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Tuesdays with McCarthy


In this week's edition, the head coach discusses his favorite NFL cities, one of his pre-game rituals and his thoughts on the Seahawks, among other topics.

The Festival Foods Facebook question of the week is from Angela of Green Bay. Her question is: What is your favorite other football city to visit and why?

One of my favorites is Seattle, the place we're playing this Monday night. It's a unique city. I think it's one of the better stadiums in the league. However, my favorite city to visit is Pittsburgh. That's my hometown, and it's a great football environment. I always enjoy the opportunity to go back there.

Evans from Vancouver, BC
Are different players on the field for the fake field goal vs. a real field goal?

There can be. On that particular fake against the Bears, it was our regular field goal team. We ran a fake a few years ago against the Vikings when Matt Flynn was substituting as the holder. However, Matt had done some holding in the past, and we used three different holders that year, so it wasn't as noticeable. Matt rolled out and threw a pass to Andrew Quarless. We've done it both ways.

Tina from Marshfield, WI
Do you have a pregame ritual or a special meal?

I do the same routine before every game. I eat light, usually having just a protein shake. I don't like to eat a lot before the game and I like to have Starbucks coffee on most Sundays. As far as game preparation, I go through the same exact three-hour process before every game during which I review my call sheet.

Q. What challenges does playing in Seattle pose?

Seattle poses a number of different challenges. First and foremost, they're a very good football team. I was impressed with their win against Dallas, and their loss against Arizona came right down to the wire. In addition to watching their first two games, we studied them during the offseason. It's evident that they are an up-and-coming team and made some great additions this offseason. Additionally, their stadium is really tough to play in as it was designed to amplify the crowd noise. It will be one of the louder road venues we'll play in and that definitely presents a challenge because it is our first away game of the regular season. The first road game is always a little different. We played two preseason road games, and because we keep the travel routine similar for the regular season, there will be some familiarity. It's also a long trip. You have to hydrate on the plane, walk around, things like that. We'll do a presentation to the players on Friday about the anatomy of a road game win, the key points that will fuel our success in this game. There are a number of things to think about.

Q. Your thoughts on Russell Wilson?

Good young quarterback, very talented. Everybody made an issue of his height, but he has everything else. He has a good wingspan, big hands, very athletic, and can really throw a football. That's something that was very evident in college, and it has held true on his pro tape. He throws it accurately, and he seems to be very comfortable in their offense. They're doing a very good job of being balanced, run and pass. He's made some plays with his feet. He has good movement ability, and one thing I've been really impressed with, especially for a young quarterback, is when he does move, his eyes are always down the field. Everybody appreciates what he's done for the Wisconsin Badgers, and we're looking forward to going against him and the Seahawks.

Q. Do you have a pass-run balance percentage you seek to achieve?

No, but we have targets that we look for. I'm more interested in the intent to run the ball, because we do a lot of different things off of our run game, and you have to look at that, especially when there's so much production that comes off of that. The intent to run the football needs to be evident in every single game, and every game that I've ever coached in, I've always felt there's a point in the game where you need to be hard-nosed and run the ball. I'm sure that will be the same Monday night.

Q. There are only six teams in the league that are 2-0. Parity? Early-season hiccups?

I think that says a lot about our league. It gets tougher every year. I think it does. Every year is so different. That's why it gets old not only talking about last year, but dealing with the importance people put on the prior year. It's important for your offseason program, but to me it's not important for the new season. In training camp you're establishing your new direction, you're trying to build an identity, you have new players. It truly is a different team, a different experience, and I think it's a foolish mindset to fall into, to rely on last year.

Q. You're No. 1 in the league in sacks per pass play. Why the dramatic difference?

I give credit to our players and our coaches. We made a conscious effort to improve that area, and our players are executing. It's two games. To be honest, I don't even get into statistics until after Week 4. I don't even talk about them with the team. I really feel it takes four weeks to identify a team statistically. Hopefully that's a stat that holds up for a long time throughout the season. We're off to a great start in an area that we've emphasized.

Q. What needs to happen for the Packers to find their rhythm on offense?

We're closer than you think. We're not as far away as people might think we are. We have to stay true to our process. Our approach is not going to change. We're an offensive system that's built around making the quarterback successful. We'll continue to do that. I thought the run game improved from Week 1 to Week 2. In pass protection, we took a step backwards and gave up too many sacks in Week 2. But in the passing game, we can handle the ball better, as far as throwing and catching it, and that's something I have great confidence in, because I watch it on a daily basis.

Q. When in the season do teams begin finding their identities and settling in to a rhythm and consistency?

You take on certain characteristics and the face of your team comes to light after the fourth week, in my opinion.

To see the previous version of "Tuesdays with McCarthy," click here.

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