Open Mike: McCarthy on non-Favre issues

The coach voices optimism for the upcoming season, discusses injured players

Mike McCarthy was sick of talking about Brett Favre on Saturday.

About midway through his pre-training camp news conference, the Packers' coach offered $50 to the first reporter to ask a question not about the retired quarterback.

McCarthy eventually spent a few minutes addressing issues other than Favre. Here are some of his thoughts:

On being excited for Monday's first practice:

"Can't happen soon enough. It's a blessing, personally, to lead the Green Bay Packers."

On unsigned running back Ryan Grant seeming destined to miss practice time:

"I am concerned, because missing OTAs is a lot different than missing training camp practices."

On quarterback Brian Brohm, and his penchant for holding on to the ball too long during offseason practices:

"I've been around a number of young quarterbacks, and I think it's a normal learning curve that Brian is experiencing, and that's something we need to improve on. But I'll say this about Brian: I have not had a rookie quarterback pick up the mental part as fast as he has. He's been extremely confident in the huddle for a young quarterback, and that comes to his ability to pick up the offense as quickly as he has. He just needs reps."

On Johnny Jolly, who McCarthy said will be in Green Bay despite drug charges in Houston. Jolly missed offseason practices due to a rotator-cuff injury that ended his 2007 season:

"Physically, we'll probably be smart with him because of his shoulder."

On Justin Harrell, who sat out offseason practices after minor back surgery:

"He's not ready yet. If I had to do it today, I'd probably list him week-to-week."

On other injured players Colin Cole (broken arm), Will Blackmon (foot) and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (knee surgery):

"Cole, I think he'll be fine. Blackmon, he's ready to go. Kabeer, he looks like he's ready to go. I don't anticipate any problems with that group."

On his optimism after a breakthrough 2007 season:

"I don't believe in predictions, but I'll tell you what, we have improved in a number of areas. ... As far as the way we came out of the offseason program, it was better than last year. How the results (will compare), time will tell. I'm excited about it.

"I can't ask any more than our football team gave us in our offseason program. We challenged them because of our training camp schedule. We did more with our team throughout the spring, and we were able to hit those targets. June 19 (end of minicamp), everybody felt very good about our football team. When we get together tomorrow, we need to pick up from where we left off. That's our focus.

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at

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