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21 December 2014

GREEN BAY PACKERS POSTGAME QUOTES SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014

HEAD COACH MIKE MCCARTHY
 
(Opening statement)
“Good victory for us. Very, very proud of our football team. This is a game we needed to qualify for the playoffs, so that’s the first step. We look forward to next week for a new opportunity to win the division. It started and ended with defense today – just the constant pressure, the seven sacks; they controlled the game for us today. Offensively, a lot of production. Points, obviously enough to win. Special teams, they had some costly penalties, but overall, good team victory. It’s difficult always to win on the road. We’re proud of making the playoffs for six years in a row, but more importantly, this football team put itself in a great position to accomplish it’s goal and that’s to win the division and have the bye week the first week of the playoffs.”
 
(On the performance of quarterback Aaron Rodgers while battling an illness)
“I’ve obviously known Aaron the whole time. You see him do things on the football field as far as making plays and this and that – I think that really the last couple of days, you see the kind of warrior he is. He’s battled whatever illness he’s had the last couple of days and goes out and strains his calf the first or second series and he didn’t want to come out – I was probably more affected by it than anybody with some of the play calls. Just really a gritty performance by Aaron.”
 
(On how he changed the play calling after Rodgers strained his calf)
“That was really kind of a big part of the plan coming in here. Aaron, he makes a difference when you get him out on the perimeter – I was a little nervous about doing that. It was a little bit of back-and-forth, but it was a good team victory. We ran it well enough, the play-action pass was effective enough – we’d probably like to get the ball in the end zone a couple more times, but good win. Very good win for us.”
 
(On the performance of the defense)
“Defense was unbelievable, starting up front stopping the run [and] making them one-dimensional, and just the sacks and the constant pressure. So probably one of our best performances with defense.”
 
(On the performance of the offense against an improved Tampa Bay defense)
“I thought that we had a lot of production. The game plan that we had for it, we were able to stay with the majority of it. I think I probably struggled a bit more than anybody and just cut them loose. I thought we had a good plan. I thought Tampa’s defense was playing really well. I watched four or five weeks [and] was impressed with them on film. They did a good job up front. We knew their stunt game was going to be tough against our run game. They had some negative plays and corralled some football plays for them. I thought it was a good battle.”
 
(On the performance of linebacker Clay Matthews)
“Definitely. Clay is moving around, doing a lot of different things for our defense. You appreciate that as the team player that he is and to see him come out and get on the edge and make his plays was exciting.”
 
(On being on a hot streak going into the final week of the season)
“We’ve won six out of seven games. I’d have to classify that as playing a lot of good football, that’s for sure. We’ll clean this game up tomorrow, we’ll be on it – we’ll also start on Detroit tomorrow. I like where we’re at and I really like this football team.”
 
(On if he has been challenging the defense to play to their potential recently as they have not allowed a touchdown in two straight weeks)
“I think it’s a challenge every day – players challenge the coaches and coaches challenge the players. It goes back to your job description. We’ve been here before. We know what this looks like. We’ve got great veteran leadership, we’ve got young guys that are totally bought in, so it’s about taking steps each and every week – number one, winning the game and improving your quality of play, and I think we definitely did that today.”
 
(On how he feels about the defense heading into the final week of the season)
“Feel very good about where our defense is today, feel very good about going into the last game with the opportunity to win the division. Feel good about the offense, defense and special teams.”
 
(On the decision to pass on fourth-and-goal at the one-yard line in the third quarter)
“I was trying to score. Obviously we ran it the first time, the call I thought was clean, [and] it looked like we had a chance to get it in there. Second down and third down – I wish I had the second down call back just for the fact that you’ve got the best quarterback and player in football and I didn’t put the ball in his hand on first, second, or third down, so that factored into my decision to go for it on fourth down because obviously of the confidence I have in Aaron and our ability to spread people out. Also the fact the way our defense was playing; I wasn’t nervous about not getting it because backing them up inside the one-yard line was an opportunity for our defense. They obviously made a hell of a play on third down. Those are the kind of things that you think about and I thought it was the right call. I’d do it again in that situation.”
 
(On what factored into his decision to attack the same side of the field on the fourth-down call as they did on second and third down)
“I was really just trusting really what happened – the way they play defense, what they do on defense affects what plays you call. That’s a part of the way they were playing us. They had some penetration inside. I think if you look at the calls on the first series and look at the calls on the second series, I think they probably stem off of each other.”
 
QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS
 
(On if he will be healthy for next week)
“Yeah. Yeah, I’ll be okay for next week. I hurt my half calf pretty good, but the training staff helped me kind of get through it, they just put some heat on it and I just tried to push through it.”
 
(On what they put on his foot to ease the pain)
“Yeah, we did some heel pads to kind of heel lift to kind of help out with the strain on the calf, but it was really tight. I had limited mobility a little bit, but we were able to make enough plays.”
 
(On when he injured his calf)
“It was about play five, I think, and it got really tight about halftime. I came in and got a little treatment and it loosened up, just a tad, but it was still pretty tight. Had a hard time running, but I was able to move short segments in the pocket which is all I needed to do today.”
 
(On having to battle the flu)
“I battled the flu the last couple of days pretty bad and that’s why I was surprised I hurt my calf because I hydrated like no other. I had a great hydration test this week and was drinking a ton of water before the game, but unfortunately the calf kind of gave up on me there. It was a good win for us, the defense played great, offensively it wasn’t pretty, but we had enough points to win.”
 
(On if the offensive struggles were because of his calf)
“I think it was more of the way they played it. It was some softness at times in their [cover] two and then they played pretty tight in their one-high [safety look] so we had to make some tight throws, but the Mike [linebacker] did a good job of rolling stuff. I had a hard time with some of the handoff stuff, that’s why I went in some of the pistol and shotgun stuff, so Mike [McCarthy] adjusted well. We moved the ball efficiently in the second half, we should’ve scored a touchdown that first drive and we got points on the next two.”
 
(On battling through the calf injury)
“It was tough, I didn’t think I could run very well, but I was able to just push through it. The line did a good job of blocking so I didn’t really have to move a whole lot to get out of the pocket. A couple of throws it really affected me just not being able to put a lot of weight on it – the throw to Randall [Cobb] there, we missed the field goal, but I had Randall on a second reaction play and I kind of one-hopped it to him, my calf just kind of gave out there, but for the most part we did some good things.”
 
(On the importance of getting the touchdown late)
“I don’t think it was any more important than only other drive, but the line did a good job of giving us some time and we made some plays. We had a couple of adjustments on the sidelines that ended up working. When they brought the all-out pressure and Randall made a quick move there in the slot and got us a big gain and then Jordy [Nelson] had a great game, some great second-reaction stuff, some great catches down low. With the injury it was hard to put some weight, at times, on my calf and I threw a lot of low passes today, but the guys did a good job of making some plays on those.”
 
(On running back Eddie Lacy’s touchdown run)
“I have to give the line credit on that one, they blocked well. Eddie [Lacy] broke a tackle there right at the line of scrimmage, but we actually talked about running that play the last couple of days and how they were going to block it. They were going to make kind of an adjustment to the way they usually block that stretch-play and they did a good job of doing that. Eddie, he’s got that deceptive speed. If you look at him, he’s a bowling ball, but he also can run away from some guys. It was good to get him going, he had another good game, we were able to limit his carries and still get a lot of output from him. It was a good effort from the line there blocking so well and we a lot of time in the passing game.”
 
(On the play of wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson)
“They made some great catches, some good routes, but it starts up front, it starts with the protection. The protection was great, the guys did a great job of giving me some time, and I was able to sit back there and not have to move around a whole lot and throw the ball on time.”
 
(On if they have an idea of where the offense stands going into the playoffs)
“I think we have good balance, we’ve really been working on that the last six to eight weeks and making sure we get Eddie a number of touches in the game. And then also finding ways to get Randall the ball. We’ve had some success with our four receiver package with him being kind of the hybrid guy coming out of the backfield, potentially running the ball. The balance is there. The greatest jump that we’ve seen from early in the season is the offensive line play, [it] has been so consistent and they’ve been healthy. It’s been the same group since week three and because of that there’s a great continuity with those guys and they’re blocking their butts off.”
 
(On making the playoffs for six consecutive years)
“It starts at the top. I think it’s a mindset with Ted [Thompson] and his personnel group, the kind of guys they bring in year-after-year and then Mike [McCarthy] and his system has obviously proven to work with the way he raises players up and the way we get guys to buy into the Packer way. It says a lot about the organization and the way they treat people and also the appreciation that the guys have for the opportunity to play for such a franchise and the leadership has been good those years. We’ve had guys that have been drafted by our team and gotten second and third contracts and we’ve brought in the right guys at the right time for leadership – guys like Charles Woodson and guys like Ryan Pickett and guys like Letroy Guion, Julius Peppers this year and when you put that all together it’s a recipe for success.”
 
(On if he is surprised that Jeff Tedford is no longer in the NFL)
“I’m happy for Jeff that he’s healthy now. He and I are close friends and I know that the NFL was an opportunity that he was looking forward to, but because he had to be away from the team he felt like he didn’t want to step back in and take somebody’s job. He got an opportunity to go somewhere else and Jeff is head-coaching material. He’s got that personality to be able to inspire young men and I’m excited for him and the opportunity in Canada.”
 
(On playing the division title in the final game of the season)
“It’s exciting, last year we had to go on the road and beat Chicago and this year we get it at home. Detroit is playing really good, they’re already in the playoffs and they got a win today at Chicago and they’ve got a great defense, one of the best in the league if not the best. They play really well on the back end, obviously [Ndamukong] Suh is one of the premier players in the league at any position and they’ve been getting a lot of pressure with their front four and Coach [Jim] Caldwell has done a great job of getting guys to buy in and believe in each other and obviously they’re playing really well.”
 
(On how the defense is playing)
“I feel great about the defense. It’s fun to watch, I just heard a stat there was a little over 100 yards that they gave up and that’s incredible. The way that they got after Josh [McCown] and that offensive line, it was fun to watch. When Clay [Matthews] is getting after it like that and obviously Peppers, Mike Neal and Mike Daniels and those guys, that’s the greatest asset for the back end is when the front four can get pressure without having to get extra guys.”
 
(On if he thought there would be opportunities to scramble outside the pocket)
“I thought there would be extended plays. Every time we play Lovie [Smith] there’s four or five extended play opportunities where I have to keep the play alive and move outside of the pocket. We had a couple today, but I didn’t really have the running threat after the injury there, but it’s a good defense, they had a good scheme for us and we were able to just execute just good enough.”
 
(On if he’s going to be okay to play the last week)
“It’s too early to give a 100-percent guarantee, but it would definitely take a lot to hold me out of that game.”
 
(On if there was any discussion of him coming out of today’s game)
“Not from me.”
 
SAFETY MORGAN BURNETT
 
(On his performance)
"Thank you. [I'm] just trying to do my job. [I'm] just trying to be accountable for my other brothers out there who are busting their butts. I think it was a good team win today, all around, from offense, defense and special teams. And then, to get into the playoffs, that's really great. Now, we just have to keep pushing and keep going."
 
(On the defensive performance)
"Yeah, it's a great effort. Guys came out really dialed in and focused. Everyone was on the same page. Everyone was communicating and clicking on all cylinders. That's the way it has to be at this time. I know it's not the playoffs, but this is considered the playoffs for us. We have to treat every game like it's the most important game, which it is. I would just have to keep pushing."
 
(On being named captain)
"That's very special. I respect every man in this locker room and I love every guy with all my heart. This is like my extended family. For those guys to select me as captain that really meant a lot, and I told those guys 'Man, that's something I will cherish for the rest of my life and I really appreciate them'."
 
WIDE RECEIVER RANDALL COBB
 
(On the chance to win NFC North)
“It’s great. I think we are all looking forward to it. Celebrate this moment right now and being able to have the opportunity to get into the playoffs and now we have to refocus and get ready for the lions and go out and find a way to win.”
 
(On speaking to the team)
“Our captains got up and we all talked. We just had a conversation between the team and getting into a playoff mindset. We’re excited about this opportunity. We’ve been able to find some ways to win at home and to win on the road was huge for us.”
 
(On Aaron Rodgers playing through illness)
“He’s a competitor and that’s what I love about him. He’s going to go out and give his best no matter what. He’s going to play through pain, play through sickness and its just great to see a teammate go out there and putting his body on the line every down for you and its just great to play with him.”
 
(On the offense struggling on the road)
“We found a way to win, at the end of the day that’s all that matters. Our defense played well they got a bunch of sacks and got us the ball back. We were able to move the ball well we just get it in the end zone like we should. We understand that moving forward we have to continue to find a way to put the points up and put our defense in a better situation to give them a little more cushion. But you know we won, we’re in the playoffs and that’s the most important thing right now.”
 
(On the next game deciding the division)
“I just like winning games. To be in this situation of course it adds a little bit more to the game and we understand the importance of trying to get those home games. Just going out there and playing, doing the best we can and find a way to get it done.”
 
LINEBACKER CLAY MATTHEWS
 
(On getting after the quarterback)
“Front seven did a great job today as far as disrupting the quarterback. It was clearly evident. You saw that with the sack numbers as well as the disruptions, pressures. The DBs handled their job on the back end. Overall it was a great defensive effort today and its good to see these last two weeks.”
 
(On the defensive line having a good game)
“Yeah those are the types of games you enjoy as a pass rusher. When you’re holding them to three and out and those pass rushing downs you dictate them early on those first and second down runs. As you saw it wasn’t just me, you saw [Julius] Peppers with two. Mike Neal got after it and guys up and down the board. It was really great to see especially as a front seven that’s what you love to see.”
 
(On making the playoffs)
“That’s six years in a row. That’s unprecedented. I heard that with this win he [Coach Mike McCarthy] passes [legendary Green Bay Head Coach Vince] Lombardi. So he’s in some good company around here. It’s about consistency and that’s what we showed tonight on defense, we’ve just got to keep this thing going no letdowns. These are good games to get us ready for Detroit [Lions] and the playoffs moving forward.”
 
(On the Detroit game)
“I think it dictates the number two seed so obviously a division rival coming into Lambeau the way we’ve been playing at home it should be a real big game. Hopefully we can go out there put together a win get a bye week and get some much needed rest. But, first we’ve got to handle business and well give it the best shot.”
 
WIDE RECEIVER JORDY NELSON
 
(On the win)
"There's a lot pressure to make the playoffs, especially in the situation we've been in. I think Coach McCarthy said, 'six straight years', so there's been a lot of expectations coming in. To get that, and then, now, we got one more to go get to get that division so we'll see what happens."
 
(On playing better than last week)
"I think we're good. We were a confident team coming in. I think we had a good week of practice. Everyone was loose last night at the hotel and confident coming in. We just needed to go out and execute. I think we did alright. Had some bad plays and penalties, so we just got to make sure we get back to playing that fundamentally sound football. Defense played great and allowed us to finally score a touchdown there at the end."
 
(On playing Detroit next week)
"We got a lot to play for. There's a lot of things that can happen the rest of today and next week to figure out where the playoffs end up and what kind of road will be ahead of us. We look forward to it. It will be great opportunity, again, to get Detroit. We played them earlier in the year - they got us at their place - now, they have to come to Lambeau [Field] . It will be a great opportunity to go out and play, and play well."
 
(On having to "dink and dunk" against the Buccaneers defense)
"Absolutely. Obviously, we have a lot of experience against Lovie [Smith] and the way he calls his defense and installs it. A great defense that they play. It's going to take a while. It's going to be a grind-it-out game. They expect for you to mess up or for them to make a play. We did that early in the game. I think we had three good drives in the second half. We only had three of them, in all, double digit drives. We just have to finish it better. But, we knew coming in it was going to be a grind-it-out game and we got the win, which is good."
 
(On quarterback Aaron Rodger's performance)
"He played great.  He made some plays with his feet. Like you said, he was a little banged up early and fought through it and made plays for us. Obviously, he is the leader of our team and we need him out there. So, it was great to see get through it and [he's] hopefully healthy."
 
(On the defense's performance)
"They played extremely good. They got after the quarterback. I don't know how many sacks they ended up with, but they were hitting him all day. We stopped the run. They're having to give up a couple big plays where, to me, it looked like they were just chucking it up there and hoping something good would happen. But, they played great and held them to a field goal. [They] allowed us to finally grind one out and get some points on the board."
 
(On his touchdown in the fourth quarter)
"It's big to score. That's what we needed to do - just to create a little more separation on the scoreboard. The way our defense is playing, they didn't need much more help, but it's always good to finish out a drive in the red zone. We weren't able to do it earlier and needed to finish one there."
 
LINEBACKER JULIUS PEPPERS
 
(On working well with Clay Matthews)
“It was a great effort by the front. The D-line and the linebackers, everybody got involved. It’s something that we emphasized and stressed this week, was to be able to get pressure on this team. It worked out and hopefully we can build on it and carry it into the playoffs.”
 
(On how dynamic he and Matthews are)
“It’s more than just me and Clay. We have other guys that are capable pass rushers so as long as we have everybody ready to go, healthy and performing well, I think we can take this thing far.”
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