I will start with the injuries. Cullen Jenkins had a calf strain. It actually occurred before pre-game, approximately about an hour or so before the game. That's why we actually ended up playing with the four defensive linemen. Then Ryan Pickett injured his same ankle and left the game. I don't have a status on where Ryan stands for this week. And Nick Collins banged the same knee he injured three weeks ago and he obviously returned. Those are our three injuries. With that I will take your questions.
(What did you make of the last sequence, getting the stops down there at the end? Obviously, this was really a tight game.)
What did I make of it? I thought it was an excellent defensive stand. The big plays, the holding was obviously a big play and the ability to play coverage and keep the pass rush on the quarterback, so it's excellent defense. I thought our defense was really put into a tough spot. You obviously watched the game, we played sub defense from the start of the game because we only had four healthy linemen when Ryan Pickett went down. I just can't say enough of our three young defensive linemen. They played huge today. Our defense had the turnovers. Offensively, I felt we were very productive. We felt if we did not give the ball away and did not have any sacks, we could be very productive against Minnesota. Obviously we overcame the challenge of having the two turnovers in the red zone early. I thought our special teams played well. We had one return that came back early in the game, the second one. But other than that, I thought they played very well. It was an excellent team win and an excellent character win. And it was definitely something that we needed.
(Can you talk about the play of your tackles?)
Well, zero sacks says it all. That was something that we challenged both Chad and Bryan with on Wednesday. And they definitely stepped up. We helped Bryan some on the drop back passing. They did a good job with their defense trying to put you in man situations. But for us to get back and protect Aaron and try to play the game on the perimeter was something that we felt that we needed to do. We were productive at times with that.
(It seems like you were in a better position after first down tonight.)
Better position after first down? Well, I've said it all along. Our issues on offense this year have been third down and giveaways. We obviously played better on third down. And with that, playing the favorable down and distance, we didn't have many third and long situations so if we can play within that time clock with our protection unit and with our quarterback and he can still extend plays, I think we have the opportunity to play downhill on the defense. I thought that was to our advantage tonight. Now, two giveaways hurt us. We took points off of the board. That's where we need to improve as far as a way to evaluate our season so far. We've given up the ball too many times as an offense.
(What does it mean to beat the Vikings, especially here at home?)
Well, it means that we're 2-1 in the division. This is going to come down to the division games in my opinion. We fully expected for them to come in here confident with their big win against Dallas last week. I really felt as a football team the second half of the Jet game, you could see that they were starting to come on. It was very evident in the film study this week. So, we knew it was going to be a grinder, character, gut-it-out type of performance and our guys stepped up big. I was very, very proud of those guys today. We had individuals that had been playing in some tough spots. We had a number of individuals that overcame things during the course of the week to get out there and play and that's a good team win right there.
(It was big for your fans to get a win over Brett Favre, how big is that aspect for you?)
Well, I am happy for our fans because they were right there with you. They were incredible tonight, my goodness. You hear them chanting just walking in here still, 'Go Pack Go.' They were awesome, they stepped up. They needed this win as much as anybody, so we were glad to give it to them.
(Driver didn't get as many snaps and Jones obviously came up big for you.)
James played very well. He had some big opportunities and cashed in. Donald has missed some time with his quad so we were trying to be conscientious about his snaps and didn't want to wear him down during the course of the game. But James and Jordy have been big for us all year. I was glad to see James have some production and I was very happy for him.
(And Brandon Jackson comes up big in a big game. What are your thoughts on him?)
Brandon's a good football player. He doesn't get the ball enough. I agree with you. But he ran it hard. He does a great job in the screen game. He's very intuitive with the pass protections. I'm very happy with his performance. We had a certain way we wanted to play these guys. We obviously play them again in three or four weeks, but I think our backs have been very consistent and Brandon and John have been very good for us.
(It looks like you had a pretty good scenario to win on that fake field goal.)
Yeah, it was a good play, it was something that we have practiced for a number of years and that was an opportunity to call it. We just didn't have the execution quite where it needed to be. Andrew hasn't been running that very long. Frankly, that's been Jermichael for the last year and a half. This is about the third week he's been practicing at it. It was a big play opportunity, we just didn't convert it.