Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 29

OK, I'll start with the injuries. Chad Clifton had a hamstring strain. A.J. Hawk had a groin strain. Jason Hunter had a hamstring strain. Cullen Jenkins had a pec strain. Aaron Rodgers had a shoulder sprain. Will Blackmon had a quad contusion. And Aaron Rouse had a knee sprain, and they're scanning him currently. With that I'll take your questions.

(What's Aaron's prognosis?)

Well, they're going to obviously rehab him today and tomorrow and we'll probably have a better idea Wednesday. Speaking with Aaron this morning, he has every intention on playing, but I think Wednesday's practice will be a pretty good indicator for us. It's just something we'll have to continue to rehab and see where we are Wednesday.

(Have you been through this with a quarterback before?)Yes I have. Went through it with Aaron Brooks in New Orleans.

(Did he miss any games because of it?)

I don't recall. I remember the game that he missed, or that he was injured in. It was at Baltimore, and Jake Delhomme finished the game. I don't recall if he missed the following week.

(What's most important to see from him, his arm strength on Wednesday or how he recovers from Wednesday's practice on Thursday?)

Really a combination of both things. It's important for him to have the strength back in the shoulder, and really to see how well he throws on Wednesday will have a lot to do with it, and then Thursday morning how he recovers.

(Do you have to have Matt ready in any case?)

Yes. As far as the planning for tonight and tomorrow with the coaches, we'll plan accordingly, and we'll make sure the reps going into Wednesday will illustrate that in making sure that both Matt and Aaron are ready to play.

(Is there a danger of further injury for Rodgers or is it just playing with pain?)

My understanding with the scan is there's no major structural damage. I think it's just how he responds to rehab and how fast we can move forward.

(Is Hawk's groin a serious injury?)

It's a pretty good strain. It's something that, ... Wednesday is important. Knowing A.J. I'm sure he'll do everything he can to play this week.

(So you think he could possibly play?)

I can't tell you that. I'll know more Wednesday.

(What's happening with the run game and the rush defense?)

As far as the performance yesterday, our run game was not very good. It starts up front, and you talk about footwork, targets, pad level, finish, just all the basic fundamentals that you practice, day in and day out. That will be our focus as we move through this week of preparation into Atlanta. Defensively, I thought we played with much better gap control throughout the defensive front. We're just not winning it down enough. Time and time again we had very good spacing and leverage on the ballcarrier, but was unable to put him down in a favorable down and distance. Those are things as far as tackling, firing your gun and so forth. I think we definitely made improvement in that area. We had the big run come out there at the end that obviously hurt us, which counts, in the run defense, but we're just not winning it down enough on defense. But I thought our gap control from Dallas to this week improved.

(Will you look to get Sitton in there at all this week?)

I'm not looking to ... personnel changes is really not on my mindset right now. I'm more focused on the meeting today and make sure they clearly understand exactly what went wrong and what we need to do to fix it. It's not about changing parts. It's about getting the parts cleaned up and working in a better fashion.

(How was Aaron feeling this morning? In good spirits or still in a lot of pain?)

Pretty positive. He wants to play, was his communication to me. We talked about the game and the things in the game. I would say his mindset is strong, very positive.

(Were you impressed or surprised with how well Aaron threw that ball to Jennings given he was holding his arm?)

I think it was very impressive what he went back and was able to do. The coverage that we had on that particular play was probably the toughest coverage that you can get on that particular pass concept. It's really just a great throw, and catch and finish by Greg. He had thrown a screen on first down that didn't go very well for him. So for him to muster up and throw that ball the way he did was a tribute to his ability to deal with that in that particular situation. I think you could even say for our whole football team. We had a bunch of guys that were nicked up throughout the game that went back in and fought and gave us a chance to win that game in the fourth quarter.

(You can't keep going with Frost can you?)

That's your opinion. The thing about our punting game, it was not very good. Field position two weeks in a row has been a negative. The combination of the punting and the three-and-outs by the offense, the ability to change field position is important. When you have a strong defense like we feel that we do, the ability to play a team like Tampa that has a focus on field position in the game, to lose that battle the way we did is not a positive. We need to punt the ball better, we need to punt protect the ball better. The punt protection was not what it was supposed to look like. We've been very strong on special teams maybe the first two contests, but the last two weeks, this is probably as bad a performance as we've had on special teams in some time here. We need to get that fixed.

(So it's other areas than just the punting game?)

Absolutely. It was not a very good performance by special teams.

(Were you pleased with the performance of Tramon Williams?)

Tramon Williams played well, played very well. He played very good as far as the coverage stuff. He had a couple of run fits that he can clean up, but definitely had the big play down there with the interception. He played OK on special teams. I would definitely say he had a winning performance.

(With Collins and Jenkins, are their injuries a concern too?)

Jenkins, they are scanning him this morning so I'll know more about him as the day goes on. I don't have enough information there. Collins, he feels about the same way he did coming out of the Dallas game. He has the back contusion, and he really gutted it out and made some big plays in the game. So we'll see where he is Wednesday. I'm sure his practice time will be limited.

(Can Woodson keep doing what he's doing or does he need to take a week off?)

We actually didn't talk about Charles this morning. He really doesn't feel very good until probably Wednesday or Thursday, so I anticipate that will be the same this week. He'll be in the boot again. If I was to project the week, I would say it would go very similar to the way it has gone the last two weeks. We have not discussed a week off as we did last year.

(With the injury situation, are there any positions you feel you need to sign somebody?)

Once we gather all of the medical information that will determine that situation. As I stand here right now I would say no, but I do not have all of the medical information.

(With the run game, how much of it is on the line and how much on Ryan missing time in the preseason and practice?)

It all fits together. You make statements of rhythm, timing, footwork, pad level, they all mean something. The cohesiveness of it all working in conjunction together is important, and that's definitely not there right now. It's nothing that can't be fixed. Their pads were lower than ours. It's not like we don't practice...we don't practice high pad level. Our footwork needs to be better. Our finish needs to be better. They did a better job of that than we did, and we need to go back and rep it and spend a little more time in pads and individual work this week than we have the last two weeks and that's how we'll go about it.

(Is Clifton in question for this week?)

As I stand here today, I would say no. These are all questions that are probably better for Wednesday.

(You had five guys who couldn't dress because they were hurt. With more injuries now, does that disrupt the practice plan this week?)

Individual work is important for every position, so we will make that a primary focus this week regardless of how many people are hurt or not hurt. It's a team issue. It's not an individual issue. When things don't go well, it's important for the coaches to emphasize it every possible way that they can and make sure it gets done right. We will do that Wednesday and Thursday in our padded work.

{sportsad300}(With catching production, Donald Driver hasn't had many opportunities. Is that just one of those things?)

I would say Donald played well actually yesterday. I know his production was only the one catch for eight yards, but when you look at his route running, I thought he did a much better job of running some routes. He actually fell subject a couple of times to the individual next to him where being a part of the concept where something that wasn't done right affected his route. In grading the film, I actually felt Donald played better than he did the last two weeks, but his opportunities just weren't there. We've got to get more production out of our offense. You can sit there and pick apart anybody. When you're on the field as long as we were and the number of plays that we're having, that's just not productive enough and it has affected him. But it's not really an illustration of how he played.

(If Aaron can't play Sunday, what does Matt need to work on to be ready to start?)

Any quarterback that plays, his job is to run the game plan, to stay within the game plan and make the proper decisions. Play with good vision, accuracy, and footwork. They are all trained the same way, all three quarterbacks.

(Does the snap percentage change in terms of number of reps?)

We'll prepare both Aaron and Matt for this week's game.

(How much smaller does the playbook get with Flynn?)

We haven't really operated on a very high volume all year, so that's something coming out of the offseason. I think it's important as a coaching staff to challenge yourself. I've dealt with very high-volume offensive game plans in the past. Over the long haul, I think it creates more opportunity for mental errors. I don't think we have a volume issue as far as the size of our playbook for any of the quarterbacks to run. The percentage of that, the week will probably answer that question better.

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