Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 26

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

(Will Favre miss any practice time this week?)

He just had a small cut. It happened Monday night at the house. He went through the team (drills). I gave Aaron some of his reps today. He's going to be fine. He's played with a lot worse.

(With Jennings, are you just taking it easy with him?)

We're just being smart with Greg. He's a little sore today. We're just being smart. I talked about it in the past. I don't want to get into a cycle where it's every couple of weeks. He's fine. He feels great. The guy that's holding him back is myself. I'm just being smart with him.

(Is Bubba's knee a big concern, could it linger through the week?)

He's just sore. I'm hopeful it will be just like last week. He didn't feel good at the beginning of last week but felt a little bit better on Wednesday. He's just sore. It's kind of an older type of thing from my understanding. I'm not anticipating him not playing.

(Did Clifton's knee flare up again?)

He's another player getting up there in age. I'm just being smart with him. He's had surgeries in the past on his knees. We're just being smart with him. He probably won't do that much work on Wednesdays as we move forward.

(With Morency, is it the same deal as the last couple weeks?)

Mo looked good today. I'm hopeful that we're past where we've been the last couple of weeks. We got him in the rotation. He took his share of reps. He actually looked very good in the some of the things he did. We'll see how he feels in the morning and see how we can move forward. Like we've talked about in the past with the packages, we have to make sure we get that whole group the reps that they need this week to be ready. It's important.

(Is there enough room on your 45 to have four running backs up?)

Probably not. I don't see us going for it.

(Did Woodson and Harris do any team or 7-on-7 drills?)

They just went through the jog-through. This is the mode that we went through with Charles last year. He's nicked up from the Giants game. He feels better today than he did at this time last week. We're just being smart with him and Al's back is getting better.

(The team has been very successful in the fourth quarter. What contributes to that?)

No. 1 we don't wait until the fourth quarter to be productive. That's not the plan. But it's important to win close football games. Clearly, last year compared to this year, we're winning those games where last year we did not. I think we're a more experienced football team. I think we're a more physical football team than we were at this time last year. We understand how to handle adversity better. I've been very pleased with the sideline energy, staying in the game. We haven't had any lulls. I've referred to the lulls with the football team, games with Philadelphia, the Jets, the Patriots, where our sideline deflated. Frankly that's a lack of confidence. Our confidence is real. It's building. We had a very spirited, physical practice today. We need to continue to work to improve. You want to win the football game but we need to work to improve because by no means have we figured this thing out yet.

(Are the linemen cutting as much?)

Percentage-wise a little more than last year. It really has to do with the scheme. Most of the cutting comes on what we refer to as the outside lead zone plays. The inside lead zone does not. We actually are running a little more inside zone than last year. Percentage-wise I'd say yes. We're better at it with the technique.

(How's the effectiveness of it?)

I think it's better. It's something that we need to continue work on. James Campen and Jerry Fontenot work on it, it's a basic individual drill that they work on every day. We're improving.

(Have you always given your quarterbacks either/or choices or are you doing that more because of Favre's experience?)

Why do you always ask the scheme questions? I always have to tip-toe around these things. No. 1, every year I've been in this offense there is always a blanket audible based on an empty blitz or all-out defensive overload type situation. You have that one audible that you carry with you. What has evolved is that we're doing more specific audibles. The format has always been there. It is nothing new. We're not doing anything new. We're just doing a better job of it.

(Is it a consistent amount of changing he does at the line, or a lot sometimes and not so much others?)

There are a lot of factors that determine what you do at the line of scrimmage. I know we're not doing it as much as you think we are, or as much as it's talked about. There are a number of factors involved in that: on the road, home, match-ups, personnel groups, who's out there. It's just more defined. He doesn't just have a catch-all audible that he goes to anytime. We don't run that kind of offense. It's more defined.

(You've said a lot in key situations that Brett gets you in the right play. Is that why we think it happens more than it really does?)

It's probably more situational football I would think, based on your question. Situational football there are a number of times in you're planning, once you get past the first three or four games of the season - because for the first three weeks you're dealing with so many unscouted looks. Weeks 1 and 2 you're probably looking at 30-35 percent of defenses you play against have a chance to be ones that are unscouted. Everybody has had a whole offseason to prepare. Now people are starting to settle into who they really are. You're in a situation where you know you're either going to get A or B. That's what I refer to as a favorable play. We think we're going to get A or B, and we want this vs. A or that vs. B. He's been good with his decision-making.

(What role has Favre played in the development of the young players?)

I think he's been a very good leader of our football team. He's a player that you can definitely point to when you stand up in front of the football team and talk about availability and accountability as being the building blocks of your program. You're able to point to your quarterback, this player here has been available more than any other player in the history of the National Football League. That helps. It's an excellent example there. Accountability, he's won more games than anybody in the history of football. He's a good role model for our younger players.

(Is there something to be said for the way he holds guys to a higher standard?)

I'd like to think that everybody in the room holds everybody to high level of accountability. I know in the preseason mistakes are made. There are more things going on as far as your planning but now there's no excuse for mistakes, mental errors and things like that. We spend a lot of time together, this quarterback group and wide receiver group. When we get together at 2:30, our post-practice meetings are always together. We spend a lot of time together. With that relationships are building and the accountability with one another is building. I think it's just a part of the progression that we're going through as a football team.

{sportsad300}(Is that where you see his interactions with teammates the most, in the meetings?)

Absolutely, it's very important for him to be vocal in the meetings. It's very important for Donald Driver to be vocal in the meetings. It's very important for James Jones to speak up. To me, the importance of having positions together in a learning environment is not so the head coach or position coach can get up and talk to everybody. It's important that the interaction and communication is constant. I ask Brett questions on purpose just to make him talk. I know he knows the answer; make him talk, make him interact. It's more about the things that go wrong because it's an opportunity for everyone to learn. I'm very big on interaction in different group dynamics. We spend a lot of time together with the perimeter group. When we go in the 2:30 meeting the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends will watch the practice film together. The running backs will break out and go with the linemen to watch the blitz drill. It's that interaction. It's not that the running backs are getting it over there and the line is getting it over here. It's all about accountability. Here's the offensive linemen, the running back coach corrects the running backs and he's on the same page. There's no ifs and buts. It's all done on the spot.

(Did you start that right away?)

We've done it a little bit in the past. We did it last year. We got into it a lot earlier in training camp. Last year we did it in-season. We've been doing this since we got past the installation phase of training camp. Everybody talks about getting on the same page. What better way to get on the same page than to spend time together.

(With your running game and the way Minnesota defends the run, is it going to be discouraging to try to establish something on the ground on Sunday?)

First of all I think it's important to look at how we run the ball. Viewing the film Monday I was actually pleased with our run-blocking unit. Frankly we left some yards on the field. We only ran the ball 13 times. I'm aware of that. Our second-level decision making by the running backs could have been a little better. That tells you right there that our run blocking has improved. San Diego defense is a very good defense. This group here, I talked a little about this on Monday, I haven't seen this much penetration from a defensive front, particularly their defensive tackles and their linebackers running through the A and B gap. That's something that we have to prepare extra for this week and we need to make sure we take care of that. You need to run the football, especially on the road. It's a part of what we do and it's important for us to do it this week.

(Brett said he's not playing any differently this year. What do you think?)

We've only played three games but statistically he's playing better than he did last year. I think that's clearly evident. I base things more on his decision-making and ball accuracy. With ball accuracy, with the level of quarterback he is, it's the rhythm and timing with the guy on the other side of it. That's improving. When we talk about last year, we're talking about 16 games. He had stretches last year where he played as well as he has in the last few games. So this is not something new. What we need is this level of performance week in and week out, and not just from him but everybody.

(How vital are yards after the catch in the design of this offense, and how good are your three receivers with that?)

I think it's very important based on the success we had last year and this year. We have a number of guys with play-making ability. Donald is the one at the forefront with what he does with the football. Greg Jennings is getting better. James Jones is going to get better. Donald Lee has done a nice job and I think our running backs are a group that's really going to improve in that area. If you want to be a high-completion-percentage football team it's definitely a big part of your productivity.

(After Kampman's breakout year, are teams focusing on him more and is there added pressure to replicate those numbers?)

No. 1, I don't think I need to talk to Aaron about it with the way he goes about his business everyday. He's very consistent, very disciplined with his approach and preparation. I think his performance has been very consistent. He gets a lot of attention based on his success last year. Pressure from your defensive line comes from your whole group. I think we're very fortunate for the depth that we have there and will continue to have there. He doesn't have to put any more pressure on himself to hit a number. If they're chipping him and putting two people on him that means someone else has a one-on-one and we need to win that.

(The Vikings put the quarterback on the ground a lot. Are they doing anything exotic?)

I've been impressed with their defense. They do an excellent job up front. I think their defensive tackles are as good a group as you'll play. They have three defensive ends that can rush the passer. They're a very talented defensive line. I like the linebacker play. They do a good job of timing up their blitzes. Like I stated earlier they're running through the A and B gaps. That's something they've been very productive with. They're second in the NFC in takeaways. That's a big part of being in every football game. I think their defense is a group that will be an excellent challenge for us. We're going to have to play well. We have to protect the football. We can't have any negative plays. Those are the things that they're accomplishing. Their safeties have as good hand-eye coordination as anyone we'll see. When they get their hands on the ball it's an interception. Winfield is very talented. I was very impressed with him in both our games last year. He's a solid pro. It's a good group. There will be a ton of energy up there. I think it will be an excellent contest.

(How did you handle the noise up there last time?)

Last time I thought we handled it very well. Brett does an excellent job of handling the crowd noise, silent counting when we need it. We worked it today in two team periods, blitz drill and team. It's something you have to deal with. We play in some unbelievable stadiums this year as far as crowd noise. Any time you play inside it's different. It's just different. I was thinking of a playoff game with the Saints when we played up there. The quarterback couldn't hear the play in the huddle coming off the headset. I'm sure that was manufactured. That's about as loud as I have ever heard it. We play at Kansas City and Denver. This will be the first one. We have to be ready for this.

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