Conference Calls with Packers Coach Mike McCarthy & QB Aaron Rodgers

Posted Oct 17, 2012

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy – Conference Call – October 17, 2012
(On if their road game experience is neutralized because Packers’ fans travel so well)
“Well, we’re hoping for a repeat performance by our fans, but it definitely helps. I know it means a lot to our players when they see our fans in the stands. This past week in Houston, the fourth quarter, just to see your fans wrapped around the railing there at the end of the game, you really appreciate that. St. Louis is a close game for our fans and hopefully they’ll be able to get in there.”
(On why WR Randall Cobb has grown and on his development as a player)
“Well, we’re just like every team. You go through the offseason, you evaluate your personnel and you try to forecast a plan of how you see your team developing and trying to make sure you have packages for everybody. Randall is definitely someone after last year that we felt that we needed to get more involved and have more opportunities for him. So, he’s really developing as a wide receiver, you know, because he’s never really truly played the wide receiver position exclusively. So, he’s a very natural returner. He’s done an excellent job for us, both last year and this year. It’s fun watching him develop and improve and get better every day at being a wide receiver.”
(On if the offense has turned the corner)
“We’re really trying to build off of our last performance. It’s like every day in this game, yet you have to continue to work on the things that you know you need to work on and you need to keep defining and refining the things that you are doing well. We don’t spend a whole lot of time looking back at the course of the first six weeks. We’re just really focused on getting our fundamentals and everything in line as we get ready to come down there to St. Louis.”
(On what he sees from the Rams on defense and how they improved over the past year)
“Well, they’re talented. I think they do a very good job with attacking the line of scrimmage from alignments and even their personnel. So, it really starts up front with them. I really like their corners. (CB) Cortland Finnegan’s been a good player in this league for a long time and (CB Janoris) Jenkins, he’s off to an excellent start as a rookie, too. So, it’s a group that’s definitely going to be a challenge. (CB Bradley) Fletcher does also a good job as the third corner in there. Just go across that front and the No. 1 picks and the talent. They’re very well coached. I have a lot of respect for Jeff Fisher as a coach and how he goes about his business and the program that he has in place already there in St. Louis. We’re just working hard, focusing on our plan. I know we’re coming in there for a tough football game.”
(On if he played against Coach Fisher a lot when he was coaching at Tennessee)
“I wouldn’t say a lot. We played those guys almost every year in preseason, but I want to say we probably only played them once or twice over the years.”
(On how RB Alex Green has stepped up in place of RB Cedric Benson)
“Well, Alex has been given an opportunity. He’s a young man that we really liked last year. He was coming on strong and had the knee injury up in Minnesota, so had to miss the remainder of the year. Kind of put him on the pitch count, brought him back slowly throughout training camp and then the first week he didn’t really get an opportunity, so then as we moved forward he’s getting more and more reps and we took him off the rep count and he was behind Cedric Benson. But I really liked the way he stepped up against Houston and took advantage of this opportunity.”
(On Green preventing the team from becoming one-dimensional after Benson was injured)
“Well, he’s been productive. One thing about Alex, even in the limited opportunities in the past, he’s always produced. So, I look for him to continue to improve and right now he’s our guy.”
(On how DT Ryan Pickett keeps himself young and vibrant on the field)
“Well, he’s doing a great job in the weight room. This is clearly his best year that he’s had here in our time together as far as the strength and conditioning and I think it’s definitely carrying over to the field. Ryan’s such a consistent person and he’s such a consistent player. It’s the way he goes about his business. He’s been a joy to have here.”
(On if he coached with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and quarterback coach Frank Cignetti previously)
(On where he coached with Schottenheimer and Cignetti)
“Frank Cignetti and I, we’ve actually worked in three places together, well two. The University of Pittsburgh, we started together back here in 1989 as graduate assistants and then Frank and I worked together in New Orleans. Then Brian, I was, obviously, working for his father and with Brian in Kansas City.”
(On how essential a quarterback coach is for a young quarterback like Sam Bradford)
“I think it’s huge. I think the fact that the relationship that I’m sure Frank has with Sam and also the training and the specifics of footwork and quarterback schooling, extra time that he’s going to spend, I would think that it is extremely beneficial to Sam Bradford and the quarterback group.”

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers – Conference Call – October 17, 2012
(On his State Farm commercials)
“I love them. It’s been a blast to work with that crew and the creative team. They come up with really self-deprecating humor. Every time, it’s funny for everybody involved and the actors that I’ve been able to work with are incredible, including the child actors. This last time, they were a lot of fun. We’ve had a blast with it. It’s funny to think about how far a little celebration that started on the scout team has come. Everybody involved I think enjoys it, and they’ve turned out pretty good.”
(On if they’ve shot commercials that haven’t been seen yet)
“No. We shot the 30-second that’s been out with the kids and the classroom, and we have, I think, three or four other shorter ones coming out that are associated with the career day theme that could be even funnier.”
(On how much he hears about the ‘discount double check dance’ from fans)
“That and fantasy football are the No. 1 and 2 things that I hear from people. It’s something about their team, whether I need to give them more points or thanks for the points or throw it to (WR Jordy) Nelson or (WR Greg) Jennings or somebody this week so they can get more points. Or it’s discount double check.”
(On if he finds the fantasy football talk annoying)
“No. I think it’s been great for our sport, to be honest with you. It’s not great for the economy, but it’s definitely been great for our sport, I think, because the interest level’s gone up. People not only have their loyalty to their team, but also to their fantasy team and I think it’s made our game more interesting to people. It’s interesting. I’m sure there are Packer fans out there who are rooting for us, but might be pulling for me to have a marginal game or something if they’re playing against me in fantasy that week. That makes for some interesting cheering. But, I think overall, it’s been good for our game.”
(On how he has been able to adapt to losing a couple of receivers to injury)
“I think we’re pretty deep, first of all, in that group. When you can have Jennings and Nelson and (WR) James Jones and (WR) Randall Cobb as your top guys there and (WR) Donald (Driver) with his experience, when you lose a guy, the expectation is the next guy up is going to play well. And they have, in this case. James has picked up his level of play. He’s leading the league in receiving touchdowns, three straight two-touchdown games. Randall has been very consistent for us. He’s had some big games catching the football, making plays. He’s an impact player in just about every game. Jordy had a big week last week and he’s been very consistent. He’s been getting the majority of the coverage kind of rolled to him with Greg out of the mix the last few weeks. But, he’s done a great job. We’re a next-guy-up team. We’ve dealt with injuries at various times over the last five years I’ve been starting here. It’s fun to see guys step up and make the most of opportunities.”
(On if they have turned the corner on offense)
“I’d like to think we’re going to turn the corner. This is one game that…we’ve played better the last three games, I think, on offense, but it’s just one game. We have to be able to stack successes and carry some of that momentum we had in Houston this week against a team that’s played very well at home, very well defensively at home. Very well-coached, got a lot of guys that can make plays on the football and getting after the passer. It’s going to be a tough challenge for us. We’re going to have to find a way to carry on some of the things we did last week into this game.”
(On the Rams’ defense and CBs Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins)
“I think, in general, when you’re playing on the road, you have to expect the noise to be a factor on some levels. It allows the defense to get off the ball probably slightly faster than when we’re playing a home game against a defense on the road. So, that’s definitely an advantage. I think Cortland coming over, knowing the scheme that Coach (Jeff) Fisher was running in Tennessee definitely helps. He’s been a guy that’s played at a high level for a long time. Very active, very athletic, quick. A guy who can play not only outside, but in the slot - kind of a dying breed in our league, a guy who can be very effective in both positions. You can probably count on one hand the number of guys who do it really well, and he’s one of them. Looking at Janoris Jenkins, a young guy who’s obviously playing with a lot of confidence. He’s been able to step in and play at a high level. In this league, you learn if you’ve got guys that can cover, it really makes your pass rush more effective and really allows your defense to do multiple things, which they’re doing on that side of the ball. It’s been keeping them in games and winning their games at home.”
(On how their fans travel to away games)
“Yeah, we travel really well. That’s a great thing about being a part of the Packers’ organization. Our fans are very loyal and all over the country. Whether it’s Packer fans that we have in the St. Louis area there, or it’s our fans making the trip down, we always look forward to sharing the stadium with them and hoping that they can give us a boost.”
(On the importance of him and his team performing well in their last game)
“I think more for the team. It was important for us to get to 3-3. We’ve got three games now - the Rams this week, then two home games, then a bye week. That’s kind of looking at this like a three-game season. A big stretch right now, an important stretch for us to hopefully get our record to where we want it and then get healthy over the bye week. (Weeks) 2-4 have been difficult. We have a tough stretch coming back after the bye with two road games against top-flight opponents. It’s going to be important for us to make sure that we’re entering the bye week with momentum coming off a big win in Houston and trying to keep it going this week.”
(On WR Randall Cobb)
“I think it’s more just growing in the system. He’s a professional. He really takes his job seriously, he listens, he takes notes, he studies. He sees the game through the eyes of a quarterback which - being a former quarterback - really allows him to be smart in the second-reaction plays, to understand coverages and soft spots in coverages. He’s really become a professional wide receiver. Last year, he was primarily a special teams guy for us who gave us a jolt from time to time on the teams. And now, he’s becoming a big-time, legitimate threat in the slot. We’re really impressed with him. He conducts himself the perfect way that you’d want a young player coming in. He really takes his job seriously, keeps his mouth shut, plays hard, and really desires to get better and works at it every day. So, we’re all real proud of Randall and excited about what he can do for us now and in the future.”