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Packers linemen know QB must be protected

Posted Nov 29, 2012

Coach James Campen turns attention forward to Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tries to escape from New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora

GREEN BAY—The last thing Offensive Line Coach James Campen is going to do is let his unit label last Sunday’s performance against the Giants as simply a rough night at the office.

“Absolutely not,” Campen said. “You have to dissect it, look at it, analyze it, see what happened, why it happened and make the corrections. The players and myself have to be accountable and you move on from it.

“But you certainly don’t just brush it underneath the rug and say, ‘Oh well, heck, it’s a bad day,’ or ‘Gee whiz,’ one of those deals. That’s a loser’s mentality.”

Campen spoke with reporters Thursday about a performance that saw quarterback Aaron Rodgers get sacked five times by the Giants, and hit and harassed on numerous other occasions.

While emphasizing that he and the offensive linemen “can’t sit there and dwell on it and let it eat you up,” Campen made it clear that every snap of the game film was reviewed in detail earlier this week.

No one was looking for excuses. T.J. Lang being moved recently from left guard to right tackle doesn’t qualify and wasn’t offered, least of all by Lang himself, Campen said. The fact that the Giants have one of the best defensive lines in the league wasn’t discussed either. Fundamentals, timing and the like were.

“We all went through it together,” Campen said.

By Wednesday, attention was turned to the Vikings, who feature a trio of defensive linemen in Jared Allen, Brian Robison and Everson Griffen that has produced 16 ½ sacks this season. It’s a group that commands such attention, and Campen said his players have properly shifted gears.

“I don’t know how long it takes,” Campen said of getting over a game like last Sunday’s. “All I know is when you come back to work and you start preparing on Wednesday, if it’s not over by then, then you’ve got a problem. You’ve got to learn from it and move on.”

When asked whether he sensed the pride of his unit was “wounded,” Campen took exception.

 “Those guys have more pride than you can imagine,” he said. “Those guys are true pros, and they’re accountable for their actions as everybody in this locker room is.

“There’s no such thing as wounded pride. Those guys are prideful men and they will have worked and displayed that time and time again, and they will come out of this.”

They’ve done so before. Following an eight-sack first half in Seattle back in Week 3, the Packers didn’t allow a sack for the next eight quarters.

While the statistics show that the Packers have allowed the second-most sacks in the league this season with 37, the reality is nearly half of them (18) have come in just two “games” – the first half in Seattle (eight), the second half in Indianapolis (five) and last week against New York (five). Perhaps the snowball effect is as difficult a demon as any.

The offensive linemen, who have shown no interest in being interviewed this week, spoke after the Seattle game of their collective pride being tested and the response it required. Their silence this week would indicate they plan to respond once again.

“Anytime that quarterback gets hit – it’s not just sacks, if it’s a hit or a pressure – it’s a big deal,” Campen said.

“The quarterback has to be protected. Now, we all know at times he’s not going to be. There’s going to be times he’s going to get hit. But the frequency is too great, and yeah, it’s a big deal.”

Additional coverage - Nov. 29

 
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