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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 21

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference Monday from the Lambeau Field auditorium.

OK, I'll start off with the three injuries to report on. Chad Clifton had an ankle sprain. It's really too early to tell how long he'll be out. Nick Collins has a clavicle sprain, so we'll see how he is Wednesday, on whether he'll practice or not. Aaron Rouse had a neck stinger. We'll see how he is Wednesday as far as his practice status. Questions.

(Anything on Donald Lee?)

Donald Lee is going to be fine. All his tests were negative.

(Any chance Clifton can play on Sunday?)

Pat just thinks it's too early to tell. I talked to him right before I came in here, Dr. McKenzie. He said we'll see how he is Wednesday, but he just felt it was too early to give me a diagnosis on one week, two weeks or so forth. So he wants to look at him Wednesday before he gives me a better estimate.

(Is he in a boot or anything?)

Have not seen him. Didn't ask about if he was wearing a boot.

(The ankle sprains for Jackson and Raji have kept them out awhile. Any chance this is as serious as those?)

It could be. Everybody was nervous, particularly the way Chad left the field. The testing for the x-ray was negative, so obviously that's a positive. But we're preparing to play without him, I guess to answer your question.

(Will you go the same way you finished the game?)

We'll talk about that tomorrow, but I would anticipate definitely going the way we finished the game.

(Going into the season, you felt Colledge was your best backup option at left tackle, but you wanted to keep him at left guard. Did you ever consider something else?)

Really, Daryn Colledge playing left guard is as much about, A, I think that's his best position, and B, to try to establish continuity in the core of the offense. It's a philosophy of mine that you start with the interior of your line, your quarterback and your running back, because those particular individuals make the most adjustments for your offense, to just try to stabilize that. Now as far as the second-best left tackle on our roster, yes, I think Daryn Colledge fits that role.

(Did you feel you were leaving yourself vulnerable by not having someone else?)

That's really a benefit of our linemen, the ability to play multiple positions. I think it says enough about Daryn Colledge that you have the confidence in him to go out there and play. Ideally, Chad Clifton has played a lot of football for us in the past. We felt confident coming off of his particular surgeries in the offseason that he'd be ready to go. Injuries are part of the game, and we just need to adjust and move on.

(If Daryn has a full week to prepare, do you expect different results?)

Yes I do. I think that didn't help him. He's jumped out there and played well for us in the past without any reps on short notice. I'm thinking of down there in Tennessee and his rookie year in Miami. But he was challenged a little bit, missing practice on Friday with a foot sprain, and he just did not look very comfortable there. I thought he played well at left guard. He graded out well. But he just did not look comfortable at left tackle.

(How do you explain the issues up front with protection?)

Well, it's a combination of a number of things. It's frustrating when you call heavy protection plays and you're encountering sacks, and then you go into Week 2 and you try to make adjustments for that. The reality of it is we have fundamental breakdowns. As we talked about as a staff today, we could have had nine-man protections on a couple of those where we flat-out just get beat, one individual gets beat fundamentally, and it causes a sack and a quarterback hit that we need to eliminate from our play. I'm not going to go overboard here, but four of those sacks in the last two weeks are totally uncalled for. They're unacceptable to get beat the way that we did and hit the quarterback. That's just something we have to correct on the field. If we have a tendency as an offensive staff, we may try to help these guys too much. At some point, you have to win the one-on-one battle with the help being secondary instead of a primary focus.

(Your top three safeties are injured. Do you need to get reinforcements there?)

That's something that we're going to let the medical people give us a little more information on. I think Wednesday will help us out a lot. We'll plan with Aaron Rouse being ready to go. I think Derrick Martin has picked up the scheme very well. He'll be ready to go. And I think Jarrett Bush working back there primarily will give him a better opportunity to play, as much as he did this past week. So that's what we're looking at right now.

(You talked about one-on-ones, so do you go to more one-on-one drills in practice?)

We already do those drills. We do them every week. I don't think there's anything that we're lacking from a training standpoint. We go padded practices Wednesdays and Thursdays. We did not go pads this past Wednesday coming off the Sunday night division game. But we'll pad it up Wednesday and Thursday, and we'll work on it. We'll get after it, and fundamentals will be obviously a major emphasis for our whole football team, because there was plenty to go around watching the film today.

(Are you a little amazed that you're talking about fundamentals two games into the season and with guys who have played a lot for you?)

I'm not amazed by talking about fundamentals in Week 2. I wish I wasn't talking as much about them. I'm not particularly satisfied with the level of fundamentals that we're playing after having two weeks of competition. But sometimes it goes this way early in the season. I'm not making excuses. We're going to work at it. I do not like what's gone on in the pass protection area. It affects the way you call games, it affects the way you plan for games. But frankly, Cincinnati beat us on both fronts, the offensive line and the defensive line yesterday, and it was a big part of their success.

(On the TV replay you couldn't see Jennings on that last snap. Could you see what happened?)

No, I was 100 percent wrong. With the play that we ran there, and we run it every Friday, I think you guys are still out there. It's something we rep all the time. As much two-minute as we do Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, it's a situation where we have a lot of training in. The perimeter players are already down there. It's a vertical pass concept. Really, the challenge is to get the line. 16 seconds is the max. I would not have tried that if it was 15 seconds. We were right at the max point, we knew it when we called the play. I was watching the line, because that's the challenge, and I felt the line got set. But watching the film, we had two perimeter players that were both moving on the snap of the ball, so I felt the call was correct.

(Could you talk about your decision to keep Raji out again and what his prospects are?)

I just sat down with B.J. Saturday and talked to him about it. He doesn't have a full gait back. He's not running without a limp. He feels good. He just has to get over that last hurdle, and that comes down to strength. We just didn't feel he was 100 percent, and I didn't think it was smart to expose him when he's not 100 percent. Everybody is excited to see him play, he's excited to get out there and play, but at the end of the day, there's 16 games in the regular season. I did not want to put him out there until he's 100 percent.

(You said the protection is affecting your play-calling. Back in 06 you used a lot of seven-man protections, and then in 07 you opened up more. Do you have to dial back now what you'd like to call?)

The reality is the plays that we've had the problems on are the plays we used back then. The quarterback never was hit in those protections two years ago like he's been hit the first two weeks. They're fundamental, one-on-one, individual opportunities that's happened. We'll look to do some things to help that type of situation. But our quarterback has never been hit like Aaron's been hit these last two weeks in that particular protection.

(How many fewer options is he facing when you have to keep more guys in?)

I appreciate where you are going with it, but we are still multiple enough. We're still getting enough people out and we're still doing enough things formation-wise that Aaron is having enough opportunities to throw it to people. It's not like they are rushing three and dropping eight and we're releasing two. It's not that extreme. These are all problems that are fixable. We need to do a better job, but when you call that type of protection you are expecting protection, and we haven't gotten it.

(What about the defense's inability to stop the run. What's the issue there?)

It all fits into gap control and staying in your gaps. Tackling was an issue throughout the game yesterday. We had some adjustments to their formations. They did a lot of movement with their formation and ability with some of their slot formations to try and create the extra gap, which people do in two-tight end formations, and we did not handle the adjustments, particularly after Nick Collins was hurt. I thought Nick Collins was off to probably one of his better performances up until his injury. So those are things we're going to correct today.

(Are you seeing the hits Rodgers is taking affect the way he's playing?)

I thought he hung in there again this week like he did last week, but it's all about trust. Every player has got to trust the other player to do his job. You don't want him looking over his left shoulder and things like that. I don't see any of that going on, but Aaron has done a good job playing with his feet. He had some big-time plays generating first downs when he comes out of the pocket. We need to do a better job.

(Other than the one time, did he hold the ball too long?)

Yeah, he can play faster on a couple of times. He had some decisions where he probably pushed it a little too much. Hey, he had his share of mistakes too.

(Your receivers work on the jugs machine all the time. Are you surprised by the number of drops in the first two weeks?)

Well, that's the reality of what this business puts you through. We're talking about individuals that have caught the ball at a very high level of efficiency. They have a standard, and we come out and drop the ball for two weeks in a row. I take a lot of personal pride in that. I spend a lot of time personally with the quarterback and receivers. We start the game with two dropped balls and then we go out on defense and let him run the ball down the field. That's not the way you start games at home. We need to do a better job of coming out of the locker room, playing fast, jumping on our opponent and let our home crowd get into games. I'm disappointed we lost, yes, and I did not like the way we played but my frustration is the way we played at home. And that's what I'll share today with the team

(Is there anything good you take out of what you're going through?)

I think Charles Woodson, the two plays he makes, it's a different game if he doesn't make it. I think he definitely was a bright spot yesterday the way he played. Just the toughness and the passion and the instincts that he plays with, I think he definitely was a bright spot.

(Aaron mentioned the offense has not been practicing up to a high enough standard ...)

I don't want to overreact to that because those are words out of my mouth and that's my job. My job is to push those guys until it gets to the point where it gets to the point where it looks exactly the way you want it to look. We have certain guys that are playing different positions. I'm talking about our opponent's squads. The practice hasn't been as crisp as we're looking for. It was better from Week 1 to Week 2, but that's my responsibility, to get them to practice at a high level because I think it definitely carries over to games. That's the way we approach things and that will never change.

(Had Aaron gotten that last snap off, were you going to throw it there and not spike it?)

No, I was going to call a play there. You talking about the last one? No, we were in a clock play there.

(Has Barnett voiced to you any unhappiness with the rotation or playing time?)

No, the only conversation that I had with Nick Barnett is he is ready to play the whole game. I told him how we were approaching it with him as far as our game planning and medical. We had a conversation about that last week.

{sportsad300}(Is it hard to commit to the run game more when it's not clicking?)

I don't think it was really a matter of our run game not clicking. I thought we started the game running the ball fairly well. I thought we hit a lull there in the third quarter. Frankly, the six sacks put me in some tough down and distances, particularly the ones on first and second down. We had four that I recall, run/pass type plays that we went with the pass over the run. That kind of goes that way sometimes. Frankly, when you have a game like this you look at everything. You look at your game planning. You're critical of how you call a game and so forth. I think sometimes as coaches we probably try to have the perfect play too much. There is time and time again that you just need to get out there and run it, run it ugly, run it hard, run at them, and we could probably do a little more of that. That's something we could probably do a better job of.

(On Bush's second false start, were you ready to yell at him there and you just had to calm him down?)

On the false start? Yeah, pre-snap penalties, there is no excuse, whether it's an offensive tackle or a gunner. It's all the same. This is the National Football League. It's important to have variance in your cadence, whether it's your snapper for a punt or you're snapping to a quarterback. When you are doing those types of things, the discipline of the receivers and gunners and so forth, they are going off the snap of the ball. There is no excuse for that.

(The fundamentals on the offensive line, is it just sloppiness? Are guys taking shortcuts in not using the proper techniques and fundamentals?)

It's a technical game and sometimes we can be too technical. There are players in this league that have played a long time that were sloppy in what they did but they got it done. Everybody is different. Some guys have to rely on technique more than others and some people are more physically blessed than others and can get away with more. It's all part of the team concept. The problem is when it doesn't all fit together. That's where really it shows up. You may have lack of fundamentals in one area and you get away with it, but if you don't have it in the primary areas it can cause a negative play, and that's what is happening. Our back-side tackle has been getting beat. That's a problem if you don't have a back over there. Those are the things you have to look at from a corrective standpoint, but I don't see anyone trying to take any shortcuts in what we are trying to do.

(Do you think you've gotten away on offense from what you're good at - the slants and short throws? Have you gone deep too much?)

I'm not happy with either game that I have called. Number one, it's because of the outcome. Number two, look at the down and distances that we are playing in. I don't carry into the game six third-and-11-pluses calls. I don't do that. I carry three. There are some things that lead to that. Trust me, you can be as critical as you want, no one is going to be more critical of play-calling than myself because A, I know why it was called, when it was called, and the reality of why it did not work or if it did work. Sometimes you call plays not so good and they work out great, but that's the way it goes. As far as percentages of three-step drop and five-step drop, I don't think we're excessive. I know we have had some success down the field, but we also have a responsibility to the players that can win down the field to get them the ball. If I didn't think we could pass protect and throw the ball down the field, then I wouldn't try it. We're not asking people to do things that they cannot do. We've just got to keep working at. I'm a big believer in coach accountability in putting players in position to be successful, and also the accountability for the player to do their job. We'll re-visit that today when we watch the film and we'll make sure we have a solid plan Wednesday as we get ready for the Rams.

(When you say the back-side tackle, is that what you're talking about when you have the extra blockers on the inside?)

It's where you're sliding to. Sometimes you slide one way, you put the backs another way. Sometimes you refer to pocket protection where the line stays and blocks the five in the middle and you have a back to one side. There are usually two types of protection. You usually slide one way, move the backs to the other way, or you block the four and the Mike and have a back helping on one side.

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