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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 17

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s Monday press conference. Coach McCarthy answered questions in the media auditorium following the coaching staff’s game-film review. - More Audio | Video | Watch ’The Mike McCarthy Show’ Packers-Giants Game Center

OK, I'll start with the two significant injuries that we had in the game. Tony Palmer has a small bone fracture in his neck. He is en route from New York, excuse me Boston ... Where did we play at yesterday? New York. And actually I just got off the phone with him. We need to get him back here. Chad Clifton had the ankle sprain and did return. He's in there for treatment right now. We've got a bunch of guys banged up, but those are the two main ones we're focused on. With that I'll take your questions.

(Was Palmer a precautionary thing? How were his spirits when you talked to him today?)

Yeah, I just got off the phone with him. He's in very good spirits. I don't know how well you know Tony, but Tony, he has a dynamic personality. Just to hear him laugh on the phone tells you everything, that he's fine. He hurt it on the kickoff return, and it was classified as a stinger, so we sent him for a scan, just to be safe. And then we thought it would be best just to leave him behind and make sure everything was fine. But it's a small bone fracture.

(Is there a chance you'll have to shut him down for the year?)

Possible. We need to get him back here and let our doctors get their hands on him and see how we go forward. I don't have the weeks and haven't been told exactly what they're expecting.

(Any concerns about his extremities or losing feeling?)

No, he didn't have any of that. It was more of a classificiation, they characterized it as a stinger on the sideline. He felt that he had a stinger.

(With Clifton, what's your gut feeling on how that will progress?)

I talked to Chad after the game. He felt that he was fine. Just had to get it taped up. Just kind of turned on him. He was actually in there for treatment right now. I haven't had a chance to speak to him today. He may miss some practice time this week, but I'm hopeful that he will go.

(How did you feel about Coston's performance in his first start?)

I thought he was solid. I thought he was physical. He does a really good job. He's very athletic. He really does a nice job with second reaction. His footwork is something that needs to improve. Frankly, he needs to play. It was beneficial for him personally to get out there and get some game action. But he competed. I thought he did a solid job.

(Will he open practice this week at right guard again?)

I would think so. Jason really bailed us out in that game. He was not 100 percent, and for him to even play was a credit to him. But we'll definitely go that way this week.

(What were you trying to get using both Palmer and Spitz inside the 10?)

It was a personnel group that we were using and playing Juice at the tight end position. Once again, very athletic. There was a matchup in scheme we thought we could take advantage of.

(One time, was Spitz in there but Coston wasn't?)

What happens, when Juice was eligible, he has to come out for one play. So the following play is when Tony would stay in.

(You've talked about versatility on the line, was that underscored yesterday when Clifton had to come out for a series?)

I think it shows you the flexibility that we have in a number of our linemen. For Daryn Colledge to jump out there at left tackle and play the way he did. And we really got into a rhythm there in the second half and we were able to continue that, I think that tells you the flexibility those guys give you. Once again, we are young there. It's important for that group to get some continuity, and we're already in Week 2 and we're moving people around. That's another hurdle we need to overcome.

(Until DeShawn's run, the running game hadn't done much and there was penetration we didn't see against Philadelphia. What was happening there?)

Well, first of all, DeShawn's run counts. I know we can conveniently count it or not count it when we want to make our point. So they all count on both sides of the ball. I always get a charge out of it when we have the defensive guys talk about their statistics. But those two runs do count. The negative of our run-blocking unit was the free hitters. We had three or four free hitters, and I don't care what kind of scheme you have. There's no design for a defensive lineman to run free into the backfield and hit the back. So we had some mental errors that are very uncharacteristic of that group. That's a group that has a lot of pride. They spend a lot of extra time together. We'll get that fixed, I can promise you that. Offensively we didn't have a penalty, but we had way too many mental errors in a very straightforward game plan. We have to get to the bottom of that. We scored 35 points, I'm aware of that. But there are a number of things on that film we need to get fixed.

(When their ends got penetration, were those missed blocks mental or being physically beaten?)

Clearly mental. You have certain calls versus certain fronts, or certain things you're anticipating whether it's a stunt and they way their ends are playing. They were ramming their ends on us a bunch, and we went to some other things. But those are mental errors. Those are classified as mental errors.

(Will we see Wynn's role in the offense expand a little bit?)

We could. Really, I kind of like the way that backfield is kind of coming into an identity in a sense, who's doing certain things. I really don't want to get into game-planning because I don't really want to just have one guy do certain things and the other do others, because that obviously plays to the favor of the defense. But we're really just trying to get them all involved. The thing to come out of that game, Ryan Grant, he's a guy that you have to be excited about, just the little bit he played. I thought Brandon did some nice things. DeShawn had a big day with the two touchdown runs, especially the last one was outstanding. So it's really trying to find the formula to use all those guys. And then when Vernand Morency comes back, you have another playmaker in the mix too. Our biggest challenge is really to get it organized and get it repped so the continuity exists with the run-blocking unit.

(Are you trying not to be too predictable with each back and just give them an assignment each week?)

Well, I'm of the opinion from an offensive standpoint not to give the defense too much credit. They have coaches too, they get all the same film and so forth, and they can tie into some of your tendencies. But from my experience, if you don't fix what you do first, it doesn't matter what they know is coming or not. We really have to play to our strengths, and that's something we'll do week in and week out. We also have to be conscientious of what the defense has seen from us the first two weeks. But I think when you prioritize, it's A, we have to get better at what we do, what we want to hang our hat on, and B, then we'll play the tendency game. I'm not going to sit here and play the tendency game at the expense of trying to get our guys experience. Because it really comes down to the fundamentals of football. That's what wins week in and week out. We'll go in there today and watch the film. No discredit to our last opponent, we won't talk about anything that they did. It's what we did and what we need to improve on.

(Aside from the penalties, do you like the way your defense is showing some attitude, standing up for each other, playing a little nasty?)

Absolutely, and I would like to think our whole team is playing that way. That's something we talk about all the time, and when you do get into the gray area. You never want to see your team penalized for a personal foul and 15 yards. But in the same breath, when they are in the gray area of protecting your own, we want to be the aggressor. Smart football is important, but to me the most important aspect of our football team as we move forward is we have to continue to be aggressive. And I think we've accomplished that the first two weeks.

(Has Tramon Williams solidified himself in that return role?)

He's done a very nice job. I'm excited about Tramon. But also, you have DeShawn back there too, that's a nice complement. And when Will Blackmon is ready, we'll also get him back there. Will showed what he can do in preseason. You'd like to have both of them back there. Flexibility is important, you never have enough depth, and I'm just excited with what Tramon has done with his opportunities.

(How big is it to just rush four most of the time and not have to blitz constantly?)

It's very important. Playing football to me is, where is the stress point? Whether you're on the offensive side of the ball or the defensive side of the ball. When you're on defense and you're attacking offense, if you can do it with four people and have seven in coverage, obviously your coverage is going to be better. No different, if you go after the protection with five or six guys, now you're putting the stress point on the coverage unit. That's the game, and it's very important. I think our defensive line last year and going into this year has been our most consistent group, and it's a group that we lean on. It's a position group that I point to a bunch in our team meetings. I like the way they work. I think they've got a lot of talent in that room. That's a tough group, a lot of character, and they feed off each other. They do a heck of a job. I think it was 19 pressures in the game. They really got after the quarterback yesterday. We look to do that, and we expect them to do that week in and week out.

(How much do you have to do to get a third guy ready at quarterback just in case?)

It's something we talked about Saturday when we made the decision to put Carlyle down on IR. We have a couple candidates. We haven't spent a whole lot of time frankly with Holiday. He was just taking snaps and so forth. We are playing the odds, but we need to be prepared and have a plan. We have a couple candidates, and that's probably what I'll work on here in the next two days.

(Is Ruvell the top guy there?)

Ruvell. I think a guy like Charles Woodson. There's different avenues you can go.

{sportsad300}(Will there be a point where your running backs will be interchangeable for any play you want to run?)

Well, I don't sweat having a certain player in for a certain play. It's just really trying to build the continuity between that runner and that specific scheme that he's trying to do, and really just the timing of the run-blocking unit. Frankly, Brandon Jackson was in there on a number of runs that were designed for DeShawn Wynn based on personnel. We did some things with the cadence and the tempo and so forth. Every single one of them is prepared to do everything. It's not a matter of you can only do this, you can only do that. I think it just helps them focus in on their package, and we're not maxing those guys out. It's a long year, they're young, their experience level is growing, and we're just keeping in tune with that as we move forward.

(Is Wynn still working himself into good condition?)

Oh, he's in good shape. Why do you guys not think he's in good shape? I'll just say this, for him to get through the Tennessee week, he's in good shape. We pushed him as much as any of these guys, not as much, moreso than any of the running backs or any of the perimeter guys to get ready for a game. He took almost every snap that week, played a bunch in that game. So he's in shape.

(How close was he to being released that last week?)

Released? They're all fighting for a job. The biggest thing, and I said it over and over again, was the medical condition of our running back group. Everybody saw the talent. We talked about it in here. He just had not performed yet. He was hurt. He had a legitimate injury. It was important for him to play in that game, and he showed the things that he could do. And now he's a part of our team, and he's a productive young player.

(When do you think Blackmon could get back to returning?)

It's really a medical issue. It has to do with the cast, him getting comfortable with the cast. I think he could do the kickoff return today, if we had to. He's getting more and more comfortable with that. He's a little further away on the punt return.

(Is the plan with Morency the same as last week, push him Wednesday and see how he reacts?)

Absolutely. He has to get through a full day and not have that soreness, because they just don't want to go backwards.

(Similar with Jennings?)

I may hold him a little longer in the week, because I want to give him every chance to get ready for this game.

(Any thought of shutting him down for a week and letting it heal?)

Well, it really comes down to the communication with the player, the medical staff and everybody involved. Our plan last week didn't work, and it just shows you where he's at in the rehab. We'll see where he is the next two days and make a decision. I'm definitely going to err on holding him longer than earlier.

(You've talked before about handling success. How do you do that now?)

We talk about stacking successes all the time. I've found in my coaching career that the toughest hurdle to handle in football is success. I think every football player that comes through these doors has a natural, survival mentality to overcome. I don't think they get to this level in professional sports without that. So for them to overcome adversity I think it something a lot of them innately do. My problems I've had with individuals as a position coach and as a coordinator have been handling success. That may be a big game, getting national TV interview, a big contract. We were very conscientious of that, and we talk to our team about that a lot.

(What do you tell them about handling success?)

I keep telling them they're not very good, don't believe what you guys write, things like that.

(Can you describe the atmosphere around here compared to last year at this time?)

We have a lot of energy around here. I think it was evident and really started coming off of last season. The offseason program, through training camp, and really now with the two wins, I just see the confidence building. I think it's real confidence. It's not manufactured, and I think that's important. Our guys believe. They know they can improve. They believe in the work week and what it takes to get ready for a football game. It's growing, a lot of energy in the building.

(On Burress' TD, was there supposed to be a safety over the top?)

Yes. I think it was Atari was not quite high enough on that one. I thought Al was in pretty good position there.

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