Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 6

OK, I'll start with the injuries. Chad Clifton had a hamstring strain. He'll miss some time this week. A.J. Hawk, groin strain, he's about the same as what he was last week. Michael Montgomery had an ankle sprain. Ryan Pickett has some knee tendonitis we'll deal with this week. Aaron Rodgers with the shoulder sprain. Very similar to where he was last week. Actually they think he's improved. And Donald Driver had a thumb contusion. With that I'll take your questions.

(Is A.J.'s condition a concern? Did he play up to his normal level yesterday?)

I think it affected his play at times. The burst wasn't probably what it was in the past. Missing practice time doesn't help anybody, so we'll see how he feels Wednesday and make sure we try to get him some practice time if he were to go in Seattle.

(His break on the ball on that touchdown, did the injury slow him down?)

He did a nice job recognizing it. He had leverage on the tight end initially and then spun around. It was good play recognition on his part. They ran the play earlier in the year to the other side. He just lost his leverage.

(Any sense if or when Rodgers will practice this week?)

I'm not going to practice him Wednesday, and we're going to stay in the rehab. Then we're looking at potentially limited Thursday was the conversation we had with the doctors, and we'll take it from there.

(Was he affected by not practicing? Were there any plays where you thought it would have gone differently if he had practiced?)

Referring to Aaron? I think practice time usually shows up in your decision-making grade. Not off the top of my head. He graded out very well. We graded him as a winning performance. I thought he had an excellent performance with everything he was dealing with. The biggest negative was the interception. Throwing across your body late over the middle like that is definitely ... I don't think it has anything to do with practice time because that's a play he's run time and time again. I guess to answer your question, no.

(Do you go into this week expecting him to play in Seattle, or will you go through the same thing Sunday morning?)

No, we're going to go into the week planning on Aaron to play, just based off the conversation I just had with Dr. McKenzie. He thinks we're ahead of where we were last week. It's just important for today, tomorrow and Wednesday to rehab, try to get in front of it. Just try to keep the throws as limited as we possibly can over the course of the week. That's why giving him three days is the best option. Then we'll see where we are Thursday.

(Did you learn a lot about his toughness and grit the way he played?)

Absolutely. He played big in that game. Being down at the workout on Sunday, I just left an open mind to it. I didn't feel very good about where he was on Friday, but all along you collect the information that you're given from the player, from the doctor, from the rehab specialists and the trainers and so forth, and he was in a lot of pain. For him to go out and throw the ball the way he did and play the way he did is a tribute to him, and he definitely played big in the game. Very impressed with it.

(What did you see on tape with the run defense, and how do you overcome losing Jenkins?)

The run defense, really the biggest thing that factored for us in run defense was a number of times, it's almost like we took turns doing it, was guys trying to do too much. I think that's something you try to guard against, you try to practice against, because that's emphasized. Maybe they read your guys' articles too much. But when you've got a problem, run defense is all about gap control, the proper technique and playing to the guy next to you. And the way we're situated and organized on defense, it's very evident when something goes wrong, someone not being in their gap. We had it a number of times where the defender had his head in the right gap, he has his gap in control, and then he pulls out trying to make the play. We need to get that cleaned up, and that's what we'll do today in our meetings.

(Did that have anything to do with Turner grinding out extra yards or was that just on the plays that bounced outside?)

I'm talking about throughout. Whether it's the power play or the bounce play or the misdirection, the zone plays that bend back where they release the tight end. Everybody has a gap, everybody has a key, and you have to stick your head in the gap and play with leverage, and it bounces to the free hat. That's the way we're situated.

(With only three defensive tackles in the rotation, is that having an impact?)

It's a challenge, no doubt about it. It's definitely a challenge, and the importance of getting off the field on third down is even moreso, because it's definitely to the offense's advantage when you have the defense on the field. You get up there in play number 6, 7, and 8, 9, that's something I look for as a play-caller, you start pounding that ball, and it catches up to you. The key to defense is to get on and off the field in three plays. You start getting those long drives and it catches up to you in the game.

(How frustrated are you with that side of the ball? You said when Favre retired that defense would be this team's identity.)

The emphasis on defense is really from the day we put our program in. Every time you have a marquee player like that, sometimes it goes unnoticed, or you guys weren't listening or whatever. But the importance of defense will always be the priority as far as we plan and in how we play games. I look at the defense as thermostat in a football game. They need to keep the game in order, and it starts with stopping the run, and we're not doing a very good job of it. They know it, and we take the realistic approach. We're going to coach them hard and grade the film, just like we always have, and we need to get it fixed. Sometimes as a coach you can over-emphasize things, you can over-coach things. I think, not taking the responsibility away from the players, but we have guys who are just trying to do too much, and that's the facts.

(What's your plan for Atari this week?)

I don't know. They're going to test him. We have a number of guys we're going to test, and his test didn't go very well last week, so hopefully he's a week better. I know he's champing at the bit and he's doing everything he can to get out there, but until he can get through the testing process, he won't be active.

(When he's not in there, what are you missing? Is there an attitude component there?)

Atari is a very good football player. That's why he's our starting safety. I really thought Atari came into his own in the later half of the season, as far as his ability to make big plays, big hits. He plays with an attitude, he plays with the toughness and a tenacity that you're looking for in a safety. He's definitely one of our better players, and he's doing everything he can to get back.

(If you don't have Clifton, will you go with the way you finished the game or change the lineup?)

We'll talk about that tonight and tomorrow, but that's obviously one of the options. We'll see how Chad's doing.

(You didn't sack Matt Ryan and he was hit only once. Why not go after a rookie quarterback more?)

There was a number of five-man pressures, and frankly we had a number of one-on-ones, if you watch the film closely, that we didn't win. I thought Bob was aggressive with the number of five-man pressures, man free, that we had called in the game. We didn't do a very good job pressuring the quarterback, we didn't do a very good job of pressuring their receivers. We play bump-and-run. The receivers don't run off the line against our coverage unit. That wasn't the case a lot of times yesterday. Pressure was not what it needed to be from our defense yesterday.

(Are you puzzled by why you're struggling with these basic things on defense?)

I'm not puzzled at all. It's, number one, when you look at who's making the mistakes, the experience level of the players. I'm talking about we had a number of young players on our defense yesterday who had an opportunity and didn't take advantage of it, and that's the facts. I thought some of our veteran players played solid, and we didn't get production that we needed throughout the whole defense. It was a poor performance from our defense. That was very evident. They know it, and we'll correct it and move on. But we had some young guys with an opportunity yesterday that really didn't take advantage of it.

(Do you plan on sticking with the training camp theme and the extra individual work in practice, and did it work?)

Yeah, I liked our week of preparation last week. I thought the structure of it and the fundamental part, emphasis, was something that we went through the week we felt good about. I thought we improved in some areas, and there were some areas that we took a step backwards. We will probably go with the same format this week.

(How bad is Montgomery's ankle, and what did you think of Thompson when he was in there?)

Michael Montgomery, they are actually doing more testing on the ankle, so he doesn't have all of the information. We'll see. Michael's a tough guy, so I think if it's not too serious he'll be back sooner than later. Thompson, I thought he did OK. He is one of the younger guys I was referring to. Kind of tentative, feeling his way through it. So it's a good experience for him, but tryouts are over. I understand that, but he needs to be more aggressive with his opportunities.

(Can anybody give you more than you're getting out of KGB?)

KGB, he's coming off of that injury and I think he has gotten stronger and stronger each week, so you just keep working that way. I think that Jason Hunter was showing some flashes before he got hurt, and Mike Montgomery in certain situations. We'll spend some time today and tomorrow talking about the defensive line and making sure we are using the rotation that can help us the best.

(What's the trickle-down effect of Kabeer not being the pass rusher so far that he's been in the past? Are teams shifting more help to Kampman?)

They chipped both of them. They chipped both of them when they had the two backs in the game. You've got to pressure the quarterback. Everybody has the same objective when you play week in and week out. Just because you blitz doesn't mean you are going to get the guy free. Blitzing is to create one-on-ones, matchups in my opinion, and you need to win those, whether it's a four-man rush with the defensive end on the tackle or a linebacker on a back. That's the stuff we need to do a better job of. We've got to pressure the quarterback.

(Is it mostly the knee with Kabeer because speed is so important to his game?)

Oh, absolutely. His knee and his ankle are things that he has been fighting through, but he's doing a great job as far as the extra time and work that he is putting into it.

(Did you feel you had more success running the ball when Colledge and Barbre were in the game?)

I wouldn't say that. I thought our finish at times wasn't what it needed to be. I thought we had some really clean looks and I thought Ryan did a nice job running the football. But you've got to beat the second reaction of the defense, getting up on the second level. We had some opportunities that we'll get better at. Number one, you have to get the attempts up. The thing when you look at the offense, the first thing that jumps off of the stat sheet was the first downs. We had 10 yards of offense in the first quarter, and then after that we played pretty good. So you have to get the attempts up, and that helps any run game, and I think we did a better job. As far as Chad Clifton at left tackle, Chad didn't have a very good day.

(On Grant's 14-yard run down their sideline, when Milloy made the one-on-one tackle, did you think that's a play Ryan might have broken or juked past him?)

The thing I look at, and it's the way they are coached, there is going to be a free hat on every run and obviously you want it to be the back-half safety. Anytime you are able to create a perimeter player in space with the football, if you give the guy five yards, that's what you're looking for. I don't know if that was actually the case and if we're thinking about the same play. Lawyer Milloy's strength is the run-support safety. I think he showed that on the reverse with Donald Driver. Hey, he'll break those tackles more so than not. That is Ryan's strength, but the most important thing is we're getting him to the second level. Now that we've got that, I think better days are ahead

(You didn't agree with some of the penalty calls, but the ones that were valid, are you concerned about them?)

The holding ones bother me because we had a couple of them that frankly were just sloppy. Jarrett Bush's hold was unnecessary. It was one thing to have your hands inside and have cloth, but when the defender extends, you need to let him go. Same with Allen Barbre's. We had some sloppiness in the holding, and that's the stuff I have a problem with. Combative penalties, you need to either take a stance on it one way or another. I'm promoting physical, tough football play, but it definitely has to involve good judgment. When you have holding where the defender is spinning away from you and you still have cloth and it's extended, that's not good judgment.

(Did you get anything from Pettway?)

I thought Pettway played well, played very well on special teams. I thought he did a nice job for just arriving here this week. I think he had about six or seven snaps on defense, but he did OK. I thought he did a nice job on special teams.

(What did they tell you on the field goal on Finley's penalty? That he hooked him?)

They said he was hooked, yes.

(You made a comment about a technique they use ...)

I was talking about the technique that they used on our end, which was next to Jermichael Finley.

(At the end of the game, is there any reason you can't get a stop there, when you know they're running the ball? Is that the most disappointing thing in all of this?)

I think it's a perfect example. The second and third down calls are a perfect example of what I have already talked about. If you want to look at it closely, look at the gap control. Look at the defender being tight to color and the free hat that comes in there on third down. Look at the, I think it's the 'B' gap on second down that is not filled immediately. That's exactly what I am talking about. It's the details of the things that are involved in good run defense. It just wasn't very clean.

(Is that overall lack of focus, and how do you get the players to maintain their focus?)

It's an every-day challenge. Fundamentals and technique, you're probably tired of hearing about it, but the execution of our football teams needs to improve. Those are the things that make up quality execution. That's why we practice, that's why you play the games. You are always chasing the perfect game; most of the times that doesn't happen. But we need to play at a higher level of execution so we're not sitting here on Monday talking about one or two plays that factored in the game. We need to be able to make enough plays or more than enough plays that if we do make a mistake it doesn't factor in the outcome of the game. That's our focus.

(What was the reasoning behind the onside kick versus kicking it deep when you only needed a field goal to tie?)

Two timeouts, time of the game, being backed up with less than 40 seconds if you did the calculation of the time and the timeouts. That's what the decision was made on.

{sportsad300}(What could or should Pat Lee have done on that pass interference penalty?)

I thought that was a tight call. We didn't grade him down for that particular play.

(Will you send a DVD to the league this week?)

Every week.

(Will it be more robust than usual?)

No, it will probably be the same as it has been the last four weeks because there has been a lot to talk about, and probably every week.

(Do you get a lot of clarification from the league on those?)

Oh yeah, it's a good process. They look at every one and they give you an explanation of what they think on the call. They either agree or disagree with you.

(When they agree with you, is that any consolation whatsoever?)

No, you can't control it.

(Do you adjust some things you teach or do based on the responses?)

I'll say this; I think the league does a very good job of being proactive in their teaching and emphasizing of what they are looking for. They send out memos almost on a weekly basis. There are emphasis tapes that are sent out. If they see something that is a particular event that is too tilted the wrong way, then they emphasize it and it is communicated. There is more than enough communication that comes from the league to the clubs.

(Given where you're at in your program, is this the most challenging point you've faced in your tenure?)

I don't look at it that way. I think you might want to ask me that after the season. This is Week 6. That's what I am looking for. I am disappointed that we lost the game because it was at home. It was a game that we felt we should win. It was a game that we didn't play to our capability. I'm not taking anything away from the Atlanta Falcons. I think they have done a nice job and they played well enough to win, but I'm focused on my team. You don't lose games at Lambeau Field. I thought the crowd was excellent. We had opportunities, and we didn't take advantage of them. But it's Week 6, and that's what I'm focused on.

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