GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE MCCARTHY
Tough, tough loss today here in Minnesota. The playoffs are here upon us, that’s the message to the football team. We have the opportunity to play the Vikings again back at Lambeau, so that’s where we’re set in our mindset as far as our performance today. Offensively we didn’t have much there in the first quarter, then I thought once we got going we performed very well. Defensively we have to do a better job of stopping the run. I think that’s obvious. They played good down-and-distance ball against us; give them credit. Special teams, I like what Jeremy Ross did for us today in the return game. Our coverage was a little up and down.
Q: Do you like playing them again this quickly – in the playoffs?
A: Absolutely. We’ll play anybody in the playoffs. I think it’ll be a great contest. It’s an opponent we’re very familiar with, and they’re familiar with us. Everybody has confidence going into the playoffs; most importantly we’ll be at home. We’re excited to play these guys again.
Q: How about facing Adrian Peterson again? Are you looking forward to that? How are you going to stop him?
A: It’s obviously important to take away the focal point there, and we didn’t do that today. We’ll go back, we’ll grade it, and we’ll be ready to go, and I look forward to us having a better performance on defense against Adrian Peterson on Sunday or Saturday.
Q: What was the message to the team afterward?
A: The root of it was we had an opportunity here to take care of business, have a bye week – that opportunity is past, so the playoffs have started for us. It’s official. We got a taste of the environment – what it’s going to be like on the road. Playoff football’s different, it is every year. Today’s opportunity is something we can apply to this upcoming week.
Q: Just defensive lapses today?
A: Football’s a team game. There are going to be some things, when we watch the tape, offensively we wish we would have done better, same thing on special teams, and no different on defense. Adrian Peterson was the focal point, and we didn’t do a good enough job there.
Q: Can you talk about Aaron starting a little slow, and what did it take to kind of get him in a rhythm?
A: It took us a little while with the crowd noise, that usually happens up here. This is a tough place to play, no doubt. We anticipated this being the loudest environment of the year. They pumped it in there pretty good today, it was very loud. I felt, also, we got going, and the mechanics in the huddle were in order. I thought after that we played very well.
Q: You had a very good first drive coming out in the second half, was that your best execution, or did they come with more pressure as the game went on?
A: Not really. I thought in the second half we were able to do a lot of good things. It was important for us to come out in the second half and get that to a one-score game. We were able to do that. That’s actually what we talked about at halftime.
Q: Can you talk about that fourth-down play – the one where Boykin got hurt?
A: It was a quick-snap situation where the offense had two options on it, and it was just a hell of a play by Boykin and Aaron Rodgers.
Q: Was that Aaron’s call on the field or was that called?
A: No, that was called.
Q: Winning would give you a bye and would advance you in the playoffs. You don’t get the bye now, but is that that big of a deal?
A: The opportunity to get the bye does not exist anymore, so the playoffs start now. We’re one of six in the NFC. We know what the bye looks like, we know what this position looks like, so it’s time to kick it forward to playoff football. It’s as simple as that. We’re disappointed we lost today, but at the end of the day there are six NFC teams left, and we’re going to line up and play at Lambeau Field in front of our crowd, and that’s what we’re excited about.
Q: First time playing Minnesota, takeaways were so important, was that a factor today or not?
A: Takeaways are always important. And they did a good job of taking the football today. We had the one opportunity on the fumble. Takeaways factor into every football game.
Q: What did you think of Jeremy Ross in the return game?
A: I thought Jeremy did a hell of a job today, and I’m excited to watch the tape. He broke a lot of tackles; I thought he did a nice job.
Q: What happened on the review with the challenge flag that you threw?
A: Emotional decision by me. I shouldn’t have done it.
PACKERS QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS
Q: How big of a disappointment is it not getting the first round bye?
A:It’s disappointing. A lot of us wanted that extra week. I maybe would have helped with injuries with Randall Cobb and Charles Woodson. This was a play-off atmosphere today. We played tough and came back from behind. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We played a team who was desperate. They had an MVP-caliber player running the ball real well on that side. We made some plays down the stretch to get back in it, but they eventually took it from us.
Q: After what happened today, how important will it be to get off to a fast start in the next game?
A:This is a tough place to play. They have some great sports fans who get into it and are loud. You have to absorb the first surge from the crowd and their teams and we did that. We got some points on the board in the first half, scored in the first possession of the second half. It just really came down to turnovers. We didn’t create any and we had one turnover that turned into seven points for them. If you look at the final margin, you see a three point loss and it’s the difference.
Q: What do you credit the slow start to?
A: They’ve got a good team. That’s going to happen from time to time.
Q: You were pretty frustrated when you took that second timeout, did you have to calm yourself down?
A: I’m just passionate about this game and I love it. We had some miscommunication after the timeout a couple of plays before that. It’s frustrating to have two timeouts like that, but that stuff happens from time to time and you just have to move on.
Q: How was it to have Greg Jennings in there?
A: Greg is a big-time player. Not having Randall Cobb out there and being able to move Greg into the slot very easily, he played excellent. He made some big time catches for us, great second reaction play for our second touchdown. I love throwing to him because he gives you a big window. I’ve been saying the last couple of weeks that we need to find more ways to get him the ball and we did that today.
Q: Do you want a rematch with these guys?
A: We’re in the playoffs now and you play who you are seeded against. The road got a little tougher having to play on opening weekend, but we’ve got a home game and that’s why you win the division. We get to go back home and the game will be different. They won’t have home crowd advantage and hopefully that will make a difference.
Q: Did you give Mike some advice after throwing that flag?
A: I was really frustrated that the call wasn’t a touchdown immediately. James Jones thought it was and, to me, it didn’t look like a turnover in live-speed. I know on the side they were calling it a turnover because you can review the play, but it looked like a touchdown from my point.
Q: A six-play drive coming out of the half, did you make adjustments to carry into the second half?
A: Well again, it wasn’t a ton of adjustments, it was just you have to kind of absorb the surge when you are playing in a loud environment, against a team that is talented on both sides of the ball. They did a good job of getting off the field on third down early in the game, we didn’t, so they were keeping drives going and getting points and we weren’t. We were punting the ball. So we absorbed that surge, we were able to start getting some first downs and moving the ball a little better there in the second quarter, and then started getting things going in the second half and played real well. Unfortunately left a couple points out there.
Q: Was it the loudest it has ever been?
A: No, it was loud, it was definitely loud. Not the loudest that it’s been here. But they were a factor.
Q: What can you say about Adrian Peterson, and the way he played today?
A: He is incredible. I just told him after the game, he’s the best. He is incredible to watch. I obviously don’t like playing against him, but he has had a great season. He has come back from an injury that I also suffered, and I know how difficult that rehab is. I did it at 20 years old, and he was a few years older than that, so I know it must have been a lot of long hours. I give him a lot of credit as a fellow player. You can’t help but watch him play and just be really impressed. I think he probably might have won the MVP today, and hopefully we can win the playoff game next week.
Q: You had big plays today to Greg (Jennings) and Jordy (Nelson) in the second half, and still at times, not having these guys week after week, do you feel out of sync in a tight ballgame like today?
A: No, I don’t think so at all. I think if you look at some of the plays we made, we had guys moving around. We had Jordy (Nelson) catching the ball in the slot for a huge game. We had James (Jones) outside making guys miss and making plays. Jermichael (Finley) played great today, I thought he made some really big time plays. Jarrett Boykin had the one catch that was a big one on fourth down. This was a character game for us, I think we showed a lot of character. And obviously we came up a little short, but we battled, we stuck together, and we made the plays when we had to there. We just came up a little short.
Q: How did that fourth down play work?
A: Yeah, it was kind of a wing-it there. We were thinking about calling a sneak, and then we tried to catch them with 12 guys on the field. And right as the snap was about to come, I saw a bunch of guys rushing the A gap, so I moved it outside. Jarrett (Boykin) was thankfully on the same page as me, and I just tried to take a little off it and give him a ball he could catch, and he made a nice job with the guy kind of hanging all over him.
Q: In the past few weeks we have talked about momentum going into the playoffs, but now is this team going to play a little angry? Does that help too?
A: Well, I don’t know about that. I just think that we have to go back and watch the film, and look at the things that we did well, and realize that when you are playing playoff-type games, and in the playoffs, you have to play a 60 minute game. Offensively we played about 45 really good minutes of football, but we have to make it a 60 minute game, and try to bring it home this week.
Q: Breakout game for (DuJuan) Harris?
A: I think he surprised some people a couple weeks ago when he scored for us, and did some things. He is learning the offense, and the more he understands the offense, the more he is going to get a chance to play.
PACKERS DEFENSIVE END MIKE DANIELS
Q: It was an exciting game to watch, was it that exciting to play in?
A: Those are the type of games you want to play in. Unfortunately we came up on the other end. We just have to regroup and get ready for next week. This was definitely a learning experience. We have to pick up the pieces.
Q: What can you take away from a game like this where you could have secured a first round bye as a team and you play them again next week?
A: I mean you don’t really think about the first round bye. You think about trying to win the game that you are in. It’s not over, we are still in the playoffs, and we have to get ready for next week.
Q: Number 28 (Peterson) gave you everything he had tonight, what do you think about his performance?
A: The guy is blessed, and he works hard. You get guys that are talented, you get guys that work hard, he is talented and he works hard. It is evident in the way he plays. Hats off to him, and best of luck to him.
Q: What do you think about Christian Ponder? He made some mistakes last time, but he really willed them to win.
A: He learned. That is what you grow to respect, when a guy learns from his mistakes. That makes you want to step your game up to the next level. If you are already ahead of him you have to make sure that they don’t close the gap.
PACKERS LINEBACKER A.J. HAWK
Q: Do you anticipate that it will be more difficult to bounce back mentally to physically?
A: Physically I think everyone, with the playoffs you can figure it out; any type of things you have you can figure that out. It is a different world in the playoffs. But mentally, once we come in tomorrow and watch this and figure it out but after we watch it we will have to let it go. It is the true test of being a professional. If you sit here and feel bad for yourself, get mad and point fingers at each other you do not deserve to be in the playoffs anyways. So we feel we are going to be fine. We are excited we have an opportunity to go to Lambeau. I am sure the fans are not very happy with how we finished but we get a home game in the playoffs and we are going to look forward to that.
Q: Are you glad to be playing the same team again in the playoffs to correct your mistakes?
A: Yeah. Anytime a team does that to you today you want to find a way to fix that. I don’t want to call it redemption but we need to, like you said the playoffs are a one game season. You need to win every time you step on the field and we are looking forward to it.
Q: With both teams knowing so much about each other what does it come down to?
A: That is when it is fun. It comes down to toughness and physicality. Today was a battle the whole game to the very end. They got the best of us. You have to give them a lot of credit. That is why I like these type of games and playing these division opponents that are really good because who cares about the little chess moves here and there that people want to make while trying to trick people. There is none of that going on in these games. It is straight physical football. They are good to be apart of.
PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER GREG JENNINGS
Q: How disappointing is this loss knowing that a win would have given you a first round bye?
A: It’s very disappointing. Obviously you’re playing a division team. If they win, they get in and if we win we get a bye. We definitely could have used the bye but at this point its win or go home now.
Q: You have an opportunity to play them again in the playoffs and knock them out. What’s the feeling to seeing them again?
A: It’s another game. This one was a hard fought game. We have to focus in and execute. They did a great job of executing and Adrian did a great job of running the ball. We just need to find a way to win.
Q: You had your best game of the season. It looked like you and Aaron (Rodgers) were back in sync. How did that feel?
A: I felt good. This was the best I felt coming into a game this year so it’s just a matter of time.
PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER JAMES JONES
Q: Do you feel like you guys could have got off to a quicker start today?
A: We just lost. They made more plays than we did.
Q: How hard will it be to bounce back from this one?
A: We’ll have to see. Every time our teams back is against the wall and every time we need to get a win, we win the game. We need to continue to stay together and go out there and give another hard fought game on Sunday. They are going to come in, a division opponent, they know us we know them, and it’s going to be tough.
Q: Did you have to state your case on the ball crossing the plane of end zone?
A: No, it was a touchdown so it’s automatically reviewed. I didn’t need to go yell to challenge the play because it’s automatically reviewed.
PACKERS WIDE RECEIVER JORDY NELSON
Q: How emotionally difficult is this loss?
A: It’s tough. We wanted a week off and didn’t get it. Now we have to face them again in 6 days. We’ve got to move on and be ready to roll. They will be on an emotional high and we’ll have to bounce back.
Q: Is it tougher to bounce back physically or emotionally?
A: Both. Anytime you’re on a short break it can be tough, but they’re going to be in the same situation as us. They’re going to be beat up and we’re going to be beat up. It was a tough, physical game. We just need to be able to come back because it’s win or go home now. They survived one and they are going to try to do it to us.
Q: Are you guys even going to be standing after this game? Everyone seems beat up a little bit?
A: I don’t know how everyone came out. We have great depth on this team. All year, guys have stepped up and made plays. That’s what we expect.
Q: You did hurt your knee. Was there a point you were concerned about it after you came back into the game?
A: You get bumps and bruises. In the situation we were in we’re going to the playoffs no matter what so the doctor wanted to be cautious and smart about it but after Jarrett Boykin went down there was no choice. I knew I could get through it and was able to.
Q: Did you say you were going back in? You guys do have other wide receivers, correct?
A: I told them I was going back in. We were down to Jeremy Ross who has only been here for 2 months so I told them if they needed a receiver down in the red zone I’d be able to do it.
Q: Jody, you picked up that red flag pretty quickly what did Mike (McCarthy) say to you?
A: (Laughter) …Thank you.
Q: You obviously knew the rule then?
A: Yeah, I knew the rule. I think their might have been some miscommunication on whether they called him down or a turnover. Once I heard it was a turnover, I knew it was automatically reviewed. Everyone saw the Detroit play like that so luckily we were able to prevent that.
Q: Did you feel like it was difficult to get some momentum going at the beginning of the game?
A: Yeah, we ran into some tough breaks. The first third down we flipped and on the second third down they batted down the ball. We had guys open; we just weren’t able to make the play. Once we got threw that we were able to move the ball and put points up on the board. We just didn’t make enough.
PACKERS DEFENSE TACKLE B.J. RAJI
Q: Talk about this loss, are you eager to get another crack at those guys?
A: Good news is, that we have another shot at them next week. I think I speak for everybody when I say, yes. Anytime you let a tough game like this go it is going to bring up some bad feelings, but you have to move on.
Q: With all the emotions out there, is it going to be a tough turnaround?
A: We have done it before, but it is definitely going to be challenging. I think with the guys in this room we can definitely regroup.
Q: How tough was Adrian to stop today? Any different than any other day?
A: He’s going to be tough any day, no matter where you play. We have to find a way to get it done. Today we didn’t do that.
Q: Is it going to be physically or mentally tougher to bounce back from this loss going into next week?
A: Who knows. It is going to be a challenge, but I think we have what it takes to get it done.
Q: Do you think that Adrian won the league MVP today?
A: Who knows, I’m not concerned with that. Whoever gets it, they will deserve it.
Q: Are you disappointed in the run defense? He had 199 yards, and in two games he has had over 400 plus. How disappointing is that?
A: Considering who it is, you obviously never want to give up that kind of yardage, but when you look at the numbers there is a reason why he is where he is at. He’s an all-timer, and sometimes you have to live with that.
Q: What can you do differently to stop him next week?
A: We’ll go back and look at the film, and we will come with a game plan that we can hopefully execute.
PACKERS CORNERBACK SAM SHIELDS
Q: What did you expect the Vikings offense to do and what was the game plan?
A: You have to know your responsibilities, know your keys and know what they wanted to do. We knew that they wanted to give the ball to A.P. But then again you had to watch the pass.
Q: Is it going to be hard to get things turned around for next week or being in the playoffs, does that make it easier?
A: We have been in this position before. Playoffs are one and done, so we have to go back and watch film and regroup on the downs that we missed out on and keep moving forward.
Q: Guys rarely run by you, did you bite on that? (Wright long pass)
A: He got behind me. I was supposed to cover deep, cover 3, and he got behind me. He made a play.
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