The Green Bay Packers' defensive line won't be getting smaller, contrary to some media reports, and running back Eddie Lacy will be a three-down player, coach Mike McCarthy said at the NFL scouting combine on Friday morning.
Here are some highlights from McCarthy's news conference:
♦ Every year, there’s a number of things you take away from the combine. The interviews, from my prospective, are the most important. If you look at how it’s grown, just the implementation of video. Players and prospects more prepared. Interaction is high velocity. You have to dig deeper. It’s actually fun. Interviews are very important. Workouts are important. The biggest thing I’ve noticed in the last five, 10 years is NFL Network and atmosphere they’ve created. It’s a great stage for these young men to come in and how they handle every aspect of this process.
♦ With the changes in our division, we’ll go about it as we normally do in the offseason. We have a week we dedicate to each opponent. Obviously, (for) Minnesota, we’ll look at a lot of Cincinnati film. (New Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was the Bengals' defensive coordinator.)
♦ I don’t know the specifics of (new NFL TV schedule). I know there’s an emphasis on Thursday games. I’d prefer to play the Thanksgiving game. Serves as a mini-bye week.
♦ (Running back) Johnathan Franklin really did some very good things. One game that stands out is game against Cincinnati. That was an adjustment for him. He’s a great fit for us. Hopefully he’ll be ready to go next year.
♦ (Offensive tackle) Bryan Bulaga is in Florida. His rehab is on schedule. He’s on time and hit targets. As I told Bryan, I’ll be in touch with him to let him know what our plan is. That decision will be made once we get further into the cut-ups.
♦ I’ve never been a part of a conversation where you want your defensive linemen to be smaller. We will be a little different on defense as far as how we handle our defensive players. We have a number of players who can play both the rush position. If anything, you always want to get bigger, faster, stronger. We’re not going to get smaller.
♦ (Quarterback) Scott Tolzien will be back. I know (quarterback) Matt Flynn is a free agent. Hopefully Matt like our whole group. We like to sign our own guys back. I thought Matt Flynn came in and did a number of good things as far as the role he needs to play. Matt is obviously a good fit for our program. Gave us a shot in the arm when we needed it.
♦ I think you always go into the season looking to be better. There’s a standard we have on offense in Green Bay. We look to exceed that every year. Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve is a conversation that doesn’t mean anything. I felt the way the offense was designed and the utilization of the personnel in the run and pass. I felt the mix and balance was as good as we’ve ever had. (Wide receiver) James Jones, (tight end) Jermichael Finley, we’d love to have those guys back. With Aaron (Rodgers) being our quarterback, and offensive line, if you look at our depth chart right now, this is the most depth we’ve had in my time in Green Bay.
♦ (Asked about playing against 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.) If you focus on one player and how they play against you, you’re losing sight of what they’ve done. We have to do a better job of utilizing our personnel. We had a lot of moving parts on defense, we have to do a better job planning that.
♦ (Defensive end) Datone Jones needs to be on the film and being utilized. We have a lot of things we can do on defense and we weren’t able to get there this year. We have to make sure we’re emptying our guns each and every week. By doing that. I think we can doing a better job of giving players more than one role. Trying to use more players in the flow. We played a bunch of players, so continuity probably wasn’t where it wanted to be.
♦ Datone Jones is a very talented young man. His injury at end of training camp set him back. There were a number of packages he was a part of that we didn’t get to because of injuries. I feel strongly Datone will be a second year player who takes a huge jump.
♦ (Running back) Eddie Lacy obviously had a heck of a year. He’s a playmaker. Eddie’s focus will be being a three-down player. With that I think we can get an even better rotation. I thought our running back rotation was as good as it’s been during my time in Green Bay. Hopefully we can sign (running back) James (Starks) back. If all those guys can play three downs, it keeps offense fresher. I look for Eddie to be a three-down player.