GREEN BAY, Wis. — In this week’s weekly meeting with the media, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers talked about getting an old teammate back, preparing to face the Detroit Lions, his thoughts on Bret Bielema leaving Wisconsin, and more.
Five question-and-answer highlights:
1. What was it like to have Ryan Grant back at practice today?
RODGERS: It was great. It’s great to see him back, back in the green and gold. I’ve missed him. he’s done a lot of great things for this organization, he’s a great teammate. We’re excited to have him back.
2. Is there a difference in preparing for the Lions this time around considering the two teams met only a few weeks ago in Detroit?
RODGERS: There’s some different guys that are going to be out there. (Louis) Delmas was hurt last time, so he’s going to be out there. People change from game to game and you’re trying to work on things always, and you’re always self-scouting. They’re a veteran coaching staff, (Defensive coordinator) Gunther (Cunningham) has been around the game for a long time, so he’s always trying to come up with some new stuff or just play to his strengths on defense. You just have to continue to stay after the film preparation and make sure you’re ready to play.
3. How do you feel about your offensive line at the moment, especially with backups Don Barclay and Evan Dietrich-Smith playing a lot recently?
RODGERS: I thought Don played excellent last week. I’m really proud of him. He’s come along from training camp on, he’s really in the right frame of mind. For him to sit for a lot of weeks, 12 weeks, and then finally get the chance to play and play at a high level, it says a lot about the kind of preparation he puts in each week, and you have to give him a lot of credit for that. I’m excited for Don. Evan’s coming along. Like I said, he’s probably our center of the future and he also feels comfortable at guard. So, we have a lot of confidence in those guys. It’s a big test for us. They’re stout, savvy and athletic upfront and it’s going to be a good test.
4. How tough is it to see James Starks get hurt after he had a good game (including a touchdown) against Minnesota?
RODGERS: It’s a tough league. Injuries are a part of our league and you have to get a little luck involved and take care of your body. I know James takes really good care of his body and unfortunately he took a shot that set him back a little bit. It’s a next-man-up mentality for us. We have to have the next guy step up. There’s been a lot of that this year with the amount of injuries we’ve had, especially on offense, with the offensive line, with Cedric (Benson), with the receivers, so we expect the next guy to step in and … I don’t know if that means DuJuan (Harris) is going to get some carries this week, or Ryan (Grant) stepping in, but one of those guys are going to have to fill that void.
5. What is your reaction to the news that Bielema left the Wisconsin football team for Arkansas? Do Packers players talk about it?
RODGERS: Yeah, I mean, when you live in Wisconsin for as long as I have, you follow the team and (get) excited about three straight Rose Bowls, pulling for them hard this year against Cal’s hated rival, the Stanford Cardinal. He’s done a great job with that team. Surprised because Wisconsin is kind of the Berkeley of the midwest, it’s a great school and great football tradition, great sports tradition with Bo (Ryan) doing the basketball. I’m hoping that they can get a coach in there to continue that. I’m sure they will. What Barry Alvarez has done there is incredible, and speaks for itself. The legacy he’s passed on and now what Coach Bielema did, maybe (former California) Coach (Jeff) Tedford will be the next guy, you never know.