Skip to main content

Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 28

(Is Aaron's foot injury still sore?)

He's having some tenderness with it. There's just some particular movements where it bothers him, so we'll be smart with him today and tomorrow.

(Is that at all related to his foot injury from two years ago?)

No, totally different. This is a sprain.

(Why didn't Wells go today?)

Scott Wells was absent from work today. He had a personal reason he was attending to, a very positive one, so he'll be back tomorrow.

(How would you like to see the fans react to Favre on Sunday?)

I think once the ball is kicked off the Green Bay Packer fans will be the great fans that they always are. Our fans have a lot of class. I think they'll be appropriate. I was here in '99. I remember when Mike Holmgren came back. I think our fans our first class. I think they'll handle it appropriate.

(Brett said earlier today that maybe things worked out the best for everyone. Would you agree?)

I'm very comfortable where we are today as a football team. It seems like he's happy over there in Minnesota. That's really my focus. As far as his situation over there, and if he's happy, that's great. But going back to that time for everybody, really in my view it has nothing to do with today's game, or Sunday's game.

(How do you think Aaron stood up to all that pressure in the dome?)

I thought Aaron played very well in that football game. We had a number of tough situations throughout the game that he continued to overcome. We had a lot of productivity on offense. It's a tough place to play. Every offense goes through it up there. It starts with their D-line to jump that snap count and so forth. I thought time and time again, he was overcoming negative situations. I thought he played well.

(Do you have to try to decide on defense to stop Adrian Peterson or Brett Favre, or can you handle it all?)

You always go into a game trying to handle it all, but there's a starting point for everything, and if you go to any defensive meeting on Wednesday morning, I would say 99.9 percent of them are going to talk about stopping the run first, regardless of who they're playing. You want to make the opposing offense be one-dimensional, and a lot of that holds true for us this week.

(Is the defense getting overlooked a little bit? They're ranked third in the league right now.)

I don't know. I don't know what people really think of our defense. I know we've got a damn good defense. They're getting better each week. It's a process that you go through. Just visiting with Dom throughout the spring and going through training camp, he's done this before. He's come into programs and installed this defense. There's a course that you take, there's some bumps in the road, and I think our defensive players are doing a good job of overcoming those types of things. We're finding a comfort level. They're moving through their menu of things that we've set in the spring to tailor it to the skill sets of our players, and I'm very excited about the path that we've taken.

(In what ways have you seen growth on defense, in specific areas?)

Anytime you play a multiple scheme, it doesn't matter what phase you're in, offense, defense and special teams, there's a higher level of communication, whether it's how much or how exact or what people try to do to you. So it really starts with the communication. Communication is a great tool to judge the confidence of your unit. Our communication gets better and better each week. It keeps us all where we're supposed to be and doing the things that we want to do in particular sets and so forth. I think the biggest improvement has been in communication.

(Are you ready for Ahman Green to have an active role on Sunday?)

We're looking at Ahman as far as contributing. He'll potentially have an opportunity to be up. We have some injury situations that we're working through. But I like what I've seen so far from Ahman. Once again, he wasn't here for training camp. Things have changed in the offense since our time together in the past. We're just trying to work him through that.

(What does having Bigby mean for this game?)

I think it goes back a little bit to the question I just talked about communication. I think the communication back there is a lot cleaner. Atari was here from day one, when Dom installed the defense. Just the checks. When you play against Minnesota, they're going to roll eight, nine, 10 personnel groups at you, and it's just the ability to communicate and get lined up. That part of it is a big advantage compared to where we were on Monday Night Football up there. The second part, Atari is a good football player. He has the potential to be an impact player, and there's a reason why he's a starting safety on our defense. It's definitely great to have him back.

(Did Spitz have a setback?)

Jason Spitz went and had a second opinion on his back and just had some treatment. I anticipate that he'll go tomorrow, but we'll see how he is in the morning.

(Any worries about using Green and Tauscher in this game when they haven't hit live yet?)

That's really part of the course that we've taken with both Mark Tauscher and Ahman Green. Just the ability to try to work them up to the point where everybody's comfortable with them being ready. I can't simulate live action at this point in the season. We practice hard, our padded practices are physical, but there's nothing like live action.

(What are you thinking with Tauscher?)

Well, the thing with Mark, Mark's been here longer than Ahman, but Mark's coming off a major injury where Ahman isn't. You could look at that either way. Our offensive line, we're getting healthy there. We've got a bunch of different combinations we're going to work the week, and frankly until all the information's in, then we'll decide which way we're going to go. We're trying to look at all those guys throughout the week.

(So you're legitimately not sure what five guys are going to start?)

That's correct. That's correct, yes.

(If Winfield can't go, what would they miss?)

I think Winfield is an excellent player. I've said that before in here. In my opinion, from a defensive standpoint, he's one of, I don't want to say my favorite players, I think he's one of the better defensive players in the NFC. I just love the way he plays. He's physical, he's tough against the run. He's competitive, he's well-experienced. He has a unique set of skills. He's definitely their best player in the secondary. But everybody has injuries this time of year. Every team is going through it. I would definitely think he's one of the leaders or one of their better players on their football team.

(When you think of what Grant did on Sunday, does it change your approach with the run or how you feel about the running game now?)

Yeah, I thought our running game was much improved Sunday (and) the ability to run the ball that many times is a big part of it. I thought our blocking unit played better. You saw a lot more continuity, combination blocks and things like that. I thought Ryan ran it hard, so it's the direction we want to go. We want to be balanced, the ability to be balanced in every game.

(You like to run a high number of plays. How do you balance that with running the ball, which takes plays off the board?)

We're trying to run as many plays as possible. It doesn't matter to me if they are runs or passes. You want them to be productive plays. We call plays based on situations, based on the flow of the game, things that happen during the course of the game. You always have a starting point in every football game that I've ever planned for, but games go in different directions, from a positive and a negative outlook. You've got to be able to take advantage of things if the opportunity presents itself, whether it's running the ball or throwing the ball. Really, running the ball or throwing it to me doesn't really factor in how many plays you run. It's the ability to be up-tempo, play fast and be productive.

(Is Jake Allen likely to be up on Sunday?)

Jake will have a very good chance of being up. That's something we're looking at. We have four wide receivers right now that are healthy.

(For the offensive line starters, is it as simple as who practices the best this week, or is it about matchups and gut feelings?)

I'm looking for continuity and cohesiveness. I think that's clearly what you look for in every offensive line, the ability to play next to the same guy more than one or two weeks. We've had a hard time hitting that target. That's just the way it has gone for us as far as injuries and some of the rotations we've had to go through. We're striving to find that group collectively that plays with some continuity. We're doing the best we can to get that done.

(Aaron is No. 2 in quarterback rating and just won player of the month. Has he exceeded your expectations for what you thought?)

It's funny; it reminds me a little bit of the way my father raised me. You never really knew where you stood. Aaron Rodgers, he just won the NFC Offensive Player of the Month and we haven't even given him a game ball yet, so I think we need to take a closer look at how we're judging him. He's a young man, he's talented, he works hard, and he deserves everything that he accomplishes. He's just doing a really good job of running the offense and I can't say enough about that. I guess based on him not getting a game ball I guess he's not playing good enough yet. We'll see what happens.

(Have you ever seen him bothered by anything that's happened, the drama in the past or now?)

I'll say this about Aaron: Aaron wants to play football. He wants to win games. He's human, just like all of us. Has it been discussed? Yes, we've talked about it, but it doesn't do anything good to take it any further that. It's a great situation for Aaron Rodgers. He's taken full advantage of it and we're proud that he's our quarterback. That's the facts.

{sportsad300}(Do you think there's any shot Finley will practice this week?)

Based on what Dr. McKenzie feels about Jermichael, it's going to be as much treatment around the clock between now and...Saturday will potentially the first test day, or a Sunday morning workout is what we are shooting for.

(So on gameday you'll work him out, and if he can go, he'll go?)

That's our plan, yes.

(With younger players, you've always said if they don't practice, they won't play. Why the different approach with him?)

The reason why we have decided to take this approach with Jermichael is just the impact that he has more on our situation on offense. We have a lot of things, like I'm sure a lot of offenses do, you carry over week-to-week and he is a big part of that. So, things that we're looking to carry over from past weeks where there are a lot of reps and so forth, we'd like to have the opportunity to potentially carry that into the game, and he gives us that, so that's why we've taken this path.

(Does not having Jermichael Finley limit you versus having Havner?)

I think Spencer has done a good job, but I don't have any qualms about running the things we have run with two tight ends. Jermichael is unique; I think we all recognize that as far as the matchup opportunities that he gives you, which was evident in the game up there in Minnesota. We felt that he was an excellent matchup for us in that game and he took full advantage of that opportunity with the big evening up there. Really the next set of issues when you game plan, it's not Spencer, it's not having the third tight end. You never want to go into a game where you are one injury away from being out of your core base concepts that you are planning for that game. You don't want to have your whole offense in two tight ends. Those are some of the things we're looking at.

(What's the difference you've seen with Brett between now and his past great years?)

He plays the game at such a high speed. That's the thing that I think Brett has always done a very good job of. He sees the game fast, he plays fast, and he gets the ball out of his hand. I think it's obvious to everybody that he can still make the throws. He still has his legs; he can still move around. I think he was such an exceptional athlete physically when he was younger, and now he still has the skill set to play at a high level. But I think the ability to see the game and play as fast as he does has been a big asset for the Vikings.

(With the game Jared Allen had last time, do you change things schematically or do you not want to over-react?)

You make adjustments for players that you feel may be a challenge for you on Sunday. That's no different in this case, but also they can make changes too. He doesn't just always line up on the right side. He lines up on their left side too. It's 'who has the pen last' type thing. We just looked at the things, the particular plays where he was productive. Was it something that we did schematically or was it something that shouldn't have happened? That's always my view on it. He had a very productive day on paper, but some of the things that were created up there really throughout the game, those are things that we did ourselves that we can fix. He's a big part of their pass rush. They have been a different defensive line since he has arrived there. We definitely acknowledge that.

(What did you see last game? Technique and assignment issues?)

Correct, both. It's all part of it.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.