Coordinators: Sidelined Aaron Rodgers not affecting defense, but helping Scott Tolzien
After the Packers' third straight loss, coordinators discuss injuries, penalties and quarterback play.
By PAUL IMIGFS Wisconsin
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- After the Green Bay Packers’ third consecutive loss, the team’s three coordinators discussed the latest setback against the New York Giants.
Here are three question-and-answer highlights from each coordinator:
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR DOM CAPERS
1. Has the defense been feeling more pressure to perform at a high level since Aaron Rodgers’ injury?
CAPERS: “Not really. My career’s been, you know, based off of not having the good fortune of being around an offense like this one very often. So I just feel like the defense has got to do whatever it takes to win the game. If that’s take the ball away, if it’s score on defense, if it’s creating good field position for the offense, we haven’t done that as much as we have in the past, and so we’ve got to find some way to get that done. And the takeaways have a lot to do with that.”
2. The defense is ranked 8th in sacks in the NFL, but do you feel that you’re getting the kind of pressure you need often enough?
CAPERS: “What you can’t do is you can’t jet rush up the field on every down or else you’re going to get gashed on the run. There’s some downs there that you’re playing run first and pass second. Other downs you’re playing pass first and run second. Down and distance has a lot to do with that. I felt good about our pressure. I think our sack numbers are right where they’ve been. I think once our full complement of people are there you’ll see it improve, especially when we can move some people around. I think Clay (Matthews), every week hopefully Clay gets better playing with the cast. He had a smaller cast (Sunday). Mike Neal is giving us good pressure. I think Datone (Jones) has played better the last two, three weeks. Mike Daniels has been pretty consistent in terms of being able to get good push and pressure up in the quarterback’s face.”
3. Was there a domino effect created in the secondary with Sam Shields unable to play that led to some of the Giants’ big plays?
CAPERS: “Well, obviously Sam, he’s one of our top cover guys, so when you don’t have Sam, you adjust. We played Micah Hyde exclusively at the nickel position, Jarrett Bush played the dime position. Tramon (Williams) and Davon House really played the whole game outside, and when Sam is in the mix, it gives you a little more flexibility to move Tramon around if you want to put him inside. In my opinion, I think Victor Cruz is one of the best slot receivers in the league and he had a big day against us (Sunday). He’s a guy that can create problems for a lot of people.”
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR SHAWN SLOCUM
1, a. Was Mason Crosby’s 57-yard field goal among the best kicks you’ve seen from him?
SLOCUM: “That’s pretty obvious (that) he hit it really well and had more than enough distance and that was real smooth. We had very good protection in the middle as well.”
1, b. Was there a maximum distance for Crosby in that game?
SLOCUM: “Well, he hit it from 60 before the game, so he probably had a few more yards than that.”
2, a. Being ranked last in the NFL in kickoff return average, what went wrong again in New York?
SLOCUM: “Getting tackled inside the 20, that’s unacceptable. We can take a touchback and take the ball on the 20 yard line. We’ve got to do a better job blocking and executing that play.”
2, b. Should Micah Hyde have just taken touchbacks on the three returns?
SLOCUM: “Micah was 100 percent on his decisions and did exactly like he was coached to do. ... We didn’t block it good enough.”
3. What has to change for the special teams unit to stop committing penalties on returns?
SLOCUM: “I can’t stand penalties in the return game. The punt return penalty I think was totally unnecessary. We had a chance to have the ball on the 40-yard line and take us back to the 30. Kickoff return penalty, I thought Jamari (Lattimore) was blocking well, just had his hand outside, and they decided to call a penalty, it put us on the 13-yard line. When you have those penalties, just starting on the 13 is bad for the offense, and if you don’t return the ball it’s in the end zone and you’ve got it at the 20. So you can kind of look at the severity of getting those calls.”
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TOM CLEMENTS
1. Was the running game blocked well enough?
CLEMENTS: “There’s always plays like that. We had some where we had them all blocked up and there was either a safety or corner who got in on us a little quick. Sometimes we had a guy assigned to him, sometimes we didn’t, based on the scheme. So, you’ve got to credit them. They made some good plays, but we blocked OK, but we just need to be able to, on some of those runs where you get 2, 3 yards, we’ve got to be able to drive our legs, push the pile -- kind of like we did on the touchdown run. We get more plays like that, that’s what we’re looking for.”
2. How do you help Scott Tolzien correct his five interceptions in the past two games?
CLEMENTS: “Of the three, obviously, the one by (Jason) Pierre-Paul was unusual. It wasn’t a decision type of thing. He made a great play. The one (Jon) Beason got, it was a play-action pass and he reacted up to the run and then he fell back on the pass and I think Scott just lost vision on him and then he made a great play. And then the last one, that was just something that Scott shouldn’t have done. He was under duress and we always say ‘Never throw late down the middle.’ So, obviously, you want your decision-making to be on point so you don’t have problems like that. If the other team makes a great play, you’ve got to give them credit but, obviously, you’ve got to try to see the guys and avoid them or move them with your eyes.”
3. How have you seen Aaron Rodgers reacting over the past two weeks while he’s been sidelined?
CLEMENTS: “I’m sure he wants to be playing. No doubt about that. But I think when you see him helping Scott, talking to Scott during practice, talking him through plays, the techniques that are required for a particular play, Aaron’s thinking about the game even though he knows he can’t play. But he’s trying to help out Scott best he can.”