I'll start with the injuries. Diyral Briggs had an ankle sprain. I would put him in the category of questionable for this week. Nick Collins' rib injury looks to be a little better than we anticipated today, so I think he has a chance also this week. With that I'll take your questions.
(What is the plan for Rodgers this week?)
Well, I don't have all the information for Aaron. Just as I stated last night after the game, I'll have an update for you Wednesday. We're still going through our medical process now with all of our players.
(Is there a chance he might go through the exercise portion of the test before Wednesday?)
I'll have all the information for you Wednesday. I'll have an update for you Wednesday.
(I'm sure you've looked at the final seconds of the game on film. How much of that would have been alleviated with a veteran quarterback, and how much of it was a chaotic situation where it wouldn't matter if the quarterback is making his first start or his 50th?)
I didn't find anything chaotic about the final seconds of the game. I thought that it was a very standard operation. Really, what threw the drive out of whack was the sack. The sack is a negative play as we all know. At that particular time, it's hard to overcome. The third-down call in the time frame that it was made, you're waiting on the spot of the ball, the identification from the officials whether it's fourth down, or if it's first down. If it's first down, you clock the play. If it's fourth down, you go with the play that we had called. I thought that Matt did fine with the operation of the third-down to the fourth-down play. They went with a three-man rush, Matt tried to extend the play which you like to do there, and he was sacked.
(Can you ask for a measurement or can they refuse a measurement?)
I'll be honest with you, that's a great question. But that clock's running. We're either clocking it or we're going to the fourth-down play, which is my thought process there. I don't think it was close enough, just watching the video, to question whether it was … because we could have been in a different situation if we had spent time trying to do that.
(Should the ball have been spotted faster?)
I don't know. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Once he signaled fourth down, we went with the three-by-one formation, and the play was called. Matt did a good job of getting the protection set. He clearly identified what the coverage was. They had a three-man rush, he tried to extend the play, and we did not get that done.
(Were you happy with the tempo getting in and out of the huddle on that drive?)
Absolutely. You've got a couple things going on. There's a difference in the 2-minute drill when you're trying to score seven points as opposed to three points. We all understand that. But you are cognizant of what's going on on their sideline. We were trying to take as much time off the clock. It was evident the way we effectively ran the ball earlier in the drive. It didn't come down to one play, but the sack play was a big play that we had to overcome. Matt did a good job with the two completions on second and third down. The intent was to get down there and take the thing all the way … we never felt like we were pressed for time, especially with our timeout situation.
(How do you handle two close losses like this? Do you get angry or do you sweep it under the rug since you still can get in the playoffs?)
Well, you get angry, and you don't sweep anything under the rug. It's important to identify and acknowledge everything you do as a football team. We're concerned about two things, and that's winning football games, and our performance level. There was a lot of positive aspects of the game last night that would lead to a very high performance level, and there's some things that we need to do a better job in, particularly in critical points in the game. The Patriots made two big plays that equated to 14 points. We had some opportunities defensively for takeaways, we didn't make those plays. Offensively, we had some opportunities in the red zone that we kicked field goals and didn't get touchdowns. And special teams, I thought the special teams did a good job except for the kickoff cover was very poor. There's no way around it. The leverage on the kick, the high tackle on Connolly, on a 300-plus-pound man going down the sideline, you don't high tackle a player in that situation. There were some big plays, like I said, they made two big plays that equated to 14 points. We had some opportunities to make big plays and we just didn't make enough of them. But there's a lot of positive performance on the video, and we'll take that forward.
(Was the run game one of those positive things and what did you do better?)
I thought our backs ran extremely hard. I thought the run-blocking was better. There were some spots I didn't like, there were some spots I really liked. But I thought Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn ran with a different level. They broke a lot of tackles. I thought John Kuhn played his best game as a Packer, in my opinion. We definitely had a lot more productivity out of the run game and obviously that is the way you like to play in a game, especially with the type of offense the Patriots have. The time of possession and the converting of the third downs, that was all part of the plan going into the game. That was something we were able to accomplish.
(What is the outlook for Cullen Jenkins and Frank Zombo?)
Cullen, I haven't talked to Dr. McKenzie today but after the conversation Friday on Cullen Jenkins, I would say Chicago is the hope. Frank Zombo, he has more of a chance this week. He is progressing so we are going to give him the opportunity. I would say Cullen for Chicago and we'll see what happens, how Frank goes through the week.
(What is your assessment of the offensive line's performance in the running game?)
It was much better than it has been. They improved. I thought some of the second-level blocking was much better and I thought some individual performances need to improve. But as a group, I thought we improved.
(Can you talk about all of the close losses?)
You practice it all of the time. Actually our quarterbacks, we spend an extraordinary amount of time on two-minute drills and no-huddle drills. I think it is evident, just the efficiency and the way they operate those drills. Now, the last two weeks we haven't been able to finish them as far as finish the drives. But as far the mechanics, keeping yourself in clean plays, managing the clock, there is a lot of time that goes into that. The quarterbacks do a lot of two-minute drills in the quarterback schools before practice, if you witness us at training camp. They are down there before every practice working some type of two-minute drill or some different types of situations. We take every situation that we have been in in prior years that is unique to any type of football game. The fourth-and-1, the play to get the ball thrown into the end zone, that is something that is regularly practiced throughout training camp and so forth. You just prepare as much as you can, and that's why I go back to the performance part of the game last night. There are a lot of positives. We didn't win the game, and that's the bottom line. Our standard of play is high. We just have to get it higher to win these types of games.
(Do you think Matt Flynn proved something to people that weren't familiar with him?)
I think for the people that don't know Matt Flynn, I think they got to look inside and see what type of person and what kind of player he is. To have your first start in the NFL against Tom Brady at New England, the level that they are playing at right now, Sunday Night Football, it doesn't get much bigger than that. We all knew what Matt is all about, the people that see him every day, but I think the rest of the country got to take a look at what he is capable of doing.