Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 20

Read the transcript of Mike McCarthy’s Wednesday Press Conference. Packers.com will post these full transcripts following each of Coach McCarthy’s press conferences throughout the 2006 season.

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(Any of your questionable guys practice today?)

Al Harris was the only one of the five that practiced. Everyone else did not.

(How satisfied were you with Colledge's performance?)

Like I said here on Monday, I thought he played okay. I think he's getting better. I think he took advantage of his opportunity and I thought he got better today at practice. As a group, there are some things we need to improve on. They're working hard at it, and I think he's improving.

(Coach was there a new backside cut blocking drill today?)

We've been doing that since day one.

(How much improvement can you except from the cut blocking technique?)

Well, we want to improve until we get to the level that is satisfactory. We're not there right now. We've talked about it over and over again. It's a common technique that we use and that's why we drill it everyday. When we do get very good at it, we'll continue to drill it because it's a big part of what we do in the run game.

(With a dome game coming up why did you practice outside?)

We will go inside at some point this week. I prefer to be out on the grass. We did practice with crowd noise today outside, so we accomplished that. As far as being on the field turf, we'll be inside at least one day. When it comes down to making a choice, I think it's more beneficial for the players to be on grass.

(For health reasons?)

Yeah, just longevity.

(Is it surprising to you the lack of attention surrounding Brett's 400 TD pass?)

Frankly, I've never been huge into personal statistics. It's a great accomplishment to go over 400 but, yeah, that is interesting. I can't tell you why.

(Only one other guy over 400 - that's a pretty good milestone?)

I would think so, yes.

(When with other teams, did you think Kampman was more than a motor guy?)

Well, you know Aaron's young in his career, too. As far as him establishing himself around the league, I think he's starting to come into his own there. From afar, I've never competed against Aaron but his reputation coming in here was as a steady player. First down, second down, third down, complete down player, so I think now you're just starting to see a young player coming into his own.

(Do you envision teams having to plan more attention to his side?)

I think so. It really depends more on who he's playing against too. That's part of the equation. He was obviously in a favorable match up this past week, and that's the result. I think it will be a combination his productivity, his level of play and who he's playing against.

(What has stood out about A.J. Hawk so far?)

I think he's just really firing his gun. He's more comfortable, he's not thinking, he's reacting. He's playing with the aggressiveness you saw him play with in college. I think he's just a young player getting comfortable, and that's a normal process in our business. I think that was evident this past week.

(Are their flashes he could be a dominant player?)

I think so. When we drafted him, that's where we thought he would be. Yes, definitely flashes of him being an impact player.

(How do you deal with Poppinga's problems in pass coverage?)

Continue to work at it. For Brady Poppinga, that's his third start as a linebacker. That's an area we need to improve on, and we'll continue to work and improve in that area.

(Is he still the starter?)

He is still the starter, yes.

(If you don't have David Martin, how big of a blow is that considering his FB work?)

We're fortunate having four tight ends. Tory Humphrey got an amount of work today, so we feel very comfortable with the depth we have at that position.

(Has David Martin done what you needed in the passing game?)

We went into this past game with the tight ends as our primary option in our passing game as far as the primary receiver. That doesn't always mean they get the football, but they had I think 14 opportunities this past week. I thought his production was very good in the passing game this past week. Really, in the Chicago game, we never got going period as an offense so we really didn't get to the things that we would have liked to then. There is a reason we have five tight ends in our building, so they are a big part of what we do.

(What's Martin's injury?)

Knee, I think he'll be okay. He did not practice today, though.

(What about Harris?)

He's fine. He practiced today. He has a shoulder but he'll be fine.

(Can Humphrey fill in at FB like Martin did?)

Humphrey and Donald Lee have both been trained. Not in everything they've done, but a percentage of the fullback responsibilities.

(Can you assess Brett's execution in the first two games?)

When I look at the quarterback play as far as game management, I think he's done an excellent job. We do a lot more in the run game as far as formation usage and responsibility for the quarterback at the line of scrimmage, so he hasn't missed one in the first two games. He's done a very good job with that. That requires a lot of film study, so very good job there. Protection adjustments, he's done a very good job there. I thought in the Chicago game, for three quarters he played very good football. Last week, I thought he has a solid game. I think he's running and managing our offense the way he needs to. He missed a couple of throws late in the game, in weeks one and two, but I'm pleased with his performance to this point.

(Have you noticed an effort on his part to take fewer risks?)

Absolutely. Brett Favre spends so much extra time here that people don't realize. Saturday night, I'm heading over to the chapel at 8:30 and he comes rolling out of the QB meeting room watching film at 8:15. That's a common scene where he's here Tuesday nights, odd hours. He goes home, spends some time with the family, and comes back. He's put in a great effort to this point and is doing it the right way. I'm very pleased with the way he prepares for a football game.

(Is he making a more concerned effort to throw the ball away?)

I can't speak from the past because I wasn't here coaching. When I grade a quarterback, a throw away is a plus because you live for another day. It's part of the way we coach a quarterback, so he's doing a solid job there.

(Lot of the drops seem to be on check downs - does that worry you?)

I think if you went back and looked at his most productive years from a completion percentage standpoint, you'll see a lot of productivity in the check-down area. It was not very good this past week. We actually took half of our individuals with the running backs and tight ends that were check downs today. It's a part of the passing game, a primary focus because you have time clock, protection issues, other things involved that are involved in the passing game, and check downs are essential.

(Does the accuracy with Driver have to do with timing, trust?)

I think so. You're talking about two guys that have played in 100 games, I mean Donald just played his 100th game, I think that's normal. You have two guys that are definitely on the same page. He has a great feel for Donald, particularly in the middle of the field, so we would just like to get him on the same page with the other receivers. That comes with reps.

(What's your analysis of the defensive backfield?)

I know a lot has been made with the pass coverage and the explosive gains, but the explosive gains are really kind of balanced out through the secondary, the linebackers and even in front, the ones that come through the run game. The big thing in secondary play is more leverage, communication - who's on top and who's underneath. That's really part of playing football. It's no different than blocking and tackling, and things we need to continue to work on.

(Manuel has looked out of position - byproduct of missing time in the offseason?)

I think it's a lot of just guys playing together, communication. It's one thing to make the call, but you also have to execute it. It goes back to them being on the same page as leverage, recognition, getting the call out in a timely fashion. We're just going to continue to get better the more we play together.

(If Spitz can't go, same lineup as last week?)

Yes, we'll probably go the same way.

(Detroit's defense similar to Chicago's defense on the field?)

Well, there are some similarities in the scheme obviously with the history there between Rod and Lovie. Detroit's defense, I would classify them a little differently because of the body types they have up front as opposed to Chicago. Chicago probably has more team speed in their front four. Detroit's linebackers all run very well, so there are some differences as far as the physical attributes of the defensive unit, but there is a lot of common areas schematically.

(How do you give Koren more reps on the field w/o taking away from other WRs?)

He's part of the rotation. We're trying to get him ready to play, particularly in the sub groups and things like that. His primary role will be special teams, but we're just getting him acclimated and getting through the terminology learning phase. I talked to him today, and he feels very comfortable with the process. He's going to start working out with quarterbacks and get the timing and everything that's necessary.

(If Spitz is going to play, will it be at left guard?)

We would talk about him playing left guard. He's got to practice before he plays. I'm not just going to let him come out of the training room and play.

(Describe the challenge of Shaun Rogers for your rookie guards?)

Shaun's an excellent football player. It's going to be a challenge for us. He's a big, powerful man. He's very active, particularly in the Seattle game, I was very impressed with their front. We have some things the way we're going to play him, and we need to execute it. I don't look at it as one guy because I don't think you play offensive line that way. It's the combination of the interior guys doing what needs to be done and doing it the right way.

(Frustrating that run defense has been good but haven't been able to capitalize?)

I think that's part of football. We've improved in a number of areas, but for us to grow as a football team, we need to win a football game. There are a lot of positive things to build on, particularly like you stated the run defense. We've had two explosive gains, one in each game and it just so happens for touchdowns. That's the stuff we need eliminate and take away. Our problem right now on defense is strictly about giving up the big play. 55% of the (gains) from our offensive opponent have come on explosive plays. That's extremely high. We need to cut that by about 30-40% and I think we'll be playing very good defense.

(Any discussion between you and the staff regarding Ben Taylor and his playing time?)

We've talked about Ben Taylor, and his role there. We may play him more, we may not. We just watch how Brady goes on. Ben has done a very good job since he's been here. He's played very well on special teams. He's ready to play. On the flip side, Brady Poppinga is a young player, no different than a number of players on our team. I know people are being critical of his pass coverage, but he started his third football game. There are obviously a lot more positive things that he's doing; that's why he's in there. We'll continue to grow and improve with Brady Poppinga.

(What do you mean by 'explosive play'?)

Plus 12 (yard) run, plus 16 (yard) pass is the definition of explosive play.

(Has Blackmon's injury left you shorthanded in secondary, and might he have been better off on PUP?)

He's had a setback that really has nothing to do with his initial injury. That's where we are. We didn't expect this. I would like to think that one day, maybe tomorrow or sometime soon, that he'd be ready to go. That's where we are with him. He's literally day to day. I don't think he was a PUP prospect.

(When you say setback, I was under the impression that it was the same injury?)

It was a setback in the rehab of the injury. It's all tied together. When you have a foot injury, 10 weeks or 6 to 8 weeks, we're beyond that. The bone is fine.

(Do you feel additional pressure every week that goes by and you don't have your first head coaching win?)

No, I don't look at it that way. I look at it as our football team is 0-2, and we need to get to 1-2. That's the goal. I think I put enough pressure on myself internally to let the external forces determine how I focus and do my job on a daily basis.

(Do you like what you've seen out of Charles Woodson the first couple games?)

I thought Charles, particularly in the second game, played very well this past week. I think we're starting to see the punt returner we anticipated we'd see. He was close to coming out there, if we get the one block the week before too, he comes out. We're pleased with Charles' performance to this point.

(When you see improvement you need to see, does that make it easier to handle criticism, and how to you proceed to avoid setting off signals of a panic mode?)

I just look at it the way I look at every job I've had. You have a plan, you have responsibilities, and you stay to that. Just to use offensive football as an example, I've been in this offense my whole career. I've been very fortunate that way. I've never coached a different system. I've been in a West Coast system since 1989. That's what I know, that's what I believe in. No different than the head coach, I've had the opportunity to be around some very good head coaches and a lot of assistant coaches who have become good head coaches. I've been able to put together a plan, and that's what I'm sticking to. I'll put my future in the hands of the Lord. I come to work every day, I feel good about what we're doing, I know we're doing things the right way, and the results will come. That's what I believe in, and that's the way I'm going to go about it every day, and I'm not changing.

(What about Vernand Morency?)

I think you'll see some more of him this week. He's picked it up very fast. I thought he did well today in practice with his opportunities. I'm very happy with him, I think he's been a good addition. We'll look to use him and get some productivity out of him this week.

(Is he good at picking up blitzes?)

He's done a nice job. He recognizes the particular protection adjustments that are different from his experience in Houston. I'm very pleased with the way he's picked up our system, because it is very different from a nomenclature standpoint, the terminology and things like that. I think he's done a very nice job.

(This is more Ted's area, have any teams like Tampa Bay or Washington called to see if Favre might be available?)

You said it, that's Ted's area. I'm not aware of any of that.

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