Conference call: Packers head coach Mike McCarthy


(On coming off a bye playing an undefeated team)

Well, I mean every game is important, no doubt about it. We're getting ready to start the third quarter of our season or however you want to look at it, the end of our second quarter of the season. Tennessee is playing extremely well and to go down there and play them on their own home field will be an exciting environment. It's a game that we definitely need to come out and play at a very high level so if you want to refer to it as a statement game, there's definitely merit to that. But we're excited to have an opportunity to play these guys.

(On being healthy after the bye week including the returns of Al Harris and Atari Bigby)

Yeah, definitely. I think Al has an excellent chance of making it. He's had two very good days of practice and we'll practice him again full-go tomorrow and we'll get together with the doctors on Friday morning and get a better grip on exactly where we are and Atari falls in the same category.

(On if Aaron Rodgers shoulder is a concern anymore and how tough it was when it first happened)

Well, he's not able yet to be a full participant in practice so we have to monitor his reps. The medical staff has him on a pitch count as far as how much work they want from him each day. That's a challenge anytime your starting quarterback can't take the reps with the perimeter to get the timing down. He's able to do everything else though.

(On if Aaron Rodgers wanted to push through his injury because Brett Favre never missed a start)

I'm not going to speak for Aaron on that matter but I really don't think it has anything to do with it. He's a tough guy, his history will tell you so if you look into his background on what he's played with in college. This is his opportunity and he's taking full advantage of it.

(On if teammates rallied around Aaron Rodgers during the Brett Favre drama in training camp)

Aaron has handled every challenge through the season, starting in training camp and all the way up to this point, very well. I definitely don't forsee him changing as far as the way he approaches and handles things. Frankly, just about that soap opera, I'm off that show.

(On how Aaron Rodgers has played)

He's played well. He statistically supports that. I've been impressed with the decisions that he's been making and just staying within the offense. He's made some plays with his feet and I think he's off to a very good start.

(On the strength of the two secondaries playing Sunday)

Well, I mean I hope one team is picking them off left and right. But it's definitely two teams that I feel start with defense and it starts up front. I think their defensive line is playing at a very high level and we've picked it up upfront defensively here during the last couple weeks before the bye so it's given our perimeter people opportunities to make plays on the ball. So it definitely will be a factor on the game. I think turnovers factor into every game. I know, I think they're plus 10 or plus 9 and we're plus 6, so the turnover ratio will be a factor in the game.

(On the Packers running game picking up and why it had struggled before)

Well, we got the first part of it fixed the last couple weeks and that's to get the attempts up. If you want to run the football, you have to get the opportunities up and we've been able to do that. Now the execution level wasn't as high as we'd liked and that's the next part that we need to continue to work on.

(On if he sees anything different out of the Titans secondary now compared to the preseason)

Well, the preseason game I didn't really pay a whole lot of attention to their secondary and so forth, we were kind of finishing our evaluation part of it with our younger players. Just watching them lately, I really like their corners. I think [Michael] Griffin's off to an excellent start in his young career. Chris Hope is definitely a solid, solid pro and a good player for a number of years in this league. It's a group that we feel will be an excellent challenge for our perimeter group.

(On what a quarterback has to do to earn the trust of his teammates)

Well, I mean availability and accountability, those are the building blocks of our program. It starts there on a daily basis, number one being available, and Aaron's [Rodgers] done a good job of that, fighting through his one specific injury. Accountability and being the same guy every day and doing the job is important. Frankly, the bottom line is winning and he's shown he can go out and win football games in an early part of his career. He needs to do that over the long run.

(On when he knew Aaron Rodgers was ready to be the starter and how much it helps a young QB to sit and watch for a few years)

Well, there's no question it definitely helps. You can fight the battle of playing early versus wait. I think wait definitely helps because the introduction to the actual game is definitely easier for the quarterback. I would say really after last preseason that Aaron was ready to play.

(On how important it is to be able to disguise coverages from a secondary standpoint)

That's definitely important. Anytime you can make the quarterback make a decision in a quicker time frame it definitely helps you. [Whether it's in] the recognition of the passing game and maybe even as far as a protection part of it or even the way you're going to handle run support if you have a responsibility there for making a decision from a quarterback standpoint. It's definitely something that some teams do better than others and it definitely gives them an advantage.

(On what jumps out about a Jeff Fisher football team)

The thing I've always admired about Jeff, because he's been consistent in his tenure there, is his teams are fundamentally sound and physical. That's something we believe in here and it's part of the identity of our football team. Year in and year out, the ability to run the football and stop the run, the Tennessee Titans have shown that ability and you know when you play those guys, it's going to be a fist fight.

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