OK, I'll start with the injuries. Spencer Havner had the wind knocked out of him. He did return. Jermichael Finley had a knee bruise. He did return. Ryan Pickett had a hamstring pull and did not return. With that I'll take your questions.
(Mike, what do you make with all the penalties tonight? There were over 300 yards combined with both teams. Were the officials flag happy or what was going on?)
Well, it's interesting that's the first question, but yeah, definitely. The penalties were unbelievable for both sides. I thought it was a tightly officiated football game, two competitive, physical football teams. That is the game we anticipated coming into Monday night throughout our preparation. We had a lot of respect for the way they played on film. And that's the style of play that we wanted to take into the game. So, that's where that is. But I'll say this about our football team: I was very proud and excited the way they overcame the adversity throughout the football game, whether it was overcoming penalties, being in a long down and distance situation, or being on the one-yard line, overcoming giveaways, overcoming takeaways. The adversity that we overcame throughout the football game is something that we'll definitely carry forward with us as a football team.
(What did you think of your defense tonight, especially the run defense?)
It starts with our defense. That's the face of our football team. That's the way we want to be identified with, particularly starting at home. To play great defense at home, it's huge to have the crowd behind you. It's something that I think we are doing a much better job of this year and it starts with the run defense. We had a lot of respect for the run game coming in. They gave us a lot of unbalanced lines throughout the preparation, more unbalanced lines than we've ever seen. So they really challenged us schematically, the bunch of shifts and motion and so forth. But I thought our guys played outstanding up front.
(Can you talk about your rookies on defense, Raji, Clay, and Brad?)
They're all contributing. They're getting more and more play. They fit right into the plan. We talk about winning football games, playing December football. That's the way we want to play, the way we played tonight here at Lambeau Field. We're going to have an opportunity here shortly down in Chicago in some tough weather. But those guys, they're improving, they're getting better, they're quality reps, they're producing. And you just cannot have enough of those guys. So we're happy with the progress we're making with our rookie class.
(Flynn dropped the snap on the field goal. Should Mason have made that one?)
Well, I can't answer that right now without seeing it. I saw it live. We need to make those field goals. That's the bottom line. I know the snap wasn't handled correctly and so forth so we need to continue to improve in that area. Still that was a big drive and to come out of that with no points, we need to do a better job there.
(Do you feel like this team is going on the upswing here for the final stretch?)
I think that's accurate. We've won four games in a row. You know, we've had some injuries, we're doing a good job of overcoming, just like we talked about earlier with our rookie production on defense. But yes, we're winning games and I felt like we improved today. And that's our goal every week. We're going to do whatever it takes to win the football game, to play the certain style of football, especially against the opponent that we had in here tonight. But I felt that we improved, especially overcoming adversity tonight.
(Can you talk about Aaron Rodgers? He's finally up to .500 as a starter. He's won four in a row, especially against the Ravens. How good has he been these last four weeks?)
I think Aaron Rodgers' numbers speak for themselves. He's having an excellent year. He's grown every single day as a leader of this football team. We had too many giveaways on offense. That has not been the way we have played and will not play down the stretch because you can't turn the football over. But I'm very pleased with Aaron's overall play.
(How much does Aaron's confidence rise, not taking as many sacks tonight as he had earlier in the year?)
Well, confidence comes with production. Obviously, a sack is a negative play so that works against you. But we're playing better as a unit. There's a lot of positive things throughout the game in the pass part of it. We threw the ball early a lot more than we probably anticipated, just based off the way they came in to play us to stop the run. We're happy with the win. We'll make the corrections and get ready for Chicago.
(Outside of the giveaways, how good does it feel to come up with the takeaways in the red zone?)
That's the way we play. Our turnover ratio is something that's coached every single day. We're disappointed with the giveaways, I can tell you that right now. That's not who we are. That's not the way we're going to play down the stretch. We need to make sure that doesn't happen. But our guys do an outstanding job of going after the football. They're playing with a lot more vision with our defense here than in the past. That's something that we want to show up every time we play a game. Every team is noted for something, every team has strengths. And that's been a strength of ours and needs to continue to do so down the stretch.
(What did you think of Finley tonight?)
I thought Jermichael Finley was big for us. You know we had him involved heavily in the passing game, particularly the vertical game. He got hurt and bounced back, that was big for us. But he's a big target, he gives you matchup problems. I thought he played well tonight.
(How were you guys able to bundle up Ray Rice? Not many teams are able to do that.)
Well, I mean the biggest thing with Ray is you've got to tackle him. I thought we did a very good job tackling him. I think we had a little run there in the third quarter where he got out on us a couple times and broke some tackles. But you have to tackle him and they do a good job of trying to get him the ball on the perimeter with the swing screens, or things like that. But he's a dynamic player. We had a lot of respect for him coming in and I thought our guys rose up big, particularly in the run defense. But he's a tough guy to tackle.