Wes Hodkiewicz and Ryan Wood discuss Aaron Rodgers' limited return to practice Thursday. (Jan. 8, 2015)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media following Thursday's practice as his team prepared for Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys. Here are some highlights of his press conference:
Limited: QB Aaron Rodgers (calf), CB Davon House (shoulder), TE Brandon Bostick (illness), DL Josh Boyd (knee), G Josh Sitton (toe), S Sean Richardson (knee)
Practiced in the team periods. Looked good. Took probably 50, 60 percent of reps. … We have a game plan. He did everything we asked of him today.
On getting him back on the field:
Aaron is one of our captains. He's obviously very important to our football team.
On younger guys working with Rodgers:
Continue to build the timing as far as play selection and things you're trying to work on. You try to hit those spots. Important for those guys to continue to grow.
On getting 50 to 60 percent of reps:
Yes, he hit the target.
On team doctor Patrick McKenzie:
Dr. Pat McKenzie is the best. Not to disrespect other people in the medical industry. I've never seen an individual go about his job with the care regardless of who it is. It could be your niece. It could be your neighbor. We're blessed to have him.
On Thursday's practice:
We got done what we needed to get done. The wind direction changed so we felt it was close to conditions were close to what we'll see Sunday. Plan earlier in the week was to get out today but with the wind, it's a 20-25 degree difference than what we're expecting to see Sunday.
On Rodgers' improvement:
I think he's improved. There's things every year that you focus on. Maybe a certain type of ball handling and footwork. (Wide receiver) Davante Adams is a rookie starter. (Rodgers has) a rookie center. You have to start from Day 1 in the spring. Growing with (second-year running back) Eddie Lacy. All those things are part of the quarterback position. You have to establish those relationships. I think this year is the best football I've seen him play.
On offseason studies looking at Packers' success:
Every year is different. Every year you evaluate your offense. We got back and look at what we practiced in April and see if our plan is what we actually played. Really decide on what direction you need to go. We do a lot of situational studies. There's a lot of great coaches and great offenses. No different on other side of the ball. We have offseason projects where we try to stay on top of things.
Looks like he's put together two good practices. We'll see what tomorrow brings. He's moving along. He looks good.
Sore yesterday after practice, so we limited him today.
On players coming out of nowhere in the playoffs:
We talk about opportunity every week. This is an opportunity this week to bring our game and bring an opportunity next week. This is an opportunity we're prepared for. We feel like we can go out and play Packer football.
On the significance of the Ice Bowl:
I know our players know it. Our players are very in tune with the history of the Green Bay Packers. It's something they're introduced to in the rookie orientation. You cannot walk into the building without being in touch with history and tradition of Green Bay Packers.
On kickoff returns:
Good enough to get into the playoffs, the second round. I think our opportunities aren't what you would have hoped when you get to November and December. I think this Sunday the return game will have chance to impact the game.
On game-management changes in the postseason:
This game is no different than any other game. This is a game we need to go out and stay focused as far as our objectives as far as what we need to get done. There's going to be 46 men dressed and it's everybody else's job to make sure they have what they need to be ready.
On being battle tested:
I don't think you can weight that. I think our path through the season has had the adversity you're looking for. We've had the good things happen and the things that aren't so good happen. I think this football team has been very accountable. I can't say enough about the work ethic and the way they go about it.