The Washington Redskins on Sunday play the Green Bay Packers in Wild Card Round action at FedExField.
On Wednesday, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke to the Washington, D.C., media about their upcoming matchup against the Redskins.
Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy
On the role of momentum:
"Well, I mean, hey, momentum is a good thing. It's a positive energy and really what you do is singular to every contest and every football team. You definitely want to play off momentum but there's clearly a defining point between regular season and playoff football. The ability to transition into playoff football is really what our focus is and make sure that we're doing the things that we're training each and every day, what we've been training on since April. That's how I feel where we are as a football team."
On QB Kirk Cousins:
"Kirk has very good video just from going through our breakdowns. Total command of the offense, does an excellent job at the line of scrimmage. He's totally on top of his game. I can't really comment on how he played in the beginning of the season to now but I think the obvious... the fact of the matter is he is young and he keeps getting better. That's got to be exciting for Kirk and their football team. Once again, I think he's done an excellent job and has very good video."
On the challenges of trying to juggle an injured offensive line:
"Well, it's part of our game. We haven't done a good enough job overcoming the injuries here the last couple games. We need to make sure we get our plan exercised this week, don't let it factor into the offensive performance. It happens every year. You'd like for it maybe not to happen at this point, but everybody has to deal with injuries on some level."
On the confidence level of his players:
"I can promise you we're extremely confident in our men, our football team and our approach. We respect what the Redskins have accomplished to this point. Very impressive watching their team, haven't played against these guys in a few years, I think 2013. So just getting to know them the last couple of days has been impressive. We have great belief, great confidence in our football team. We have every intention of coming to Washington and winning."
On the Redskins' pass rush:
"Their pass rush and their line movement – especially in home games – is something that jumps off the video at you. Their home game production is definitely something that jumps off the tape. So they have an excellent rotation starting with their base defense with their Okie scheme and their ability to roll those elephant outside linebacker types into their sub packages. They have all the movement schemes and they do an excellent job of it. Very impressed with their defensive front."
On the struggles on offense:
"Well, you know, it's football. Things go on during the course of the year and you have things you've done very well and you have things you haven't done very well. We've had a few too many of the 'not-very-wells' things on offense. You know, hey, we have to put our best foot forward and our offense has to play well to win this game and that's what we're focused on — that's what we're confident with."
Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers
*On momentum: *
"I feel like you can't take momentum positive or negative into the next game. You've got to create your own momentum within the game. But they obviously have been playing well finishing out the season the right way, beating their division opponents. We had a couple disappointing losses but we're in the playoffs. There's 20 teams who are home. Anything can happen, time to make a run. The hottest team will be the last one standing."
On the value of playoff experience:
"We value that a lot. I think you have to learn how to win in the playoffs. We dealt with a tough loss in 2009, my first playoff game. Learned how to win after that and we've had some good ones over the years. It comes down to execution and taking care of the football in the playoffs. When the nerves hit, you've got to be able to push on through it. When you have experience with doing it before, it definitely helps when those come up."
On learning from that 2009 playoff loss:
"I just think playing on the road, it was a loud environment, it comes down to execution. I threw a pick on the first play and then we fumbled on third play and next thing you know we're down two scores. We battled back and got it to even, had a chance in overtime. You just have to execute really well. There's no excuse for not making plays. It comes down to – just like the regular season – it comes down to a few plays here and there but it's obviously highlighted in the playoffs because it's win or go home."
On adjusting to injuries on the offensive line:
"It's been a different year for us. Last year we had an injury to Bryan [Bulaga] early and then we were able to come back and have the same line together for the last 14 games, I believe. This year, we've had a number of injuries – Cory [Linsley] went down, T.J. [Lang] went down, Bryan went down, Josh [Walker] went down and David [Bakhtiari] went down – all at different points. We've had different left tackles starting. JC [Tretter] started, Josh Walker started, Don Barclay started, Lane Taylor started. That's the beauty of having nine guys – nine offensive lineman – on your roster who can all play, but it's difficult to keep that continuity that we had last year with those guys. I think that's why some of the hits and the sack numbers are up. We just haven't been able to practice together and keep the continuity we had last year."
On scrambling and making off-schedule plays:
"Well, I've always scrambled around a little bit. You know, we probably average six or seven a game where things breakdown and you try to make something happen. You've got to know when to throw it away, when to keep a play alive, but that's always been a part of our game here on offense. We've had maybe a little bit more this year, but we've have had some injuries on the outside and up front, but obviously we'd like to play on-schedule as much as possible."
On how long it took to get comfortable in a starting role:
"I mean, that's the tough part about being a young quarterback I'd say in 2015 compared to when I started in 2008. I sat for three [years] and I was in there and actually expected to play well. But this year in this day, quarterbacks have less of that grace period because the coaches' job security is probably even less than it was 10 years ago. So there's definitely a pressure and expectation of some quick play at a high level and he [Kirk Cousins] has done a good job of continuing to improve throughout the year. I think you've got to give Coach Gruden some credit as well for sticking with him and giving him an opportunity to develop and get better as the season has gone on. You've obviously seen his improvement has led to wins and winning the division, so those guys deserve a lot of credit. It's tough I think today to have patience and it obviously paid off."