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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 26

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference Monday from Lambeau Field.

Good afternoon. I'd like to start with the injury report. Jermichael Finley had a knee sprain. He'll be a longshot to go this week. We're going to give him the full week to take a shot at it. He'll be in a very limited fashion this week. Derrick Martin had a hamstring strain. He'll probably miss some practice time this week. And then Brett Swain will have season-ending knee surgery. Very unfortunate for Brett and his injury yesterday in Cleveland. With that I'll take your questions.

(So you're down to three healthy wide receivers?)


(What are your plans there?)

That's what we're working through right now. The personnel department is looking at their options, and we'll probably make a decision here in the next 24 hours.

(How long before Jordy will be ready?)

He's still ... just to classify him as a couple more weeks. Pat feels he's making good progress, and he's probably a couple weeks away.

(Can you get by with three wide receivers?)

No, we'll acquire another receiver, definitely.

(Is Jake Allen a possibility?)

Definitely. Jake Allen is a definite possibility.

(How's it looking for Tauscher and Green?)

Dr. McKenzie has cleared Mark Tauscher, so he'll be a full participant this week, and we'll evaluate Mark as far as how he fits into our plan. And the same will be true for Ahman Green.

(Did you feel worse about Finley after the game, that the injury might be worse?)

We had the tests this morning, so that's really where the most information comes out of for Dr. McKenzie and the medical staff to make a true evaluation. It's always different with every player. Sometimes it's clear-cut as far as what the doctor's opinion is of the seriousness of the injury, but sometimes you're dealing with a player that's never been hurt before. Sometimes you're dealing with a player that's been hurt numerous times and the medical staff has history with. Really, there's a lot of variance between every diagnosis and how the doctors feel after each game.

(Where is this team at from a confidence standpoint after these last two games?)

Confidence? Our confidence is high, and it damn well should be. We're growing as a football team. We're coming forward with the targets we're trying to hit. I think we're definitely from a preparation standpoint, it's looking the way you want it to look week in and week out. We're going through an injury phase right now, which most teams in the league are. It's very normal coming up on the halfway point of the season. We feel like we're building each week, getting better, growing. Guys are stepping up with their opportunities. I think Spencer Havner is an excellent example of that yesterday. We feel very very good about ourselves as a football team.

(What did you see in Havner the last three years on the practice squad to keep him around?)

Spencer Havner, really his opportunity being here for those three years, when we came out of the spring evaluation, A, we were putting in a new defense, so he's learning the inside linebacker position and was doing a very good job. But he's always been such a very good utility player, both on special teams and even, what happens during the season a lot of times for teams is you may have a practice squad linebacker on your team, but he also plays tight end in the drills, so he's always shown the ability to play both sides of the ball. Going through the personnel in the spring, we just felt we needed to create an opportunity to get Spencer on the 53. The opportunity was created with him playing both tight end and linebacker and trying to be a core special teams player, and he definitely took advantage of that in the preseason. I thought his special teams play was definitely exemplary coming off the way he played those last three, four games when he was up on our 53-man roster to finish last season. We just felt he's an instinctive football player. He's a young man that's taken full advantage of his opportunities. You love to see guys like Spencer have success, and that was what went on there yesterday.

(On the opening kickoff that hit the pylon, was that the right ruling?)

The referee was right on it. He said the ball hit the turf. He was right there. We watched it again this morning on the tape. He's standing right on top of it. No one had a better view than he did, and he was decisive with the call. His explanation was the ball hit the turf and then the pylon, and I know it looked, because I thought the same thing, the pylon just popped out, you thought it was a touchback. But that was not the case.

(So if it hits the pylon on the fly, it's a touchback?)

It's part of the end zone.

(How did Lang grade out?)

I thought T.J. played well. I thought he played very well in the run game. He had some opportunities in the pass protection that he did a good job in. He had a couple opportunities, particularly things he hasn't seen schematically and from a technical standpoint that he'll learn from. I was very pleased with T.J.'s performance.

(Where are you with Clifton?)

Just speaking with the medical staff, Chad made a lot of progress last week. We're probably going to take him through the rehab part of it Wednesday and Thursday and see if he can go on Friday. That's our plan for the week, and how he responds to that will obviously give us the path to try to get him ready for the game.

(Do you feel good enough about T.J. Lang that you can go with him this week?)

The way we're planning and just the way you go about it every Monday, we're planning to play the game with the individuals that finished the game.

(How about Spitz?)

He came off of Friday, the extensive work that he had, felt good. I had a chance to visit with Spitz before the game. He's going to get some more tests tomorrow. Hopefully he's out of the woods. Low back issues are always a little different, so we'll see where he is come Wednesday.

(Do you want to move him back into the center position if he's good to go?)

As far as the health of these guys, that's the priority. Just like I said, the people we finished the game with, that will be the starting point for us in our game planning tonight and tomorrow.

(Is there anything you learned in preparing for the Vikings the last time, about handling the hype and things like that?)

So the media relations aspect of it? How did we handle it last time? I didn't see the grade. Did we do OK there? I know we lost the game. Yeah, I think our players do a very good job of handling the extracurricular activities and the emphasis around every football game. It is unique; there is no question about it. I thought they did a very good job last time the week of the Monday night game. I thought they were very focused. We had a quality week. As far as the actual game, every game is a little different. Their team is a little different than they were three weeks ago, no different than we are, especially with the health reports on both sides. We'll prepare like we always do and we'll have a good plan for our players. They'll go through a great week and we'll be ready to go Sunday.

(From an attention standpoint, given that the game is here and every media moron is going to be here ...)

Media moron? You said that now. OK. I just wanted to make sure everybody heard that.

( you take any different approach?)

No, I don't. I don't know why we would go about it any differently. We would like to spend more time with the media, but Jeff only lets us in here so long. The schedule is still the same. We're not changing the schedule. We'll look at their game today. We're ready to get on to Minnesota today, but really we won't change our practice schedule, we won't change anything.

(Facing the same team so soon after you lost to them, is there a tendency to think you have to change everything, and do you have to fight that a little?)

I'm sure that's happened before. I don't feel that way. I think there is definitely a lot of positives in the football up there on Monday night that we'll definitely take away from it and we'll definitely try to establish that again. There are definitely the things that you don't want to do again, as far as the negatives that went on. They're a good football team; we're a good football team. I think it's going to be a hell of a game.

{sportsad300}(Are you confident you're significantly better than you were three weeks ago?)

We're an improved football team and we've improved the last two weeks. That's really what my focus is on. We're 4-2. We won two games that we felt we were the better team than our opponent. That's what you are supposed to do, but more importantly, you have to improve. Confidence is a big part of this business and our confidence has definitely grown. It's a plan, a preparation, a perform, and it's a correction mindset, and I think our team has done a very good job with that.

(Last time you were very happy you slowed down Adrian Peterson, but how much time do you spend with Dom Capers this week talking about things to do differently on defense?)

I'm not going to sit here and talk about the specifics of the game plan, but Dom and I met this morning. We had a chance to watch the game, the Cleveland game, and then after that we spoke about our plan going forward with the Vikings. That process has already started, and every game is different. You may think that you did something last week and you're going to do it again today; that's not necessarily true. That's the challenge of this business. That's why you play the games. The games are not played on stat sheets; it's played on the football field. We definitely feel like we have some advantages, No. 1 starting with playing in Lambeau Field. Those are the things that we'll focus on and make sure that we're utilizing all of our assets.

(Is it possible to shut down Peterson and Favre or is it pick-your-poison?)

Well, we've been able to shut down our opponent the last two weeks with the run and make them one-dimensional. That's always a starting point. Anytime you're able to be one-dimensional on offense, you're playing uphill. So that will be a starting point, but yeah, you definitely want to stop the run and shut down the pass every week. Adrian Peterson and Favre definitely present a big challenge for us. I think their perimeter is really playing very well. Rice has been extremely productive at the wide receiver spot. All of that stuff factors into your game planning.

(How much of a difference will having Bigby back make for the defense?)

Just like when he came back, Atari is a starter and he's been here since Day 1 with the installation of the defense. The communication has definitely picked up since he has been back. We've improved. I think that is a big part of us improving as a defense. Those guys are coming together. They are playing with a ton of confidence. Our defense has a ton of confidence, and rightfully so. But definitely, Atari has contributed to that.

(Will it be a challenge for the defense to generate turnovers against this team?)

It is every week. We are No. 1 in the National Football League in turnover ratio. It's something that we put an emphasis on, I'm sure like everybody does in this league. We're doing an excellent job taking away the football and we're doing an excellent job with the giveaways. I think we're second or third in the league in takeaways, and I think we're first in giveaways. We practice it every day, and it's always nice when you see your training show up on Sundays. That won't change this week.

(Was there anything different in looking at Grant?)

I think the first thing for Ryan was two weeks in a row we were able to get him up over 20-plus attempts. That helps any running back, just the ability to get into a rhythm, stay on your course, trust your reads, not try to make things happen, let things happen, and I thought he did a good of that. I thought he really ran on time. I thought the pace of the way we played as far as the fit between our run blocking and the path and the course of the back, we were much better this week than we were last week. Those are the things you look for. When you talk about continuity and timing, that doesn't always reference just the passing game. It also references the run game. It's got to fit together and I think we took a big step this week. Obviously the way Ryan ran the ball was a big part of it.

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