Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening Statement: It’s unfortunate the score got away from us there because of the turnovers there at the end of the game. (Corey) Ballentine had a concussion and then Daniel Jones has an ankle that he played through. With that, I’ll try to take your questions.
Q: Did Daniel have the ankle injury during the game? A: Yeah. He hurt it, but he played through it.
Q: How much of a challenge is it to call plays in weather like this? A: It was fine. I mean we were running the ball, throwing and catching fine. I don’t think that had anything to do with it.
Q: Did Daniel’s ankle affect his play at all or limit what he could do? A: No, there were certain things that I chose not to do with him. The interception, the one interception there in the fourth quarter when he had the guy, that’s one that he’ll tell you he just overthrew it.
Q: Did he hurt it on the run forward or the… A: I don’t know that exactly. He just came out off of that one drive before the half. We got him checked out, we got him re-taped and he was ready to go. Tough guy, he fought through it.
Q: You didn’t get a lot of pressure on Aaron Rodgers. What was the plan coming in and why do you think you weren’t able to pressure him a lot? A: No, obviously we tried to pressure. There were times when we did pressure, we had some full blitzes in there, we had some structured fire zones. We had some four-man rushes, but you can see what happens when you don’t get pressure on him, he’s really good.
Q: What do you think of some of your young secondary guys? It seemed like Julian Love played okay but… A: Yeah, Julian did a good job. You saw Ballentine came out of the game early with that concussion. I’ll have to check on him to see where he’s at. He battles. Grant Haley went back in. You saw both (Sam) Beal and (DeAndre) Baker in there. They battled. I’m sure, when we go back and look at it, there are plenty of good plays but then there were some that they gave up.
Q: On the one play when you guys defensively had 12 men and tried to scramble. Is there anything you could have done in that situation? Could you have called a timeout to prevent Rodgers from quick snapping? A: Yeah, I thought we had an opportunity to get off the field in time and then they quick snapped it. By that time, we’re caught. They did a good job. Regardless, they completed the pass for a touchdown. Obviously, they executed that well.
Q: That’s 21 turnovers for Daniel this season. Any concern about his progress? A: Well, the turnovers today were the interceptions, right? The first one was against a two-man, just tried to fit it in. Today they weren’t fumbles, right? Then the one he just overthrew, and then the last one there, he threw a nine-ball to Slayton, and I thought he was in a position to either make the catch. So, no, these were throws, these weren’t fumbles. He’s got to keep playing through it and keep learning from every scenario. There is no better training ground than playing. Unfortunately, we are dealing with some mistakes that you hope you never see again. He battles through it, and if you make mistakes you’ve got to overcome it. That’s the reality of it. We’re fortunate he’s tough, he’s smart, he gets it. He did make a heck of a lot of really good plays out there today because of who he is. We’ve got to just clean up the mistakes.
Q: Do you feel he was a bit more decisive today throwing the football? A: Was he decisive?
Q: Yeah, a bit more today? A: No, he’s always been decisive. I felt like he was good that way. I think he had some isolated throws that they made us pay for.
Q: Do you think, because your defense has not had a lot of success on third and ones or fourth and ones, do you feel the confidence that they are going to get off the field? A: These feeling questions about confidence, they don’t… they are out there playing, and they are playing hard with the idea that they are going to make plays. You’re asking me frequently about, ‘how do they feel,’ they are out there playing, they are in the moment, and they are trying to execute the situation that they are in. There are times that we have success and there are times where we haven’t. Those are the things we’ve got to get better.
Q: How concerned are you that the progress you see going on behind the scenes isn’t showing up in regard to wins and losses on Sundays? A: I’m always concerned when we don’t win. This is another feeling question. I’ll feel better when we win games. If you’re wondering how I feel, I’ll feel a lot better when we win games. I do see, you get an opportunity to watch us probably 20 minutes a day and you report on it. This is a historically young team that’s going out there and competing against some really good football teams. We’ve got to do what we have to do to win games and I understand that. They also are developing. At some point, we’ll be good enough to win.
Q: You know that you’re obviously being judged on wins and losses? A: I’m well aware of it, I’m well aware of it. People will change what they think of us and me when we win games. I’m a realist when it comes to that and I get it. And you know what, when you don’t win, I expect what is written and said and what people think. I expect fans to be upset because we are, too. But we go about trying to fix it.
Q: Do you feel the criticism is deserved then? A: When you don’t win. I try not to consume it, but when you don’t win, that’s what you expect, regardless of where you live.
Q: Jones hit Latimer with a big play, 17-10, it looked like the next play you took a 4-yard loss. Was that a busted play? A: No, we tried to go tempo on them and they defended pretty well. It wasn’t a busted play.
Q: Where do you see the most progress from your team? A: They fight and they are resilient. That game was in the balance. We had an opportunity within one score and it got away from us. That’s where I see it. They fight and some of these young players are very talented and they are learning on the job here.
QB Daniel Jones
Q: Daniel, how frustrating are games like this when you have the weather you’re dealing with, the opponent and the offense continues to struggle?
A: Yeah, it’s disappointing to come up short and play like we did. We ran the ball better today. There were a number of things we did better. But as a group, we weren’t consistent enough and we weren’t able to score enough. That’s been the story. We have to be more consistent, we have to find ways to keep the ball moving forward and get the ball in the end zone when we have chances in the red zone. It’s disappointing, but we have to stay at it.
Q: As far as the three interceptions, how much of that is the conditions and how much is just kind of missing guys?
A: I think each play is independent of the other in terms of the issue. I missed one, and a couple poor decisions. That has to do with me more than anything.
Q: Where do you think you are in your development at this point? Do you feel you’re ascending?
A: Yeah, I feel like I’m making progress. Obviously, there’s still a lot to work on, and I understand that. But I feel like I’m improving. The challenge is to continue to do that, but do it faster and play more consistently.
Q: Do you feel that you’ve improved as far as protecting the football?
A: Yeah, I think I was better in the pocket with the ball. But like you said, the interceptions hurt us, so I have to work on that.
Q: You talk about the running game, and you guys ran the ball really well, but why was it inside? Was that because of the opponent, or did you not want to go outside because of the conditions and trying to cut back would be too hard?
A: I don’t know if the conditions had anything to do with that. I think that was just what was working, and the guys up front did a good job getting push and opening up some holes for Saquon (Barkley).
Q: That first touchdown to Sterling Shepard, you guys seemed overly excited about it afterwards, and it was with good cause considering the Packers had just scored a touchdown. Why weren’t you able to carry that kind of momentum into the second half?
A: Obviously, that was a big play. But I’m not sure necessarily the momentum of the game was going to go back and forth. We just didn’t execute when we needed to. We had chances to score touchdowns, or chances to answer one of their scores, and we just didn’t do that. That’s the challenge. I think we have to be more consistent with that.
Q: How tough were the conditions as far as throwing the football with the snow, sleet and rain?
A: They were fine. It’s different, but it’s different for them, too. It could have been worse.
Q: Have you ever played a game in the snow before?
A: We played Pittsburgh my redshirt freshman year and it snowed. But that was it.
Q: How’s your ankle, and when did you hurt it? It looked like on that one drive, you were moving around pretty good. Did it compromise what you needed to do in the second half?
A: Not really. Yeah, I hurt it on that fourth down play right there. It’s sore, but that’s part of playing the game. I’ll be fine.
Q: Coach (Pat) Shurmur was saying he understands he’s going to be judged on wins and losses. Do you get a feeling that if you guys don’t start winning, it could affect him?
A: Everyone’s job is to make sure we’re doing what we can to win games. I understand the way this business works, the way this league works, is that you’re expected to win. We all expect that of ourselves. We’ll continue to work towards that. We all take a lot of responsibility in the loss.
Q: Do you sense it’s any closer?
A: I do.
Q: What’s the attitude of the team now that you’ve lost eight straight games? Do you feel the spirit kind of just sagging? What do you think?
A: Obviously, it’s tough. It’s tough to lose. No one likes to lose. But through it, we’ve been able to stick together. We’ve been able to keep working together each week. We’ve put together good practices. Going forward, we have to maintain that focus and stay together. Work toward each week, but continue to improve.
RB Saquon Barkley
Q: How was it playing in the snow? A: It was fun, I would rather play in the snow than the rain, to be honest. We went out and fought, it would have been a lot better if we won. Unfortunately, we played a great team, especially with a heck of a player in number 12. They got the job done, so give respect to them. Playing in the snow for the first time, it was fun.
Q: You talked a lot this week about getting over the hump and not using the injury as an excuse. We saw some of those runs break out a little bit today. Do you feel like you are getting back into a rhythm? A: Yeah, definitely getting back into a rhythm. I think the offensive line did a great job of establishing the line of scrimmage. We just got behind in points and when you get behind in points, you try not to go away from the run game but that naturally happens. We have to find a way to start earlier and get ahead so we can get the run game going. I know if that was the case we could have had a game in our hands.
Q: You mentioned your respect for Aaron Rodgers. You guys exchanged jerseys at the end of the game, was there a memorable moment? A: It was nice having a conversation, I met him before. I’m a big fan of him, I think anyone growing up is a big fan of Aaron Rodgers. He came up with some good advice after the game, he told me to stick with it, keep grinding. He told me there is a C on my chest for a reason, keep believing and we ended up trading jerseys. That’s definitely one of the best ones I have in my jersey collection.
Q: How frustrating is it that the scores aren’t letting you be a part of the game in the fourth quarter? You can’t have your regular impact when you are down 11 points. A: I agree and disagree with that. When the other team is up, you try not to run away from the running game but it naturally happens. I don’t envision myself as just an inside the box running back. I think I can catch the ball out of the backfield, catch screens, make plays with stuff like that. I don’t feel like I’m out of the game. I have to continue to keep my eyes open, be ready for blitz protection and try to get to spots where, if need be, I’m there for DJ. At the end of the day, if that’s the case where we need to go away from the run, we still have to find a way to make plays in other areas and we just didn’t do that enough this game and, to be honest, the whole season.
Q: How do you feel about eight straight losses, that’s half the season? A: It’s crazy, it’s upsetting, it’s frustrating, it sucks. I know I sound like a broken record, but I promise when this thing turns around, I’m going to sound like a genius. We have to continue to keep working. Even though our record is 2-10, you have to come into the building like you are 10-2. That can’t change, your attitude can’t change, your work ethic can’t change. I talked to these guys and we have to keep fighting, there’s better days ahead. I know I sound like a broken record and everyone is probably going to roll their eyes, saying here he goes again, but when it happens, it’s going to be a beautiful thing.
Q: Coach Shurmur keeps saying there’s progress being made behind the scenes. You are obviously optimistic you can turn this around, where is that optimism coming from? What do you see Monday through Saturday that makes you believe you guys are so close? A: You guys only get to come in for like 10 minutes right, which I agree with. If you guys were able to stay the whole time, we practice like we are 10-2. It’s our work ethic, if you were able to come in and watch us in the weight room and the attention to details in meetings, it’s all there. Obviously, I have the better point of view to able to see that and say that. It’s all there, but for some strange reason it’s just not translating to the game right now. That’s what sucks, because when you work hard for something and you are putting in the time and the effort and things aren’t going your way, it sucks. It’s easy to cry about it, cry and go hide in the corner, but you have to figure it out. That’s what we have to do, we have to figure it out. We have four games left to try to make it into a season that we’re proud of. Take it one game at a time and that starts with Philly and try to find a way to get a win and good things will come.
Q: What does it say about this group that despite the adversity you guys are sticking together? A: That’s important, that’s why I believe this thing is going to turn around. I know we have that in the locker room with this group of guys. That’s going to be helpful in the future. Like I said, things just aren’t going our way right now. I know we are frustrated, coaches are frustrated, fans are frustrated, everyone is frustrated. It starts there, you have to keep doing that, keep hammering the little things, keep paying attention to details and find a way to turn it on on Sundays and Mondays. Things aren’t going our way and it sucks but we have to stick with it and we are doing that right now. When we do figure it out, I do believe it’s going to be a great thing.
Q: Is it hard to hear the ‘Go Pack’ go chants? A: Yeah, that sucks. We’re 2-10 right now, you kind of expect it, I guess. They are a playoff team, they are a great team. I’ve never played at Green Bay, but you hear about the great fans they have. Kudos to them, we just have to play better.
Q: Do you think the structure is in place from the top down to get to the point where you will win? A: Yes, I do believe. We have not only the right guys on the team but the right guys on our staff to get it done. I just know it. Obviously, it’s not going our way right now. The same way our guys in the locker room come to work every day, those guys are working their butts off upstairs to put us into positions to win games. They are going to keep hammering at it and we have to keep hammering at it. Hopefully those things turn around.
Q: Today was one of Daniel’s tougher games, what did you see from him as far as coming back from adversity? A: I talked to him on the sideline (and said), ‘hey, it happened.’ Everyone wants to go out there and play their best game, but that’s not the case. He threw the picks, that’s growing pains and things you will learn from. I know I said earlier in the week, I think he is going to be a special player. I don’t think… I know he is going to be a special player. I still think he made a lot of plays for us out there and put us in positions to win the game. Those plays are growing pains and he is going to learn from it. Eli went through it, I’m pretty sure Aaron Rodgers went through it at one point. Any great quarterback you can think of, I’m pretty sure they went through it. He has to keep sticking with it and the type of mindset he has and the type of grit he has, he is going to figure it out.
Q: Nine straight losses is the longest in this team’s history and you are on the cusp of that. When you hear that, what do you think? A: No one goes into the game planning on losing. Hearing that or not hearing that, no matter what, we are trying go into the next week trying to get a win. Let’s go figure it out from here, watch film, break down this game, put it in the past. Move on from it but also learn from it and get ready for our next game so hopefully we don’t tie that record.
WR Sterling Shepard
Q: Shep, you guys were in it until that 4th quarter, really, and then the Packers blew it open. What do you think happened down the stretch for this team? A: It’s hard to pinpoint it on one thing. You have to get into the film room and look at what went wrong, but we’ve got to be able to move the ball. We’ve got to be able to pick up third downs [and] keep drives alive, so that’s the main thing.
Q: How much of a factor was the weather? A: I don’t think it played too much of a factor, to be honest. Maybe with running routes, if anything, but I felt like catching the ball was fine. You had some sprinkle in there a little bit, but then it started turning into ice and ice is fine. But yeah, we were getting that on-and-off all game. I don’t think it had much to do with anything but maybe running routes.
Q: The Packers, they’re a serious contender for the Super Bowl this year, [what are] the takeaways from this [game], maybe the growing pains of a young team, is it to [just] make progress? A: No, we’re going into every game trying to win the game. We’re not going in there saying: ‘can we compete with a potential Super Bowl team?’ We’re going in there trying to win and I feel like guys did a great job fighting. They were the better team today and that’s the bottom line.
S Michael Thomas
[…] Believe me, you can do it right Monday through Saturday, but then when you get in the game, oh they don’t give you the exact same look, they motion to it or they start it in the stack, but ran the same thing, you know what I’m saying, so you’ve got to just trust and believe your tendencies and stuff and trust yourself.
Q: So, so much of it is a product of youth? That you just need to get more game reps? A: That’s all I mean at this point, especially with what we’ve got going on, we’ve just got to trust and believe in ourselves and make sure that we trust the game plan and we go out there and execute instead of second-guessing ourselves and just play fast.
Q: What do you think made the Packers play action game so effective today? A: They’ve got a good team; they’ve got a good quarterback. We’ve got to get guys executing the defense. We had the right plays called, guys just got to execute. And then unfortunately, a lot of it’s on the backend, so we’ve just got to execute.
Q: Did the prowess of their two running backs affect that at all? A: They’ve got a good team. They got a good quarterback, and they made plays and like I said, we had the calls right, guys were on their coverages, but maybe there’s one or two guys that weren’t where they’re supposed to be.
Q: Mike, does it get frustrating? You guys seem to be like a play or two away coming into the fourth quarter… A: Yeah.
Q: …but can’t make the play to turn the game around in your favor? A: Kudos to them and that’s where we’ve got the youth and we’re playing hard. We’re executing for three quarters, but then you get to the fourth quarter and it seems like, dang, we were close. It’s experience, game experience and you can’t buy, sometimes only being baptized by fire is how you get that experience and they’ll be better for it, we’ll be ready for it in the future, but unfortunately right now we’re not finishing.
Q: You know the way the league is, though, you might be better for it in the future, but, I mean, you don’t win, changes get made. A: Right, exactly, so it’s those who allow those changes to mature and then you reap the benefits, but if there’s constant turnover, like you said in this league, you never see it.
Q: What do you think of [Aaron] Rodgers? A: One of the best quarterbacks out there. And you’re talking about pure just arm talent, not like quarterback play, but just pure arm talent. He’s one of the best in the game, if not the best. Point blank. Period.
S Antoine Bethea
Q: [about the performance of the secondary] A: You go in, week-in-and-week-out, you put the work in, you sit in the film room, you talk about what we’re supposed to do and then we come out on game day and it doesn’t get done, so it’s very frustrating.
Q: Janoris [Jenkins] was saying that he feels like he’s frustrated that he’s only staying on one side of the field and if he traveled with a receiver like he has throughout his career, that could help a lot. What do you think? A: I mean, you know, Rabbit, he’s been around and that’s his opinion. Obviously, Rabbit, he’s a good cover corner for us and obviously we’re just looking for ways that we can help this defense and if he feels as though that’s one way we can improve, then, that’s his opinion.
Q: Are you surprised he’s not being used that way? A: We did it one or two games this year. I know in the past, the defense that I’ve been in with [Bettcher], we had a corner and we did that, so, obviously that’s one question you have to ask the [defensive] coordinator.
Q: In the past, with Bettcher, you did travel- Patrick Peterson traveled- you said, this year, you’ve done it? A: We did it against Tampa.
Q: But obviously not as much, to his liking…. A: To his liking, right.
Q: What happened with the 12-men on the field? A: That’s one of those things that Aaron Rodgers is good at in his career, you know, we’ve gotta be good on that. That’s from the top down, like, if they’re not subbing, then we can’t sub. Obviously, he caught us trying to sub. Like I said, it’s one of those things that [Rodgers] does.
Q: Was that something you guys were prepared for during the week? A: Yeah, that’s something that we talked about: if they don’t sub, then we can’t sub.
Q: What happened on the Lazard touchdown? A: It was a blitz and it was basically like a cover-zero, he [Allen Lazard] did a double-move, and again, it was one of those things where we didn’t work in unison on the back-end, and it was a big play.
Q: So you were matched up man-to-man on him [Allen Lazard]? A: Basically, yeah. That’s what the coverage turns out to be, and it was a big play.
Q: What would be your assessment of how this defense has performed this year? A: Very up-and-down, very inconsistent.
Q: What have you seen from Julian Love with how he has stepped up with [Jabrill] Peppers being out? A: Playmaker; he’s a ball player. He’s going to be a good one. He tackles well, covers well and go[es and] gets the ball, so he’s definitely going to be a good one.
Q: At this point in the season, how much is youth a reason that this defense isn’t playing up to its capability? A: That’s not an excuse anymore. Obviously, experience is your best teacher, so obviously the more the guys play, the more they will see, but at the end of the day, we’re all professionals and we all get paid to do our job and we can’t use youth as an excuse anymore.