Mike McCarthy likes the way his team is playing, but admits there's much more work to do. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Mike McCarthy: Talks injuries, consistency, and excellence


Mike McCarthy just finished his Monday afternoon presser.

Here are some of the highlights from the session with the press:

On the injury front, Sam Shields suffered a concussion when he took a hit while trying to run an interception out of the end zone; outside linebacker Frank Zombo, who played in his first game back after a broken scapula, hyper-extended his knee … McCarthy didn’t know the severity of his injury. He did say that Shields will go through the series of tests that go along with concussion recovery. It is unclear whether Shields will play this week vs. the Vikings.

When asked about the wind and the role it played in Sunday’s game, McCarthy said, “the wind factored in the game … you could see ball moving … It’s something talk about in the pre-game … you have to focus on ball … it was a challenge.”

When asked about the possibility that the Vikings may play rookie Christian Ponder, McCarthy said that the team will prepare for both quarterbacks … they may have to go back to preseason tape to watch Ponder, but that didn’t seem to bother the head coach. “That’s all part of the preparation. We’ll be prepared either way.”

McCarthy praised the play of safety Morgan Burnett who broke his hand Thursday in practice and played for the first time in practice with the “club on his hand. The coach said he was pleased that Burnett was aggressive, made tackles and covered well despite having to play with the bandaged hand.

Winning game balls were AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop on defense; Mason Crosby on special teams; and Aaron Rodgers on offense.

When talking about the play of inside linebackers Hawk and Bishop, McCarthy said they are fundamentally sound and extremely active. “Bishop is always around the ball – something he has always done. He’s an instinctive player.”

When asked about the single finger salute the Hawk flashed toward the Packers sideline and in clear view of the television audience, McCarthy said he was unaware of the incident until just before coming into today’s press conference.

“I did not see AJ’s gesture, in fact I just learned about it. AJ and I had short conversation about it … he said he was joking … I’m not going to explain his sense of humor.”

About the undefeated talk starting to circulate, McCarthy downplayed it … “We’re just trying to be undefeated in second quarter … that’s the message to the football team … we went through positives that we have been able to build off … there are  things we need to improve on …  we need to tackle better … it’s not exactly the way it’s supposed to look right now … there are a number of fundamental things to improve on.”

When asked about next week’s game, McCarthy said that the Vikings are a “different team in a dome than they are on natural grass. So we have to get ready for that surge of energy that there will be … it’s a division game … that’s the way we are going to approach it.”

McCarthy also said that “we are a much more mature team this year clearly than we were last year and you can attribute that to the locker room … we’re not overlooking The Vikings … when we’ve played well over there in the past, the fans show up for us … it’s a very loud place to play.”

In continuing forward, McCarthy said the ongoing challenge is “chasing perfection – having the team show up and play with excellence … it’s about winning …  improving our quality of play is what we focus on.

He also commented about the challenges the offensive line have faced the past few weeks with injuries.

“Scott Wells doing a very good job of keeping us in good looks; TJ Lang is going through what new players go through but he’s getting more comfortable.

“It’s good to get Bryan [Bulaga] back – he played very well and Marshall [Newhouse] graded out very well, too. I would like to line up and play with five guys up front … It’s really a tribute to Marshall, Derek [Sherrod] and Bryan the way they train.”

When asked about the progress of defensive lineman Mike Neal, McCarthy said they were “headed in the right direction, but indicated he wouldn’t be ready to play until “somewhere around bye. McCarthy did confirm Neal wouldn’t be ready to play this coming week against the Vikings.

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Tags: A J Hawk Aaron Rodgers Christian Ponder Desmond Bishop Donovan McNabb Frank Zombo Green Bay Packers Mason Crosby Mike McCarthy Mike Neal Minnesota Vikings Morgan Burnett Sam Shields