Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 24

Read the transcript of Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s Monday press conference from Lambeau Field. - More Audio | Video | Watch ’The Mike McCarthy Show’ Packers-Chargers Game Center

OK, I'll start with the injuries. We have a number of guys nicked up. Nick Collins had a low back contusion. Donald Driver, he just got banged on the knee, just some soreness there. Brandon Jackson, shin contusion. DeShawn Wynn, ankle. Al Harris, back spasms. Cullen Jenkins, injury to his side. And Charles Woodson had a hip flexor. With that I'll answer your questions.

(What's the difference between a 'Victory Monday' and 'Medical Monday'?)

Not a big difference to answer your question. The schedule is pretty similar. We just wanted to put an emphasis on getting in here, getting their strength and conditioning work done today, and getting everybody through the training room for two treatments and to go through a one-on-one session with their coach. We're still basically getting our work done, but doing more as an individual with an emphasis on let's get healthy.

(So on 'Victory Monday' the players are totally off?)

No, we do the same thing. They come in on their own. Get their lift on 'Victory Mondays.' We have the corrections for them, and they also get with their position coach. So very similar.

(With your top three wide receivers healthy, does it change the way you call plays?)

It didn't change the way I called plays from Week 2 to Week 3. I don't think so. I think the productivity was clearly different with what Greg Jennings brings to the table. You just saw what he did on the last catch and the ability he has. It was nice to have everybody out there.

(With Jennings, does he give you more options in terms of how you line up and give you better match-ups?)

Clearly, that's why we use the different formations, and you look for that in your game-planning. Frankly, we didn't do a whole lot of it this past week with the uncertainty if Greg was going to go. But that's definitely something we'll point to in the future.

(You're 1 of 2 unbeatens in the NFC, do you have to guard against overconfidence?)

It's a concern. We're 3-0, stacking successes is something we talk about all the time. We're a team that didn't have a lot of confidence at this time last year, so the alternative is obviously a more positive situation to be in. But I talk about it all the time. It's very important to keep the team's eye on the target, and that's what we'll continue to do when we get back together Wednesday.

(You talk about handling success, what can you do to put it in perspective?)

Well, I think it's important just to continue to streamline the possible distractions. Every time you have success, more people want more of you, whether it's media attention, the personal part of it. You start hearing from people you haven't heard from in 25 years for tickets and things like that. Your phone rings a lot more. That's all part of it. And we have to remember where we started and how we got to this point. We just have to keep doing what we're doing. We won three games, we're excited about that, but there isn't a man in the locker room or on the coaching staff that is not fully in tune that we have a lot of work to do. We have a number of things we need to improve on and we particularly need to get those things corrected, I'm talking more in the area of technique, at this point in the season, because as you get into the later part of the season, you cut your practice back, your individual time lessens. So it's very important these next couple weeks of practice to get the technical things ironed out.

(Is Jennings out of the woods with that hamstring?)

He's not out of the woods. I just talked to Dr. McKenzie about his particular situation, so we'll see how he feels Wednesday.

(Are you thinking about sitting him a day or two?)

Potentially, yes, potentially. Wednesday's medical conversation will drive that.

(Has your phone rung more? Who have you heard from?)

Absolutely, yeah absolutely. Just more friends that you haven't heard from in a while. I think everyone respects the profession, how much time you put into this. Family, friends, you get a lot more phone calls. I got a lot last night.

(Some coaches push a lot harder when a team has success. Do you see yourself doing that, or will you just keep doing what you're doing?)

I know there's different types of approaches from a psychological standpoint. I don't find myself very good in those types of situations. I think it's very important to just be brutally honest with your football team. We lay out every practice, there's a lot of effort and preparation that goes into each practice, and I make sure they're aware of it, and I make sure they're aware of what we need to get out of every practice. I was really proud of our football team the way we went through a distorted week of preparation last week, because we adjusted both Wednesday's and Thursday's practice in getting ready for this football game. That's a sign of maturity of a football team, when you have to make adjustments and you're still able to prepare for a big game like that. I just take the real approach. I'm not going to blow up on my team, just for a calculated blowup. That's just not me. But if it doesn't look the way it looks, they're going to know about it. That's the way I approach every single day. It may be boring to you, but that's just the way I am. So when it's good, I tell them it's good. When it's not what it's supposed to look like, I tell them we need to get it the way it needs to look.

(The run-pass mix is very pass-heavy. Is there a reason for that?)

To me it's an approach to win the football game. We've played in my opinion some of the better defensive fronts that I've seen in the last couple years. I'm not concerned about it. Like I told you, everybody would like to do certain things a certain way. I would prefer to be a heavy run team, but that's just not the way we're built right now, and that's not the way that gives us the best chance to score a lot of points in my opinion. Now that's week to week. But there will be a time here where we'll pound the football. The biggest problem, and I don't really view it as a problem, but the statistical output of our run game is really the play-caller, because he hasn't committed to it. It's not that I don't believe in our players. I am getting more comfortable with our runners, as far as the different things we're asking them to do. You have to have a comfort when you call particular plays in certain situations, and there have been some growing pains there.

(How long can you get by doing this?)

As long as we keep scoring 30 points, we can do it as long as we need to. To me that's the week to week focus. That's why you game-plan Monday and Tuesday. That's why you look at the film, you look at the match-ups, particularly going into these division games. These division games are so much tougher to win because everybody knows each other so well, and that's something we'll talk about a lot Wednesday. You know them very well too, and you know if a guy is playing better than he was last year, or not as good. There's certain things you need to take advantage of if it presents itself. So that all factors in to how we approach each game.

(Is the play-calling easier with Brett back there?)

Clearly, the quarterback, he's the driver of any offensive scheme. We couldn't play with this approach if it wasn't for Brett Favre.

(Is it possible this is who you are, that you don't have to run to win?)

Well, I think over the long term it's probably not the healthiest way to go, and especially being very conscious of Green Bay, Wisconsin. That's why when Ted Thompson and I talk about personnel, building your football team, what do you want it to look like, with the emphasis on the offensive and defensive line, it's important to win in November and December and into January in Green Bay, Wisconsin, because those are clearly the most important games, and we're headed in that direction. But I agree with your statement. Some people say you have to stop the run and then set up the pass, but it's not illegal to go the other way, and that's kind of the mode we're in right now.

(Minnesota is good against the run. Are you OK with continuing in this vein if that's what it takes to win?)

I haven't looked at Minnesota yet. They were clearly probably one of the best run defenses that we played last year. If I recall, they were No. 1 in the league last year. So we'll look at the film just like we do every week and see what we think of those guys and how well they're playing, and then we'll go from there.

(Will you send the McCree hit to the league with any recommendation?)

I don't think so. The league does a great job of looking at all those types of plays, and I think that one will be handled itself in the league office.

(On the fourth-and-goal, why the empty backfield? Why not at least give the appearance you might run?)

Let me ask you this ... and I understand because Jeff and I were just talking about this. If you can go empty backfield all day and it's successful, I really don't understand the criticism of doing it at that particular time, especially fourth-and-1. I'll tell you this, as a play-caller, win or lose, you're always up at night, you think about two or three plays. I do it every week. It's just an exercise I go through. And then actually seeing the play, I'm still very comfortable with the call. I haven't seen Brett yet, and I don't know if he's watched the film. But he'll be disappointed when he sees the play. It's amazing to me to be as productive as we were in that formation, and then all of a sudden it's a bad call on fourth-and-1. I don't understand that, particularly with the defense they were in. We had a very favorable play selection on that play, and I'm comfortable with it.

(Did he throw to the wrong guy?)

I don't want to get into all that. It's a P-S-L read, which means he has the option to go to either side, and like I said I think he'll be disappointed when he sees the play.

(Did you think about the field goal at all there?)

No, I didn't. Because frankly, I was very confident we were going to score there. There was something I saw on the second and third down play that I felt very good about the call at the time. I second-guessed it just like you did. I appreciate the help, you're doing a good job there. I second-guessed it also. But I saw it this morning, and I'm comfortable with the call.

(Could you tell on the replay on the Donald Lee play, did he get touched?)

Yeah, he was down. That was the right call there.

(What about Jones?)

James, I still don't have a very good view of James. Because our sideline view on the coaching tape, ... you can't see the ball and the plane. From the end zone it looks like he did not get in, but I still haven't seen a very good view of it. I don't know if the TV copy has that.

{sportsad300}(Back to the second-guessing, did the Buffalo game from last year flash through your mind?)

I'll say this about the Buffalo game, it was more the call, the play-design. To answer your question, no. But the thing I regret about the Buffalo game was the design of the play. It was something we had practiced for a couple weeks, and it was an excellent play on film. But Brett wasn't real comfortable with the mechanics of the protection. It was what we refer to as a speed-break, when you get to the line of scrimmage and quick-snap it. He just wasn't very comfortable with the mechanics of it and with them having the ability to set their defense played a big part of them being successful on that play and not us. That's the part I regret. Because he hadn't been comfortable with it. There's nothing wrong with the play, because the play was there. It's still a good call schematically. But he just wasn't comfortable with the mechanics of it, that's why I regret that play.

(What was good about this play, you got the coverage?)

We spread them out, and with the front they went to, they were confused. We had one-on-one's on the outside. Like I said, based on that defense, it's a good play. Look at it on film, you'll see what I'm talking about.

(Why is the spread offense so potent in the NFL now?)

It's all about match-ups. They have a strength, and you're not playing to it. To me, that's really when you see the benefit of spread offense. When you look at the New England game, they played, what was it, the first 37 snaps of that football game, New England spread them out with their sub personnel, and they stayed base defense. New England was playing downhill. Now they put their sub defense against our sub offense, but we still felt there were a lot of completions available, and we were right. That's why we went to it. Their strength is their pass rush.

(Is there a shortage of quality DBs in the league to match up?)

It depends on what team you're playing. I wouldn't say as a whole it's a bad year for defensive backs. I'm not going to make that statement. But you look for favorable match-ups and you play to your strengths.

(Did you expect San Diego to blitz more than they did?)

He hasn't shown a lot of pressure in his sub packages, so I wasn't surprised with what he did. Now when you play his base, we refer to it as strong dog, when they bring the mike and the sam, and he did use that against our base. But you watch the Chicago game, if you line up and play them base for base, you'll probably see 50 percent pressure. And that's the way they'd like to play with that nose guard and with their linebackers. But we weren't going to play that game with them.

(So if someone blitzes against that spread, are you equipped to handle that?)

Absolutely.

(Can you evaluate your coverage of Gates?)

I thought our defense as a whole played well. Our secondary, we had some breakdowns, and really just the communication sometimes between the back end and the front end, and we had a couple there where he was able to get us on the one corner route, things like that. But as a whole, I thought our secondary played well. Frankly, I thought Philip Rivers threw the ball very well, and made good decisions with the football. You look at the touchdown on Al Harris, that's just a very good throw and catch. The third down play that he makes, we've got Corey Williams right in his face, and he back-shoulders it on our left side. They're going to make plays, and that's what we tell our defense. But we're still going to line up, we're going to stay on our toes, we're going to get in their face and play our defense. I'm sure it was a heck of a game to watch.

(What did Grant show you and how do you see his role?)

Well, number one, he's a very good special teams player. So my initial interest was to get him up on special teams, and he's picked up the offense very well. Just staying with the theme of trying to package certain things for the running backs, just to get them prepared and get ourselves in more of a rhythm and continuity, he's definitely earned his opportunities.

(Has Harrell expressed any frustration about being inactive for 3 weeks?)

Not to me personally. Justin is doing a very good job. He's getting better. I think it's just a matter of time for him to get his opportunity. I'd be very comfortable if he was in there playing yesterday.

(After the Lee play, who called the timeout?)

Well, actually there wasn't much time. You're talking about the one instead of challenging? I was in communication with the quarterback. He actually called it on the field. In hindsight, you would have liked to challenge it because you would have been charged the timeout anyway. But frankly, and I'm not making excuses, but I thought the down and distance wasn't declared. I wasn't sure what the situation was, and it was 15-16 seconds before we even ... at that time, sometimes, you get the 40-second clock reset. But the communication between the quarterback and I was what resulted in the timeout.

(How concerned are you about Wynn's ankle?)

I don't even know if they saw him today, but the medical staff wasn't very concerned about it.

(What's the plan with Morency this week?)

We'll talk about that probably tomorrow, when we start getting into the game-planning.

(When Wynn hurt his ankle, he said he called timeout. Is there another way to get him off the field?)

I don't think that will happen again. That was a first for me. Someone calls a timeout and you don't know where it came from. I think we'll correct that.

(If he's hurt, can't he tell the official he's hurt?)

He either goes on the ground or he gets off the field. You don't wait until the clock ticks down to 5 seconds on the 40-second clock and call timeout.

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