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Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 6

(How's the health of your team heading into Monday night's game?)

We're healthy enough. It's been an issue the last two weeks, the health of our football team, but nothing has really changed from yesterday's report. Guys are getting better and we're ready to go.

(Did Hawk get cleared?)

He's had the full practice again today. Just my conversations with A.J. have been very positive. He feels great. Once we get the final clearance from our medical staff, we'll make a decision.

(Are you expecting that?)

Hope so. Just taking all the information, and we'll make a decision. Nothing has changed as far as our plan for A.J., giving him the opportunity to come back. Didn't want to do too much too fast, but he feels great. We'll see how he feels in the morning.

(What's your comfort level with Ruvell and Jordy in the 3 and 4 WR spots?)

We're comfortable. We're comfortable with all our receivers, specifically Ruvell Martin and Jordy Nelson. I can't say enough about Ruvell Martin. I think he's clearly one player that illustrates what we're trying to and will continue to accomplish here as far as a football program. Someone who comes in, works hard, he's very detailed, has taken advantage of his opportunities given to him. It's been awesome to watch him grow in his time here. We've played a number of games with Ruvell in key situations, and we'll continue to move forward with that. Jordy Nelson just continues to get better. He's done a very good job of learning all the different positions, and I feel very comfortable with him in all aspects of our game plan.

(Do you expect KGB to play and if so, how has he looked so far?)

He's another one that feels very good. Kabeer has been limited in his practice reps, but we have 56 more hours to go. This is the time that we emphasize to our players about getting their bodies ready to go. He'll be a game-time decision, but I'm hopeful that he'll go.

(You had Wells as questionable. Have you downgraded him?)

It's really the process of Scott responding to his treatment, and really not having the opportunity now to see if he's ready. We're going to take him up to game time and see if we can get some more information over the weekend. You'd definitely love to have Scott up. He's been a starter on our football team for two years, so we'll take him all the way to the wire and see what the decision is.

(Would you have him up as a backup?)

That's an option. I don't see him starting, but that's definitely an option.

(Was Grant OK to do everything?)

He went through the full practice today.

(Do you have a feel for what you have on the offensive line right now, after piecing it all together?)

To answer your question, I say yes, I have a feel for what we have on our offensive line, and it's two parts. It's partly experience. We have gone through this before, where we've played different combinations of players up front. We've forced our younger players to learn multiple positions up front, starting two years ago. We're benefiting from that right now. And this group has really had a lot of practice time the last three weeks, really since Josh's injury up there in Denver. I feel comfortable with the number of reps and the continuity we have with the starting line that's been out here all week.

(With the guys you drafted three years ago, have you seen the progress now?)

Absolutely. I think of Jason Spitz and Daryn Colledge and Tony Moll playing in games a couple of years ago, you just remember some of those close games and plays that factored in outcomes of games. They have grown up a lot. They've got a lot of experience, and it's time for us to take advantage of it. That's a big reason why we're able to train our offensive line the way we do.

(Was there some apprehension when you started them as rookies compared to now?)

Your team is your football team. It's the job of the coaching staff to put players in position to win, regardless of their age, their experience. I was all fine with it. We did a good job with it. They were productive players. I'm proud of what they've accomplished, and we all do, you tend to harp on the things that didn't go right. Daryn Colledge, Tony Moll and Jason Spitz have played a lot of football for us.

(Aside from kicking and punting, how much better do you expect the special teams to be?)

I look for our special teams to be a factor in our season. I've said it all along, defense, I think that's the starting point of our football team is defense, starting up front. Just the way we play and the way we scheme to play, and that's a common thread I want to see carry through our football team. I think with the improvement in our younger players and the improvement in our depth at defense will directly carry over to special teams, because I think our depth on special teams is very good. The toughest decision I'll have to make on Monday on who's playing will be based on special teams. I know Mike Stock and Shawn Slocum both are very confident to work with whatever combination we decide to go with, and I think that just shows you the confidence they have in the depth we now have there. I think our special teams will definitely be better in those areas, and I know we have a new punter and new holder, and they continue to work together. We haven't had any blips on the screen or anything so far. It's been a pretty smooth operation. I know what counts is Monday night, and that will be their first opportunity, but the practice time has been very, very efficient.

{sportsad300}(Do you have guys competing for special teams spots?)

Absolutely. That goes on weekly. It's why you see Mike ... nobody cross-trains more than your special teams coaches. That started from Day 1. Because if you're not a starter, that's the opportunity to start is on special teams. It's not a personnel decision that is given lip service. That's the determining factor at the end of the day, and it's tough on the offensive coordinator, it's tough on the defensive coordinator. But the bottom line is we're going to do what's best for special teams, because field position and all those things factor in every game.

(What's your Sunday schedule like?)

Sunday will be a Saturday for us, a normal Saturday. We'll be done here approximately 11, 11:30. We'll go to the hotel just like we have every year between 7 and 8, we'll have 8:30 chapel over there, 9 o'clock will be our team meeting. And then Monday, we'll have walk-throughs in the morning, and it is an early starting time, it's not your traditional Monday night game. I think that helps, especially being at home.

(How important is Ryan Pickett to the run defense?)

Ryan Pickett, the strength of his game is run defense. He's definitely one of our better or best run stoppers in there. He'll definitely contribute to the success of our run defense, just like he did last year. It's great to have him back. But run defense, just like run offense, it's all about attitude, technique, fundamentals and finish, and that's our focus. That's a strength, running the football was a strength of their football team last year, and I'm sure that will be an approach they try with us Monday night. We anticipate it, and we'll see what happens.

(Can he go the full game, or do you limit his snaps?)

I have no indications, ... Ryan is not going into the game limited as far as his number of snaps.

(Will you watch any of the Jets-Dolphins game tomorrow?)

I'm actually going to work on Detroit, if you must know.

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