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Monday McCarthy: Cobb was 'close but not ready' vs. Vikings

Dec. 31, 2012
 

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Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media after Sunday's 37-34 loss to Minnesota. Here's the transcript from that interview:

How close was Cobb to playing?
"He was close, but he wasn’t ready. Part of the decision not to play Randall was the surface and just the ability for lateral movements. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. We’re going to have a late afternoon practice tomorrow, so I’ll have more information then."

What’s the schedule this week?
"We’re on a six-day work week. Today, the players are technically off. It’s an optional lift day, then we’ll bring them in Tuesday morning for weights, their first lift of the week, and we’ll start at noon as a football team. We’ll do our normal installs Tuesday afternoon. We’ll have a 3:15 practice, then Wednesday will be a Thursday. Then Thursday will be a Friday and so forth as we go to Saturday night."

Any positives after losing first-round bye?
"I mean there’s nothing but positives right now. This is playoff football, and really, yes, we had every intention of winning the game in Minnesota yesterday. OK, it didn’t work. I’m not just fluffing it by, but you have to because the door is open for the playoffs to begin. We’re one of six team that have the opportunity to fight to go to New Orleans, and that’s what we’re focused on. This is a whole different deal. This is the time of year that our players live for, work for. We have a high percentage of players in the locker room that have been there every year the last couple of years so they know what this is all about. This is what we start back in the OTAs for, it’s the playoffs. It doesn’t matter who we play, where we play them, we feel confident that we’re going to get it done and do whatever we need to get it done. To play here at Lambeau Field Saturday night, couldn’t ask for more than that, and that’s all we’re focused on. We know who our opponent is. The preparation for our opponent should be pretty clean. We just got ready for the Vikings here last week. We’re obviously focused on yesterday’s game. We’ll make our adjustments to get our team ready to go. But this is about playoff football, and you’ve got to do all the little things all the time for four quarters, and that’s one thing we can learn from yesterday."

Pros and cons of playing Vikings again?
"I don’t operate that way, frankly. I don’t believe in pros and cons. Football’s football. Like I tell the team, it doesn’t matter who comes out of that tunnel, I don’t care what color they have on, we’ll know what their tendencies are, we’re going to make them line up a certain way on offense, and on defense we’re going to line up the way they line up. It’s about fundamentals, matchups and that’s what we’re focused on. We’re playing at home, it’s going to be a great environment. Fans, I know you’re going to be there. Someone said something about you selling tickets, don’t do that. I want you out in full support. It will be a great environment. I mean Sunday night football, Saturday night football in Lambeau Field. The Vikings obviously have done a great job to get into the tournament, and we respect that, but this is a different deal. This is what everybody’s been fighting for, and this is what we’re excited about."

Difference in playing a team a third time?
“It’s definitely something different. We played the Arizona Cardinals the same way. It’s different because there’s a familiarity. There’s a lot more tape. You’re watching it over and over and over again. You can call out the plays just as soon as they start. Those are the things you have to be cautious of, but at the end of the day playoff football is about fundamentals. When we looked at the playoff games that we were successful in and the ones we weren’t successful in, the things we were talking about – taking care of the football, taking the football away, breaking tackles, tackling, getting off blocks, maintaining blocks – that’s what this game is going to come down to. It’s going to be a cold night. This is what you look for.”

Level of concern about Jerel Worthy’s knee?
“Jerel Worthy, he’s going through the testing right now. It didn’t look good. We’re hopeful we’ll get some good news today.”

Biggest difference in Christian Ponder?
“I thought Christian Ponder did a good job, particularly in long down and distances. We had them a number of times in long down and distances where they converted whether it was the screen on third-and-11, the big third-down conversion in the third quarter, the second-and-25 long run and going into the end zone. When we watch the tape defensively, those are the things that are going to frustrate us. The long down and distances we had them in and we didn’t take advantage of that. I’m sure when we get done grading the tape, the tackling will not be a positive, either. I thought our initial run defense was really good, but the second- and third-effort runs by Adrian Peterson we did not do a good enough job there, so he had a number of those runs come out. That’s something we have to and will do a better job of Saturday night.”

On DuJuan Harris' performance:
“I thought DuJuan Harris played well and he’s getting better each week. It’s really a product of a young player who comes to you midseason, he’s on your practice squad. We’re doing everything we can to keep progressing him because he does have unique skills and run ability I haven’t had the opportunity to work with in my time here. Alex Van Pelt has done a great job of working with the young man getting him ready, so he was able to get the opportunities and like I said before we’re going to run the guy we feel has the hot hand and he was that guy yesterday.”

Any plans to incorporate Alex Green at all yesterday?
"Going into the game, we really went with Ryan Grant and DuJuan Harris as the focal point. They’re 1 and 2, and we were just going to see how the game unfolded."

Harris going to maintain featured role?
"We don’t have a starting running back, if that’s the question you’re asking me. That’s something that the work week will answer. We’ll go through the game-planning, we’ll try to make sure all three of those guys are ready to go. But really the game, the way the game flows, will have a lot to do with who gets the carries."

Feel on Woodson? Starks?
"Charles, I’m sure we’ll find out today. They’ve been meeting every Monday medically on Charles’ situation, so that decision will be made. I know James is getting close. Hopeful he’ll be able to get to the practice field this week. But we’ll see where he is."

Difference in the two games that affected outcome?
"When I go through the grading with the defensive coaches, I’d have to say it’s tackling. Just based on what I watched yesterday. I thought a number of times, as far as our gap control ... B.J. Raji, I felt, he was on their line of scrimmage most of the day. My sense is B.J. graded out very well. We haven’t done the grades yet. That’s what’s going on as we speak. But I thought Adrian Peterson, with his second and third effort, to come and spin out of tackles and come out of the pack and go into the line and bounce the football, that’s where our gang tackling and our pursuit, our pursuit to finish, at times, was not where it needed to be."

Jeremy Ross do enough to stay in return role?
"Jeremy Ross, I thought played very well. He did a good job with the returns and we’ll definitely work Jeremy Ross and Randall Cobb all week in the return game. Saturday night we’ll figure out how we’re going to do it."

Not necessarily enough to take over...
"We’re not making decisions today. We have to see where Randall is health-wise. I feel good that Jeremy Ross, in that environment, just went in there and played football. I thought he was exceptional, breaking tackles and ran hard with instinct and did a nice job. I thought we blocked very well for him on the two returns that came out."

How were Matthews, Nelson injuries?
"There’s nothing that the staff felt very serious about. We’ll see how those guys are today. This usually takes a full Monday, sometimes leaks into Tuesday to find out exactly where we are."

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