(What is the mood of the team after losing Grant for the season?)
The mood of our football team, we're excited about the opportunity ahead of us with Buffalo coming in for our home opener. Injuries are part of the game, very unfortunate. There is definitely a personal side anytime something happens to one of your members of your football team. Specific to Ryan Grant, Ryan Grant is exactly the type of individual you want on your team and in your program, the way he goes about his business. He is a hard-working, tough guy, no-nonsense, no-excuse individual, and he is a very good teammate. So the personal angle of Ryan's injury is definitely difficult, but in the big picture, the professional side of it, you build your football team. We have 61 players here, 53 on the roster and eight on the practice squad, and we're getting ready for Buffalo. That's our mood, that's our focus.
(He has been so durable. How much of a role did that play in your decision to keep two halfbacks?)
With the 53-man roster, you keep your best players. We felt we had three halfbacks at the 53. It's unfortunate that he was injured. I understand how durable Ryan was up until last week. It was an unfortunate injury. He was obviously in a bad position that he couldn't get himself out of. I'm not looking back.
(What was the time frame for his injury, and was there any discussion of whether he could come back at the end of the year?)
Obviously if you look at the time frame as far as how much time it took to make the decision, there was obviously a lot of conversation based on his injury. It's always about the player first. His specific medical situation, we felt it was best for him to go ahead and have the operation and let's get him healthy. That was the best thing for his career. Now, there is always a projection. We go through this every week. You are always asking me for timeframes on every injury that occurs on my football team; 6-8 weeks, 8-10 weeks, every injury is different. We felt this was the right move in the best interests of our football team.
(Will you tailor runs for Brandon's abilities or will you just kind of plug him in?)
We'll really answer the game-plan questions as we play. We're going to run our offense, No. 1. This has not made our job any harder as far as planning, but it is important to utilize your players to their skill set. I think I am stating the obvious. We'll be smart with the way we use all of our players, no different with Brandon and John and so forth.
(I know you consider John a running back as well, but aren't you one play away from playing a fullback?)
I disagree with the way your view our offense. We play a lot of one-back, and we have since I have been here. John has played one-back. Korey can play the one-back position. The one-back position carries fullback and halfback responsibilities, and we're prepared to go forward. So I don't look at us as one play away from being locked into playing with a different position at the current position of our offense
(What do you like about Nance?)
He is actually someone that we were looking at through training camp. I just had a chance to watch him today. Very explosive, instinctive, definitely has a very strong, quick lower half. Everything we saw on film was validated today. He is a young player and I think he will be a good fit for us.
(You listed Matthews as limited today; did he have a setback in the game?)
It's sore. I think that is appropriate for the number of snaps that he played in the game, and not playing in live competition over four weeks. He is very sore.
(Do you know when Ryan is going to have the surgery?)
I do not have a date for you yet.
(Will Dr. McKenzie do the surgery?)
I do not have the official, exact information on the date of the operation and who is doing it.
(Could Grant possibly have come back later in the year, or did you think there was not enough time to get in good football shape for the playoffs, for instance?)
I don't want to be redundant here. It's clearly a medical situation, and we felt it was in his best interest to go ahead and have the operation. There's always a projection when you have players coming back from surgery. You can sit here and say he would have been ready for the playoffs based on someone else that went through it in the past. You look at past injuries, but it's all about the individual. It's about the doctor's opinion of the specific injury. That's why we made the roster move.
(Why not just wait a bit, see how the rehab goes? Because you can always put him on IR anytime.)
I don't want to make light of this, but you meet with medical people three days a week, and their expertise is something we rely heavily on. Following the advice of our medical staff is the reason why we made the decision that we did.
(Can you talk about the dynamic that Clay brings to the defense? He didn't play any in the preseason and had fresh legs and a full motor last weekend.)
Clay Matthews is a very talented young player. I think it was very evident in his production coming off of his rookie season, but he also plays a premier position in our defense, the outside linebacker position, and we played him in really three positions in the game in Philadelphia, and he was very productive. He played on both the left and right side and also played the position, the rover, as far as in the middle. He has the ability to do everything we ask at a high level, and it was impressive to see him be as productive as he was in Week 1, especially missing as much time as he has. He's an exciting young player.
(How confident are you C.J. Wilson and Jarius Wynn can contribute?)
Well, they're going to be up, so we're looking for those guys to contribute. That's why they're on our 53. We have history with Jarius, and C.J. is definitely improving. I definitely feel he has a lot of good football in front of him. Those guys are getting ready to go for this week.
(Any chance on Neal this week?)
I'm hopeful. Had a very positive report on Mike yesterday, but we'll see how he responds. There's certain things they're asking him to do in the rehab that he's not able to do yet to get on the field. That's obviously why he didn't practice today, so we're getting Jarius and C.J. ready.
(Is there any danger when you lose a guy like Grant that your quarterback might try to do too much?)
I do not have a concern with that, no.
(Can you talk about Buffalo?)
Buffalo, we're very impressed with from a personnel standpoint. I think they're built the right way. Starting with their special teams, I think that will be a big challenge for us. You start with their returners and just their base core special teams players. Their defense, they're going to a 3-4, first year, and they'll really challenge us on the perimeter. We expect that going in. And offensively, Chan Gailey, I've always had respect for in his approach to offense. We'll see how they approach our game, but they're definitely going to challenge us.
(Bob Sanders is with Buffalo now. He's such a nice guy. How hard was that, to go through that with him, because of how you felt about him personally?)
It's very difficult. I've answered the question before. I think the world of Bob Sanders as a person, and he's a damn good football coach. It's something that, it's part of the business, but it's extremely difficult because there is a personal side of our business.
(Who was the backup at right tackle on Sunday? Lang was down.)