Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media following Friday's final practice prior to Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Here are some highlights from his news conference:
On Greg Jennings' status for Sunday:
ĒI had a chance to visit with Greg briefly down at practice. He feels real good coming off practice yesterday. He wanted to work today. We said weíd sit down tomorrow and talk to Dr. McKenzie and just see how heís feeling. The one concern is durability. Thatís the last hurdle we need to get over.Ē
Was his return this week a surprise?
ĒThis is actually the exact protocol of the surgeon, I forget his name. The post-surgery protocol was three weeks. ď
How do you assimilate Jennings back into offense?
ĒItís a seamless transition. Thatís part of working your board every week. We meet on it as a staff every morning. How you get from 53 to 46. Itís all part of the planning. ď
On the team's reduction in penalties this season:
ĒWe coach it, Iím sure just like everybody does. Frankly, the first three weeks of penalties we really didnít factor into our statistics. I just think the up and downness and not knowing the crews, things like that. Because every crew has tendencies, too. Not that you try to play differently based on the referees. But I think itís important to recognize weekly what the crew has been emphasizing. To me, itís all part of the game, all part of preparation. I really think since Week 4, being with the officials that have history, have tendencies, watching the tendencies of the league, what theyíre emphasizing, the communication that is given through the league office, I think that is part of the (garble), in my opinion.Ē
Could Clay Matthews have played if it had been a playoff game?
ĒThatís really a medical question for Clay and the doctors. I donít get as involved with the players as you might think. Just think of it from my position. I donít think Iíve ever asked a player if he was OK if he didnít tell me he was great and then he probably didnít play for three weeks. It happens. Their mindset is different. Theyíre trying to get out on the field. The conversations really between the player and the doctor are different than the ones I have. Thatís the whole process, the communication, trying to get everybody on the same page and whatís the best play. There are long-term plans. Iím not naÔve to your question and there are definitely short-term plans. We want to make sure that when Clay is back heís back for good.Ē
On what Brad Jones has added to defense this season:
ĒBrad Jones is a heckuva football player. He always has been his whole time here. Frankly, I challenged the special teams Wednesday morning in the team meeting. Because Brad Jones has been playing exclusively on defense weíve lost a little bit of an edge. So itís important for guys on special teams that are getting more opportunities because of Bradís departure to full-time defense. That tells you, No. 1, the impact he has made just on special teams from the leadership, the playmaking. Heís a big part of our progression to the level where we are on special teams.
ďItís no different on defense. He does a great job of commanding the huddle and the things he wasnít really asked to do because we spent some time playing him outside and inside. Weíve never really given him a chance to just find a home base. Now that heís been given an opportunity I think heís playing extremely well. Extremely well. Heís very versatile. I think people forget (garble) that he played on the line as he did for a couple years. I canít say enough about Brad Jones.Ē
Packers injury report for Sunday - Probable: WR Donald Driver (thumb, limited); FB John Kuhn; DT B.J. Raji (ankle, full); LB Vic So'oto (illness, full); LB Erik Walden (ankle, full). Questionable - WR Greg Jennings (groin/abdomen, limited); TE Andrew Quarless (knee, limited). Out - LB Clay Matthews (hamstring, did not participate); LB Terrell Manning (shoulder, limited); CB Sam Shields (ankle, DNP); CB Charles Woodson (collarbone, DNP).