Head Coach Jay Gruden
"Did not participate was Chris Baker, non-injury. His wife had a baby – baby girl – so congratulations to Chris. Hopefully she looks like his wife [laughter]. Limited was [Quinton] Dunbar with his quad, [Dashon] Goldson with his shoulder and rib, [Jason] Hatcher with his neck and knee, Matt Jones with his hip and Perry Riley with his foot."
On CB Quinton Dunbar:
"He had a good day today. He did some team work today which was good to see. He showed some bursts of speed. Just a matter of how it recuperates and how he does tomorrow and how he feels. I think the signs are pointing in a positive direction with him."
On RB Matt Jones:
"We're still working through Matt. Matt's still a little sore, was very limited again today. We'll look at him again tomorrow and see how he does."
On QB Kirk Cousins organizing every 15-minute segment of his day and how that compares to others:
"I don't know if that's normal [laughter], but most quarterbacks do have some unique qualities about themselves and that's one of them. He's just very detailed and it shows with his work, studying, his note taking – all that stuff. His memorization is very, very good because he takes great notes and studies. He understands the game. Every quarterback, every player has their own quirks about how to learn and remember. He's no different… or he is different."
On CB Cary Williams:
"He's done well. I don't think there will be an issue as far as the mental part of it is concerned based on what we're doing. He's doing a good job. He's a pro. He's been around, obviously, Baltimore and Seattle, very similar coverages. It's just a matter of translating the terminology to the field work. As far as the coverages are concerned, he's played them all. Now it's just a matter of calling them what we call them. But I think he'll be fine."
On if the coaches can simplify the system for Williams:
"I think it's pretty simple as far as being a defensive corner. There's a few things he's got to learn, some nuances, some different techniques here and there. But Coach [Perry] Fewell does an excellent job, him and Aubrey [Pleasant], of getting those guys up to speed on short notice."
On RB Alfred Morris' improvement in the last few weeks:
"We've never lost faith in Alfred. We just had some better looks and we've done a better job of blocking for him, a little bit of combination of a lot of things. He's gotten in some rhythm. We've had some leads so we've been able to obviously utilize the running game for four quarters as opposed to two quarters and then abandoning it. With Alfred, now with the addition of Pierre [Thomas], obviously, if Matt is healthy and Chris [Thompson] – we feel like we've got a pretty good group, a stable of running backs there that we can give the ball to and offer something different. Alfred is probably the most steady of all three or all four of them. Between the tackles, he can do it outside zone, he's got great vision and great patience, can run through tackles. You can see his confidence is building. And he's fresh. We haven't killed him throughout the season giving him 25-30 carries a game. He's fresh and this is the perfect time to start to utilize him."
On what it takes to prepare a new player on a short week:
"Well, you have to meet with the guy. You have to take some extra time. It's hard because they're trying to prepare different situations for Green Bay along with trying to get a new player up to speed. That's where Aubrey Pleasant comes in. He does an excellent job of also coaching these guys we just get off the streets and getting them up to speed – he and Perry both. They'll make time. With the technology additions that you have nowadays in pro football with the iPads, the veteran guys we have with [Dashon] Goldson and D-Hall, they'll also help him... He's got enough opportunity where he can learn this in no time. He's a very bright guy, too, which helps. He'll pick it up quickly – he has already."
On if there is a difference in coaching in the playoffs:
"I don't think there is. It's still a matter of going about your day and installing what you're going to install based on the day. We break it up the way we've been broken it up all year long. There's nothing new we're adding as far as, 'Oh, it's a playoff week, let's add two more periods here, let's pick up the tempo, let's turn the music up' or any of that stuff. I think it's still about a progression of teaching in pro football that has to stay the same. Now, the intensity level has picked up today obviously in practice. The guys are starting to feel it and get excited about it. But really when it comes to preparation and getting the team ready physically and mentally to play, not a lot of change goes on."
On the good health of TE Jordan Reed and the Packers' success against tight ends recently:
"Yeah, well he's healthy, number one. In fairness to Jordan, they haven't seen a tight end like Jordan in the last couple weeks. He's different, he's a different animal. We'll see. We'll try to get him the ball. If they choose to double him or take him away that's where DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon, our halfbacks come into play and Jamison Crowder. We feel good about dispersing the field with the weapons that we have. If they choose to take one guy away, we like our matchups across the board. It's a matter of protecting, that's the big thing with Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews – when he blitzes he's really good when he's on the edge. [Mike] Daniels is excellent. They have some pass rushers that can be a problem. So if we can solidify the pass protection I think Kirk will have time to find matchups and hopefully be effective. It'll be a great challenge for everybody 1) getting open against their tight man-to-man, and 2) pass protecting."
On throws Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers makes that others can't:
"Yeah, there's a lot of them. He's obviously a special quarterback. He can make all the throws. There's not one throw that he can't make, at least I haven't seen them. 'Oh, he struggles with this throw down the sidelines, down the numbers, inside edges, inside breaking moves, scrambling to his left, scrambling to his right, stepping up, off his back foot, off his front foot.' There's really nothing that he can't do as a quarterback."
On if there are throws Rodgers does better than most:
"He's got a great feel for where the receivers are, where the DBs are and throwing it away from the DB with an accurate, catchable ball. To his tight ends up the seam, if their defensive back or linebacker is playing over the top, he'll give them back shoulder. James Jones running down the sideline, defensive back is on top, he'll throw it back shoulder. He does a great job of putting exactly the right amount of touch and putting the ball in a location where only the receiver can get it. That's what probably separates him from a majority of other quarterbacks."
On Packers LB Clay Matthews:
"Yeah, he's very good, man. He's good. He's a problem. You have to find out where he is all the time. You have to adjust your protections and find out where he is. They put him on the edge, they blitz him up the A and B gaps and they get him matched up on running backs sometimes. He's very, very good. You'd figure he would have some kind of issue with the transition from defensive end, outside linebacker to middle linebacker, but he's done a great job. He does a good job in coverage. I've seen him outside covering running backs and stay with them. He's obviously their quarterback on defense. He's their Aaron Rodgers on defense at linebacker. He's a guy that we have to be aware of at all times."
On Rodgers' ability to extend plays outside the pocket and the Vikings' pass rush against him last week:
"They did do a good job staying in their pass-rush lanes. When he does step up and move around, we have to continue to get off blocks. That's the big thing is the play is never going to be over. Our defensive linemen are probably going to be a little tired from rushing because he does buy time as good as anybody. We have to understand we have that we have to get off blocks. It could be two seconds. It could be six seconds. It's been nine seconds sometimes I've seen him hold the ball. Very, very important for us to continue to get after him and play with a nonstop attitude and then also with the defensive backs, secondary, to make sure we stay on the receivers because he does buy a lot of time, but he's excellent at that. That's probably what puts him above the rest of the quarterbacks in the National Football League — his ability to buy time and create plays that aren't necessarily drawn up."
Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry
On if sacks come in bunches like turnovers:
"Yeah, I think you can definitely say that. I definitely think turnovers are kind of a different deal because you have got to create a turnover. I think the No. 1 thing with our rush is just the way the guys have been working. They've been grinding. Obviously when you send pressure it helps, but it's individual effort, it's individual guys winning the one-on-one. Definitely done a great job with that through the last handful of weeks."
On the process of signing players 'off the street' and preparing them to play:
"Well, I think the No. 1 thing – and it starts with the job that Scot [McCloughan] and the personnel department do – is there's a bunch of guys that are out quote-unquote 'on the street.' The key thing is not only bringing in good football players but bringing guys that are good guys, guys that love football, guys that want to work, guys that understand football. I think that obviously makes our job a lot easier when you bring guys in and have to prepare them. Really in Will's [Will Blackmon's] case and Mason's [Mason Foster's] case – really every guy that we've brought in – is they have to play right away. It's not like you can just come in, they're expected to perform. The point I'm trying to make is they're not only good football players, they're great guys. They're great team guys. They're great in the locker room. They're great on the practice field. They work. It's been awesome to see, it really has. Cary Williams this week is no different, put him into the same list."
On CB Cary Williams:
"I know you guys understand, there's a huge difference between a guy that is on the street that has limited experience and a guy that's on the street that has played a bunch of football. It's nice when you do bring those guys in that have played a bunch of ball because they understand. They get it. There isn't much that they haven't seen. Cary is definitely in that. It's always, the hardest thing is simply the terminology. It could be something that's simple from a coverage stand point that in his mind he equates that to apples but we call it oranges. So, I mean, he's got to flip that in his brain. He understands the technique, he understands the concept but when he hears the word, it's got to click and say, 'OK, this is man-free, this is quarters, this is three-deep.' It's a terminology deal with the faster you can learn the terminology the faster you're going to be able to just not think and go play."
On what type of corner Williams is:
"Oh, I think you can play him anywhere. He's had experience doing both so we're not going to limit him to just playing him in one spot. He's a guy that has played a bunch of ball in this league. He's started a bunch of games. He's played in a bunch of big games. He's played high-level football. He's been great. He's come in here and gone right to work. He had two really good practices yesterday and today."
On the injuries on the Packers' offensive line:
"I give no sympathy to anybody with injuries and being banged up [laughter]. They don't get any sympathy from me with what we've had to deal with."
On the 'chess match' of strategy with the Packers' offensive line:
"That's week in and week out in the National Football League. You know, I've said it time and time again in here, the National Football League, it's a war of attrition. It's very rarely in this day and age that guys are going to go wire-to-wire for 16 weeks. There's going to be injuries. You're going to lose players to IR. You're going to lose players for two or three weeks. So of course the chess match is weekly. That happens weekly on both sides of the ball. Offense attacking defense, defense attacking offense and this week is no different obviously."
On the process of finding a free agent:
"Well, I think the great thing is obviously you have a chemistry and a rapport because you don't have a lot of time to get into discussions. That's the great thing with – I think a very quick time – Scot [McCloughan] really has a great understanding of what we're looking for. What type of defensive lineman we're looking for, what type of DB we're looking for and specifically what kind of corner, what kind of safety, because you really don't have time in certain situations to sit down and have a discussion, sit down and put a bunch of film on and evaluate a guy. That's where Scot is really, really good at what he does because he has player A, B and C. He can say , 'OK, this guy doesn't fit. This guy doesn't fit. This guy does, let's go out and get him.' Then we can interject him in. In the offseason, you have a little bit more time from an evaluation standpoint. You know, that's why we put all that work into free agency and the draft, but during the season you rely on your personnel staff to get a guy that fits what you do and he's done a phenomenal job of doing that all year long."
On LB Preston Smith playing so well recently:
"Don't tell him that, though. He doesn't need to hear that [laughter]… We've talked in here over the year about Preston. Great kid, first of all, came in here very eager, very excited, has all the tools. The thing that we talked about every time we talked about Preston in here is just being consistent. That's the thing when you're a professional football player, it's finding that consistency. You can't have one week good, one week down. It's hard for rookies. It's hard for young guys. It's so completely different than anything that they've experienced in their college years. I think the thing with Preston, and I take my hat off to him, is we've coached him and we've coached him hard. We've been on his butt from day one. When it wasn't good enough, we told him. When he wasn't doing things right, we told him. Now, we praised him obviously in the right way when he did things well. I think just like any rookie, he's starting to figure it out. He's starting to get it. Every rookie hits that little rookie wall. Some guys do it early, some guys do it middle, some guys do it late. It's the National Football League, man. It's a grind. I think he was feeling that a little bit early on, maybe about the middle of the season and he pushed through it and kept working, kept grinding. He's played well the last quarter of the season. We're going to need him to play well obviously moving into the playoffs."
On the play of the defense while the praise and accolades have been focused on the offense:
"I think the thing that we're doing right now that's really awesome and that's fun to see is that we're playing complementary football. We're playing great team defense, and I think, obviously, the success that Kirk [Cousins] is having is awesome, but everyone is having their part. We're made up of 53 men. Forty-six guys get a helmet on Sundays and every guy is being asked to contribute. Some guys have got to contribute a little bit more than others, but every single man that has a helmet that dresses on Sundays is asked to do his job and do his job at a high level. Like we say, there's up and downs during the season. There's ups and downs during the game. No one's gone in the tank. No one's freaked out. Every single guy on both sides of the ball — all three phases: offense, defense, special teams — have really done a great job. This time of year that's what you want; that's what you need. You need to play team football. You need to play complementary football where everyone is playing off each other and one unit might be down, shoot, the other two units have got to step up. It's been fun to see the last six, seven, eight weeks — definitely the last four weeks."
On how the defense is handling the pressure and excitement of the postseason:
"Well, I've told you guys since day one that I've thought that's been a strength of ours. I remember the first time I talked to you guys in OTAs, it was the veteran leadership that we had and the veteran leadership that we had in each room. Whether it was the D-line, the linebackers, the DBs, we have very, very good guys, not only good football players, but great people, great mentors, great guys for young guys to look up. And I tell the guys, I remember we talked about Preston Smith, the first thing I told him was, 'If you don't know what to do, watch Ryan Kerrigan. If you don't know how to act in a meeting, watch Kedric Golston, watch Jason Hatcher. See how these guys work. See what they do in the weight room on a daily basis. See how they got about an individual period before practice.' So, I think when you have a mix of good young players and good veteran players but more importantly, veteran players that [have] unbelievable character, that's going to pay off throughout a long NFL season because it's a grind like I've said before. And I think, I can go on and on and I can brag about the veteran leadership that we have on this team, but let alone on this defense. It's helped young guys. It's helped the Quinton Dunbars. It's helped the Preston Smiths come up. Even a guy like Will Compton, who's a young guy, to see those guys and be around those guys on a daily basis, that's huge, man. That's huge."
On Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers:
"Well, I equate it to I remember when we played New England, I kind of used the analogy of, 'When you're a true freshman coming into a system, you're learning the system. By the time, if you're fortunate enough to stay at that school for five years, you're a fifth-year senior. You've had the same head coach, you've had the same coordinator. You're much better as a fifth-year senior than you are a true freshman.' Well, I remember I said Tom Brady's been in the same system for x amount of years. It's no different with No. 12 in Green Bay. He's been in the same system. He's heard the same terminology. He's heard the same language because the play caller hasn't changed. So, I think anytime you're a guy that you're going into your 11th or 12th year, that's going to benefit you because you've been in the same system. I think that's first and foremost with him. Then, you put into the fact that he's got unbelievable ability. He can run. He can escape when things do go bad. You talked about the offensive line. He can make things happen when things around him fall apart. And then he's got a cannon for an arm and he can make every single throw — intermediate, deep, whatever — but a combination of those things, when you have all three of those things, then you've got a great player. You've got a Hall of Famer. He's obviously very, very good. He's played in a bunch of big games, played at the highest of levels, but it's great. Our guys are eager and our guys are up for the challenge. We've played against great quarterbacks all year long, so we're looking forward to it."
On if he knows an ideal number of snaps for veteran players at this time of year:
"I really don't. And, you're right, this is the 17th game, there's no doubt, but it's amazing when you go through this, when you're fortunate enough to be one of the 12 teams left, it's amazing the jolt that it gives you. It doesn't matter if you're…I was talking to one of the young players about it – he feels it. He's like, 'Man, you get a different vibe, you get a different feel.' Any veteran would tell you, when you're fortunate enough to be one of those 12 teams, it gives you a little juice now. Obviously everyone is in that boat right now. Everyone's got a little bump, a little bruise. Your soreness and your tiredness seems to go away a little bit when it's the playoffs. It's the magic of the playoffs. I'd be lying to you if there aren't guys that are banged up and sore but you get that natural juice – that natural burst of energy – when you're playing for a playoff, no doubt about it."
On preparing for Rodgers' ability to draw defenses offside:
"Well, number one, I think you have got to educate the guys. We have used TV copies all week long, just showing it so they actually hear it. They can see it on our film, but when you show a TV copy, you can actually hear his voice inflection. He's absolutely one of the best. We even went back and he's No. 2 in the league as far as quarterbacks getting guys offside. Philip Rivers was number one. It's one of the things that he is very good at. You practice it, you show them, you let them hear it. But still, in the heat of the moment… Everything you do D-line-wise, everything you do as a blitzer, it's about getting off and getting that jump. You really have to be disciplined and get off the ball. You can't go unsound, you can't go on his leg or the center's head bob. You really have to be disciplined and simply get off on the ball. He's obviously – if not the best – one of the best. He has been his whole career. But, yeah, it's something that we educated our guys from day one when we came in on Tuesday afternoon."
Safety Dashon Goldson
On Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers:
"Well, we all know Aaron Rodgers is a great football player, really does a lot of good things for the offense and for that football team. Some of the things that stick out is he extends plays a lot. He's able to move in the pocket a lot. He's got great pocket presence and I think he [does] a lot when he extends plays by moving out of the pocket. He's always looking downfield and able to make some big plays down the field just by moving out of the pocket."
On if he has sought out young players to give them advice about playing the postseason:
"This week is really just trying to get them to focus on us at the same time, understanding the importance of this game. You know, it is a playoff game. A lot of guys – even guys that have been in this league for a few years haven't been this far – so just getting them to understand what the game is going to be like, the excitement around the game and just to make sure we keep our poise. And to answer your question about going to guys, I think it's been mostly that instead of guys coming up [to me]. That's a good thing. I think guys are more focused on what we've got to do and not really harped in more on, 'What the game going to be like? What's the stadium going to be like?' Yeah, I would say you're just adding little things, little ad libs of what Coach is saying about this game."
On calling a players only meeting earlier in the year:
"I wouldn't want to take credit as far as that team meeting to say that was our turning point. When we [were] getting better week in and week out, I just think that that meeting was just something that we haven't had all year – it was just getting to hear from other players, what they were feeling, or to hear guys that have been through it or know what it looked like. So I think that's what I was trying to get across was really just, 'What are we here for and what is it going to take?'"
On CB Will Blackmon doing pushups during practice and the process of creating accountability:
"I would say a little bit is just the younger guys seeing what it takes from the older guys, and it was something we talked about. Man, you mess up, you have a bust, you pay for that or it'll cost us in a game if we jump offsides and cost us five [yards]. So you drop a ball, whatever the case is, you get down and give us a couple pushups. But that was just Will. Nobody told him anything. He knows he messed up or whatever the case is and he got down and did that. That's just a mindset and that's when the mindset kicks in. That's what shows you how this team is growing and it doesn't take… People are just being more accountable on their own. You don't have to have a guy point you out on certain things."
On Rodgers' ability on free plays:
"That's a good point because I did bring that up in one of our meetings because it happened to us when I played him a couple years ago. We [were] down in their place and he gave us a hard count where he does a good job at it and one of our guys jumped offside and a corner relaxed. The receiver kept going and he threw a bomb for like 40 yards and it counted as a touchdown. I was trying to tell them we can't relax on plays like that. He does a good job, man, of drawing guys offsides and those receivers, they're all in tune with one another. They see the quarterback scrambling, they turn upfield to get extra yards. We definitely are going to have to play. I told them it's probably going to be a track meet this weekend running around with those wide receivers."
On if he tells the front seven the secondary is going to need their help:
"Definitely. Our secondary understands this game is going to come down to us; I'm not going to say it's going to come down to us, but we like to put it on our shoulders for the simple fact that we're playing against a good quarterback that might throw the ball 40-50 times a game. With that being said, we know we're going to have to stick with wide receivers for a long time, especially if he gets out the pocket or he extends plays. So as long as we're on the same page with our front seven, man, doing a good job of keeping him contained, I think we like our chances."
On his comfort level with CB Cary Williams and what he can do to help Williams' transition:
"We're glad to have Cary here, man. It's a guy that's been experienced. He's played in [postseason] games. He's played in Super Bowls. He played on great teams. And it's not me, man, it's us, at the same time. It's going to take all of us to get him comfortable with the scheme and how we do things around here. I think the coaches, I'm sure, are doing a good job of meeting with him, giving him insight on what's going on on the defensive side of the ball, but I think he gets it for the most part. He's played in the game for a long time. Coverage is all the same at the end of the day, but just to understand where we're at in the postseason and where we're at in the secondary, it's going to be important for him to jump on this bandwagon quick and help us win games."
On how his communication with LB Will Compton has evolved:
"Will Compton has been doing a great job for us. I think he can handle a lot of situations, man. He's calling defenses, he's making checks. I know we put a lot on him, especially one of our backers and evolving into one of our leaders on defense. It's my job to help him out. Whether that's realigning, echoing calls or whether it's getting personnel in there to relieve some of that stress on him, because I know it can get frustrating at times, especially when you're running around and you've got to get guys in the huddle, you've got to look at the sideline and get calls. It's going to take all of us to help him out, man, but I think he's doing a good job. He don't complain about it. He's still making his plays."
On expanding the playbook defensively:
"With the playbook expanding, I think it's just where we're at in our season. I think he [Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry] put more on our plate because he's seen that we're handling stuff he's thrown to us. We're getting better as a defense. We're growing as a unit. I think he's just giving more stuff for us to get done. I think it's good. Probably early on guys were probably throwing little jabs at him, like, 'Man, we should do this, Coach.' He was like, 'Not yet, not yet.' We had to become good at one thing before you start moving onto something else.