Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke with the media for about seven minutes in advance of his team's trip to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Here are the highlights.
On status of David Bakhtiari’s knee injury: He’s getting better. So we’ll see. He’ll do a little bit more today than yesterday. I think Dave and Sam will go all week to Saturday’s practice out there to get an evaluation.
On caliber of Arizona Cardinals football team: I think Arizona is an excellent football team. Very well-balanced on offense. Carson Palmer is playing great. The run game is excellent. The perimeter is exceptional. I think they play excellent team defense. Their pressure packages are very good, very aggressive. They do an excellent job taking the ball away. So it’s an excellent football team.
On Tyrann Mathieu being out: Well, Mathieu is obviously a dynamic football player. I think as you go through the league and you’re able to watch teams and watch players, he’s a fun player to watch. He makes a lot of plays, he’s all over the field. Really, our focus is how they’re going to adjust to it.
On Rick Lovato working at a sub shop when he got the call from Packers: Hey, I respect that. Yes, he has to hit the spot, but also he has coverage and protection responsibility. This is what he’s done for a long time, too. The practice part of it, everybody felt very comfortable with his snaps and so forth. He’s on top of it. More importantly, he’s with Tim and Mason, so there’s a lot of experience around him.
On how detailed Packers scouted Rick Lovato: He has history. Obviously, we worked him out a few weeks back. I have confidence in what his job responsibility will be Sunday.
On whether he has to kick coaches out of the building on Christmas so they’ll enjoy the holiday: I would definitely say it was part of the challenge years ago when we first started doing it, but everybody gets it. You could see it starting last week and every night this week. we’ve been burning the midnight oil to make sure everything gets done
On whether Christmas is a distraction: I don’t think it’s a distraction. I think it’s a big dose of positive reality. Just the energy in the meetings, the energy in interaction with groups. They’ve already started gift exchange. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
On defense’s challenge: I’m not really focused on where we stand or where we rank. We’re going to go out and challenge their offense. We have a way we play defense. That’s not going to change Sunday. Defensively, we’re looking forward to the challenge.
On how Cardinals’ downfield passing stresses a defense: It stresses the defense because to me their hit all the quadrants of offense. They don’t really lack for what they want to do on offense. When you can run the football and benefit from a play-action passing game off of that, they do a good job of balancing their tendencies. So a very good offense.
On poor third-and-short offense: You have to look at the video. I just think you stay true to what happens before, the matchups and stuff like that. We need to do a better job on third down, but I’m not scratching my head. We have a good plan this week, and we need to practice it today. Today is the day for short yardage and red zone.
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