McCarthy: Clifton on Comeback Trail

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy is addressing reporters on Tuesday evening, about 18 hours after his team improved to 9-0 by throttling the Minnesota Vikings. McCarthy talks about the health of Chad Clifton, the shortened schedule and Tulane's interest in Joe Philbin.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy addressed reporters on Tuesday, one day after his team beat the Minnesota Vikings 45-7 to improve to 9-0 and take a commanding three-game lead in the NFC North.

The Packers, in the midst of a stretch of three games in 11 days, host Tampa Bay on Sunday and go to Detroit for a game on Thanksgiving.

The big news from his news conference was that veteran left tackle Chad Clifton could return for the Dec. 4 game against the New York Giants.

"I talked to Chad yesterday, but it's never as clean as one conversation," McCarthy said. "I have not talked to Pat (Dr. Pat McKenzie) to see where he is. I would have to say he's not going to make it this week, Detroit would be a push and the Giants would probably be realistic if he stays on schedule."

Here is what else he had to say ... and please forgive any typos as we typed these comments on the fly from the media auditorium.

- No injury updates, for a change.

Normal week schedule. Shorter practice on Wednesday than normal. Meetings as usual.

- The tape: "Frankly, I haven't watched the tape. I went right to Tampa Bay." Coaches have graded film but he's doing game-planning.

- Important to grade the film; stats up-to-date for self-scouting to be "aware of Tampa Bay is looking at" and the Packers' tendencies. "It's important for us to keep our players on schedule" with short weeks.

- 10 wins is magic number; win Sunday would be No. 10. "History will tell you when you get to double-digit wins ... it gives you the visual of your first goal, and the first goal is to win the division." Getting 10, 11 wins, then division title target is "in sight."

- Understands undefeated talk but stay focused on "next game."

- Back to film ... nice to win by a lot: Players will get some feedback. More important to self-scout than opponent scout. "Have to get your self-scout done." Corrections in every game; important for coaches to share that with players.

- A lot of pressure: Who are you playing, what are the matchups, how is the game going. Pressure big part of plan and it was working, "so why stop?" Defense was playing "down hill."

- Criticism of offensive line isn't "nitpicking." Can't gloss over things based on score. Must build off positives and corrrect the mistakes. "That'll all be part of Joe's presentation to the team" on Wednesday.

- Giants game "might be realistic for Clifton."

- Raji's snaps down: "That's a positive. It's good to get a little more rotation" and get snaps balanced out. Knows he plays a lot. Doesn't think he's worn down; likes his conditioning. "B.J. has earned the right to play as much as he has."

- Tulane's interest in Philbin: Doesn't know much. Has "heck of a coaching staff" and Philbin "as fine a coach" as he's been around. "Definitely deserving."

- Philbin's coaching not appreciated because doesn't call the plays: Perfection-wise, that's fair, but football people know. Tries to make sure assistants get recognition. "I've been there. I know what that feels like." Appreciates when players praise assistants in media.

- Doesn't see any let-up from assistants, even though some may be keeping resumes up to date. "I have a lot of respect for the character of our coaching staff."

- Starks or Grant as starter: The starters and the depth chart is really not a big focus of ours. It's important to have a tandem ... it's a long year, physically demanding position.


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