SANTA CLARA — Mike McCarthy spoke to Bay Area reporters Wedneday morning on a conference call. Here’s a transcript.
Q: A lot was made of the trip your coaching staff took to Texas A&M. What was gained from that?
McCARTHY: They were able to eat some good barbeque. They had a good time with Coach Kevin Sumlin’s staff down there. Got a chance to talk football, talk about A&M’s approach offensively and defensively to not only the option but some of the things that you see coming out of college football into pro football more and more each year. It was really an opportunity for our staff to get out there and get away and do something different. We haven’t done anything like the professionally as an NFL coach. Most of the time, or pretty much all the time, people are coming to visit you and get input and try to expand their horizons. Outside of the combine, our coaches don’t have the opportunity to interact with their peers or ever with college coaches. Kevin Sumlin was very gracious to host our staff and we thought it was something we wanted to do and I’m glad we did it.
Q: Was that in March?
McCARTHY: Yeah, I think so.
Q: That being said, how much better prepared do you feel your defense is to face a guy like Colin Kaepernick?
McCARTHY: I think the experience at A&M is a very small part of what we’ve done as a staff. We have a system of football defensively. We have base concepts and variations that come off of that. Obviously, there’s a focus on the athletic quarterback, particularly Kaepernick and some of the other guys in this league and the way this league has gone. I would think we’re definitely better prepared than we were last year, that’s for sure.
Q: Was part of that preparation bringing in a QB that can emulate some of those things in practice?
McCARTHY: We didn’t go that far. We didn’t feel the desire to sign a QB on our 90-man roster just to do that. That’s something we felt we’d be able to get done in our training through reps and just the emphasis of it. 90-man roster, obviously you want to have as competitive a training camp as possible.
Q: When you’ve gone back and studied some of the plays Kaepernick made against you, were they improvisational plays he made on the fly or was he recognizing things before the snap?
McCARTHY: I think the root of our issues really came in the passes, his ability to scramble out of the pocket. From a defensive perspective, your gap integrity and your rush lanes and those types of things is really what started his production. He was able to hit a couple of the runs there in the second half. I think the first read option was a five or six-yard gain. He had a heck of a night last year. We’ve studied the film, but this is a different team and a different year and that’s the way we’ve always approached it.
Q: Does it serve as motivation giving up 183 rushing yards to Kaepernick, the most ever for a quarterback in NFL history?
McCARTHY: That’s well-stated. I think anybody would be motivated when it’s directed at you like that, but the reality is this is a new year, this is a different game and we’re prepared for a totally different outcome.
Q: What did you see in Scott Tolzien and Seneca Wallace that prompted you to sign those two guys?
McCARTHY: Our quarterback position was being evaluated throughout training camp both internally and what was going on around the league. Starting with Seneca, there’s a relationship there starting with Ted Thompson drafting him in Seattle. We felt like we had a lot of insight into him. We worked him out in the spring and he signed with the Saints. It’s just really trusting your personnel board and watching the development of your football team and it came down to Seneca over our other guys.
Scott is someone we’ve always liked. Watching all his tape from both preseasons, I think he’s done a very good job since he’s left Wisconsin. I was impressed with what he’s done this year. I think these guys are a very good fit for us.
Q: Can Scott provide any assistance leading up to this game for your defense?
McCARTHY: I’m sure Scott and the players are having conversations in the locker room. We tend to leave that room to the players. I’m sure there’s insight there.
Q: But he doesn’t provide anything from the coaching staff?
McCARTHY: Well, it’s important for any player who comes to the Packers to meet all the coaches, so I’m confident Scott has met all of our coaches.
Q: Can you talk about the challenge your offensive line faces against the 49ers’ defensive front?
McCARTHY: Very good defense in San Francisco. Definitely starts up front. This will be a big challenge for both of our tackles. You look at the production of their outside linebacker position in both their base and sub, it’s been a key to their success. Justin Smith, you can’t say enough about him. And their inside linebackers. So, their front seven is a big challenge all the way through. It’s definitely something our young guys are prepared for. We’re looking forward to it.
Q: Sometimes offenses that have success against the 49ers’ defense establish the run and have balance. Do you think you’re better equipped this season to be a more balanced offense against the 49ers’ defense?
McCARTHY: Yes. I think any time you go out to play a game you’d like to have some semblance of balance. Eddie Lacy has done some good things and James Starks has had a very good camp and Johnathan Franklin is coming along and John Kuhn always has been a steady person for us. Yeah, I feel good about our backs and the direction we’re going to attempt to go with our offense.
Q: What is your impression of rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari? How has he held up against Clay Matthews in training camp?
McCARTHY: They’ve had their battles and it’s been great work for David. David has had every rep at left tackle since Bryan Bulaga’s injury. You can see him improving each week.
Q: Does that you give you some confidence that he’s faced an All Pro pretty consistently before he faces Aldon Smith?
McCARTHY: I would agree. David doesn’t lack for confidence. That’s clearly a strength of his. For a young man of his age, he’s very, very mature.