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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 8

(What is the prognosis on Michael Montgomery?)

Mike has a pretty good sprained ankle, just to quote Pat McKenzie. He's going to be challenged to play this week, so our plan for Mike Montgomery is to rehab him as much as we can today and tomorrow, and then Pat will re-assess his condition Friday morning. There is a slight potential that he'll be able to practice Friday, but I would think, just based off this morning's conversation and his evaluation, I would think he will be a Sunday workout guy that we'll work out before the game up in Seattle and see if he can go.

(Are you confident Jeremy Thompson could handle a bigger role?)

Jeremy Thompson will be up for this week. I anticipate him being active.

(Where is Jason Hunter at?)

He is not as close as we thought. I was hopeful he would be back this week. He will be re-evaluated Friday too, so our goal is maybe hopefully see him practice Friday, but he was not as far along this morning as Pat had hoped.

(Will Aaron Rodgers practice tomorrow or wait until Friday?)

The plan for Aaron was he was sore after Monday's rehab was extensive. He was sore yesterday so they backed off him, and then they were going to rehab him hard again today. We'll see where he is in the morning. My initial plan starting on Monday was for him to start throwing some tomorrow, but I want to see how he responds to today's rehab

(Aaron said he did not take a pain-killing injection last weekend, is that correct?)

If he said he hadn't, why would you ask me? I'm not going to talk about those type of things.

(What is your general philosophy on that?)

Player safety is at the forefront of every decision we make medically, and that will always be the case. There are other methods to dealing with those types of situations. But as far as players taking a shot, not taking a shot, I'm not going to comment on those things.

(Could you talk about the decision to release Tracy White?)

We just wish Tracy the best. He is definitely a player I was very fond of. He has played outstanding football for us. Danny is a young man we are excited about, and he'll be up this week. He took all of the reps today in special teams. Tough personnel decision.

(How much could you tell about him on special teams in practice or was it based more on his play in the preseason?)

There is reason why people come after a young man like that. It's based on the work that he has put on film. Actually in my conversation with Danny yesterday, I look at his experience here very similar to Kregg Lumpkin's. I think they are two young players I didn't know a whole lot of personally from my viewpoint, and every time they were given an opportunity they produced. They both grew on us in training camp and just kept getting better and better and better. Obviously Kregg Lumpkin made the 53 but Danny was right there too on the doorstep at the final cut. I just think they are both very similar in that they are going to keep progressing and I think they've got a chance to be excellent players.

(How many linebacker spots are you working him at?)

What personnel group are you in? He has the ability to play all three. Just as far as the game plan this week, I would say one.

(After losing three in a row, some coaches would be ranting and raving, but that doesn't seem to be the case with you. What is your approach?)

Being brutally honest. I've done my fair share of yelling. I don't do it here at the podium, but the message has been clear. I think it's important to just stay on top of what the positives are of the situation that we're in and stay definitely on top of the negatives. We appreciate the help with you guys keeping on top of the negatives. I'm kidding. It's not where we want to be. Who wants to lose three games in a row, but the important thing is Seattle. I think you have a seven-day schedule for a lot of different reasons. No one felt good after the game and probably no one slept very well Sunday night. We had a long opportunity Monday to go through it. We've gone through that and hit it again this morning, just some of the things as a follow up and we have moved on to Seattle. This is a big challenge. This is a tough place to play. They are a very good football team. They are well coached, so this is a big-time challenge. We can't be sitting here talking about what happened on Sunday. And that's one thing I made clear this morning. We are about the Seattle Seahawks right now.

(Seattle has struggled lately, but how do you gauge them since it is probably an aberration?)I would think so. They have had two difficult games, but they've both been east-coast games. Where they were a short time ago, that's the team we're looking at. We trust what is on the film. They have had some things that probably didn't work out the way they wanted. They are battling injuries too. Playing up in Seattle is a challenge. It's a loud stadium. I'm sure it's a big game from their viewpoint, and that's what we are preparing for. We think this is going to be one of those knock-down, drag-out type games.

(The television cameras captured some of your displeasure early in Sunday's game. Are you doing anything to try to change up the slow starts?)

Let's talk about slow starts. I think you have to look at it. What happened in your three-and-outs? I'm not going to change the way we prepare. I think by no means is there a reason to say we have to change our approach, whether it's being aggressive or what is being called. Joe Philbin and I sit down every Thursday night and we look at the start of every game we've played in and we look at the start of every game our opponent has played in. So from that we build the start of our game. I don't think there is anything wrong with our approach so I don't see changing anything there. I don't think I have a problem starting the game.

(Do you think players have come out flat?)

Flatness, I think that's convenient. I think they played better than we did in the first quarter. That is a term that was used and that's a term I got after them with. But when you look at the film you see effort. The execution wasn't quite there. We can dissect the game and harp on the negatives; that's what happens when we lose and I understand that, but a lot of those same problems happen when you win. So we need to just stay on top of the reality and we need to clean up our house and do a better job executing, whether it is the first series, the last series or the series before halftime.

(Are you toying with any changes on the offensive line?)

I want to get healthy there. That's the thing. When you talk about health, and you've heard me say it here time and time again, there are no excuses when it comes Sunday, but the thing about being healthy is it kind of runs through your whole program. The way you practice, you've got line, linebackers playing tight end, things are just not as clean as you would like. It's no different for the offensive line. Chad is having some medical issues and we're trying to get him over that, so with that that you are working a different five. I just really want to stay clean to the approach we are having them because the guys that are being challenged are Jason Spitz, Daryn Colledge because they are playing positions during the week that they are not potentially playing in Sunday. So we've just got to keep repping those guys and try to get the continuity there that we really haven't had since training camp.

(How about Sitton, since he was the starter before he got hurt?)

I think that is part of the answer I just gave you. It's just keep working all of those guys and try to make sure they are all ready.

(Would you consider sitting Clifton for a week to help him get healthy?)

We talked about it. Chad and I, we met this morning, but we're going to take the approach, he went through a hard rehab session today and I'm going to visit with him tomorrow and just try to have the best plan to get him healthy for Seattle.

(When it comes to field position, how much of the penalty yards and special teams affecting what you are trying to do?)

Huge factor. There is no doubt about it. When you are playing with a field that is 150 yards longer than your opponent three weeks in a row, that is a big factor. When you coach it and emphasize it and it is a big part of your first two weeks and you have success, and you don't have success the following three weeks, I think field position has been the key statistic that points to an area we definitely need to improve on.

{sportsad300}(Are you concerned that the refs are calling things closer in the secondary because of your team's physical style and are you worried about players playing for the refs?)

I don't think our players play for the refs. That would be a convenient excuse. I think the refs would appreciate that if they ever start playing for them. No, we're not going to change the way we're playing. We're going into our sixth game of the season. If anything we need to be more aggressive, and we need to be more aggressive with the wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. That is something that we didn't do a very good job of in the Atlanta game. Our combative penalties, there is some judgment that needs to improve, and that's what we're focused on.

(With the crowd noise in Seattle, is it more challenging since Aaron won't be practicing fully?)His practice reps will definitely help him in his preparation, but we'll do the best we can. It's a great opportunity for Matt and Brian. It's an opportunity for those two guys to get quality reps that they're not accustomed to and work with some crowd noise and things like that. We're getting the whole offense ready. I can't control the medical part of it, so that's the way it goes.

(Is five weeks enough time to judge if you made the right decision by changing punters?)

I think that is fair. I don't know. I think four or five weeks is enough time to gather some information, and you can't just look at the negative stuff. You've got to look at the positive things of any situation, but I think four or five weeks is fair.

(Do you think you made the right call?)

Yeah, we're a work in progress. There is no absolutes in this business. Yeah, I have no problem with the change.

(How are Korey Hall and Kregg Lumpkin coming along?)

Korey Hall practiced today. We classify him as limited. He did some of the padded work. We'd primarily like to get him up on special teams. Lumpkin actually tested today, so I'll have more information about how he feels when he gets in. Hopefully he'll be able to practice tomorrow.

(Have you lost much from Hall to John Kuhn?)

It helps when you have both of them, there is no doubt. Korey Hall was the starting fullback for a reason. I think John has been very productive for us. He had some spots in the game that he can improve on last week. John is a tough kid. He's actually done a lot better job on special teams with his opportunities, so I still classify John as a player that is still young enough to continue to improve. I like that combination. It will be good to have Korey back out there. There is a reason why we had two fullbacks as far as the way we get in and out of our different personnel groups. Hopefully he'll be ready to go this week.

(How much do you like the 'Falcon' package and how much has it hurt your ability to run the ball by not having that?)

The 'Falcon' personnel, 'Rhino', all of those, there are a couple of different ones that get to the formation you are referring to, but it has been a productive personnel group for us in the past. A lot of it has to do with who we are playing against, the matchups and so forth, but the opportunity to have all of that is the best part of it. When you are able to get in and out of personnel groups and get in and out of different looks and try a number of the same things from a teaching standpoint, that's when the effectiveness of your offense improves in my opinion.

(How is Bigby doing?)

Tested Atari today, yeah. I don't have that information. They did that during practice, so I'll get the communication how it went from Mark Lovat and Pepper (Burruss) and we'll see how he is in the morning.

(Is the way you ran the ball last year against Seattle any reason for optimism?)

Well, you look at that game. It's a game where there is still a lot of the same matchups. There is no doubt about it. You can't see much of it after the third quarter, but it's a game you can use in your breakdown. But I usually always, especially with Week 6 of the season, I'll pay more mind to what has gone on here the last three or four weeks.

(Do you know Mike Holmgren very well and how do you view him as a coach?)

I have had an opportunity to be around Coach Holmgren a number of times. We don't have a personal relationship. I have great respect for him. I think he is an outstanding football coach. I think when guys like Mike Holmgren coach this long in the league, you see the ability to keep your team at a very high level. I just think he is an excellent head coach. He is a guy in the offseasons when you break down offenses, he is always someone I have looked at over all my years in the league because I think he calls the game and attacks the defense aggressively and then still has the ability to stay within his beliefs in running the football too. I have great respect for Coach Holmgren.

(What have you thought about Will Blackmon's play at nickel the last few weeks?)

Will is getting better. He just needs reps. He's doing a good job on special teams. I think our secondary as a whole, Will and Patrick and Tramon has shown what he is able to do with his opportunities. It's great to have them out there from an experience standpoint, but we want to be more physical overall with every aspect of our defense.

(How much faster does Seattle's defense play at home?)

I think so. If you just look at the last time we played up there on Monday Night Football two years ago, and then we played them in the playoff game here, the one thing that sticks in my memory is I recall watching the Redskins game the week before we played them at home here in the second round, and how fast they were on film. It was extremely impressive. There were a number of times the tackles were beat right away, the fact of the noise and so forth, and coming on the road it wasn't as fast. Just look at how their season has gone so far. I think they're an outstanding home team.

(When things aren't going well and you have injuries, do you feel the urge to shake things up?)

You probably need to define what shake things up means. I kind of alluded to it earlier. My focus right now, the thing with injuries, it's not really the 45-man roster on Sunday, in my experience it's getting everybody ready. It's getting the practice structure the way you want, who's up who's down, the opponent teams aren't as good. Frankly, you've got a number of players playing other positions, you're switching shirts, you're putting hats on guys. It's just the continuity, the rhythm and timing of your work week of trying to get the performance at a high level of efficiency you want at practice. If you sit there and one of your core beliefs as a coach and in your program you're talking about preparation equates to performance, and you have a little bit of a disjointed practice, those to me are the challenges. Now, is it time to change and start changing a bunch of things, I don't see the need. I don't sit there and flip statistics to make points. I look at the film, and that's what I'll always stay true to. I don't see necessary big changes. I see things that we've done in the past, that we've done at a very high level that we're not doing throughout the game for four quarters, and that's what our focus is.

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