GREEN BAY – The Packers’ coordinators spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon. Here are some highlights of their news conferences:
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin
On how Chicago defended Jimmy Graham:
Initially get some hands on him and slow down his entry into the defense. Chicago is obviously an excellent football team. They have some different coverages. Jimmy has had a good week of practice and good camp. I’m sure he’s going to get his share.
On Aaron Rodgers’ effectiveness after injury:
The guy, his production as a starting quarterback in this league has been extremely impressive over a 10-year span. I think this was his 11th season opening start. He’s a football player. Period. He finds a way to make plays when your team needs him to make plays. Hopefully, obviously, that’s going to continue. It’s just the kind of guys we have. It would have been easy to say things didn’t bounce our way, but guys found ways to make plays.
On going to the quick-passing game in the second half and is it an over-simplification to think you can always do that?
We had some early in the first half. That’s the beauty of the game, the momentum of the game, sometimes you just have to fight through some of that stuff to make a couple plays. I think it was the third-and-14 play. I think we were down 20-3. We went back to some old stuff we knew and have done well. We had good protection. Randall was running full speed through the defense, you’d thought he ran a 4.3 and the chance of him getting the ball was 2 percent. We just did things better. That’s the beauty of football and the challenge of it to.
On what Sheldon Richardson brings to Minnesota’s defense:
He looked good on film the other day. It looks like he’s in good condition and has good get-off. He plays with leverage. He’s a handful. He’s a good football player. It’s a good front. They’ve been in the defense for a while. They do a good job of scouting themselves. We’re going to be going up against good plays every week. It’s just a product of the league.
On Rodgers playing through injury:
His competitive nature kind of takes over. He’s obviously an exceptional talent. You don’t have to be an expert to figure that aspect out. But the thing that separates a lot of great players from good players is competitive spirit and you certainly saw that in the second half.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
On how defense responded to slow start:
We obviously regret the way we started. We were on our heels a little bit. We missed some plays and they made some plays, as well. I think our guys were upset with it, but we had talked earlier in the day when we met, especially for young guys, the NFL game is unlike any roller coaster ride you’ve been on. There’s a lot of mental toughness. It says a lot about them and their resolve for how they were able to rebound. I thought Joe Whitt and Patrick Graham did a great job of getting them on the tablets and cleaning it up.
On if the Packers would have had more two inside linebacker packages if Oren Burks was active:
A lot of it depended on the personnel they put out on the field. Would we have play more two inside backer? There’s a chance. I couldn’t give you a calendar. I thought Blake handled it well.
On the personnel groupings they used:
We have a variety of sub groupings. We have our sub-grouping, Sonic, Turbo (seven defensive backs), Speed grouping. Sometimes it might be the same number of players from positional rooms, but it’ll be player specific.
On Kentrell Brice:
KB, I love his football IQ. He picks it up quick. Whitehead is another guy and Ha (Ha Clinton-Dix) isn’t far behind. We’re teaching them how to see it from our perspective. That’s where Joe and Jason Simmons are doing a great job. It’s important to explain the why to them. If they understand the why better, they can give us input rather than us just telling them what to do. I think the safety room is ahead of the curve.
On playing rookies:
We’re not a farm team. Guys have to play now. Our two rookies on the back end, from the beginning, jumped right in. It’s never been two big for them. They love football and they compete. We’re in the business of putting our best 11 out there.
Special-teams coordinator Ron Zook
On Randall Cobb on punt returns:
Randall has done it. He’s experienced. I think we’re making progress. That has a lot to do with that, as well. … He’s got a knack, quickness and acceleration. As a receiver, he has all the tools.
On Trevor Davis’ hamstring flare-up:
I’ve been doing it long enough to know you just kind of keep on going. If someone gets hurt … you try to have a plan when you get into a game and only have the 46 guys. Occasionally, there’s things that come up. … It’s like anybody else, it could happen in the first game or the last game. I thought Trevor is a very talented young man, but that’s the game. I feel bad for him because he’s worked hard.
On how Packers will handle kickoff returns:
Ty will be the guy back there. Everybody is still trying to figure out what everybody is going to do. I feel good about our scheme and what we’re doing. I think it still remains to be seen. People are still feeling that out a little bit. Minnesota has a new kicker, what’s he going to do? We have Auburn game where we have to watch his kicks.
On the gunners:
We have some guys who can do it. It’s just a matter of keeping them fresh. Last year, we were set on Jeff Janis and Davis because that’s what they did. I think Jaire Alexander has a great chance to be a good gunner. Anytime you have that speed. Davon House is excited to be back there doing it. Hopefully, do a good job with that, as well.