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Tuesdays with McCarthy


In this week's edition, the head coach discusses musical tastes, the replay system and his emotions, among other topics.

The Festival Foods Facebook question of the week is from Kristine of Franksville, WI. Her question is: What would have been your second career choice if you were not a football coach?

If I were not a football coach, I would probably be in the construction business. I actually started my first year of college in civil engineering. Growing up, I was always around a business as my father was a tavern owner and did a lot of construction projects on the side. I've always been intrigued by what people are able to accomplish in heavy construction, and I still am today. If I had the time, I'd be down at the Lambeau Field south end zone project every day with a hard hat. I've always been intrigued by the job that ironworkers do and how foundations are built.

Chris from Sheboygan, WI
How often do you have to adjust the game plan midway through a game?

The game plan is always evolving. We utilize our preparation time during the week to ensure we have covered the different situations that we'll encounter during the game. It's important to have the ability to efficiently change personnel groups to take advantage of matchups in a game. The opponent can also play you differently based on the way the game progresses, if they have an injury or if they're playing a certain defense against a certain personnel group. It's an ever-changing process during the game. That's why it's so important to teach concepts in all three phases. The players have to learn concepts, not plays. If you're able to execute one concept in a certain personnel group, you might want to try that same concept in a different personnel group if there's a matchup or scheme to your advantage.

John from Dupo, IL
What CD is in your car right now?

George, our youngest boy, is a very creative young man, and he makes me eclectic CDs with a variety of music that I listen to before I get to work. I grew up listening to the radio and juke box in my father's tavern, so I've always enjoyed the Top 40, but I also have a great appreciation for new country and older music. Our juke box at the tavern had the Top 40 list, but the last row was the favorites of the local patrons. There was always a little Elvis, Sinatra and the bigger hits from the '60s and '70s.

Q. Are you an advocate of the coach's challenge system?

I'm an advocate of a process to try to get the game right. That's what I believe in. The NFL is trying to create a process where the game is won by players on the field, not by the decisions of officials. Part of creating that process involves the details and definition of the process, and that's something that's evolving. Is there a better way, or can we be better at it? That's the real question. I'm an advocate of trying to get the game right, so the players walk off the field believing that the game was won or lost on the field.

Q. What did you see on offense Sunday that you liked?

"Tempo." We were not playing with the proper tempo for the first three weeks. It was very inconsistent for a number of reasons and it affected our personnel and substitution process. Unfortunately, it took us four weeks to get into the rhythm that helps our offense succeed. The offensive tempo, our huddle mechanics and making the proper adjustments helped Aaron play very well. We also really dominated the line of scrimmage, and that was huge. We were able to make our run-pass adjustments and get in clean plays throughout the game.

Q. You said the next five games are going to tell us a lot about this team. Why the next five?

The next five is our second quarter before we head into the bye week. More importantly, we start the second quarter with three games on the road. It's always a challenge to play on the road, but especially to have three in a row when the first four games were scheduled so uniquely. However, we have an opportunity to get in a rhythm and get our body clocks in order because we are back to seven-day work weeks. It will be important to get off on the right foot on Wednesdays each week, practicing the right way and getting our routine down. Going on the road to reach our accomplishments the next three weeks is going to be a great challenge.

Q. A fake punt from your 17-yard line would frighten most coaches. Why doesn't it frighten you?

I have great confidence in our players, the scheme and our whole operation, especially in that down and distance. John Kuhn is going to get you a yard. It was a clean play. You have to take a risk and get the proper defensive look to make that work. It was high risk, high reward, and we knew we had to score points in that game. It was important to maintain drives, and that was part of our mindset heading into the game. I don't know if I would've made that call in my first or second year as a head coach, but I'm a lot more confident today than I was seven years ago.

Q. Would you talk about the emotions of the last two games?

It was a tough six days. Regardless of the outcome, Monday night games on the West Coast are difficult. You really don't get caught up on your sleep until the following week, and when I'm tired, I'm a little more emotional. I was probably relieved after this last game. On the sidelines, you have to be very disciplined. When it comes to negative thoughts, I'm a big believer in first, don't think it, and more importantly, don't say it. I know there was a little "here we go again with the officials" feeling against the Saints, and I thought our team really rallied and fought through it. They showed a lot of character. I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to coach this team. I appreciate every opportunity to play at Lambeau Field, so it does get a little emotional for me.

Q. Your thoughts on the Colts?

One thing that jumps out is that they play with a lot of energy. They are a young team and we respect that because we've built our team in that manner. Chuck Pagano is a high-energy coach and his team plays that way. They're operating under new schemes and you can see the adjustments. We've competed against their defensive coordinator, Greg Manusky, in the past when he was with San Francisco and San Diego. When you play dome teams in their dome, they definitely have an advantage. They also have good team speed for their playing surface. As always, they are going to be a tough challenge.

Q. What's the next step for your team?

The next step for our team is to play well in all three phases. We haven't had all three phases come out and play well together this season. I think our special teams have been the brightest spot for us so far. They've been very consistent and very productive in the first four games, and our grades reflect that. The defense has had some very good games, but the opponents had a lot of production in Weeks 1 and 4. Offensively, we've only put together one really good game. Obviously our message is to win the game, but to also win in all three phases.

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

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