(What's going on at running back?)
Brandon Jackson showed up today and was having some trouble yesterday. I would classify it as minor. Hopefully he'll work out tomorrow and complete the test that's in place for concussions. That was a little bit of a surprise to all of us this morning.
(Is that based on something that happened in the game?)
Happened in the game, correct. Yes.
(Do you know when?)
No I don't. It happened I want to say either in the third quarter or beginning of the fourth quarter. I don't know what play it was on, to answer your question.
(Do you need to possibly consider bringing back one of the guys you cut?)
I don't think so. Just trusting the doctors and the information that was given to me today, I feel confident that Brandon will be ready to go for the Detroit game. And also we're going to rest Ryan Grant until Friday, and I'm hopeful that he'll be able to go also.
(If you had to increase Lumpkin's role, how much could he do?)
I think he could handle it all. He's done a very good job with his opportunities. You can only judge him on what he's done, and very time the young man has been given an opportunity to play, he has improved. Actually he took a majority of the snaps at today's practice, and he missed one blitz pickup, but I thought he did a very good job.
(Is Woodson's toe going to be a season-long thing?)
Season-long? I hope not. It really depends what happens week to week, as you know. Charles has played with a lot of things, so we have all the confidence, and based on the communication with him he'll be ready to go this week.
(You said it's not the same toe as last year, but didn't he deal with a toe all of last season?)
Yes he did.
(Is it turf toe?)
No, it's a fracture. It's a toe fracture. There, too much information. I feel dirty.
(What's that cast Ruvell is wearing?)
Ruvell's had a hand fracture that he's been dealing with, and he's been playing with it. It's just a matter, it's re-occuring. It's really gotten to a point where we just want to be smart with him and give him a chance to heal. He's played very well throughout. It was never even a factor in him practicing or playing in the games. He had a very nice catch on the one puma route there in the game Monday night. We just don't want this to be a season-long situation for him.
(How did Jones look today?)
I thought James looked good. It was good to have him back. I don't see any problem with him going through a full week of practice and being ready to go.
(Are you likely to be in the same situation with Wells again where you might have him as a backup?)
Well, I talked to Scott today, and he feels like everything has calmed down for him. Just to quote him, he said he feels really good. But I think Pat McKenzie, Dr. McKenzie wants to be a little more cautious this time on how fast we bring him back and give him an opportunity to pad it up. Based on the information of his rehab today, you can only push the player so far in the rehab phase. They need to get in there, get the pads on, and torque around. At some point we'll do that, but that hasn't been decided.
(Are the Lions' receivers the toughest matchup physically that you'll go against?)
They're very talented. You talk about big, athletic receivers that can run. They've definitely got a pair of them. It's a group, and they're young, so they're only going to get better. It will definitely be a key matchup for us. They're definitely players that we have targeted from our defense as we prepare and challenge their offense.
(What have you seen from Johnson? It looks like he's blossoming.)
I haven't really watched the Atlanta game yet. But just based on the communication, he was hurt last year. Throughout the preseason he definitely looks like a player that's improved from year one to year two. Just his athletic ability and his size and ability to run down in the red zone, a particular matchup challenge with the high balls and the fly routes and the fade routes in the back of the end zone. So there's a number of things we're going to have to prepare for.
(Plaxico Burress also has a tall body. Did you learn anything from the NFC Championship as far as covering taller receivers?)
I think they're different types of receives. I agree as far as the body type. It comes down to the technique and the fundamentals (more than) whether they're taller than you are. We don't have little corners, so I'm not concerned with their receivers being so much bigger than our defensive backs. Al Harris is a very physical football player, Charles Woodson is a very physical football player, and they really set the tempo for our defense there in the back end. That's the way we like to play, and we think it's going to be an excellent challenge.
(You've had a lot of success against the Vikings and Lions. Is each game its own entity, or is there some carryover?)
I view it as its own entity. I think it's only natural to realize, we refer to them as a common opponent, and it's a division game. When you have a common opponent in a division game, the atmosphere being their home opener, so we're expecting an incredible environment. We're expecting the Lions to play with a lot of energy and emotion. But every game is different, it really is. That's why you play it. I think we can all get caught up in the X's and O's and this guy and that guy, based on what they look like on paper. But you need to go up and play the game the right way. It comes down to fundamentals and techniques that will never change in football. But that's why I view it as its own entity. There will be carryover I'm sure from the way they attack us as how they attacked us in the past, and vice versa, but every game is a new game.
(When you talk about stacking successes, what does Aaron Rodgers need to do this week to build on what he did?)
He needs to run the game plan and manage the game. That's his job description. He's the key communicator on the offense. He needs to make sure everything is precise in that area and make the proper checks in the run and protection, make the proper decisions in the passing game, throw with accuracy, and most importantly, take care of the football. That will never change for him. He's playing a defense that has a lot of energy, that has a defensive line, they carry a lot of defensive linemen. You're playing in an environment where crowd noise helps their style of defense of trying to get on edges, and that's something you have to prepare for.
(Where's the balance between taking off running and staying in the pocket to make plays?)
It is coached no differently than you coach a run play or how you coach him in the pocket. It's the scramble phase. You have seen us do scrambling drills. There are coaching techniques and fundamentals involved in that as far as are you out clean or are you under pressure, as far as how the receiver runs the route and reaction to the quarterback scrambling, keeping the one-yard window. Those are all coaching components of the scrambling phase as we identify it. It's just more important for him to keep mind of, I say this all the time here but it is the way he is coached, to be a scrambling quarterback and not a running quarterback.
(What do you think this week would have been like if Aaron hadn't played well?)
I haven't thought about that. You can have that one on your own. Hypothetical, right?
(How did you do with your pass rush on Monday night?)
There are some things we can improve on. I thought our lane integrity sometimes inside wasn't what it needed to be, and it resulted in obviously the quarterback scrambles for first downs. Most of them happened on third down. I think that's a great example of our football team. This was our first game of our team being on film. Sometimes who you think you are and who you really are are two different things, and it's important for us to stay in tune of how we played and make the corrections. We actually jumped into Detroit today and we spent very little time on corrections with the Minnesota Vikings. We will actually take a block of time Friday and go back and go through the corrections in more of an individual atmosphere. You need to learn from your mistakes because you can't make the same mistakes over and over again, and that will be our emphasis as we move through the week.
(Is it tough to gauge the pass rush because of the quarterback you were playing, and will it be easier to rush Kitna because he doesn't run as much?)
It's different every week. Also who is in front of that quarterback too, and what is their scheme to protect that quarterback. I agree with part of your question, but those are all factors in determining how you are going to rush that particular passer.
(You go from playing against a young quarterback to a veteran starter. What challenges does Kitna present?)
I think the first thing that jumps out at you when you play a veteran quarterback like Jon that has played so much football is how fast he plays the game. Just to take our situation with the young quarterbacks, you are always trying to get them to play faster or see if faster. The speed of the game is always the biggest adjustment for any player coming into the NFL, even more so for the quarterback. I think the answer was in your question in the fact that he has seen just about everything. He has played a lot of football, so this will be different for our defense as far as how fast he plays the game, especially in the passing game.
(How did the defensive line rotation shake out Monday?)
I feel good about it. That has been a strength of ours. I thought Ryan Pickett played well, and Johnny Jolly. Just having those guys available full time is a positive. Kabeer, keeping him in the pass-rush situations was our intention. We could probably even cut more of that down a little bit. I thought Cullen Jenkins played outstanding in the game. He is actually going to receive the game ball Friday for defense.
(A.J. is not on the injury report. How is he feeling and are you out of the woods on that injury?)
I think if A.J. gets hurt again he is not going to tell anybody this time. He's fine. Even Dr. McKenzie thinks he is ready to go. We're trying to be a little smart with him at practice because of how much time he did miss and not try to have him do too much. The communication from A.J., he is fine. He is 100 percent. He feels great.
(Did you watch the film and did anything jump out at you?)
Actually I did not get to the film, no.
(I know you won't comment specifically about the Vince Young situation, but what safeguards do you have in place in case guys go into a depression?)
I think we have an excellent network for our players. It really starts with, the point person is Rob Davis in the player development department. His office is right down there amongst them. We feel that our support staff...the benefit of the number of employees being here as long as they have, we feel we have a very good handle on the pulse of our football team, and more importantly, the individuals in the locker room. So that network is in place, and then we do have all of the answers to the potential situations that could occur as far as counseling and so forth. So that whole network is in place.
(Is there a growing awareness around the league of what Greg Jennings can do and how defenses will treat him?)
I would think so. He scored a lot of touchdowns last year, so I think he got everybody's attention last year. Greg Jennings is definitely an up-and-coming frontline player in this league. I thought the performance that he had on Monday night was hopefully a start of a great season for him
(How important is it to come close to a 50-50 ratio, run-pass?)
Not that important. To score points, that's really the bottom line. I think it would be nice to be 50-50. I don't think that's really the way today's NFL is played over the long haul. There are games where you may feel that you can throw it more. There are games you feel you can run more. I don't get as caught up into that as I used to. I was a lot more conscientious of that early in my career when I was an offensive coordinator calling plays, probably because I had a boss. Now the bottom line is I think you need to give your players the opportunity to be successful week in and week out. I think it's a common trait of individuals in our profession to be a little hard-headed. I think I was hard-headed probably in the past of trying to be something week in and week out that maybe wasn't in the best interest of our players. You do have to have that foundation, but the bottom line is we have got to let the players have the best opportunity to put the ball in the end zone, whether it is a run or a pass.