GREEN BAY -- The Packers' three coordinators met with the media on Thursday ahead of the Week 7 game vs. Oakland. Here's a summary of their key comments.
Special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga
(on Shepherd’s muffed punt)
We really try to preach don’t let any ball hit the ground, but you have to realize where you’re at as far as the people around you, and I think the ball kind of tailed on him a little bit. At that point, when you’re out of position like that, it probably is best just to let it go. If you can, try to throw up the late fair catch. We have to do a better job blocking outside for him to keep him free. It’s one he’d like to have back and he’ll learn from. It’s unfortunate that happened. There’s going to be some growing pains with young players. Nobody felt worse about it than he did. He’ll learn from it and he’ll be better because of it.
(on the confidence in the FG operation, snap and hold, in a game-winning situation)
I just think the consistency. We go out every day in practice and they treat it like a game situation. It’s hard mentally, when you know you’re in practice, you’re not in front of 80,000 people or whatever there was, but they’re good pros and they put pressure on themselves. We always talk about fix your mistakes. As soon as something happens, if the laces aren’t right, if there’s a little wobble in the snap or you didn’t catch it cleanly, let’s fix the mistake. That’s what good pros do. Mason has more confidence that the ball is going to be where it needs to be. His approach, his operation time have been good and consistent and quick. So I think it’s just the consistency gets built up over time and the confidence comes from the consistency.
(on Crosby’s range for that final kick)
Into the game, we talked about the 40(-yard line) and on in. He’d hit from 58 in pregame both ways and hit it right down the middle, looked good, good elevation. I was confident. He had hit well and we were confident he’d be able to hit and make it really from anywhere we needed him to.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
(on the run defense vs. Detroit)
Much improved. I think it was a challenge, it was more the players. It was a pride thing. They knew how close we were, and some of the big runs we had given up it was on guy making a mistake and that was where the ball ended up going. We challenged them, and guys like Dean Lowry stepped up. Kenny was solid, the guys on the edge were solid. We were in a decent amount of defenses that called for them to be pretty good up front, meaning we didn’t have heavy boxes.
(on Lowry’s game Monday night)
He played like he’s capable of. There’s a reason we rewarded him with the contract. He’s a guy that’s very prideful. Nobody’s been more upset with some of the games he’s put on tape early than he was. He just had a look about him all week. I don’t know if I’ve seen a D-lineman have a better week of practice. It was just ultra-focused. He went out and executed. The biggest thing was he got great knock-back, was able to locate the ball, separate and make plays. That’s the expectation. There needs to be a level of consistency now. For us to get where we want to go, for us to be great, that has to be the norm.
(on guys taking chances)
That aggressiveness needs to be calculated. If it’s information the offense has given us, or if I’m protected over the top, the scheme is allowing us to be more aggressive. We don’t have guys just doing that on their own. If the guys see an opportunity, and it’s in the structure of what we do … what’s the opponent telling us? What are their tells? How can we use that information to help us lean one way, run or pass.
(on the Smiths)
The two of them, it’s obvious they’re very gifted physically, but I think what sets them apart is the way they prepare. A lot of credit goes to Mike Smith, who is relentless with those guys as far as studying the opponent, what protections are they getting. And credit to Preston on his last sack, the play clock was down to zero, he knew the ball had to be snapped and knew it wasn’t going to be a hard count. The quarterback was clapping for the ball, he went and the tackle didn’t get out of his stance. It’s important as a pass rusher to have a plan. Both those guys do a real good job of the mental part of it and having a plan for their rushes.
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
(on how you feel with all the injuries at WR and TE)
Feel great. It gives people an opportunity to step up and compete. You find how guys operate out on the field, and you always want competition. There’s always something good you can find in any situation. There’s so many things we can’t control in this game. You just have to keep your head down and keep working.
(on coaching Rodgers with his scrambles in the new system)
There’s a foundation in the system and the timing of the system we wanted. Not looking at anything from the past, it was showing him what we wanted to accomplish, and have him put his spin on it.
(on the dropped TD pass by Jones)
It’s already gone. We knew we had a pretty good chance at that. He knew and I think he got too excited. That’s just part of it. You give yourself a chance, sometimes they’re made sometimes they’re not. If we do that 10 more times, I think he’s 10-for-10.
(on Lazard’s outing)
Just looking at the situation, going down to try to win a game, whoever that person was going to be, you would have been in awe. What he did was just awesome from that standpoint. Being with him earlier (in Jacksonville), he’s only in his second year, undrafted free agent from Iowa State, you love the person, his work ethic. He tried to do everything he possibly could. Even seeing him when I first got here was a breath of fresh air.
I feel like there hasn’t been any change. He’s picked up right where we left off in Jacksonville. He’s a true pro. He’s another guy I’ve been with for a long time. He’s going to come to work, get after it, and do what his job is. He’s going to make plays. For a huge, old man, he can shake some people and move better than you think. The type of guy he is, the personality he has, it’s great for the whole team. The way he’s blocking is good to see, and we just want to keep it rolling.