Mike McCarthy met with the press this evening as part of his daily conference. Though there was no talk about injuries, it was known by the press going into the conference tha Jermichael Finley was at practice and moving well, but WR Jordy Nelson did not practice.
Many of the questions at today’s conference focused on the Packers preparations heading into the middle and later parts of the week.
McCarthy was asked about last year’s offseason and the team’s ability to get ready for the 49ers for their first game of the year, a game the Packers dropped. “Going through the offseason, we have the opportunity to study those first four teams going into week one. The 49ers are a very good football team,” McCarthy said. “They play the game of football the right way. They play to their strengths.”
McCarthy also praised Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for his ability to communicate with his teammates and run the offense, especially when playing with the younger guys. “Aaron’s ability to communicate … is a real strength on how we play offense. It gives us the ability to do things at line of scrimmage home and away,” McCarthy said.
He also touched on the game planning taking place this week and the opportunity to utilize and break down game film from the first meeting. “I think any time you play an opponent in the past … there’s definitely some application to game planning.” However, he also said that both teams have changed significantly over the course of the season and admitted that neither team is exactly the same as when they first met.
McCarthy also took some time to praise 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. “the things they are doing are very similar. Kaepernick is an outstanding young quarterback. He’s gifted, makes all the throws, big athlete. I see why he’s playing.”
In addition to talking a bit about the kicking situation with both teams, McCarthy didn’t want to delve too deeply into the subject, saying that they look at every position and the unique skills needed by the individual to play those positions. “I can’t speak about the 49ers. I trust what I see everyday and go on the information that I have.”
He also talked about bit about the opportunity to head back to San Francisco to play a team with which he worked for a season. “It’s a neat place; special place; I was only there one year,” he said. But he also called the stadium nostalgic and said those he worked for and with were good to him. ” … This is about the Green Bay Packers …” he concluded.
He finished out his conference by saying that WR Greg Jennings is back in full force. “Greg looks like he’s back. He’s in a rhythm. He also said the Packers didn’t execute in the first game like they are capable, indicating the team was nowhere near where they needed to be at that point in the season. “There were things we can do better,” he said.
He was also asked about the playoff history that exists between the two teams, but indicated that dwelling on the history wasn’t his style. He did say he remembered watching the Packers get beaten on the last play of the game at Candlestick Park when Terrell Owens caught the pass from Steve Young that defeated Green Bay in Mike Holmgren’s final game of his Packers career as head coach.
“That was a well played game on both sides of the ball. [The catch by Owens] probably shouldn’t have happened, but it did.”
He did express pleasure just before leaving the podium when recalling his Packers team defeating the 49ers at Candlestick during his first year with the team. Having come from the 49ers to take the Packers job, McCarthy said that win in his first season was satisfying and helped propel the team to four straight wins at the end of that season and gave the team momentum heading into the offseason and the next year.