*In terms of this year, how much of is the ball placement, the hang time? *Tim has provided us tremendously with hanging the balls up high, for me to be able to run underneath the ball and to down the ball like I did this past game, even in recent games, which it's also huge the direction of the punt, especially with Hester and DeSean Jackson, the dangerous returners that we've gone against to take them out of the game. And any way we can coordinate with our gunners and the punter, schematically, and it helps. Obviously it's shown to be on the same page and get the return on the ground and give us the best opportunity to win the game.
*How much of that was there last year? *Last year I think we had a change, a couple of punters. Actually we had Kapinos a couple of years ago. We struggled over the years. And we found a solid punter. Tim, he's done a great job for us, and being able to hang the ball up for me. And he did a great job. The ball downed itself, one of the punts this past game. So the change is a tremendous difference and a significant difference from over the years.
Sometimes it only takes one play to help turn the tide for fan support behind a play, maybe one big play in the game. You had a pick in that game against the Steelers and Pittsburgh and it got nullified from a personal foul, did you feel like you lost that opportunity? Because that would have shut down the game.
Yeah. It's one of those plays, it just didn't bounce our way. Unfortunately, we got a penalty, a flag came up, and it nullified the play. Like I said, we've just to line up and make the next play, and that's the next important play. Yeah, it was an opportunity for me to end the game, but that's football. Like I said, you've just got to line up and play the next play and keep moving on. And unfortunately the ball bounced ‑‑ the ball didn't bounce our way at the end of the game, that last catch. It's just the way it goes. That's the NFL for you.
I know you would love to be the next Charles Woodson, and I don't know if you'll ever get that opportunity or not. But how much do you enjoy special teams and enjoy being this team's guy on special teams?
As much as I have improved, I seem to come to where you can make a difference throughout the game. And I didn't really know I think growing up being a rookie first- year, second-year guy being able to make a difference within the ballgame like that. And once I saw some other players, some other Pro Bowl players I've watched growing up my first couple of years that you can actually make a difference, and once I learned, OK, if I do such and such thing like down the ball or control a returner that it has a big impact in the game, that really if that returner had success and resulted in us losing the game. If I shut down the returner, it helped the team as a whole to win the game. So once I grasped that concept of it, I just took it and ran with it. And that's what I'm trying to do now. Try to be a leader in the special teams and keep playing consistent as I have been and just keeping making plays and do what I can, do my part to help this football team win games.
Desmond was telling us he could tell as your friend that some of the criticism you took from fans, how it got to you. Can you kind of tell us what that was like for you to go through and maybe how satisfying it is now to be seeing maybe their opinions change?
It was unfortunate what they thought of me, but what I thought of them didn't change. I thought they were still the greatest fans in the world. But it was up to me to change their perception of me and the way I played the game, the way I played football. And I'm as gratified, not yet satisfied, but how I've become a better player, just all-around leader on special teams. I'm just blessed and privileged to be a part of the Green Bay Packers going into the Super Bowl.
Shawn shared how well you've played this year and just praised what you did. And it may have been last year, but he said there was a moment he pulled you aside and said the penalties have got to stop. Do you remember that clarity moment, or do you remember a moment where you thought that's not going to happen anymore?
Yeah, it happened a few times because I'm a little aggressive. And that's kind of what we teach, but in the same sense you've got to play within the rules of the game. Like I said, you can't really be too conscious of the rules of the game because then you're not playing football, you're not playing fast like you're supposed to be doing. So he just basically told me, just be more conscious of it, where your hands are, the stretch of the jersey because that's what the refs are looking for. Like I said, it wasn't really just one conversation. It was just throughout the season, like always repetitive muscle memory, just always knowing where you're at on the field, like you can't go out of bounds on your own or it's a penalty. Like I said, just being more self-conscious about it while you're on the field and the conversation went well. It wasn't where he was ‑‑ we're yelling at each other. It's just stay on your P's and Q's, dot your I's, cross your T's, and just stay within the details. That's what he harps on, and we were able to get it done.