Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 7

(What is the plan for Matt Flynn this week?)

Matt Flynn, I plan on him practicing all week.

(So you think he'll be ready to go for Sunday?)

I think he'll be ready to go. I'll just say this about the medical; I don't want it to seem like I am hiding anything. I think Matt will be fine, and we'll give you the medical report on Wednesday. The three players that didn't practice today, they're making progress and we'll give you an update on Wednesday.

(Has Nick Barnett shown you enough where you could start him?)

I think Nick will definitely play in the game. What packages and so forth that he'll play in, we'll find out Sunday night. But I thought he looked good in the Tennessee game. I thought he flew around, he was active like he always is, but we have to be smart with Nick and you've got to put Clay in the same category. They played 25 plays this past week and it's a long year. We factored that into our decision-making as far as our game planning.

(What would be the reason you wouldn't start him?)

I think I just answered that. I think Nick Barnett is coming off of a major injury. He just played 25 snaps last week and you have to be smart on how you progress forward with any player coming back.

(So it's nothing physically?)

Just part of his plan. It's part of the plan coming back from a major injury, so I guess if you're looking to classify it, I'd say probably medical.

(So you're not ruling him out as far as starting; you're just not tipping your hand to Chicago?)

We have more than 11 starters, so what does starting mean? Does he play what personnel group? I definitely think Nick Barnett will run out of the tunnel and play like he always has in the past.

(How much can Derrick Martin help you out right away?)

We'll find out. A lot of positive reports on Derrick before he came in here and also had a chance to watch his special-teams tape. He's definitely gifted in that area. I think he'll do a good job for us at the safety position. He has played corner in the past. He is coming from a similar background as far as defensive philosophy. We just have to make a transition from a new language standpoint and that's always an adjustment for any player that is acquired at this point right before the first game. He is definitely a young man that can factor on special teams for us.

(What does Brett Swain give you that Ruvell Martin didn't?)

I'll say this, every year you stand up here after these last couple of days and this is clearly the most difficult day in the NFL I'm sure for a lot of people, specifically head coaches. The Ruvell Martin decision, personally it tears you up because of the type of person that Ruvell is and what he has meant to us as a team and as a teammate. He's been a productive player. I told Ruvell that if we were to have a billboard and wanted to put a picture of someone that exemplifies a Green Bay Packer, we would put his picture up. That was a very difficult decision, but really Brett Swain, you can't deny the progress that he has made from last year to this year. I thought he did an outstanding job on special teams, and his special-teams work was one of the big factors in him making our football team.

(Do you see scenarios where you could have all three fullbacks active on gameday?)

Yeah, there is definitely a scenario for that, yes.

(Would that be for special teams?)

Usually when you get into backup players that don't run out there with the first two-back sets, referring to the running back position, it definitely factors on special teams and maybe some of the other things you are trying to accomplish schematically against that specific defense. Yeah, definitely.

(Does this look like a 6-10 team to you or is it different?)

Well, 6-10 is over. No different than standing here last year before the opener against Minnesota, 13-3 was over. You don't get to carry what you did last year forward, whether you are coming off of a successful season or an unsuccessful season. Every team is generated every single year. We clearly identified that back in the spring. We may have 60 or 70 percent of our football team that carries over from last year, but one thing about the NFL, you either improve or you go backwards. I think our team has improved since last year. It starts in the offseason program. How we played in those preseason games is evident of where we are as a football team. We get 16 opportunities. We're going to line up. We're excited about our first one against the Chicago Bears. It's a rivalry game. Our guys were champing at the bit today. For our first practice of the season, this is usually a very difficult day for NFL football players because you have personal relationships that are established and people are not in that locker room today that have been there in the past, and this has been our best first-day back practice that we have had in my time year. I have actually given it a lot of thought because of the experience in the past and I think our players have handled it very well. They have turned the page and everybody is excited about the team that we have assembled. I can't say enough. We're off to a good start with one good practice.

(How comfortable are you unleashing this defense?)

Well, we're not holding anything back. So unleashing, I don't know if you're referring to the pressure. We're going to give them everything we've got every week. I feel offensively and defensively from a schematic standpoint, philosophically that we approach the game the same. We're going to do everything we can to challenge our opponent both physically and schematically, and we'll do that starting with Chicago.

(You had a physical training camp, you have a new defense and you have emphasized the running game. Is this a physically tougher team?)

We're always striving to be a physically tougher football team, so whether people think you're not, that's the challenge of playing in the NFL. Were we tough enough last year? Who cares. We're going to be damn tough this year, that's all I can promise you, and we're off to a good start. So if Chicago, or whoever, is questioning our toughness, we'll find out Sunday night.

(Anything in particular about this roster that you like more than past years?)

Well, the first thing about our roster is really how difficult it was to get to 53. You could make an argument that 56, 57, however you feel about individuals, could have made our football team, and I actually addressed that with our team today. I think it's important to identify, A, thank the players and congratulate them for what they have done to this point and really make it clear-cut where we're going from day one. But it's an accomplishment to be on an NFL roster, the hard work they've put in to making our roster. How is it different? Three fullbacks. There are some different variables to it that we have now that we haven't had before. But I just think it's the quality of football players and the character of the team. At the end of the day, it's about your locker room. It's a tough journey, things happen, we know that. But I just really like our locker room, the make-up of our locker room, and our ability to play football at the level that we've played in the preseason. Now, we have to carry that forward, and we'll start this week.

{sportsad300}(You have worked with Ted and the others to get the roster down. At the end of the day do you all agree on all of the moves?)

At the end of the day, yeah, everybody agrees. I think it's very important. Marty Schottenheimer used to say this all the time every year to the staff, and I didn't know why then, but I do know why now. You have a responsibility as an assistant coach to disagree, but once a decision is made, you can't be disagreeable. The way we're structured, the way we're outfitted as far as the interaction between the personnel department and the coaching staff, there's no hidden agendas. It's an ongoing evaluation all the time. Everybody has an opportunity to express their opinion, and at the end of the day Ted and I go in the room and make a decision, for as hard as it is. It isn't like you sit there and have knock-down, drag-outs ... I think people that have knock-down, drag-outs the day of the cuts, then they probably haven't been communicating a whole lot up until that point. We talk about our football team almost every single day, the personnel part of it, so you're always planning, building, and keeping your finger on the pulse of how individuals are doing, how certain positions are doing, which side of the ball and so forth. It's just the process of how we go about it here.

(You have essentially three new starters on the offensive line with Spitz playing a different position. What do you expect out of them?)

We expect them to play well. We've given them an opportunity now to play together for three full weeks. Compared to the other three years, it's a better opportunity to get the continuity. We've got a lot of experience up there compared to last year, outside of the right tackle position, so I look for them to play at a high level this year.

(Did you intend for the preseason to be kind of a launching pad, or did it just turn out that way with the way the team played?)

It's always the intent to play that well. I've never come in and just thought we were kind of going to play OK and roll into it. Preseason football is different. I know it is from my perspective. I don't know how other head coaches view it. You have a number of different objectives that you need to find out about your team. You have personnel decisions you have to make. There are some plays you probably wouldn't call maybe against that defense that you call in preseason because you're trying to look at certain people. Your game-planning isn't to the extent you do in-season. It really is different. But at the end of the day, it's just like I told the team, at the end of the day football is football. You have to go out and play football. So whether you don't have the best play called versus the best defense, you still have to ... there's been a lot of good plays that have come out of being in a bad play at the line of scrimmage. That's playing football, and our football team played very good football for a big part of the preseason, and that's the reality of where we are. Now, we're zero-and-zero, and so is Chicago. It doesn't mean anything as far as your record for the regular season, but hell that's where we are, and we expect to get better. That's the challenge that we put on one another.

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