Coach McCarthy keeping Green Bay Packers focused : Packers Insider

Coach McCarthy keeping Green Bay Packers focused

February 1, 2011 by  
Filed under News

By Jan Hubbard, Star-Telegram

~IRVING — The man charged with returning the Lombardi Trophy to Lombardi Avenue in Green Bay was born in Pittsburgh, grew up a Steelers fan but spends the off-season at his home in Texas.

Mike McCarthy has all bases covered.

Despite criticisms from some of the Cheesehead Nation, McCarthy is without question one of the game's best offensive coordinators and playcallers.

But the Green Bay Packers coach, now in his fifth year, is not particularly comfortable reminiscing about his childhood football memories. When asked about growing up and watching the Steelers, McCarthy was guarded and described his feelings as, “Very personal.”

“Growing up in Pittsburgh is a big part of who I am,” McCarthy said at his first news conference after arriving in North Texas late Monday afternoon, “but I am a Green Bay Packer and we’ve come here to win the Lombardi Trophy.”

The Packers have had an impressive run to and through the playoffs. On Dec. 19, they lost at New England and were 8-6. Since then, they have won five straight, including playoff games in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Chicago.

Their six losses obscured how good of a season they had. Four of their losses were by three points each. The other two were by four points each. So those six defeats were by a total of 27 points.

More impressively, they never trailed in a game by more than seven points. Only four teams have done that since 1940.

“We’re hot,” said receiver Donald Driver, who lives in Flower Mound in the off-season. “We’re playing well. You get to a point where your confidence level is high. And our confidence level is high.

Although there is no doubt the Packers are on a roll, the idea that the Super Bowl is just another game for them more than it is the Steelers ignores experience. The Steelers will be playing in their third Super Bowl in six years. Twenty-five of their players have Super Bowl experience.

Only two Packers — cornerback Charles Woodson and defensive end Ryan Pickett — have played in a Super Bowl.

But Driver was undeterred, and credited McCarthy.

“Mike has always stressed that you’ve got to be confident,” Driver said. “You’ve got to play tough and you’ve got to play sound. The biggest thing for us is playing disciplined.”

McCarthy said if the Steelers have an edge, it is in the hectic schedule in front of a gigantic mass of media. Today both teams face the media at Cowboys Stadium. The players have two more days of interviews after that, and McCarthy is required to meet the media every day until Saturday.

McCarthy said he has spoken to head coaches who have been in Super Bowls and the Packers had a thorough team meeting before leaving Green Bay on Monday, when McCarthy detailed the week, the practice and meeting schedules and the media requirements.

“Their Super Bowl advantage is today through Sunday,” McCarthy said. “That’s why we spend the extra time going through exactly what we will do as a football team — meeting every morning at 7:45 and making sure we’re crystal clear on what’s expected of us.”

McCarthy made it clear what his week will be like. During the off-season, he lives in Austin. His daughter, Alex, a freshman at Kansas, graduated from Austin Lake Travis High School. McCarthy has many friends in Texas, but he was no-nonsense on Monday — so much so that there was a humorous moment or two.

When asked if he planned to enjoy the craziness of the week ahead, McCarthy said, “Embracing it on a personal level is frankly not one of my priorities. I have a job here to do. I don’t really look forward to these type of moments [mass interviews] right now.

“I’m going to do as little as I possibly can to enjoy myself.”

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