Q: Can you keep him healthy?
Mike McCarthy: I can't control that. I can just create the environment and I think we're doing that with the off-season program. I think his screening in the movement screening, just like every guy went through it they're going to say, ‘OK, I can identify with that, that's something I can improve on." Hopefully, that will enhance his ability to be available for a full season. The Lis Franc – did I say that – that's kind of the injury of the year. It seems like every year you have a different injury. I never heard of the thing and it seemed like every other week someone had one in the league. Guys go through that, guys go through injury periods in their career. The way I've looked at it, if you see the commitment and see the guy doing it in the off-season then you have to believe he can come out of it.
Q: How did he handle it when he lost his starting job?
MM: Just like I told him, just because you didn't go out with the regulars the first time, I don't view it that way. You're still going to play. I think there's been some added attention, which created added stress on him not running out with that first regular group, in my opinion, doesn't need to be there because if it's about the team it's about the team. You can't have guys having their play affected they're not running out with a certain personnel group. There's so much football to be played over a 16-week season. To me that doesn't need to be the focus. And I know it has been and it won't be as far as my football team.
Q: Would you like to add somebody else?
MM: You could say that for every position. You'd like to improve because once again, a 16-game season that's a lot of football. Yeah, I'd like to add players: receiver, I ‘d like to add a running back, a tight end, another lineman. You could really say that all the way through. But I also think you have some young guys that are going to step up. Like I told them, ‘A number of you guys have been standing in the back row for a number of reasons, injuries, you didn't get an opportunity, maybe the guy in front of you is a better player right now. It's time for you young guys to get in the front row.
Once again, I keep hammering the off-season program, but this is the time to improve. You see guys improve in training camp and you see guys improve during the course of the season, but trust me the foundation for improvement is in the off-season program. You don't just show up for training camp and all of a sudden get better. I think we have some young guys that frankly are going to greatly improve our football team. The greatest improvement we'll make as a football team, no disrespect to the draft or free agency, it's not coming from there. It's coming from that group that's working in the off-season program. That's what I told them Monday when it started. The biggest improvement on this football team is going to be from the people in this room. And I know that, that's always been the case in my experience.
Q: Is Ferguson at the off-season program and what is he able to do?
MM: Yes he is. I assumed he went through everything. With me being here, I left Friday so I didn't get the report. But I assumed he did everything.
Q: He is cleared?
MM: He participated Monday and Tuesday.
Q: Did he get in a little bit of a funk after losing the job to Greg Jennings?
MM: Yeah, once again, I don't know how he viewed it, it doesn't need to be – I disagree with how he viewed it and I disagree with how it's portrayed. He's still a big part of our football team.
Reporter: He viewed it as a demotion
MM: Because he wasn't a part of the regulars. We had the same situation on defense with Kabeer. Kabeer played a lot of football. He still put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. If my memory serves me right, I think he led the team in pressures. Sub offenses and defenses are 50% of the snaps that go on during the year. That's a lot of football.
Q: Do they need to get over it?
MM: I don't see them dwelling on it. I don't see a lot of guys running around with their head in the tank.
Q: Do players care about starting for ego perspective?
MM: If a guy doesn't want to play 100 snaps and only wants to play 50, then I'm a little worried about him. That's OK. But once again, at the end of the day, what everybody has to ask am I doing what's best for me or what's best for the football team. If it's not what's best for the football team then we're not thinking the right way.
Q: Is Robert Ferguson's head on straight, or is it still a little off from that Donovin Darius clothesline from a few years ago?
MM: I think so. I think so. Yeah. Absolutely.
Q: Have you talked to him?
MM: Just briefly. Again, I don't see it as an issue. I don't view it as an issue. We talked about it in his exit interview and I felt we're all on the same page.