Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 17

(How's Korey Hall doing?)

Korey has a chance to play this week. I'm going to sit him today and tomorrow and give him a chance to practice on Friday. He has a knee sprain.

(What's going on with Humphrey?)

Tory also has a knee sprain. He played through it in the game, and came in Monday, yesterday, and it swelled up on him. Actually Korey and Tory are on the same plan. We're going to rest them today and tomorrow and then try to get them to practice Friday.

(What's the schedule for Bigby?)

I don't think Atari is going to make it this week. He has a hamstring.

(Is Peprah in the mix at that position or is it Rouse?)

Aaron's been practicing and Charlie is now back and healthy. It will be great to have Charlie back, special teams, he'll definitely contribute there. You'll see both those guys work there this week.

(Does Kurt spend extra time with Rouse to get him ready?)

He's taking the normal reps. You start on Tuesdays and get a preliminary look at your opponent, especially with Dallas playing on Monday Night Football, that helped us. He took the majority of the reps today.

(How did he do in that stint last year when he filled in?)

Aaron Rouse? I thought he was very productive. Very productive in his opportunities that were given to him last year. He competed throughout training camp. He's played two games so far this year, played very well in the first game, had some bumps in the road in the second game. He's getting more experience, but he's shown the ability to be very productive when he is out there.

(Is Woodson any better off today than last Wednesday?)

He's sore. He's just treating it as much as he possibly can, spending all that extra time in the training room. Just to report what the doctors (said), he came out of the game OK. That's the report.

(Same schedule for him this week as last week?)

Pretty much. Yep.

(Aaron spent three years in this system learning behind a veteran quarterback. In what ways have you seen that the most?)

Just the way you handle the daily responsibilities of the quarterback. Number one, he needs to play, and that's where he is right now. He's having the opportunity to play week in and week out. That's a huge hurdle to get over for any quarterback that has to go through what he has. The bumps and the bruises on Mondays and Tuesdays, and he has to make sure his energy level is high on Wednesday because he's really a big part of the tempo at practice and so forth. That's all part of the learning experience. You never really know, you ask any quarterback that has been the No. 2 for three or four years and then you go and you're the guy taking all the reps, it's just a different deal. It's a challenge to keep your weight up and all those types of things. He's off to a good start. We're only two weeks into it. There's a ton of football ahead of us. Obviously he's put together two good games from a performance standpoint, but handling the everyday No. 1 spot, it's different. It's a bigger responsibility.

(How has he done with that compared to what you expected?)

Doing very well so far. We expect all our players to handle their job responsibilities, and he's doing a good job handling his responsibility so far the first two weeks

(Can you talk about the challenges on defense of stopping Owens?)

He's a great player. There's no doubt about it, with the numbers he's been able to put up. Really, what impresses you about Terrell Owens is the later he gets in his career, his conditioning. He's still playing at a very, very high level. We need to challenge him and we need to try to take away the things he does best. But he's been very productive year in and year out, and I think they do a great job of formations (for) him. It was very evident in our game last year, and creating opportunities to get him the football.

(Does Dallas have the best collection of offensive playmakers in the league?)

They have a lot of talent, just reflected off the number of Pro Bowl players that they have. Coaching in the Pro Bowl last year, our staff, I think half our team was the Dallas Cowboys, 13 of them. I think that speaks for itself. They're very good football players. They were a good bunch of guys to be around, too. You can see why they are successful. But this will be a great challenge for our football team, and we're excited about it.

(What kind of insights did you gain from your experience at the Pro Bowl with the Cowboys?)

I think anytime you have an opportunity to work with someone, it isn't like we went out there and went through two-a-day practices or anything like that. It was more of, it was family first, football was second, to be honest about it. It's just really making sure we were speaking the same language from Monday to Saturday to we were able to play the game. I thought as a whole they were all professional, they were easy to work with, very talented. I think that question is more on a specific, individual matter, but hopefully we can take advantage of that Sunday night.

(What do you like about Tony Romo?)

Tony Romo is a playmaker. I like the way he plays the game. I think he's very stable as far as his disposition. He doesn't get rattled. That's obviously very important. Just in the game Monday night, he had a couple bumps in the road and responded very positively. He gives them a chance every time he's under center, and that's what you're looking for in your quarterback.

(They like to go to Witten. How tough is that when a team adds a big tight end threat to a good offense?)

They have a good balance of playmakers, and Witten is as steady a guy as I think you'll see in the league. He's a tough guy. He makes big catches week in and week out. He does all the little things too, in the run game, pass protection, and the underneath catches. Just very smart, has a great feel for what you're trying to do to him from a coverage standpoint. Excellent player.

(Aaron's game last year in Dallas, how big a deal was that to him in terms of his confidence?)

I think it definitely helped his confidence from an individual standpoint. Just having the opportunity to go back through the game watching it in preparation for this game, and it shows up in the cutups and so on and so on. It was important for him in his quarterback development, but it was also important for our offense too just to be able to stay in that game. We got it I think in the fourth quarter to a three-point game and he had us in position to potentially get the lead, so that's an excellent experience that he can draw from.

(When you look back at that game, why do you think you had trouble getting to the quarterback?)

We didn't get a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Their offensive line did a good job against our pass rush. So that's a challenge every week and that's why you study the film and you go through the week of preparation and you try to create the matchups that you feel are favorable to you. But they did a very good job in pass protection against us last year.

(Through two games, when you have blitzed, how have you done?)

I don't see that it's been a major emphasis. I think it's important when you blitz the reason why you're blitzing and is it effective. I think we definitely have the personnel to be creative with our blitzes. We haven't been a big exotic blitz team here in the past, so I'm pleased with the amount of pressure that we do get on the quarterback when we decide. Plus I think our run blitzing has been very effective.

(What's the challenge of facing a 3-4 defense?)

They are a 3-4 personnel in their base. They also leave it in there versus their sub, but historically in my opinion they are really an 'under' defense conceptually from what they do. Any time you have the big pass-rushing linebackers, they potentially try to create a matchup favorable to them, so you have to deal with that schematically. It's a scheme adjustment for you when you play a 3-4 defense opposed to a 4-3. We spent time on it in training camp. We have an installation, one of our nine, that is clearly driven toward the 3-4 defense. So it's a part of our base offense, but it's all about playing in the league. You have to make the proper adjustments to deal with it.

(How did Scott and Josh do in practice and is one ahead of the other in terms of being ready to play this week?)

I would say Scott is ahead of Josh as far as being ready. I didn't watch them specifically, but Scott went through the flow of practice at a good pace. It's really Josh's first time back, so I would probably better answer that once I watch the film.

(Tauscher seemed to struggle at times against the Lions. Any reason for that?)

It's just fundamentals, nothing out of the ordinary. It's a game of footwork and pad level, whether you are in the run-blocking unit or pass protection. He had some plays that I'm sure he wished he could have done a little better from a technique standpoint, but he is clearly one of our leaders on our football team, even from a professional sense. He's been very consistent here. I'm not concerned about it.

(Al looks forward to these big-time matchups and sometimes his emotions get the best of him. Do you have to talk to him this week about his focus and his emotions?)

I think Al Harris is a tremendous competitor. If people want to point out one game or a certain situation to drive an opinion, that's fine. That's your choice. I don't share that opinion. I'm around him every day. He is competitive. We play a certain style of football, so there is going to be interaction more than other styles of football. I'm all for that, so I think Al Harris will line up and compete like he always does. As a football team, we need to do a better job with the penalties. We know they are high around the league, but ours are way too high the first two games and we need to make sure we do a good job in that area.

{sportsad300}(I didn't mean that in terms of penalties, but in terms of playing effectively.)

I think he is effective. He has had some negative experience. I don't think that's a reflection of his overall play.

(Can you tell if Wells is ready to play in a game?)

I think there is a chance he can play. The whole thing is with the padded work today and tomorrow, we want to see Scott do as much as we can. It's just a matter if he can go through both practices. That decision will probably be made after Friday, but we're repping him accordingly.

(You've had the same offensive line group these first two games. Is there any part of you that doesn't want to mess with that?)

It's been going on really on and off throughout training camp. We're going to take in all of the information, and these three practices will be part of it. It's important to keep all of those guys involved. Scott has played a lot of football for us, so if we like what we see, it is definitely an option for him to play.

(Are you going to hold Grant again until Friday?)

Ryan will be on the same schedule he was last week.

(Is he in better shape now than he was?)

The communication between him and the doctor, they feel he is further ahead than he was last week.

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