Packers-Bears postgame quotes

Posted by Duke Bobber on January 24, 2011 – 3:15 am

GREEN BAY PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY

On how it feels to be going to the Super Bowl

“I’m numb. It’s a great feeling. I’m just so proud of our football team. You know, it’s always tough coming into Chicago to win a football game. I have tremendous respect for the organization and Coach Love Smith. We felt we had them on the ropes there for a while. We just couldn’t get the game to a three-score game. I think that says a lot about them as a football team. But it also says a lot about us as a team. Defense, special teams, people making plays down the stretch. It was the typical Green Bay-Chicago game with everything on the line. I’m very proud of our players and very proud of our coaches. As we stated, we have a goal of playing 16 quarters and we’ve completed 12. We’re fired up and getting ready to go to Dallas, Texas and see who our opponent is.”

 

On Green Bay’s big plays

“Rodgers’ big tackle – you would hope that wouldn’t be in the “big play” category, but that is the play I was referring to when I said we had the chance to get to a 3-score game. That was obviously a big turnover for Chicago.  B.J.’s play was a huge turnover for us, and obviously the 7 points that came off of that. Adverse situations were a major emphasis for our football team. Time and time again we’ve been stepping up big time throughout the season. It definitely happened here today, and that’s why we’re moving on to Dallas.”

 

On the importance of their first drive

“Frankly, the first drive was the way we anticipated coming into this game. I thought we were able to get into a tremendous rhythm. Compliments to the field crew, I thought the field was excellent. The weather was great. It was much better than I anticipated during the week. We would have liked to play that way for most of the game. We lost Chad Clifton on the touchdown, and we really didn’t get back into the balance and rhythm that we clearly had on the first drive. We did a lot of positive things on offense, obviously it was enough to win the game. But there are some things we are going to have to improve before we get down to Dallas.”

 

On whether their defense was overlooked this season

“I think if you watched us play, and our formula for success, and really, our formula coming into this game, we played field position throughout the game in a number of situations. When we were struggling offensively, it shows the confidence we have in our defense and our punter. I thought our punt coverage was outstanding today. Devin Hester is a special player and it was key for him to not have a big return today. We were able to accomplish that.”

 

On being the first 6th seed in the NFC to go to the Superbowl

“We’ve always felt that we are a very good football team. Now we have the opportunity to achieve greatness, and that is winning the Super Bowl down in Dallas. Bring the Lombardi trophy back home. We never doubted that throughout the season. Really, the way that our season went – the trials and tribulations that we encountered, to me, that was how we were shaped. I think it’s made us a better football team. It’s challenged our character. I think we’ve really grown through it. Our players truly believe that we will be successful in Dallas, just like how they truly believed that we were going to be successful here today. We had to on the road, and that is fine, we are still going on the road to Dallas. I have a feeling there will be a lot of green and gold there. That will be great. This was the path that was chosen for us, and I think it’s really shaped a hell of a football team.”

 

On Rodgers’ health after the Julius Peppers hit

“He took a good hit. He’s fine. I was talking to him afterwards and in the locker room. He feels pretty good right now. He’ll be fine. But he took a big hit.”

 

On the play of Sam Shields

“Sam goes up and tracks the ball. We need to work on that last play, getting on the ground a little sooner. Sam, for a rookie – and I told a couple other rookies this – you have no idea what you’ve accomplished here in your first year in the league. Especially being in Sam’s situation, being a rookie free agent. It speaks volumes about himself and his position coach. Joe Whitt and Dom Capers have done a great job with the veterans and with him, and he is going to be a great player for the Green Bay Packers for a long time.”

 

On the unknown element of Caleb Hanie

“Well, going from Todd Collins – there was a certain way we felt we should play him. When Hanie came into the game, we were a little more cautious of his mobility, based on what we knew about him. We still called our defense as-is. We didn’t have to add anything when he was in there playing.”

 

On comparisons to Mike Holmgren

“I have great respect for Mike Holmgren and what he accomplished in Green Bay. I’m in year number 5, and hopefully this is a repeated situation that we can stand here and talk about. He had a great career in Green Bay, and being mentioned in the same breath as him is definitely an accomplishment.”

 

On whether this game is the personal highlight of his career

“Yes. This is my first opportunity to go to the Super Bowl. My daughter will be happy. I always told her she could go when we finally got there, so she gets to go and is excited about that. Definitely, this is the highlight of my professional career.”

 

On what this win means for Aaron Rodgers

“I think any young quarterback who gets this opportunity – there is a ladder that you have to climb. You have to first show that you belong as a starter. He definitely showed that in his first year. You have to win big games. He is a 4000-yard, 30-touchdown a year quarterback. He is definitely in the upper echelon as far as the way he plays statistically. The next step is to win playoff games. He has accomplished that now. Now he gets the challenge to be a Super Bowl champion. To me, it’s the process and the progress of a young, talented, special individual who has taken full advantage of his opportunities.”

 

On his conversations with Ted Thompson

“I can’t say enough about Ted. Ted built this house. He is responsible for everything that goes on. He is our leader and he is our point man. We are proud of what we have accomplished, but once again, we are only three quarters of the way there. We talk about 16 quarters – that is our motto and that is what we are sticking to. We have completed 12 quarters and we have 4 quarters left.”

 

On how it would feel to win against the Steelers

“Well…… we will get into that tonight, maybe. We will discuss that when it comes.”

 

On the play of B.J. Raji

“We’ve been using him on goal line, so I guess now we have to throw him the ball, since he’s shown he can catch and score. He is a special athlete. He has a unique body type, and the quickness that he has. His instincts too. That was a huge play of the game for us, and could definitely be classified as a game-winner. He is having a tremendous year. He is having a Pro Bowl-type year. The number of reps and snaps he’s played this year compared to last year. The productivity he’s given us throughout the year – he is playing big for us.”

 

On the injury report

“Chad Clifton had a neck stinger. He did return in the second quarter. Greg Jennings had a bruised knee and missed a few plays. Erik Walden had an ankle and did not return.”

 

On the evolution of the defense

“Our defense has been extremely consistent. We’ve moved a number of different players throughout the season. It’s all about the scoring defense. That was clearly one of our goals coming into this year. We were number one in rush defense last year, but our goals were that we needed to do a better job in the red zone, tackling and scoring defense. We’ve accomplished that so far, and that is the game we need to take to Dallas.”

 

 

PACKERS WR DONALD DRIVER

On the season and the Super Bowl appearance

“It’s been a long road, but we’re here now so I’m excited. I’m going to go home and celebrate with my wife and kids and enjoy the moment.”

 

On the Packers facing adversity this season

“You never go into a season and think you are not going to face adversity. Everybody stepped up and played the way they were supposed to play and that’s what you have to have. The comfort level hasn’t been big since March and it’s not going to change. We have four more quarters to go and we have to put that ring on our finger.”

 

On the toughness of the game because of the rivalry

“You know it’s always going to be tough. This is the first time I’ve had to play them three times in one season. After the game, I had a lot of guys come up to me and say I deserve it.”

PACKERS WR GREG JENNINGS

On how he feels after taking some hits

“Oh, I’m good. I’m feeling great. Sometimes a guy will get you pretty good and you just have to shake one off, but I’m feeling good.”

 

On what this win means to the team’s veterans

“Obviously, the window of opportunity for anybody opens and closes really quickly, so you never know when you are going to get another opportunity. Fortunately for us, this was our second trip to the NFC Championship Game and now we have the opportunity of a life time to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.”

 

On not being able to go to the Pro Bowl

“That’s not bad news for me. I don’t think that’s bad news for anybody in here. We had our minds set on missing out on the Pro Bowl. This is what you play for and I commend my entire team. It’s going to be exciting.”

PACKERS LB CLAY MATTHEWS

On how it feels to be going to the Super Bowl

“It feels great. You know, obviously some guys are more emotional than others with them playing in the league for as many years as they have. But, I don’t know any better. I’ve had a good amount of success my two years being with the Packers. This is just another stepping stone in my career, this season and we hope to get another victory.”

On taking his place in Green Bay history

“It feels great. Any time you can help contribute to such a great organization by bringing home, hopefully bringing home world championships it means a great deal. Obviously, we have a great team. Like I said still, we have one more game to accomplish. But we feel good about where we are, we’re playing some good ball, against some good teams.”

 

On the defensive schemes today

“I think when you play a team three times, a familiar opponent, you have to be able to mix it up a little bit in order to present new problems. I think we were able to do that for the most part.”

 

On whether Jay Cutler seemed confused by the defense

“You know, I didn’t notice. Obviously, I looked out there and they had a new quarterback. So…I kinda wish we had Jay in there the whole game the way things were going.”

 

On the defense sealing the game

“It means a great deal, obviously. It seems defense has put these last three games away, these playoffs. It seems like it’s only fit. We had our backs against the wall a little bit, but we made the play to win the game. That’s ultimately what matters.”

PACKERS S CHARLIE PEPRAH

On the play of B.J. Raji

“He’s a hell of an athlete and you all got to see that. And he has just made strides so much this year. He’s improved a lot. He’s a leader on defense and without him our defense might not work. He’s unselfish. He keeps the lineman off the linebackers, eats up two blockers, he just does it all. I’m glad he had that play today, it was big for him.”

 

On how the defense played in the first half

“We just tried to match up Wood (Woodson) with Olsen at first when they came out in their regular package. So when it came out to nickel, I was on the slot, which was Hester. They tried to go to him early, I kind of took the first option away and made him throw it a little later than he wanted to, so threw the timing off. The pressure was getting to him [Jay Cutler]. It all goes hand-in-hand.”

 

On the defense’s confidence going into the Super Bowl

“Man, we have a lot of confidence. I think just the plays we’ve made all year. A lot of the injuries we’ve been through, the ups and the downs, I feel that we took it upon ourselves to be the constant.  We did a good job of that. We have players stepping up. Young Sam Shields grew up today. We’re going to need that next week; two weeks from now.”

 

On Caleb Hanie’s play

“You know I was surprised. I didn’t think Cutler was going to leave. I heard his knee was banged-up or something like that. But, 12 came in. Good for him. I’m hopeful this will spark his career in the NFL. He came in and didn’t seem too rattled. But in the end we got the best of them. On to Dallas we go.”

PACKERS NT B.J. RAJI

 

On winning the NFC Championship

“I’m only in my second year in the league. To experience something like this is just God’s blessing.”

 

On his interception

“You know, I was just catching it. The last game we played them I kinda let it hit off my hands so I wanted to make sure I catch this one.”

 

“I responded back on the play. Obviously, we took away the quick routes and he was looking for the check-down and I was there. In certain defenses you give up certain things. On that particular play we had it [check-down] covered.”

 

On whether he practiced his TD dance

“Of course not. Man you know, it’s just like football, a reaction. That’s just what happened at that moment.

 

On whether the Bears almost knocked the ball out

“You’re asking the wrong guy. He was behind me, I really don’t know.”

 

On what it was like to make a big play late in the game

“It’s just a great feeling. It was a great call. I was behind the back and obviously he wasn’t expecting that. I just caught it and ran it back.”

 

On his play peaking late in the season

“It’s just growing with experience. The more you play, generally the better you become. I have great guys around me, encouraging me, great coaches, how can I not get better.”

PACKERS QB AARON RODGERS

On getting to the Super Bowl this quickly in his career

“I think I hoped it would (happen). The first year was an up-and-down year. Frustrating. We got on a run there, winning seven of eight, and felt like we had a team that could make a run. This year was just a different year. We were 3-3 at one point. We won four in a row and then lost. We got hurt. We were 8-6, and we had to win five elimination games, and that’s what makes it that much sweeter. You know, having to win those five, but also having to do it with those guys that we didn’t really count on at the beginning of the season.”

 

On the interception and subsequent tackle of Brian Urlacher

“It was a terrible throw. Once I threw it, I started sprinting, and I was hopeful that I was able to at least catch up to him. And, when he turned and faced me, I knew that I had to make a stand. I had missed a couple of tackles this season, and it’s kind of the joke that’s not real funny in the quarterback room. When you throw a pick and try to make a tackle, both Matt (Flynn) and I have looked pretty silly on a couple of those. So, I wanted to get him down. So, I’m glad I got him down.”

 

On the importance of that play (the tackle on Urlacher)

“Yeah, it’s a real bad play by me. We could have gone up by three scores right there . . . Good play call. Bad throw. Decent effort. And, probably one of my better tackles. And, I think we stopped them on that drive too. So, yeah, big play . . . I was looking for the open guy, and there was nobody open. In that situation, you’ve got to throw that away there. If you kick a field goal, you’re up by three scores, and in a game like that, where Jay (Cutler) is out of the game, and they’re playing a backup quarterback, it would have really put us in a good position.”

 

On whether or not he talked with Jay Cutler after the game

“I did. I talked with him, and I feel bad for him, that he couldn’t finish the game with his knee injury, but, I’m happy that we’re moving on.”

 

On if he knew that Urlacher would score if he didn’t make that tackle

“Yeah, I figured it was either make that (tackle), or he was going to score. I’ve seen Brian run a pick back before. I think it was in ’07 that he had a ‘pick-6’ at about the same distance. Like I said, after I threw the pick, I just started sprinting, and when he turned to face me – I tried to make a tackle on Charles Tillman in Week 17, and it was pretty embarrassing, and we laughed about it in the quarterback room only because we won the game – I just wanted to make sure that I wrapped (Urlacher) up as good as I could. I don’t get paid to tackle, but that was probably one of my better plays of the day.”

 

On having to watch the Bears try to tie the game with the time winding down

“It’s tough to watch when you can’t have a direct impact, but I was just trusting that somebody was going to make a play. You know, Sam (Shields) has had a good season for us. He had a big pick on a drive in the first half, and then another big pick to finish the game out.”

On the hit he took from Julius Peppers

“It didn’t affect me too much, other than make me look a little worse up here. I just actually talked to Chad Clifton, and I think he may have thought that it was a run play, and that’s why he wasn’t set for a pass. But, they’ve got a great defense. Lovie (Smith) did a great job of getting them ready. Coach Marinelli had some good stuff for us. We had some chances to put more points on the board but didn’t. Thankfully our defense – which has been maybe a little underrated this post-season – was able to pull it out for us.”

On their rushing game

“James Starks ran the ball real well. When he runs the ball like that, it really opens up some of the play-action stuff for us. He’s been big the last two weeks. I’m not sure how many yards he went for today, but the way he ran the ball was real important for us. When he can bust out those runs – especially when you’re backed up there on one of those drives, and he had 16 or 17 yards to start the drive – that’s big for us.”

 

On winning after having to watch from the sidelines a few years ago

“It was great. It was tough to watch a few years ago when we got beat in that miserable game. Obviously, I would have liked to play better today. I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, but we made enough good plays on offense to put us in a good position to win the game. We would have liked to put more than 14 points on the board obviously, but we’re going to the Super Bowl. We’ve got a week to relax and get our bodies back and go and enjoy Dallas and hopefully get a win down there.”

 

On ending up with the game ball

“I took a knee – the last kneel down – and held onto the football until somebody came and took it from me. I actually have the ball from all three of our playoff wins this post-season. It’s nice to be on the field there at the end. It’s a special feeling. It’s something you dream about as a kid.”

 

On what the Bears’ defense presented him today

“They played a lot of ‘1-High’ today. It’s kind of something I said during the week. They’re a ‘Tampa-2’ team, but they play a majority of ‘Cover-3’ or man coverage.”

 

On coming out and starting so well offensively

”We just executed well on that first drive. This is a very different defense than Atlanta (Falcons). They are a very sound defense. They mix their coverages, but they play to their strengths. They’ve got guys who can cover and very smart, instinctive linebackers. It was a tough day offensively for us, but, like I said, we scored enough points, and B.J. (Raji) had a big interception for a touchdown for us.

That was important for us. Going up two scores on anybody really lets our defense roll through their calls. They can bring their pressures. They can play their coverages. They can kind of let Clay (Matthews) go, let Cullen (Jenkins) go, and let Charles (Woodson) come on blitzes and stuff. So, it’s important to go up two scores. Obviously, my pick kept us from going up three scores, which would have put them away a little earlier than they were put away.”

 

On the difference between this team and those of previous years

“I think it’s character. If you look at our roster right now, the 45 guys that dressed today, and I would say that a number of them were either not with us at the beginning of the season, or were not counted on to play a big role. Look at a guy like Sam Shields who had two picks today. He was a free agent. Erik Walden was not with us at the start of the season. James Starks was on the PUP for six weeks, and then in that kind of gray area for three weeks and was a non-factor in all but maybe one of our regular season games. So, to have guys like that step up says a lot about our character. One other guy – Charlie Peprah, who’s been cut here before, has played incredible at safety for us. The biggest difference between this team and the previous two seasons is our character and that we just believe in each other, and we’ve just had a bunch of guys play big roles and step up for us.”

 

On his path to beginning a Super Bowl quarterback

“I think a lot of that stuff is stuff that we’ll be able to talk about after my career is done, and we’ve won a few of these games. But, the journey is the sweetest part. I’ve really enjoyed the route that I’ve been forced to be able to take in my career going all the way back to high school. Just being on that journey and having to work for the success that I’ve achieved and never being complacent, has made this whole journey that much more satisfying.”

On the realization that he is now a Super Bowl quarterback

“It still hasn’t really hit home. It’s early, but it’s what I’ve dreamt about since I was a kid, growing up in Northern California watching Joe Montana and Steve Young when Joe moved on. This is what I always want to do, and it’s amazing to know that I’ll be living out my dream in two weeks in Dallas.

 

On whether this win validates him as an elite quarterback

“I’m not interested in that whole validation stuff. That’s for you guys in the media to speculate on and write about. I just want to win football games. I wanted to play better, obviously, today, but in the end, I did contribute in a few ways, and we got the win, and we’re moving on.”

 

On it being special to get this win for Donald Driver and the rest of the veterans

“I think having guys like (Donald Driver) and Chad Clifton and Charles Woodson and Mark Tauscher and the number of veterans that we do have, it’s just the driving force for some of us to get those guys – being so close – just to get those guys in the Super Bowl. We know how much it means to them and how much they’ve been through. To know that we’re going there now means probably a little bit more to Charles and Donald.”

 

 

PACKERS CB SAM SHIELDS

On his interception being the biggest play of his career

“Most definitely. The first thing I was thinking about was making a big play. All I wanted to do is be patient and the play came to me.”

 

On his development in the NFL

“I just try to keep going day after day. I work with the veterans on some of the little things and we keep adding new things to my game.”

 

On being overlooked in the draft and being headed to the Super Bowl

I came in with a chip on my shoulder. The first thing I was thinking about was making the team and opportunities came open and I took advantage of them.”

PACKERS RB JAMES STARKS

On scoring a touchdown in the NFC title game

“I’m so happy right now that I forgot I scored. I’m just so happy to be in this situation right now and have the opportunity to play for the Super Bowl.”

 

On him and Sam Shields stepping up and what that says about the team

“It’s all about opportunity. There are great football players everywhere and those who make the best out of their opportunities will get noticed. If you just keep playing and practicing everything will fall your way. Just have faith and everything will fall your way.”

 

On how long it will take to set in and realize what’s ahead of him

“I don’t even know. I can’t really tell you. I really can’t answer that question. I’m very happy right now though. This is exciting.”

PACKERS CB CHARLES WOODSON

On this Super Bowl trip being any more special than the last

“It’s more special because I don’t know the outcome yet. The first one we lost. So, at this point, we have an opportunity. NFC Champs. It’s been a tough road, but we just persevered through a lot to get to this point. That part about it feels real good.”

On Aaron Rodgers

“A lot has been said that we didn’t have a running game. So, that being said, we had to rely on our quarterback, and he’s as good as they come. Regardless of the running game, when he has to bear most of the responsibilities without a running game and do a lot with his arm or his legs, he’s done that. He’s done it all season. The guy just has a steady hand, and he’s a big-play guy, and he’s done a great job for the team.”

On the defense’s performance

“We played well. We’re kind of mad about giving up the points we did give up, but the way the offense came out early, driving the ball down and taking time off of the clock and putting points up early, I think it kind of put them on their heels. And, then the defense just went out and smothered them early and played well – flew around well all game. We came up with some big plays when we needed them. And, with that being said, it’s a team thing. Special Teams as well; it was just as big a part of this game as offense or defense.”

On the Bears being able to move the ball and score on them late

“You know, it happens sometimes. They come out in a quick set and run a few plays back-to-back. They got some plays running the ball on our defense, made a couple of pass plays. That happens throughout the course of the game. We had done a great job of getting off of the field – some ‘3 and outs’ and that kind of thing. But, the more times the offense gets the ball, the more times they have an opportunity to go down the field and score. And, they were able to that a couple of times.”

On going up against Caleb Hanie

“It didn’t affect us at all. He just came in and made some plays. It didn’t matter if it was he or Jay (Cutler). If they make plays, they make plays, and we knew that he was a guy that could scramble, but he didn’t have to. He just made some plays. They ran the ball, again, effectively a little bit there late in the game, and he made some throws to help their team gain some momentum. So, hats off to him, really, for coming in as the third-string guy in a championship game and making some plays to put them in the game.”


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