In this week's edition, the head coach discusses the challenges of consecutive road games, the value of confidence and the keys to last Sunday's win, among other topics.
The Festival Foods Facebook question of the week is from Keith from Greenville, WI. His question is: How do you relax in the offseason?
My offseasons are about spending time with family. Professional coaching is a selfish occupation because of the time commitment. Outside of football, I am dedicated to my family. I've also taken on a lot of charity work over the years, but time with my family is what is most important to me. I'm looking forward to future offseasons because I have such a diverse family with kids' ages ranging from 1 to 21.
Karugah from Lynchburg, VA
What is the most challenging thing about consecutive road games?
The biggest challenges with road contests are post-game travel and recovery the following day, particularly after a night game. The in-week schedule leading up to an away game is similar to that of a home game. The only real difference is on Saturday, when instead of having 4 to 5 hours of personal time in Green Bay, we're travelling and maybe going out to dinner in the opponent's city. Again, it's really post-game travel, getting a good night's sleep and starting your Monday on time that present the biggest challenges with road games. We're looking forward to going to St. Louis. This will be a tough road game in their dome. We're then looking forward to being back home for two weeks.
Colleen from Chicago, IL
How do you think this win will motivate the team as you prepare for next week's game?
The biggest thing about the Houston win is the extra confidence it carries forward. Our goal is to stack success. That of course means winning games, but also capturing confidence and utilizing it as the next challenge is put in front of us. The confidence we gained in beating the Texans is definitely something we can utilize during our preparation for St. Louis. It also gives us a heightened awareness of the things we do well and the things we need to continue to work on. Confidence is like a bright light. It illuminates the keys to being successful – staying true to what we are, playing to our identity and being accountable in the areas that need improvement.
Q. What are your thoughts on Alex Green carrying the ball 22 times on Sunday?
I loved it. Anytime you can get your running back into a rhythm, it helps your offense. I would classify a rhythm as attaining 18 or more carries. It's no different with a quarterback. If you want a quarterback to really be productive in the passing game, you have to give him close to 28, or more, opportunities per game. For young players, particularly those that handle the football, those are the numbers that I've always paid the most attention to.
Q. Fans want to know what the difference was. So what made the big difference?
The big difference in our offensive production was our ability to stay true to the little things and the players performing at a high level. Ultimately, the credit for a great performance goes to the players. They remained focused and we did the little things better this week than we have in the past. We caught throws in tight spots and had excellent pass protection. The ball came out a little quicker and we had commitment and finish in the run game. I've said all along, we weren't far off. However, we made the step that was necessary to have a big performance. We now have that bright light shining on us from the confidence we're building, and it's important for us to stay in tune with that.
Q. What was the key to the defense's performance?
Our defense's discipline was its greatest attribute. Houston's offensive scheme really tests a defense's gap control and the ability to stay square as they try to move you laterally with their running game. They are very committed to the run, making first-down production the key to their offense. We clearly won first down in that game. We successfully forced Houston into long third-down situations they weren't accustomed to. Our players did a great job of winning on first and second downs.
Q. Having now lost two inside linebackers, are you concerned about depth at that position?
We're fortunate to have a lot of depth at that position. If you look at our roster, we started the season with seven inside linebackers, counting Desmond Bishop. We'll definitely lean on A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Robert Francois, Jamari Lattimore and our rookie, Terrell Manning, needs to step up as well.
Q. Does Casey Hayward have a special knack for finding the ball?
Definitely. He's a good football player. Casey is a very instinctive and tough kid. He's a young man who just continues to get better with his opportunities. His two interceptions were very big for us in the game. We haven't been forcing turnovers, and performances like that can jump-start us. I look for us to force more takeaways.
Q. What's the challenge this week?
The challenge this week is to improve as a team. We have to do the things necessary to win and that entails winning the turnover ratio, taking advantage of big-play opportunities and remaining disciplined. Every opponent is different and we can play a diverse game. We don't have to win in a specific manner, but it's important for us to go out and win in all three phases. Aside from the blocked punt in Houston, it was clearly the first time when the offense, defense and special teams all won in their respective areas. That's the challenge again this week.
Q. This will mark your third consecutive dome game. Do you like domes?
I don't mind them, but football is meant to be played outside. That's part of the beauty of Lambeau Field, where you have three different "seasons". In September, the weather is beautiful and the grass nice and green. Then you get into "fall ball," when it's a little chillier in October and November, and then it's "real football" with all of the elements in December and January. I don't mind playing in a dome because the elements remain static and it allows the passing offense to be more consistent. However, the impact of the crowd noise can be far more significant.
To see previous editions of "Tuesdays with McCarthy," click here.