Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media on Thursday morning at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. Here are some highlights:
On backup quarterbacks:
First off, Scott Tolzien did a great job for us. I can’t tell you how much he was a part of not only our quarterback room, but our locker room. His work ethic is exceptional. But as far as Brett Hundley, yes, I’m excited about Brett. I think if you go back and watch him play in the preseason, it speaks volumes. He did a check of a job. He’s really come on fast. He’s doing what you’re supposed to do. He’s taken every note from Aaron and Scott. He has really dove into the offense. Very bright young man. Very athletic. Boy, I’m glad we have him.
On how quickly everything clicked for him:
Definitely. I think the first game was probably normal for a rookie quarterback. He just got comfortable and was out there making plays. Plays very systematic as far as staying in clean plays when he was given a run-pass option. Brett Hundley has a very bright future.
On Richard Rodgers:
Richard Rodgers, obviously you always look for jumps from Year 1 to 2. I thought Richard did a lot of good things. I think he’ll learn a lot, particularly from this past year. Frankly, we learn more about all our players as we grind through the scheme evaluation. We’ve actually as an offensive staff just completed the run game on Monday and with that you take away things that we could maybe teach better, look at how we’re training some things, and Richard and a number of our younger players I feel confident will benefit from that.
On backup receiver battle:
Well, I think if you look at the history of how we put together our roster, there’s no set five, six, seven receivers as far as who makes the team. I think the last game, particularly the playoff games that played were a good illustration of how you have to have as many good young players as you possibly can because you look at playoff football, there’s a lot of young players playing in those games. A lot of young players playing at the end of the season. So as far as the competition as we sit today, it’s wide open. All those guys have done some good things. They’ve done things they can learn from. They’re all comfortable in the offense. They have a relationship with the quarterback and it’ll be important for them to build a relationship with Brett when we get going here in April. We’re playing an extra game, the Hall of Fame game, and we’ll have a lot of reps for our young guys.
On Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and the young secondary: I think Ha Ha, each year you kind of want to single out a player who’s made a huge jump in his second year and he’s definitely the one this year. Our second-year player group, you go through it and you evaluate that every year. Ha Ha, I thought had a tremendous year. Morgan Burnett is really one of our stronger leaders on our football team let alone the defense. What can I say about our rookies? Our rookies stepped in and played well and really were competing for starting jobs as we were coming down the line there, the final stretch into the playoffs. I’m not talking about just the subpackages, but in the base package. Sam had a very good year. Missed some games, but our young group of secondaries definitely has a bright future.
On fifth preseason game changing offseason approach:
Oh absolutely. This is my first time through it. I’ve never coached in the game. Not as an assistant. I’ve actually spent quite a bit of time looking at the schedule, getting feedback from people who have been in the game, transportation all the way through. It’ll definitely change as a training camp. It’ll change the stress points up in training camp. The more and more you get into it as far as scheduling and how you train your team, the stress points of each training camp are important to be in line with anticipating them, but you also have to be able to react to them. You have to factor that all in. I really look at it two ways. It’s a great honor for Brett Favre and it’ll be a great day for the Green Bay Packers, but with that, our younger football players will benefit from the extra time.
On how many players play inside and outside in the defense:
Defensively, particularly in the sub packages when you get into situational football, everybody in this game is trying to create matchups. That’s really at the end of it what it’s really all about. Giving the opportunity diversity and different things to look for. They’re watching how you rush. We’re watching how they pass protect. That’s just all part of the game-planning and how you want to approach it.
On Jordy getting back to being Jordy:
Jordy is in there every day. Brett Goode is in there every day. Ty Montgomery is in there every day. Letroy (Guion), Mike Daniels, there’s a group you literally see every day. Jordy looks great. I would say the timing of his injury. The surgery was a success. I think where he is in his career, I’m not really worried about him getting back to where he was just pure skill set and his motor skill set because I think we have plenty of time for that. He’s way ahead of schedule. I’m more in tune – it’s a conversation frankly I’ve already had with Jordy with this fifth preseason game and how we play him in the preseason. I think that’s a conversation you have with each and every veteran player who’s coming back from a major injury. There’s definitely a threshold and transition that those guys have to go through. I think in the OTAs, he’ll work there some, but I don’t see him by the time training camp comes around, having any limitations.
On the NFC North:
We’ll spend a week on each one of our division opponents. I think each and every year the division gets tougher. I think this year will probably be the toughest year. You have coaches at every division team that has their program in place and with that you have continuity and the new challenges that they will present to us and we will present to them. I think our division is as tough as ever. I think the years, particularly this year could be our toughest.
Good football team, well-coached. Mike Zimmer and Norv Turner, the whole group. You could definitely see the improvement from Year 1 to Year 2. Really, to compare those two teams, I think they’re totally different teams No. 1 philosophically where the starting point is. I think they’re definitely a team that has some good young players who’ll be better next year.
On Eddie Lacy and Davante Adams:
Young players definitely hit roadblocks. With that as you sit here in February and talk about it, you’re glad that they happen because they’re experiences you learn from and you grow from. Eddie’s particular situation, he’ll be better from that no different with Davante. Davante ran into the injury challenge, which every player in this league goes through. He’ll be better for that as he deals with that as his career moves on. It’s a part of the game. You don’t like it, but it’s something that players put a lot of time into the offseason. I have great confidence that both Eddie and Davante that they’ll come back ripping and rearing and ready to go. They’ve been productive for us in their young careers and I think they have great days ahead of them.
On Ty Montgomery:
Ty Montgomery is an exceptional athlete. I think that’s very evident when he takes the field with the rookies and with the veterans. The other part of it is he’s a very bright young man. His ability to move in and out of positions at such a young age is impressive. It’s important for him to get back and master the receiver position. He’ll be better from it. I give him a lot of credit. Obviously he had a significant injury that required surgery and the young man did everything he needed to do to get back on the field. Surgery was the last resort. I’m impressed with him as a young man. I don’t know if he’ll be ready until training camp though.
On Randall Cobb:
I think just like anything in life, it’s about opportunities. Frankly if you look at the offense last year and his production the year before, his opportunities came from different positions, situations and combinations. Randall will be a better player because of what he was asked to do last year. There’s definitely a lot of things that we’ve done with Randall in prior years that we didn’t get to until the end of the year. He fought through a lot of injuries. To play in some of the games he played in was impressive. The multiple shoulder injuries speaks volumes about him.
On Sam Barrington:
Sam looks good. I think it’s important when injuries to Sam and Jordy, they stayed involved. They stayed in it the whole time. I think that benefitted Sam not only from another year in the system, but looks good. Don’t really have a timeline for him. I don’t think he’ll have any limitations as he goes forward.
On Aaron Rodgers’ OTA availability:
I would think so. Hell, the way he’s hitting the golf ball I think he’ll be ready to go.
Our personnel department has an excellent process about player acquisition. This is an important process to get in front of players and talk to them. Scouts have been through the whole board. They’ve had a chance to go through the board one time. This is important. It’s not the most important part, but it is part of it.
Play-calling is an important decision. I think McAdoo will make the right decision. Knowing Ben, he probably won’t want to tell you until the last second. Him and I haven’t talked about it, but it’s an important decision. The way you structure your staff and all those things. I think it’s important as a coach with your staff and with your program to answer the question how you can improve? Ben will do a great job in New York.