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Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy Interview


Q: Can you give me your assessment of what Eli Manning has been like this year?

A: We've been very impressed with the film-work of Eli and particularly of their offense. You have to be excited about their perimeter group and I think Eli's numbers are some of the best of his career. He's an experienced champion. That's the way that we look at him. And his ability to make all of the throws, has great command at the line of scrimmage, just getting the offense in and out of adjustments. This will be a real challenge for us defensively.

Q: What does the unbeaten season specter of things do as far as preparation?

A: It doesn't change anything. The most important mindset that we have as a football team is staying in touch with reality and the reality is we have to go to New York and beat the Giants. That's a challenge. That's a tough place to play. They're a physical football team. We understand they're coming off of a loss Monday night and their sense of urgency is going to be high. We're thinking about the Giants.

Q: Are you getting more questions about that as the wins pile up?

A: Sure. Those are good questions to have. I just wish I had a more exciting answer for you.

Q: If you get to 13-0 or 14-0 and you have everything wrapped up, would you rest your starters or would you go for it?

A: To me, those are really questions for three weeks or so down the line. There are so many factors that go into making those types of decisions. We're really focused on getting to win number 12 and hopefully wrapping up our division this week.

Q: How gratifying is it to see Aaron play at such a high level after working with him for so many years behind the scenes and as Favre's backup – to see him transform to what he is now?

A: It's been great to watch Aaron and really your whole football team. We've been the young football team since my arrival here and just to watch these young men that developed into top-notch players, it has been exciting. Aaron's case is probably the best example of that. He's put a lot of time, energy and work into this. He's in total command of his position, our offense and just playing at a lights-out level. It's very gratifying.

Q: What was the deciding factor in choosing Aaron Rodgers over Alex Smith in the draft? I know you signed off on choosing Alex. And when you got to Green Bay, how did you explain that to Aaron?

A: First of all, I can't believe I still have to answer this question. Second of all, as the offensive coordinator, I wasn't in charge of making the pick, but I was part of the process of evaluating quarterbacks and both young men were very promising young players. But I did address it with Aaron the first time I met him. It's my personality and I think any time there's a potential issue I think it's important to sit down and talk about it. So we talked openly about it and he brings it up still once in a while and we kind of laugh about it now. It was a long time ago. How many years is it? Five, six, seven years ago?

Q: The Giants pass rush was pretty intense in the beginning of the season. In the last three games they only have three sacks. What do you see?

A: I see a very talented defensive line. They're playing a lot of different people, a lot of different rotations. As far as what people are doing to them and the quarterback getting the ball out of his hands is the things you see on film. There's still a lot of pressure being put on the quarterback. Their defensive line is definitely a focus for us.

Q: As a play-caller, when you have a quarterback playing at the level that Aaron's playing and skill players that are playing well, do you say this is really all you could ask for?

A: As a play-caller, the play-caller and the quarterback are definitely connected. Just to have the trust in what he's going to do at the line of scrimmage is a big part of our success of staying in clean plays. And then really the player's execution of those plays is the second part of it. But Aaron gives us the opportunity to be extremely aggressive week in and week out. We feel that we don't have any limitations as far as how we want to attack a defense. He can make all of the throws. He can hit all of the spots around the field and he does a great job of making plays with his feet. It's definitely a nice luxury to have.

Q: Did you think that the lockout helped keep your team grounded?

A: That's a great question. I never really thought about it. I think that just to not have people patting you on the back more than you're supposed to get, yeah, I definitely think that helps you. At the end of the day we don't think of last year very much. Just the way the lockout ended and the timing of it and the urgency to get into training camp, I really don't see that it was a big factor. I know with our football team, I'm sure it was the same with everybody around the league, once the players were able to come to facility there was a lot of work to do. But I don't think it's a huge factor.

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