Unfortunately, I'm not yet in Dallas as my flight earlier this morning was delayed. Very disappointing, but things happen. Will try again early tomorrow morning. In the meantime, back to the posting. Last night we checked in to see what members of the Pittsburgh Steelers had to say during their Monday press conferences. Now let's turn our attention to the Steelers opponent in Super Bowl XLV, the Green Bay Packers. McCarthy is no Mike Tomlin when it comes to natural speaking ability, but he's clearly a great leader of men and a man who eats, breathes and sleeps football. He's also a native son of Pittsburgh, which of course the media was sure to ask him to talk about during Tuesday's session. Let's hear what he had to say.
Other Monday/Tuesday Press Conference Transcriptions:
- Brett Keisel (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- James Farrior (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Mike Tomlin (on BTSC)
- Hines Ward (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- LaMarr Woodley (on BTSC)
- Dom Capers (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
- Aaron Rodgers (on SB Nation Pittsburgh)
QUOTES FROM GREEN BAY PACKERS MEDIA DAY
Head Coach Mike McCarthy
(On when he realized he wanted to be a head coach) "When I was in college at Baker University, I had the opportunity to talk to our head coach at the time, Charlie Richard and our offensive coordinator Dan Harris. When I went out to Fort Hays State University as a graduate assistant, I was really just looking into the coaching profession. I had an opportunity to coach, but I also started the first semester getting my MBA. I was a business major. After the first semester is when I knew coaching is what I wanted to do and I pursued it ever since then. I can still remember one of the classes that I had taken that system called, ‘Coaching Today's Athlete.' It really made an impact on me. Just like every other coach in the profession, there are coaches you have throughout your life that make an impression on you. From that day forward, I knew this is what I wanted to do."
(On whether there is a head coach who shaped his coaching philosophy)
"There are a number of head coaches - I definitely look back on it - that I have respect for. It started in my youth in Pittsburgh - Coach Chuck Noll had great success and his approach. He was such a fundamentalist in the 70's in Pittsburgh. You go through high school as a high school basketball player. Our high school basketball coach Fran McGee Mannion, who recently just passed away in the last year, he made a tremendous impact on all the players who played for him over the years at Bishop Boyle High School. Charlie Richard at Baker University; Jim Sampson, who was a junior college coach; just on-and-on-and-on. Once I got into the profession, I really give a lot of thanks and appreciation to Paul Hackett and Marty Schottenheimer - not only the opportunity they gave me, but I learned so much from those two men, their families and their wives, and their whole approach to the profession. You never forget guys like Jim Haslett. Jim Haslett gave me an opportunity to be a coordinator for the first time in New Orleans. That was a great experience, especially with Jim being a defensive head coach. That was something I felt like I grew a lot in that experience in New Orleans. There are so many people who I have been fortunate enough to work for as head coaches, but more importantly assistant coaches. To be on a staff with Jon Gruden and Marvin Lewis at Pittsburgh, Scotty O'Brien; the University of Pittsburgh staff, almost everyone of them has coached in the National Football League. Then you go on to your first NFL staff. In Kansas City in 1993, I was sitting in a room with Alex Gibbs, Al Saunders, Jimmy Raye, Kurt Schottenheimer, Paul Hackett. Our quarterbacks were Joe Montana and Dave Krieg and they were in their mid-30's. I was very fortunate and very blessed to be around a lot excellent football people at a young age."
(On whether people would be surprised by Clay Matthews' commitment and dedication to the game) "Clay is in the category of being in an elite group - of being one of the best pass rusher/outside linebackers, let alone defensive players, in the National Football League. He has played two regular seasons. His statistics speak for themselves. He brings a tremendous energy, style of play, tenaciousness to our defense that is infectious. He is off to a great start. You can't say enough about him as an individual. He is a class act. He is a very professional young man. He has been since the day we drafted him. We look forward to many, many great years ahead with Clay Matthews."
(On whether he finds it difficult to live up to the greatness of Vince Lombardi) "I don't look at it like that. I don't give it much thought. I look at it as an asset. When you walk into your building every day and you have pictures of Curly Lambeau, Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren - our history is among us all of the time. It creates a standard and expectation that fits right along with our vision. I look at the history of the Green Bay Packers as a tremendous asset to our football team, the commitment to football, football operations, from the rest of our administration, just the way we're structured. It's all about winning on the field. That's a tremendous advantage that we feel that we have in Green Bay."
(On Dom Capers being detailed oriented) "It goes back to the first meeting I had with Dom. I picked Dom up at the airport and it was 25-30 below zero. We were coming out of baggage claim and he had a suitcase like all of the other candidates, but he also had a humongous bag of books. We loaded it into the back of my vehicle and we went on and had dinner. The next day we set down for the interview and he had his original notes from when he installed the defense in Pittsburgh in the early 90's. He's old school in that way where he still likes to write everything out. In the age of computers he still has a procedure that he likes to write everything out. He uses more highlighters than anybody. I thought I used a lot of highlighters, but it doesn't even compare to Dom. Dom's technique and the preparation he puts into preparing his sheets is very impressive. He's good. He is truly the most detailed individual I have ever been around. You may be as detailed as Dom, but I have never seen anybody with more detail in their presentation on a daily basis."
(On the benefit of having a former head coach on your staff) "It's tremendous. We talk daily. It's just standard procedure. Dom's at his best going through his daily preparation. There is not a day that goes by that we're not talking about some situation on our football team or he's able to refer back to one of his experiences. You're talking about a man who started two NFL programs from scratch. You're talking about someone who clearly understands the building blocks, how to build a foundation, how every piece is put into place. Dom has tremendous expertise in that area. More importantly he is a class act. He has told me repeatedly that he wants to be the coach that he always wanted to hire. I take pride and appreciation in that, especially with the experience and expertise that he brings to our organization."
(On whether Capers' defensive strategy has changed the game for offenses) "I came into the league in 1993 and the way defenses approach offenses clearly has changed and his defenses are a big part of it. You go back to ‘Blitzburgh' and that was not the norm when you lined up and played the 3-4 multi-schematic defense because really the multi-variation offenses were ahead of the defenses because the defenses were more standard. His ability to use multi personnel utilization, the blitz variation, has definitely been a part of the NFL for the last 15 years, but that part has changed and I will definitely say he has a hand in it."
(on comparing his experience with Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers) "It's a totally different experience between Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers. Alex Smith was on a football team that was really entering a transition. If you look at his path as far as the number of players that have changed on that football team and the number of offensive coordinators that have changed on his football team since he was drafted. Aaron came into a very stable environment. He came into an offensive system that was pretty much in place since the early 90's. Prior to my arrival there was carryover from the old offense to the new offense. He was able to learn from a Hall of Fame quarterback. Aaron was given a lot more stability and was able to establish a foundation. He has done a very good job of taking to the fundamentals and adjustments that had been made to his particular style of quarterback play. He was ready when given his opportunity. Aaron's path has been a much smoother path because of that."
(On how important consistency has been to Aaron Rodgers since becoming the starting quarterback) "It's like anybody in life - when your organization, leadership makes a commitment to you, you want to give back. He has definitely 10-fold. He is everything we thought he would be. Personally, how he handled the transition speaks volumes about him as a person and his family and how he was raised. He took the high road throughout the whole transition. More importantly, he is such a competitor. He's a winner. He took the next step in his development of a championship quarterback. I can't say enough positive stuff about him."
(On Donald Driver's leadership) "The one thing we have in place in our locker room is the older guys really take care of the younger guys. That is an important component of leadership that you really have to have in today's NFL because the NFL is so much younger. That is a very important element. Don (Donald Driver) is an excellent example of that. He's really been a mentor to the younger receivers. Now that Greg (Jennings) has stepped up to the forefront, being the type of person that he is, he looks at it as a partnership. Donald has been a Packer through-and-through as far as how he handles his business. He is the one that has the notebook out. He highlights every play just like it's the first time it's ever put in. He's a great example. He doesn't miss practice. There are times as a head coach where you know he shouldn't practice, but he still wants to practice. He is the ultimate true professional. He is a great example for us in Green Bay."
(On how he is influenced by his upbringing) "We're all a big part of the way we grew up. Greenfield community and Pittsburgh is a very special place. It was very unique to me back in the ‘70's. My family is still there. It's just the way of how people took care of one another. It was always about the kids. There were so many kids at that particular time in our neighborhood. There were a lot of activities to do. You felt that was your own city. For people to ask you where you're from instead of saying Pittsburgh you say, ‘I'm from Greenfield.' There was such a pride and tight-knit community. It's clear that it's a big part of who I am today."
(On Clay Matthews football pedigree) "When Ted Thompson came back from USC workouts that year, in the fall, during the season, Clay was the one player he was real excited about at the workout that day. Also Ted Thompson played professional football with his Uncle Bruce in Houston. He is aware of the Matthews family and everything that they're about. He is somebody we had very high on the board and we had the opportunity to draft B.J. (Raji) early in the first round and right after that we worked the board to make sure we were in position to try and go get Clay. That was the plan a couple of days before the Draft. You're always looking at different scenarios that you want to participate in and that is one we wanted to participate in. It definitely was the right fit for all the right reasons."
(On whether he remembers all of the Steelers' Super Bowl wins) "I remember all of the Super Bowls. Growing up in Pittsburgh it seemed like it was a little bit of an old hat. You had the four Super Bowls and the two Pirates. The Pirates won the World Series in '71 and '79. The University of Pittsburgh won the National Championship in '76. The biggest thing I remember about the first Super Bowl was the city's reaction to it. It had been 40 years and Mr. Rooney - what he meant to the city and for the city to have that success. I was a Steelers fan and Jack Lambert was my favorite player."
(On how he works with Ted Thompson) "When he interviewed me he said, ‘I'm looking for someone to build a partnership and stay true to the vision.' It all sounds good and so forth, but it really comes down to the daily operations. Ted is a very consistent individual. He was great for me in my first year. I don't care who you are, as a first-year head coach there are a number of complex issues and situations that come up that you are not prepared for. I know I wasn't. There is not a handbook for it. You can call somebody and they can tell you how they did it, but everything is completely different because it's your team, your locker room, a different environment. He was such a steady hand from the first day and all the way through. That is something I really appreciate with him. Everyone has rules and responsibilities, it's clearly understood. We hold people accountable to that. Most people forget about Ted Thompson that he not only is a great general manager, he's an outstanding talent evaluator. He still gets out on the road the same number of weeks he always has. When he's looking at these players come draft time, you know he has a clear understanding about each and every player we are getting ready to draft. That's a great positive as a coach because you know he's picking the right kind of players and athletes - someone you can fit into your program. That's what we're about. We're about drafting and developing players. It's worked. That's why we're here and we'll continue to do that."