't know if this would been an eight-week, 10-week (injury). That's something that I am not aware of. We had a plan obviously before he went into surgery, and once Pat was able to give us the information, then we made the decision to go with Ahman Green.

(Did you consider bringing Lumpkin up?)

Yes, definitely talked about Kregg Lumpkin. Very pleased with him as a player. Once again, we are just trying to build strength in numbers. We just felt this particular move at this time gives us a stronger 53-man roster and a stronger running back group.

(The Browns are dealing with the flu. How do you monitor that and does the league help you?)

Definitely, the league is definitely on top of it. There is a number of memos and communication from the league office starting as far back as last year. There is a plan in place for roster adjustments if needed, if a team is put in that type of situation. We're obviously aware of all of those adjustments if needed. We have a plan here as an organization with all of our employees, and particularly in the football operations. These are the type of things you plan for in the offseason, and we've had a few guys that have been ill. We've put them into the process and Pepper and the doctors are on top of it.

(Would you get a reprieve from the eight inactives or something like that?)


(What do you do from an environment standpoint with the flu?)

You're in the locker room and that area. We have all the hand sanitizers, the soap that I used in hospitals, and we're taking all of the precautions that we can. I think Pepper Burruss and his staff do an excellent job of communicating all the way back in spring. In the old days your training staff used to just talk to the team in training camp. We start our spring workouts that way. They have a presentation so it's something we try to continue to educate and offer everybody here to avoid as best as we can.

(Did Rodgers hurt his foot in the game?)

Yeah, he hurt it in the game but I think he's going to be fine. He practiced today. It's just sore.

(Have you ever had to deal with a quarterback controversy where you replaced a player after a few games, and is it tough to make a switch like that?)

Yeah, it's tough. I've been through it a couple of times. It's definitely something that you have to manage, especially in the locker room. It's like a lot of things; anytime there is change, there are opinions, and you have to manage it and communicate and move forward. Yeah, I've been through it a few times.

(It would seem like it would be scary to have to start a rookie left tackle, but has Lang shown you some things?)

You just go by his performance. I definitely think a full week of practice will help him. It will help him as we go through the week, but T.J. has really shown a lot of toughness. He's been productive in his times in there. It's kind of the same conversation; I feel like Groundhog's Day up here every time I talk about a young lineman that goes in and starts at one position and then goes to another. We're just kind of working him through that. But hey, we'll line up and play with him. I like his toughness. He competes. The other players noticed that right away. We'll get him ready to play.

(So are you pretty sure you won't have Clifton?)

No, the medical staff, and I talked to Chad. He feels he's a lot further ahead than he was last time that he injured it. We'll see how he is in the morning and maybe shoot for Friday.

(Can you talk about Barnett's performance on Sunday?)

I think Nick Barnett has just continued to increase with every game. I thought it was smart, even in hindsight, to limit him to the 35, 40 reps early in the season. Just visiting with Nick today, he feels good. He feels a lot more comfortable than he was in training camp going into Weeks 1 and 2. I think he's definitely getting to that spot where he's flying around and he's not thinking about things.

(What kind of challenge does Josh Cribbs present on special teams in the Wildcat?)

We have a lot of respect for their special teams. This will clearly be one of our toughest challenges of the year. Going through the statistics and the film study this morning, he's a dynamic player, arguably one of the best players on their whole football team. Anytime he touches the ball, I like the way he gets north and south right now, he's aggressive. He's just a good football player. He's dynamic, and you can see that when they put him in the Wildcat in their offense. I think he had 21 snaps in the Pittsburgh game and was productive. He's definitely a big part of their success, statistically with their two kickoff returns already for touchdowns and where they're ranked at in the league. He'll be a huge challenge for us this week.

(With Green and Tauscher, is there something to be said for adding veteran leadership to a young roster?)

Really the starting point of bringing both Mark and Ahman back was they're good football players, and that's something we like to think we never lose sight of. We're very fortunate that they also have history here, so you feel good about that. I know Ted does, I know I do, bringing those guys back and having them back on your football team. It's really about performance and getting as many good players as you can. At this point we're just trying to get them both healthy and get them in football shape.

(Green didn't live up to expectations in Houston, partially because of injuries. What did you see from his workout that made you think he could still be a factor?)

We have a lot of history with Ahman so we really didn't go off of what happened with the Texans. I know our personnel department, they stay in tune with all the players on the particular teams and particular area that each scout has. They have a grade and a definite opinion on where each individual player is, no different with Ahman Green. It was probably more just to see where he was health-wise, and we felt obviously he'd be a good fit. He has history here, he understands the offense, so the learning curve is minimal. It's really to see where he's at physically.

{sportsad300}(Is Brandon Jackson still limited in his snaps?)

I'd like to think we're going to get Brandon going this week. He had a little bit of action last week. Potentially on kickoff return, and that's something we'll work through this week. We have Quinn Johnson down with an injury, so I may have to back off just from a risk standpoint of having Brandon back there on kickoff. But he'll definitely be a bigger part of the offense this week.

(Any concern with putting Tramon Williams back as a returner since he is basically a starter as the nickel back?)

Well, you can go through the list just like I have. It's getting to that point that all the available candidates are playing offense or defense. Pick your poison if you want to take the negative outlook. I look at it as a positive when he gets the ball in his hands. He's an exciting returner. We're at that point right now. Everybody has injuries, and that's where we are.

(Is Swain an option back there as well?)

Yes he is. Yes, he's definitely an option.

(Are you surprised at how far along Matthews is after missing time in camp?)

I wouldn't say we're surprised because you could always see the ability from day one. That's obviously part of the reason he was drafted where he was drafted. He needs to play, just like all of our younger players. You can't buy real game-time reps. You can just see every opportunity that he had in the past, it was building. His productivity was building. I just can't say enough about the way Clay and our defense played this past week. I don't think I've ever sat through a grading session where every member of your defense had a winning performance. That's what the result is, the way they performed on Sunday. It's nice to see that building, and now we have to maintain it.

(Is Hawk having a tough time with the defense or is he just not getting enough opportunities to make plays?)

I don't look at it that way. If I was A.J. Hawk, I'd be disappointed I wasn't playing either. But that's what you want in your players. The fact of the matter is we haven't played much base the last two weeks. The game, the way the offense plays, has a lot to do with that. It's our responsibility to try to get A.J. involved in other areas. You go through a process where you try to acquire good football players and then if you get more than 11 then you have another set of problems. I don't look at it that way at all. We're trying to get as many good football players as we can, and we're trying to utilize them as much as we can. That's part of the reason why we've gone to the 3-4 defense, the personnel availability with the linebackers on special teams, and also the different personnel groups of defense throughout the whole group of linebackers. Yeah, he hasn't played a whole lot the last two weeks, but I don't really think anything's going on. I think A.J. is a solid, solid professional, just the way he goes about it. I don't mean solid, consistent, the way he shows up every day. He's fun to coach. He just doesn't have a lot of opportunities right now.

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