Transcript - Mike McCarthy Conference Call With Vikings Media

After the (Brett Favre) trade this summer, did you feel that in the days following and the weeks following that things more or less got back to normal for you guys? Was it possible to have a normal end of training camp there?

I would say yes. I think any time you get into a training camp environment, or even if it was in-season, and you're on a schedule that demands a lot of your time and you have to take time away from that to do something else, it definitely knocks you out of your regularity and knocks you out of your rhythm. It was definitely good to get back to a normal training camp environment.

If you look at (training camp) as a whole, was it a productive month or six weeks for you guys? Was there more that you wanted to get done?

It was a productive training camp. We knew going into training camp that our schedule was just a little different than we've gone through before. Just the way the games and the practices were outlined. We've had some injuries that we've had to work through. It was a little bit distorted. (But) the amount of work that we wanted to get done, we were able to accomplish that.

Are you almost expecting the typical first-year bumps in the road for Aaron (Rodgers)? Or is it different for him because he has been groomed?

You coach against it and you definitely try to prepare any first-year player for things he's getting ready to encounter. I think he's had very good preparation as far as following a great player at his position and also being in the same system now for three years, and really have some carry-over from the system he was in his rookie season. It's really at the point where the player actually needs to go out and play the game. That's the last thing on his checklist. Hopefully we have prepared him the utmost for that opportunity.

There's not really a lot from the outside to judge by. In your mind, how is (Rodgers) different now than he was when you first got a hold of him?

I can see why you would express that, based on statistics and what you've been able to see. We have the benefit of being with Aaron every day and watching him go through the practice structure and watch him go through the off-season program, watch him go through quarterback school. I think he's definitely improved in his time here in all areas of his play.

What does Aaron (Rodgers) bring to that position for you guys? What are his strengths that you see?

I think he's well-rounded. I think he's a quarterback who gives you the opportunity to run the full set of your offense. His capabilities are exceptional with run protection and even with the passing game as far as all the different personnel groups you would like to move in and out of. I like that about him. But his physical set is where he can make all the throws. He has the ability to play with his feet, both in the pocket and out of the pocket. I think he is a very well-rounded quarterback.

Is there anything (Rodgers) can give you that possibly Brett (Favre) didn't?

Brett Favre had a great career here and that's well-documented. We're excited about Aaron Rodgers and the opportunity now. I'm sure he'll be judged accordingly, step by step.

With so much attention on your dealings with Brett (Favre), how do you feel Aaron (Rodgers) has handled himself up to this point, given the constant questions about him?

I think Aaron has handled himself extremely well. There is probably nothing I could really compare this to, as far as the situation he's had to go through. I think he's been able to trust his heart and do things right, day-in and day-out. He's continued to prepare. He's continued to stay focused on playing quarterback because that's ultimately all he can control.

In the offseason there had been some talk that the Packers offense would sort of re-balance itself a little bit more to the running side and not quite as pass-oriented. Has it played out that way for you? Do you imagine that's the way it will be during the season, or is it hard to predict?

I've never felt it was accurate or probably even appropriate to say, 'Hey, this is what we're going to do this year.' There are so many different things that happen in the course of the year. Did we anticipate throwing the ball as much as we did last year? Probably not. You always like to have a little more balance. I think the way your game planning goes week-to-week, there are so many different factors that go into that; the matchups, the health of your team and different things like that. Ultimately, if I had my druthers, I'd be running (the ball) 40 times a game. I think that's the way football is meant to be played. But that doesn't always give your team the best chance to win. We're going to take the same approach we did last year. We're going to do whatever it takes to put the ball in the end zone.

Did (Matt) Flynn surprise you as a quarterback?

He's definitely improved at a high rate. I think that's been impressive from Matt. You watch him play last year at LSU. Obviously, he's a winner. He makes plays with his feet. I really liked him fundamentally, as far as breaking down his mechanics at the Combine and that's held true with his time here. I knew we were getting a very good prospect, someone that you're going to be able to work with and can fit in to our offense to do the things we like to do. I think he's done a very good job of improving with the opportunities he's been given.

How is Brian (Brohm) doing?

Brian has been doing good. I'm going to tell you what I told Brian. I said, 'I'm not disappointed in your progress at all.' It's part of preseason football. It's not very pretty a lot of the time. You get put into some tough spots and some tough situations. (It was) very evident in the Tennessee game with some of the opportunities he had in the passing game with the protection situations he was put into. I thought he improved in that game. He did some things we had emphasized on in the last week and he was able to carry it over to the game. He's still competing for the (No. 2) spot. This is not a full-season determination and we want to keep that spot as competitive as possible. The reality is that we have a first-year starter in the No. 1 position and he needs his reps. There are only so many reps left to get the No. 2 ready. We're going to give that opportunity right now to Matt Flynn.

{sportsad300}At this point, is signing a veteran (quarterback) off the table or do you still consider that an option at some point?

I'm not thinking about it. I'm thinking about getting these two young men ready to play. I'm excited about both of them. I think they're two excellent prospects. As a coach, that's all you can ask for. Give me prospects and it's our job to do the best we can with them and make sure they are able to perform at a high level.

You've coached a lot of quarterbacks. Does Aaron (Rodgers) remind you of anyone at this same stage?

Physically, he's gifted. He's definitely on the high end of his overall ability of the guys I've worked with. He's done a very good job. I compare him, not as much to Rich Gannon because Rich was older when he had his opportunity in Kansas City and Oakland, but Jake Delhomme waited his turn. I was with Matt Hasselbeck who was in the process of waiting his turn. There were some similarities as they were going through the learning stages of their early years. Then they got their opportunity to play. I really don't have someone out there to compare him to.

What do you think about the rookie running back (Kregg) Lumpkin?

Tough. Tough guy. Runs hard. (He's) another player who took advantage of his opportunities every time he went out there. He started the Family Night scrimmage and I was not very encouraged with some of the things he did in the early part of the scrimmage. As it went on, he made some plays that definitely got your attention. In Week 1 against Cincinnati, he did some things. In the second week at San Francisco, he ran harder and started picking up the blitz protection. He's a physical guy. I like his size and strength. He's done a very good job for a young guy, particularly on third down with pressure schemes and so forth from a pass-protection perspective. I think he's a young man with a bright future.

The NFL has put a point of emphasis on calling more holding. Did you guys experience any of that in the preseason?

Those weren't really factors for us in the preseason. We had too many personal fouls in the preseason. The formation emphasis was really the bulk of the focus, as far as the dialogue I had with the officials throughout the four preseason games.

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