GREEN BAY, Wis. — One day after improving to a 2-2 record by defeating the Detroit Lions 22-9 in Week 5, the Green Bay Packers’ three coordinators discussed the important aspects of the game.
Here are three question-and-answer highlights from each coordinator:
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR DOM CAPERS
1. What do you do now if you’re without Clay Matthews for the next several games? (Interview took place before Matthews had surgery and before it was known that he could miss at least four games.)
CAPERS: “Clay’s one of those guys who’s going to make two or three plays a game. You’ve seen every game this year, there’s been two or three plays that he makes. I told him he’s going to have to stop sacking the quarterback because the last two weeks, he’s injured himself sacking the quarterback. But the one encouraging thing to me is, I think Mike Neal has made really good strides. I think you saw him play his best game yesterday, I think you saw Nick Perry play his best game yesterday. And that’s the nature of this business. When you start the season, you think maybe you’ve got depth at a certain position, but like what happened to us yesterday at the inside position, we end up losing two guys during the course of the game, with Rob Francois along with Brad (Jones). So Jamari (Lattimore) is pulled into action, and that’s the case. You just never know from one play to the next. You can have one guy out of there and the other guys have to step in and perform. You guys know that we’ve had that here over the years. Our Super Bowl year, the number of guys that had to step in and perform, and it’s just expected that everybody’s going to count on you to do your job. Yeah, not knowing the status and what’s going to go on there, we need for Mike Neal and Nick Perry to be ready to play next week the way they played this week. Because they played their best football this week.”
2. What was Nick Perry able to do against the Detroit Lions that made him so effective in pass rush with two sacks?
CAPERS: “Last week, I had someone who was asking about it, about him being a power rusher, and I think that’s Nick’s forte because of his strength and his power, but he made a couple good moves. He’s got a little move where he’ll come as if he’s going to power and he slips and dips his shoulder. As a matter of fact, the one sack he had — the first sack — the tackle held him. If you watch that, he jerked him and he kind of powered through the thing to make the sack. We were able to get good pressure on (Matthew) Stafford, I think for a couple reasons. Our coverage, we were pretty tight in coverage. Even the balls he put in there were fairly well contested, so I think the coverage element of it where he couldn’t just release the ball. It was a little bit cloudy for him and grey and it helped. I think our outside rushers were very physical and we had pretty good push up in the pocket.”
3. What was your reaction — and how did you adjust — when you found out Calvin Johnson wasn’t going to be active?
CAPERS: “Yeah, I had no idea. I read the injury report every week, but many times top players, if they’re banged up a little bit they might not practice and be limited on Friday and then you expect them to play. So, obviously I had to take out the white-out and there were about six defenses we had repped, a lot that was whited out off the sheet. So I wouldn’t be sitting up there and calling, ‘OK, double 81.’ 81 wasn’t in the game. So it did affect you. Obviously they did a good job of nobody knew, so when you’re playing against a team that has Johnson you’re going to have certain things that if you’re going to take Johnson away you’re going to go to.”
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR SHAWN SLOCUM
1. What has been different about Mason Crosby that’s allowed him to begin the season by making all nine of his field-goal attempts?
SLOCUM: “I think he’s really confident in what he’s doing from a technique standpoint. He’s had excellent work and I think he’s at a point where he’s relaxed in terms of he knows he’s going to go out and execute the proper mechanics to make kicks.”
2. Was the plan to have Randall Cobb return all punts inside the 20 yard line and have Micah Hyde take the rest?
SLOCUM: “That’s the way it worked out. A couple of those deep balls, I wanted Randall to potentially get an explosive return. We didn’t do a very good job blocking on them. The second punt return of the game, we had it blocked very well and we didn’t make the cut properly.”
3. Has Tim Masthay been too inconsistent on kickoffs?
SLOCUM: “I thought yesterday Tim kicked well. He had five touchbacks in seven kickoffs. The first ball was a plus-4-second hang time, about 3 yards deep. We really should have tackled it inside the 20; we tackled it right at the 20. The second one, we had the holder and the holder lifted his hand up a little early and I think Tim maybe flinched a little bit but he still had a good, positive kick into the end zone. We tackled it inside the 20 but we had the illegal formation so they tacked 5 on and they started at the 20.”
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TOM CLEMENTS
1. Do any of the spectacular catches from Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb surprise you anymore?
CLEMENTS: “Well, they’re not routine. You come to expect them to make difficult catches because they’ve done it, but it’s never routine. It’s just a matter of concentration. Jordy has the knack of being able to be on his toes on the sideline and be leaning out of bounds and still catch the ball and hold onto it. Just a credit to them. They’re not routine plays, by any stretch.”
2. After Cobb’s 67-yard run, do you expect to use him more now as a running back?
CLEMENTS: “We’ve always had packages — going back to last year — with Randall in the backfield. We’re going to assess our personnel each week depending who we have. Sometimes you have injuries, but we’re going to try to get the ball into the hands of the guys who can do something with it.”
3. What’s been the difference in the offensive line run-blocking this year as opposed to last season?
CLEMENTS: “We’ve emphasized it, we’ve worked on it since the spring, we tweaked our running game a little bit to do some different things and we’ve had some success. So, the more success you have, the more confidence you get. And the runners have run well. So it’s not always just one or the other. It’s a combination of the line blocking and the running. I think I said earlier at some point in one of these sessions, last year at times we had some plays blocked very well and they should have gotten more yards than they did. This year, we’re blocking the plays well and we’re getting the yards that are there.”