Coordinators: Packers’ defensive run calls forced Cowboys to pass

GREEN BAY, Wis. — After being part of one of the two

biggest comebacks in the history of the franchise, the Green Bay Packers’ three

coordinators discussed what led to their improbable victory over the Dallas

Cowboys.

Here are three question-and-answer highlights from each

coordinator:

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR DOM CAPERS

1. How surprised were you that the Cowboys only ran the ball

seven times in the second half?

CAPERS: “Well, we were in some run calls, which I think

probably took them out of it. (Tony) Romo is a veteran guy now, so one of the

things going into the game, I think they were No. 3 in the NFL on first down of

four-yard plus gains, and they did a nice job against us on first down of

mixing the run and the pass. Like I say, we adjusted a couple things front-wise

and we were in some run calls probably when they might have had runs called.

They certainly did a nice job in the first half of running the ball against

us.”

2. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said after the game that Romo

optioned out of a run call to throw it on the pass that was intercepted by Sam

Shields. Were the defensive looks you were giving Romo leading him to take that

risk?

CAPERS: “Those are always the things that you always

weigh the pluses and minuses of, taking yourself out. We had nine guys standing

right there in the box because, at that point of the game, if they run the ball

for four or five yards, we’re not getting it back and we don’t have a chance to

win the game. So you’re going to stack them up in there, you saw Clay

(Matthews) come off the edge and actually he missed the sack, and I’m kind of

glad that he did because we wouldn’t have had the interception and flushed Romo

out of there — and of course it disrupted his rhythm and he threw the ball

over the middle, and Sam made an amazing play undercutting that thing to get

the football. It was a real key play at crunch time by Sam. Anytime you could

go to throwing the ball in those situations, you flip a coin. If you hit it,

the game is probably over because you’re making big plays because we’re

committed to stopping the run at that point.”

3. Has Tramon Williams been playing better now compared to

earlier in the season, or do you think he’s been pretty consistent?

CAPERS: “I think Tramon’s play is a little bit of a

reflection of our play on defense. We went through a period, as you guys well

know, where we had the hardest time getting a takeaway. You’ve got to find some

way, and it’s something we’ve done a great job of around here. If you look over

the first four years I was here, our opponent quarterback rating is in the top

three or four in the league because we’ve been able to take the ball away. You

combine that with Aaron’s quarterback rating and it’s been a winning formula.

(Sunday in Dallas) was somewhat the same thing. You look at our last three games,

you’ve seen more takeaways than you did probably in four, five, six games prior

to that. That’s part of what we need to do. Those last two takeaways, and even

Tramon’s that he ran down that we thought we had, that was a big time play.

Those plays change the whole momentum of the game around where it looks like

they’re in control of the game. The next thing you know we have the ball on the

50-yard line and we have the ball to close it out. Like I say, your concern

always in that situation is you can’t play soft because all they need to do is

get into field goal range. You’re up by one and the way the field goal kicker

was kicking, we were going to reach a point where we were going to have to

start coming after them to make sure we held them out of field goal

range.

SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR SHAWN SLOCUM

1. After seeing Mason Crosby’s 57-yard field goal, how far

did you think he could have connected from in that game?

SLOCUM: “Well, any time we’re indoors like that with no

weather conditions, he’s plus-60. I thought he hit a very good ball and had

quite a bit of distance left.”

2. What has Micah Hyde given you in the punt return game?

SLOCUM: “He’s done a good job with it. He stays within

the scheme, he does a very good job of tracking the ball and catching the ball,

first of all. Very good ball security. I thought that was an impactful play (in

Sunday’s game).”

3. What was it like on the sideline during the game, first

when down by 23 points and then as the comeback was in place?

SLOCUM: “Yeah, I thought initially there was some

disappointment in how the game started, but there was a concerted effort to

continue to get things right. I never saw anyone blink. There was good energy

on the sideline throughout the ball game. I think that once we got the momentum

going in the second half, even when they scored again in the fourth quarter, I

think in our guys’ mind there was no doubt that we were going to get this done.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TOM CLEMENTS

1. Was Matt Flynn better with his reads in the second half?

CLEMENTS: “I think he kind of got stuck on maybe a guy,

anticipating that he’d be open and hung onto that guy a little too long in the

first half. In the second half, he just reacted to what we saw and made good

decisions. And you get into a little bit of a groove. Guys made some great

plays for him. He made some nice throws. Protected very well in the second

half. We had a couple sacks early, but we overcame those. But you hit a couple

passes, you start feeling good and you start moving the ball, everybody feels

good. It’s a snowball effect.

2. Garrett said after the game that he let the Packers score

on the late touchdown in which Eddie Lacy jumped over the top. Did it look to

you like they let you score?

CLEMENTS: “Um, it didn’t look like it when I was

watching it. I heard that comment after. I take him at his word.”

3. Was there any conversation at halftime about benching

Flynn?

CLEMENTS: “No. We were focused on trying to get

everyone to play better and I think it was a great credit to them that they

stuck together, just went out and fought hard and kept fighting and eventually

got the win.”

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