Matthews makes impact in return for Packers
GREEN BAY, Wis. — A day after the Packers beat the Chicago Bears on the road to win the NFC North, defensive coordinator Dom Capers, special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum and offensive coordinator Tom Clements addressed several topics from the 21-13 win.
Here are three question-and-answer highlights from each coordinator:
DOM CAPERS, defensive coordinator
1. How big of an impact was it having Clay Matthews back on the field?
CAPERS: Clay’s an outstanding player, and when you get guys like that — and you guys hear me say all the time, through the course of the game, there’s going to be three, four, five plays that Clay’s going to make that are going to affect the game. He had four tackles for loss yesterday, he had two sacks yesterday, you saw him come across the middle and bat a ball down. You never know, if you aren’t making those plays, it directly influences the game. It’s nice to have Clay back, I thought it was a good start for him, I thought the number of plays he played was good. We didn’t have a lot of plays on defense because we got off the field on third and fourth down, and so it was good to get him back out there. He impacted the game.
2. Right now, is B.J. Raji playing the best that he has all season?
CAPERS: I think the last two weeks, B.J. has played his best, which is a positive. We want it to be that way. We want to be playing our best and picking up momentum at this point in the year. So guys like B.J., guys like Clay, Mike Neal, a lot of our young guys have gained experience so hopefully we can continue that on. That’s the challenge each and every week — to go out and play your best game.
3. Where is Tramon Williams’ confidence level right now?
CAPERS: I think Tramon is playing much more this year like he did two years ago. As you saw, I don’t think anybody is playing any better than Tramon down the stretch when we really needed him. The last two regular season games here and through the playoffs, I thought he played really outstanding. And obviously we’ve matched him up on two of the best receivers in the league the last couple weeks and we like the results. He’s much closer than what he was two years ago than any time last year. As we all know, he was fighting through that shoulder problem last year.
SHAWN SLOCUM, special teams coordinator
1. Did weather conditions impact Mason Crosby’s two missed field goals?
SLOCUM: It wasn’t an ideal day to kick, but I thought he should have made both the field goals that we attempted.
2. Has Crosby’s response changed after recent misses?
SLOCUM: I think he’s put together some good preparation. The thing I’m disappointed in is not taking his preparation into the game. And he’s got to do that. He had a great week of practice last week and was good in pre-game warmup. He needs to make those field goals and trust what he’s done during the week in preparation and move forward.
3. How did the decision come about to try the trick play on the punt return midway through the fourth quarter?
SLOCUM: Well, it’s a game-management decision that we talk about each week prior to the game. We have our management meeting and we look for those situations that occur in the game and look at the possibility it can occur, then we talk about it and decide whether to try it or not.
TOM CLEMENTS, offensive coordinator
1. Are you gaining confidence in the rebuilt offensive line?
CLEMENTS: They played well. We had a lot of very clean looks in the run game. We had a couple sacks early; one of the sacks in the first half was a miscommunication, so you have to factor that out. We had essentially two sacks in the first half and then in the second half none, so they blocked very well and they continue to get better.
2. How did you grade the three running backs in this game?
CLEMENTS: I think they ran hard. Just the one negative, we turned the ball over. We kind of preached it going in we didn’t want to turn the ball over. No one feels worse about that than Ryan (Grant) because it came off a nice play, an explosive gain, but it was unfortunate. I think they all ran hard and pretty much found the holes that were there.
3. What’s the challenge in trying to get Grant, DuJuan Harris and Alex Green all involved in each game?
CLEMENTS: Well, we have three guys that are capable runners. We’re going to try to work them all in there and get positive results from each of them. We try to do it during the course of the week, giving them certain runs. The games don’t always go as planned during the week, and sometimes it doesn’t work out to get guys in there when you want to. Sometimes a guy gets on a roll and it’s just the luck of the draw.
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