I have three injuries to announce. Brad Jones and B.J. Raji both had knee injuries. But they both returned. Nick Collins had a hip flexor at the end of the game.
(Can you assess the play of Bryan Bulaga having played the second half?
I couldn't really tell you specifically how he played. I know we had the one false start, so that's obviously a negative. We were able to stay with our game plan. We wanted to be a little more run-heavy and action-pass heavy, not just with him in there, that was the course that we had we set coming out of the tunnel there in the second half. From the production that we accomplished in the second half, I'd say he played pretty well.
(Why did Bulaga play?)
Chad Clifton did not practice twice this week. He has an issue with his knee. I felt that he just didn't look like he was fully recovered, so I thought it was important to get Bryan in there.
(Is it something that you might make permanent?)
He didn't look good today. He didn't look like he was healthy. He struggled last week through the Philadelphia game so that's why Bryan played today. We'll assess it in the morning and set our plan for next week.
(Did you make some adjustments at halftime? It was 13-7 and it seems like you came out and just rolled.)
We started the game, I thought we were definitely ready to play. I thought we came out of the tunnel, the crowd's fantastic like it always is. Opening day, a lot of excitement. I thought we played well in the first quarter. I thought frankly we were flat and sloppy in the second quarter. And we just kind of re-started our engine at halftime and played the way we were supposed to play. I thought the defense really set the tempo in the tunnel with the takeaways. The offense responded with point production off of that. We let a couple kickoff returns get out the gate there, the last two. So that was probably the only negative. We're supposed to play that way. That's the way we practice, that's the way we plan. That's our identity, taking the football away and definitely taking care of the football. So the turnover ratio is always an important statistic and with the point production we were able to get ahead of Buffalo.
(I know as a coach you are supposed to think corrections but is that a good sign that you haven't played your best games in two games, and yet you came out with victories in the first two games?)
I think that's convenient to think that way. I'm not going to use it. I'm going to stay true to the film and the emotion that was very present in the second quarter. That's not the way we play. And we addressed it at halftime and our players responded. It's a hard-working bunch. The toughness and discipline is at the forefront of what we're trying to accomplish, improving on week to week. We have talent, we have scheme. Buffalo, we had a lot of respect for them, especially special teams and some of the areas that we felt that they could challenge us. Going into the game, frankly I was concerned about special teams, with John Kuhn, Brandon Jackson and then Korey Hall not being available. I thought our special-teams group responded for the first three quarters of the game. It's a long year and you got to make sure you're ready to play them one at a time. I thought the preparation leading up to this was OK, and we need to get ready for Chicago.
(Was that sloppy second quarter the reason why you didn't try to use a timeout at the end of the first half?)
Part of it. I think that's a fence situation. What I am referring to, with the down and distance there, fourth-and-1, you call a timeout, that's an area of the field where there is a tendency for a fake punt or some type of plays is part of their planning, or part of their history, I should say. So I didn't want to call a timeout and possibly extend their two-minute drill. I didn't like the way we were playing at that particular time. I was fully aware that Buffalo was going to open up with the football so I felt it was important for us to get to the locker room.
(Have you been around a player that has gotten off to the start that Clay Matthews has, especially missing as much of training camp as he did?)
I've spent most of my career on offense, pretty much all my career on offense. As a defensive player, just statistics alone with the sacks, that's an incredible pace. I hope he keeps it up. But just his impact, just the way he's flying around, I think it says a lot of the type of player he is as far as his style and histenacity. So he's off to a tremendous start.
(Did you like what you got out of the running game today?)
I thought it was OK. Really, I'm curious to go upstairs and watch the film. I want to see the run-blocking unit. I want to see if we were winning on second reaction. It looked like they pressed us out a few times, particularly in their 3-4 defense. They played sub to our one-back formations, both with the three tight ends and one wide receiver. I don't think I've ever seen that. I thought that our players handled those adjustments and those types of things well. We need to look at it. But it's a little difficult when you use running back by committee. It's a little harder for those guys to get into a flow and I understand that. We'll continue to go that way and try to spread that ball around with the rush attempts.
(Why did you want to use A.J. more in the nickel this week?)
Really it's part of our plan. You watch us go through training camp, it's nothing new. He's played a ton of sub. I know a lot was made of last week's game, but that was more of a reaction to certain calls versus the quarterback that played the second half last week in Philadelphia. Just part of our planning, trying to match up. I say it all the time: we have more than 11 starters on offense, defense, and special teams. I've always considered A.J. Hawk a starter.
(You only gave up 186 yards, can you assess your defense in general?)
The biggest part that I look at is points, scoring defense. That's our No. 1 emphasis. Seven points on the board. Our defense holds the opponent to seven, we need to win that football game. And I was very pleased with that. They had a lull there in the second quarter, but outside of that, I thought the first, third, and fourth quarter, I thought they were dominant.
(Was it good to get Jermichael more involved this week?)
He's involved every day as far as I'm concerned. Where the ball goes sometimes, the opponent has as much to do with that as anybody. The quarterback runs the system. It's my responsibility to try to get the ball to certain players at appropriate times. The best production for an offense is when you let the offense work for you. So, Jermichael had some opportunities, and him and Aaron connected on it and he had a big day.
(Do you think any of these injuries might pose a problem this week?)
I don't think so, but tomorrow is usually the best indicator.