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Mike McCarthy press conf. transcript - Oct. 2

Posted Oct 2, 2011

(I’ll start with the injuries. Donald Driver had a knee bruise. He returned. Chad Clifton was kicked in the shin. He returned. That’s our injury update for the game. With that, I’ll take your questions.)

(Why did Donald Driver came in to start the second half? Why was the decision made to bring him back? He ended up having a pretty good second half there.)

Well, he was healthy. He had an opportunity to go in. The trainers looked at him and it didn’t look very good at first particularly when he was on the field. He got his leg whipped on the touchdown run by Aaron Rodgers. But he felt fine, Doctor McKenzie cleared him, and he was able to go back in the game. That’s a normal procedure for us. Obviously he had the touchdown there. So obviously he’s OK.

(Can you talk about your decision to go for the onside kick?)

Onside kicks, it’s just like game planning for your offense, defense, and special teams. That’s why you game plan. There’s things that you look at during the week. Mason is excellent at the surprise onside kick. Jordy Nelson did a great job in recovering it. That’s just part of our game plan and we wanted to start the game being aggressive. We did that based on play calls and the approach all the way through the week and up to the game and even through the game. And then really the focus on fourth quarter production. I felt that we got better in the fourth quarter as a football team. We felt that was lacking in the first three football games.

(Can you talk about the roll Aaron is on to start the season?)

Aaron Rodgers is a special player that played extremely well today. Four touchdowns through the air and two rushing touchdowns, that’s as fine as a quarterback performance I think I’ve been a part of statistically. Our offense starts with Aaron Rodgers. He’s consistent, he’s done a great job managing it, getting in and out of personnel groups, playing fast. He did a nice job with a couple no-huddle drives there that we had, particularly the no huddle that went into a two minute drive before the half and coming out in the second half with the long drive. I thought that was a key turning point in the game.  Aaron  Rodgers is obviously playing extremely well. I can’t say enough. He is a special player.

(Did he throw into some tight windows, even for him today?)

That’s the NFL. That’s really the level of the quarterback and the perimeter group. You don’t throw to open players in this league. You throw them open. That’s why those windows are tight. Sometimes those windows don’t become open either. It’s just a level of experience between Aaron and the perimeter group. I thought our line gave us good protection. There was a lot of three man rush and Aaron did a good job extending the play. Our line did a good job with the three man rush. He had some opportunities and made some plays with his feet. But the tight windows is really about the experience level between the quarterback and the perimeter group.

(Do you feel the offense, you’re at such a high confidence level right now, do you feel that you can’t be stopped?)

Offensively we put up some really good numbers. We’ll come in here tomorrow like we always do and watch the tape and already there is things we know we need to improve on. So, we need to improve as a team. You can see in the locker room that everybody is happy that we’re 4-0. But we’re not where we want to be as far as our quality of play. There’s areas of our football team that we’ll continue to look at. We’re excited about entering into the second quarter of our season. The goal is to win the quarter, obviously we accomplished that. But the second quarter begins in Atlanta. Our players and coaches are looking forward to that game. We need to improve. There is always room for improvement.

(When you’re aggressive early in the game, what do you think you gain from that? Do you think you set a tempo the opponents can’t match?)

Well, that’s part of it. You want to play at a high tempo. That’s just the way we play offensively. I thought Denver came in and did a very good job offensively in the first half. The third down in the first drive, we took a shot on third down and went for it on 4th and one. That was predetermined. That’s part of the approach. Saying it and doing it are two different things. But you want to start fast, be aggressive, and more importantly, have more fourth quarter production. I felt that for the most part we did that today.

(The first three quarters, you guys threw the ball 30 times and the backs carried it 10. Was that the thinking coming in to be aggressive, or was that because Aaron was so hot?)

The way we play offense, we’re an up tempo group, get to the line of scrimmage, but the defense has a part in it too. They dictate where the ball goes, whether it’s running it or passing it sometimes, too. The most important thing is to attack the defense schematically as you prepare for all week. I thought that was the way Aaron managed it and the ball gets distributed. We don’t ever walk into the game and say ‘let’s throw it here 20 times, 15 times, or 10 times.’ That’s not our approach.

(What you see in the opponent is going to determine what your approach is?)

There’s no absolutes. I mean, there’s no absolutes in this game. We don’t just play entirely in reaction to the defense. We play aggressively to attack the defense, but based on the way they handled the way you’re attacking sometimes determines how the ball is distributed. It’s how they are playing you. It’s a new opponent and a new coordinator. We’ve never called a game against him. Those are the types of things that factor in when you call plays. But more importantly, the guy under the center that is managing it for you and he’s playing at a very high level.

(Have you ever been part of an offense that has been this good for four games?)

Hell, I don’t know. We had a good day today, number one. But we got to get better. I’m not really in the mood to reminisce. It’s been a great weekend for Wisconsin sports. We’re happy that we held up our end of the deal. Hopefully the Brewers can finish this thing off. It’s still tied when I came in here.

9-4

Who’s winning?

Brewers.

There you go. See. We’re having a good weekend here in Wisconsin. We’re glad to do our part.

(What was your thinking on the fourth and one? Was it just being aggressive early in the game?)

Exactly. I called the third down call and had the fourth down call ready. I knew exactly what I was going to. I wanted to be aggressive. We put Jermichael on the backside, they pushed their coverage to Jermichael and we had the opportunity down on the corner route in the end zone. We took a shot on third down and we planned to convert on fourth down and we did convert.

(When you use a replay review to potentially take an interception off the board, was that sort of a tip of the hat to Aaron and how careful he is with the ball?)

I was just trying to get the ball back. I wasn’t thinking about Aaron at that particular point. I was just watching the screen and hopefully the referee was going to see it the way I did. I don’t think I’ve ever had that much time to make a decision on the replay. To have a timeout and 27 reruns on the Jumbotron is remarkable. So I had help all around me. I felt the one angle the ball hit the ground. That’s why I challenged. Obviously, Scott Green didn’t see it that way.

(Could it be a knock at all, the defense giving up a lot yards, a lot of points? Does that concern you?)

Well, we got to get better. It falls into that category. The defense is going to get better. We have some guys that are pushing through an injury or two and there is a little transition there. Trust me, we don’t have it all figured out as a football team. We’re 4-0 but we are very in tune that we need to improve as a team and that will be our focus when we get in here tomorrow.

 
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