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Wacky Wednesdays are back

by Mark Daniels

You know it's the regular season when you have to be in three places at once on Wednesday.  That's the day Mike McCarthy conducts his first major news conference heading into the game, the locker room opens up and a few of us in the media participate in a conference call with the opposing head coach and selected player.  Often times, all three are going on simultaneously.  McCarthy is in the media auditorium, the locker room is down a long hallway and the conference call phone is upstairs in the media workroom.   At least there was enough of a staggered schedule for me to catch all 3.

We'll start with McCarthy.  He seemed a bit edgy today, bristling at questions about the readiness of his offense with so little work together among the primary skill players during the Pre-Season.  How confident are you in the run game blocking?   Is last year's playoff game used in preparation, or as motivation?  Did the Texas A & M trip give you enlightenment on dealing with the read option?  Have a gauge on the team's sense of urgency now that games count?  Those were among the series of questions posed to the coach by a noticeably larger media contingent.  Another sign the regular season is here.  The first official injury report came out after practice and the Packers had only two names on it.  Jarrett Bush was limited with an ankle injury and Casey Hayward has already been ruled out for the San Francisco game with a pulled hamstring.  Rookie Micah Hyde is expected to take Hayward's spot as the inside, slot defensive back in the nickel and dime defenses.

Inside the locker room, wacky Wednesdays are also Aaron Rodgers Wednesdays.  He conducts one media session per week and unlike Brett Favre who held his press conferences in the media auditorium, Rodgers prefers to do his standing up at his locker.  I mentioned the larger than normal press corps, and they all circled the locker and held their ground for the better part of 10 minutes before Aaron appeared.  He knew what was coming.  Plenty of questions about the playoff shellacking at Candlestick last January and about playing his childhood favorite team.  When I asked Aaron if he's expecting regular season tempo and timing in the passing game with  Jordy, James and Randall, who took not a single snap together in the Pre-Season, he didn't hesitate.  The answer was yes, we're all professionals he said and it's time to play.

Finally, the conference calls.  Some head coaches are way better than others.  Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons is polite and conversational.   Jeff Fisher of the Rams was great going back to his Tennessee days.   I always enjoyed visiting with Mike Holmgren post Green Bay.    Marvin Lewis si really good.   Then there are the reticent types like Andy Reid, never offers much, ex-Bears coach Lovie Smith was always kind of syruppy.  And this week, we get Jim Harbaugh.  Captain Comeback as a player, dashing and tough.  As a coach?  Not a great interview, although he did open the session with a great tale about the excitement of opening day against a team he heard plenty about even as a kid.

Audio: 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.                                             

Believe me, it went downhill from there.  Even worse was Colin Kaepernick.   Fleet of foot and strong of arm but the Wisconsin native and Nevada alum is very, very short of gab.  His answers to questions did not cover more than perhaps five words maximum.   He's glib almost to the point of being annoying.    I'd have a hard time covering this guy full time.  But that's how Wednesdays go now that we're in the regular season.   Check back, a post with a detailed preview of the game is coming Thursday because I'll be heading out to San Francisco Friday for extensive Kickoff Coverage both on the air and online.