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Packers Coach Mike McCarthy on state of team


Q: Do you have any injury updates for us?

A: Not really, everybody practiced today.  Greg practiced and he looks good today, so I don't have much concern for him. He was a full participant. Q: How different is this year compared to last and have you used other motivational tactics?

A: It is a different approach because you are coming off a championship and how you prepared for the season. You definitely are not going to sneak up on anybody so we have been dealing with that all year. Anybody that has been through playoff runs, there is a clear line of distinction that has been drawn from the regular season and the playoffs. Now we are one of four in the NFC and that is the way we view it and more importantly, it is us playing the Giants, so I think you can throw the seeds out the window. It doesn't matter and anytime I spoke on being the number one seed was during the season because you would like to have the preference of playing at home. You have a football game with two talented teams that have earned the right to play in this tournament and that is the way we look at it.

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Q: What kind of impact has the Philbin situation had on the team?

A: Everybody is dealing with it very well. There is a clear focus and understanding that professionally we are very fortunate and blessed to be in this position. It is important for us to take fun advantage of this opportunity. Personally, I really don't have the words for you to express emotionally how you would feel for Jim and what his family is going through. We are very blessed to have this opportunity of playing this playoff game at home and he would want us more than anybody to pour our hearts into this preparation more than anybody. That is what this football team has done.   

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Q: Are your players having a hard time dealing with it?

A: It has really been just football. We really had time to speak about it Monday because we were all at work when the news was delivered so we had an opportunity to talk about it as a team. I addressed this morning with the football team as far as our approach and direction. I have been impressed with the energy and the attention to detail and anybody who knows Joe Philbin as a coach knows that is exactly how he would want it.

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Q: What have you seen from the Giants secondary since you played them December 4th?

A: I have always liked their secondary and we have competed against them the last couple years. They have good size and are a very competitive group.  They have experience back there and have played a lot of football. The new guy in the secondary, the rookie, played well out there last week. It is a group that is going to come out and challenge us and we are a good group on the perimeter so it is going to be a nice battle to watch.

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Q: What have you seen from the Giants' pass rush and Jason Pierre-Paul?

A: We had a lot of respect for their defensive line when we went in there six weeks ago and we still do. They have an excellent seven man rotation that they are operating with. There is no letup in all seven of them. They bring a pass rush style of play and it is effective. They are all long leverage type athletes and they are playing well. They are definitely in sync. They were a big impact in the game verse Atlanta.

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Q: How important is the running game this week?

A: Our focus is on putting the ball in the end zone. We have done that better than anyone else during the regular season and that will be our focus in this game also. If we run it in there or throw it, I really don't have a preference. The way the Giants play defense will have a lot to do with how we approach it and how we attack them. The end result is points.

Q: How has the bye week helped or hurt you?

A: It definitely helped us because it gave us a chance to get individuals healthy and we had excellent practices last week in the weather outside. In the weather you want to practice in this time of the year because we are playing at home. I thought it was very productive and you can see the energy and the health of our team today. I was very pleased with the practice and the tempo went today. 

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Q: How does the Giants' offense change your defense?

A: It is about matchups and you definitely have to be aware of who they put out on the field. Mario is an excellent player and had the big touchdown catch against Atlanta so they do a very good job challenging you in the run and the pass and how they put it together in normal down and distance. They know exactly what they are trying to get out of their situational offenses and how you play them. They are a team that is successful and strives on balance. They want to run the ball and throw it and they have the players to complement that thought process.

Q: Do you see a different team when you look at them now?

A: When you look at the older tape, it is really what they have done schematically. There is a reason why we are both playing in this game. We are two of the last four teams in the NFC. They are playing well and they wouldn't be here if they were not so to me, that is to be expected. I think they are playing better than when they played us and earlier in the season they had some tough defeats also. It is playoff football and they are a very good football team.

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Q: Will your defense be better this time?

A: That is our outlook and that is our approach. We play better on defense. We gave up points and yardage production in New York. We have had a chance to step back as a football team and looked at things you want to focus on in all three phases to reach our peak performance. We want to play our best this Sunday and that is definitely our focus on defense.

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Q: Did the two inside backers play in that game?

A:  A.J. and Desmond missed that game.

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