GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy held his season-ending news conference Thursday inside the media auditorium at Lambeau Field.
McCarthy, whose 11th season ended in the NFC championship game, fielded questions for 30 minutes about the season that was, the season ahead and various other topics. Here are some of the highlights:
On whether the 2016 season was a failure for not reaching the Super Bowl: "I think you have to look at it from two different ways. We’ve never wavered each and every season about what the ultimate goal is. With that being said, it’s a focus from Day 1. It was a focus leading up to our last game, it was a focus the day of the game. ... The ultimate goal is a constant as far as the way we coach, the way we prepare and really it’s a big part of just messaging in our program. That’s the goal. We don’t shy away from it. I’m never going to be one up here to try and hedge my bets or the old saying of under-promise, over-deliver. I think that’s a weak mindset, personally. That’s the ultimate goal; we fell short.
"But the second part of it is you have to be able to measure success because I think one of the best things we do, and it’s a constant struggle and focus for everybody, is we spend a lot of time on handling success. Handling success, it doesn’t just start when you win the Super Bowl. Handling success starts each and every day that someone in our program has success, whether it’s making the team, it’s being a starter one week or making a bunch of big plays, kicking a winning field goal. With that comes responsibility and focus because success is achieved on a bunch of different levels. We reached a very high level of success this year. I would say our team clearly had a successful season, without a doubt. I don’t know why we’re even questioning that."
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On the future of Ty Montgomery: "Talking with Ty in his exit interview, he’s a running back, so he wants to change his number and that’s the way we’re going. So he’ll spend the whole offseason clearly working at the running back position. Obviously, the ability to flex out and play receiver and those types of things will be his secondary responsibility. But he’ll be on the depth chart as a running back."
On the performance of his three young corners — Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter: "I think when you look at the young men that you just referred to, they did a lot of good things in their first year. We have a long history here in the last 11 years of first-year players making a big jump in their second year, so you have to factor that into those types of decisions. And those guys, both Randall and Rollins, had multiple injuries to deal with too. It was a tough go at the cornerback position. I thought Joe Whitt did a tremendous job getting those guys ready. We just really never had any consistency as far as who we were playing with in multiple weeks. Obviously, Gunter gave us the most consistent play in his time, and he deserves a lot of credit for that."
On running back Eddie Lacy, who will become a free agent in March: "I’d love to see Eddie back. Eddie is going through a medical situation. I clearly understand his contract situation. So that’s really something we’ll continue to work through. Russ Ball is always on top of those things, but until Eddie clears the medical threshold, we’ll have to see where we are. "
On defensive coordinator Dom Capers: "I feel really good about the coaching job of our staff. I thought our staff did a really good job — excellent job — just going back and looking at some things here with the interviews Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We’ll go through the process like we always do, the coaches will be off next week, and they’ll come back the Monday after the Super Bowl. We’ll have evaluations for each and every one, and then we have contracts to do and so forth. This is no time for drama. Dom Capers is an outstanding football coach. That doesn’t change. He had a tough challenge in front of him this year. Once again, the coaching staff dealt with a lot. I think clearly you look at how this team was motivated, how they prepared, the things we were able to do, the adjustments that were made, was all part of it. So a lot of good things came out of that.
"As far as one change we’re going to have already, and obviously when we get through everything, we’ll announce that here in probably three or four weeks, but Tom Clements is going to move onto some other interests. His contract is expired, and I’d like to take this moment to thank Tom for an incredible 11 years here, and what we were able to accomplish during that time, and really the impact that he had not only with us as a coaching staff, but with Aaron Rodgers as a quarterback. I know Aaron is very appreciative of what he’s been able to establish with Tom, both professionally and personally. So that will be the one change to our staff."
On safeties coach Darren Perry, who was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated: "I would say there’s no concern, but I understand your question and I go back to — we’re not perfect. We make mistakes. We have people in our program who make mistakes. I make mistakes. With that, as an organization there’s obviously continuing education and discipline that goes along with those mistakes. That’s a pending legal matter, and that’s really where it stands."
Michael Cohen, Ryan Wood and Pete Doughtery discuss Packers coach Mike McCarthy's comments Thursday on the 2016 season and looking ahead. (Jan. 26, 2017)