Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 23

(Can you talk about the roster moves?)

Aaron Rouse, we released Aaron. I had an opportunity to speak with Aaron yesterday. Just really a number of different factors always go into these types of decisions. I thought Aaron, on the positive side, was a very good representative of the Packers. He worked hard. He was a young man we developed and drafted. In our conversation with him I just felt that his ability to be consistent and the growth part of it is one of the reasons that we made the change. But there are other factors involved based on availability, without getting into all of that. That's really the landscape of personnel in the National Football League, timing and things like that, special teams. That was all part of our decision.

(You kept Rouse over Smith in the final cut, and now you are releasing Rouse, who just started on Sunday. What does that say about your personnel decisions?)

I don't really think it's as clean as you just stated. I know there are a lot more elements involved. This was not about Aaron Rouse vs. Anthony Smith or Derrick Martin. There are a number of different factors that go into that. Timing is also part of those things. This was not we choose one guy over another and now we are going back on that. That would not be accurate. Whether that's your opinion or not, I'm just telling you what the facts are. Things do happen. Where we were a couple of weeks ago and a number of new elements that enter into this discussion, part of the people that we worked out on Tuesday. That's just the way our personnel department has always operated. There are some moving targets that you are always looking at in the personnel side of this. Once again, I think timing was also a big part of this decision.

(If Collins can't go, you'll have Bush, Martin and Giordano, guys with not a lot of experience. How daunting of a task will that be?)

It's a real challenge for our assistant coaches, no doubt. Dom Capers, Darren Perry and I talked about this extensively over the last couple of days, so obviously a lot of thought goes into these types of decisions. We're confident that we'll have our players ready to go for Sunday in St. Louis.

(Was Rouse's performance on Sunday the catalyst for the move?)

You never want to go off of just one performance. These decisions are made with a lot of information.

(Are you hopeful you will have Collins for Sunday?)

I think Nick Collins is going to do everything he can to play. He was limited today as far as the actual official category he fell into, but he was out there today. I anticipate Nick will play but the week will answer that question.

(How would you characterize today's practice?)

We've had three Wednesday practices and this isn't a convenient answer; this was clearly our best Wednesday practice walking off the field. Now, the film will answer that question clearly, but I thought since we made the corrections on Monday, we had an opportunity to thoroughly go through it, the meetings this morning, and really moving on to our next opponent and frankly focusing on ourselves. We're the issue. Our problems are self-generated, and that's our mindset.

(What happened to Aaron Kampman?)

Aaron has a bruised hand. He practiced today, full participation. He just had it in a club.

(Do you anticipate Raji returning?)

I hope so. The practice will answer that. I need to watch him live for three days and make sure he responds every day. I'm as excited as he is to see him get out and play, but he needs to be ready to go. We'll see how he does this week.

(How do you evaluate Rodgers' play through two games?)

Aaron is probably a little bit like our offense as a whole. It's a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I think he has been put in some tough situations. He's been hit. I think he's missed a couple of throws. He's probably made some decisions he wished could come back, but I think as far as being the leader of the offense and keeping the huddle and everything and keep playing and keep competing, I think he has done a very good job. At the end of the day, production is the most important part of it. I think we need to help him more, and number one is winning more on first and second down and creating better third-down situations for him to be competitive in. Our biggest problem on offense is the down and distances we have been playing in generated by the negative plays we have had.

(Early in the preseason last year he held on to the ball too long and improved on that. Is he a quick learner from his mistakes?)

I would think so. He's very coachable, very critical of himself. There is a lot of time spent and he has invested a lot into this offense. He knows it better than anybody in the building. I am pleased with his preparation part of it. He's graded just like everybody else on our football team. Every snap from a technical standpoint, from a fundamental standpoint, from a decision, and I think he'll always work to improve. He's got that type of mindset.

(What does Giordano give you?)

I think he gives you flexibility, the ability to play both free and strong safety, just based on his past. I was impressed with his resume on special teams. He runs better than I thought he would when we brought him in here for his workout. He had two interceptions today, so he is off to a good start. Just a lot of positive feedback based on his experience in Indianapolis.

(Where is Derrick Martin at with the defense and is he limited to one position?)

I wouldn't say he's limited, but I think anytime you're trying to get someone ready to play, especially when they arrive after training camp, it's probably smarter to maximize in one area over the other. But he has a lot of carry-over just from an actual scheme concept of recognizing different things because of his experience in Baltimore. It's more of a new language to him. He's very bright, he's jumped in there, he's been productive on special teams. I've been very pleased with his production on special teams, and with his opportunity on defense, I look for him to take full advantage of it.

(If you have Collins, would Martin start at the other safety spot?)

I'd like to let the week after that question. We have a couple different combinations that we're going to work.

(How is Chad Clifton?)

Chad is going to be a couple weeks. I would say he definitely won't be available this week and next week. That's probably something we'll need to visit after the bye.

(Do you adjust practice at all to get Daryn Colledge more reps at left tackle?)

He's getting all the reps at left tackle, so I don't think we need to adjust the practice schedule. Anytime we prepare for a game, there's always the group activity, the team activity, and we do post-practice drills and post-practice meetings and things like that. That's really the individual work that's needed from an extra standpoint, that's when that occurs.

(Is Barbre the backup at left tackle or possibly Lang?)

Well, we'll talk about Lang is potentially the backup tackle. Also Breno working at the tackle position. Dietrich has the ability to work inside, so that's how we're repping those guys.

(How disappointing is it since you wanted to keep a consistent five on the offensive line?)

It's injuries. I'm not trying to be callous here. I do care when our players get hurt, but it is part of the game. You try to plan on things going one way, but that's all part of being pro-active with your adjustments. Injuries happen, so we need to adjust, and this is the way we're going.

{sportsad300}(Can you talk about your concerns with the run defense last week, especially facing Steven Jackson this week?)

We're definitely going to be challenged this week by the Rams, with Steven Jackson. He's a big back, dynamic back. We're definitely going into the game with that in mind. But frankly, I could stand up here every Wednesday and talk about run defense because it's always the starting point of whoever you play. You always want to try to make the offense one-dimensional. They will try to run the football. We are definitely planning to take the run away from them. Our problems that we encountered in Cincinnati are things that we didn't do a very good job of, as far as adjustments to some of the formations they had. Once Nick Collins was injured, we were not coordinated the way we needed to be. We've learned from that experience, and we'll definitely apply it to our work this week for St. Louis.

(Do you do anything different to combat the dropped passes?)

Just left the receiver group. It's not like it's a group that does not work at it. They have a tremendous work ethic. You watch us practice. It's no different in regular season than it is in training camp. We've got more support people here than anyplace I've ever worked. There's balls being thrown in every drill. The point I'm making is the training is there, they have good hands, we need to catch the ball. They're doing more jugs, more work, I think that's human nature. Yes, they'll work at it, but I have full confidence in our perimeter group that we'll do a better job catching the football.

(Will Kampman have to wear the club in the game?)

Can't answer that right now. I think the week of work will answer that. Knowing Aaron, I would suspect no.

(Do you think you'll have Brandon Jackson this week?)

I don't know. He practiced today. I'll be curious to see how he feels tomorrow. We'll have to see.

(When did Korey Hall suffer the concussion?)

That's really a question probably better for Korey to answer. It's unfortunate, but we know Korey. He's one of our key members of special teams. I look at him as one of the leaders there, and he'll bounce back physically ready to go this week.

(Where do you want to see your special-teams cover units improve?)

I thought our kickoff coverage was fine the first two weeks. The punt coverage frankly was more on the punter. The low punt down the middle of the field, that's not the design of what we're trying to do. Shawn did some more fundamental work in the coverage unit as far as lane discipline, playing with leverage to the football. I think he does a very good job. We're getting more time with the individual work on special teams than we have in the past, and it needs to pay off.

(How confident are you in the offensive line that they will rise to the challenge and get back on track?)

They're going to rise to the challenge, and they need to, and we all do. Starting with me. We're going down there to play football the way we're supposed to play football. Hey, we didn't play very good last week. That's last week, we're 1-1, and we're excited about this opportunity in St. Louis. We're going to line up and play just the way we did every day. Nothing is going to change. We're not changing any plays, any practice schedules, any linemen, any safeties. We're going down to St. Louis to win a game, and we're going to play our type of football. That's our approach.

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