<span> <span style="">Opening Statement:</span> In regards to the way the game finished, the two significant notes injurywise were Aaron Stecker with the hamstring and Mark Campbell with the knee. In Campbell's case it's the MCL. I'll have more information once we get the MRI back and are able to find out readings on that. Looking at the tape, some of the important points were being able to hold them to field goals when they were in goal to go situations proved significant. I thought the kicking game gave us a little boost for field position. Offensively, I was encouraged with our ability, especially in the fourth quarter to finish and drive the ball and go up ten points with a little bit over three minutes left in the game.
Q: Can you talk about the execution of your goal line defense?
A: It certainly can provide momentum. When we talked earlier or later last week, the goal line situations that come up in football are kind of funny. You might go four or five weeks without being on the goal line offensively or defensively and then you might have in one game six or seven snaps. That's typically what can happen. At the end of the year when we cut up all the film, normally you're somewhere between 14 and 19 goal line snaps a year. Compared to maybe your two minute offense or defense, that's not a lot. When you look at those snaps at the end of the year, it's very common that all of a sudden four or five will come up in one game. I was pleased with our execution. I thought those were two important sequences for us to hold them to three points instead of six points.
Q: Can you talk about the play of Jeff Charleston?
A: He did a good job. He gave us a little bit of juice. He's in the rotation now. He's a guy that has done a good job in the course of the week. He's one of those guys that have a high motor and it's always going. The hustle play on the one yard line ended up being a sack and on the end side of a dropback pass, he ended up getting a sack. He's a guy that plays with a lot of effort and energy. I was happy and we were happy to see him come up with some of those plays. I thought defensively we did a pretty good job of rushing to the passer as well as disrupting and getting to the football. We had a lot of pass breakups and we were encouraged with that as well.
Q: Are you surprised a guy like that who you signed off the street made the contribution he did?
A: One of the interesting things this week, there's a number of players right now because of some injuries on our roster and our guys in the pro personnel department starting with Ryan Pace and everyone that works with him, they spend an inordinate amount of time watching film, especially now when you have to fill in and sign a Jeff Charleston, a Garrett Hartley at kicker, a punter and these corners for instance. They've done a good job of sorting out the short list and really grading who would be at the top of the short list. In Jeff's case, it's someone we worked out a few weeks back. With Charles' injury, all of a sudden he moves into a position where he's playing more. It's good news for the player when he can fill in and be effective. Our pro department has been good at finding those players.
Q: It's been a couple of weeks since potential suspensions have been discussed. There is a report that Charles Grant, Will Smith and Deuce McAllister will have hearings with the league on Tuesday. Do you care to comment on that?
A: The only thing I know is what you guys know and I heard the same thing sand we just wait from the league office. It really is a league office matter with our players. As soon as we know anything and we can comment on anything more than that, we'll bring it to you. That's exactly what I know. Per the guidelines of the league, we really can't comment outside of that. We're just waiting like everyone else.
Q: Have you prepared yourself for possible suspensions?
A: I think you just have to be mindful of your depth at those positions.
Q: Do you have no reason to not think they won't play on Monday?
A: I think we've got to plan on having them until we're told otherwise and then we go from there.
Q: Don't suspensions usually come down before you start practicing for the week?
A: I think so.
Q: How would you sum up the last four or five weeks away from the Superdome?
A: There's obviously been some ups and downs, two tough division losses and then two other games which were wins. I'm sure all of our players and our staff are looking forward to playing a home game in front of our fans. It seems like it's been over a month and it has been. We're excited about it and we're excited to have an opportunity to play on Monday Night Football. We understand and know that Green Bay's going to be a great challenge. They had a big win yesterday. It's an opportunity for us and I mentioned this before to try to improve during this week and play another good game and get a second win, which we've been unable to do to date this season. Green Bay provides a great challenge. We'll get to work on them beginning today.
Q: Asides from the wins and losses, how did the team handle things being away from the Superdome for so long?
A: I thought the logistics of it went pretty well. Typically when we had to leave for Indianapolis at the start of the season, we handled it pretty well. I thought they handled it well.
Q: Do you think you were handed a competitive disadvantage by being away from your stadium for six weeks?
A: I don't think so. You have to play your games basically how they unfold and you have a stretch before that where you're three weeks away from home. In the end really, you're going to play eight home games and eight away games. The only thing of note would be that one of the home games ended up being a game in London, but we were able to win that game, so I don't think so. I think that it's unusual, but I think by and large our players have handled that well. It's tough for the fans when you're away that long. I think on Monday night we'll have a good crowd. I think they'll be excited. Night games here have typically been loud and certainly we're going to need their help and energy and enthusiasm on a nationally broadcast game, a game that's important for both teams.
Q: What's your assessment of Pierre Thomas' performance?
A: I thought he played pretty well. He was one of the guys offensively, not only in the running game, but in the passing game, graded out well. He gave us some good yards after contact. He has good balance. It was a little unique this week in the gameplan, in that we were out of some of our two back runs with Mike (Karney) being injured, so Billy Miller was able to step in in some degree as a fullback, but by and large a lot of our runs were one back oriented and I thought he did a good job with the execution of those.
Q: Do you plan on giving Thomas more action?
A: I think we were encouraged as a staff. I thought the screen play he gave us was a big play. He was able to make the defensive tackle miss and what looked like was going to be a yard or two gain, was a play that took us down to the one or two yard line and we scored later, so we'll continue to look at the depth there and continue to rotate he and Deuce (McAllister) and hope to get Reggie (Bush) back this week. That's the plan.
Q: Is it too early to know about Reggie?
A: I think so. We were optimistic at this time last week, so maybe a little bit more guarded.
Q: Can you talk about what it would mean to the team psychologically to get on a roll with two straight wins?
A: I think it just breeds confidence. I think when you see some teams that are playing winning football right now, you see them get confident and I think that aspect is very important. Generally when you see teams that make it into the postseason and win the division, there's a stretch where they've won three games, four games, maybe five games in a row and that's not uncommon. That's pretty standard. All of a sudden the close game goes your way and it becomes harder to think about a loss. I think it's a game of momentum. I think it can carry from week to week and that's something that we've not done a good job with so far. This game on Monday night gives us an opportunity to put a second wind together and I think that's important, especially from where we're at. Nothing's changed from a week ago. There's six weeks left in the season and there's no wiggle room. I think all of us understand that, so there's got to be a degree of urgency that we play with and I'm sure the same would go for Green Bay.
Q: What has to happen in goal-line situations to be effective?
A: The common aspect of goal-line football is that initial snap and surge – be it from your front offensively or defensively – that initial surge as to ground gained or ground lost. I thought we played with good pad level and I thought we fit those runs pretty well and then of course when they threw it we were able to make a play. Initially it's the font and the surge and when it's crowded and condensed in tight formations, there's going to be someone free defensively and it becomes a leverage game of where the best hole is and I thought we did a pretty good job of neutralizing their initial blocks and getting our tacklers onto the ball-carrier. When you can have two of those in one game it's important and I think it was very important yesterday.
Q: Do you have to sell out defensively and focus more on the run than the pass?
A: You see a lot of teams throw early in goal-line situations because it becomes that much harder to get a yard or two yards. We've done that. It's a little bit of a guessing game in regards to run or pass, but if you don't defend the run… Deuce had a run yesterday where we got good movement and pretty good push and he was able to fall into the end zone pretty cleanly. I think it's that initial surge. It becomes more problematic in loud environments where the cadence is more of an issue and then your advantage offensively where you don't hear the snap count as well can be neutralized. Fortunately yesterday it wasn't that loud and our guys did a good job.
Q: Does a game like yesterday's give you more confidence in your defense?
A: I'm sure it does. We talked about yesterday being a complete game and we were only penalized two times and it came down to some important defensive stops, even at the end of the game really when they had the ball back down seven and we were able to come up with a key stop along with the red zone and goal-line sequences. It was a good team win and in those aspects of the game I thought we did a pretty good job. We contested some throws; it wasn't perfect all the time and it's an imperfect game but I thought Randall Gay did a good job of contesting some throws and Roman Harper played one of his better games. When we graded the tape out he did a real good job of supporting the run and that was encouraging as well."
Q: Were there any other games this season that you would call complete games?
A: Looking back it was a good team win in London against San Diego. We played a team that was a little bit better offensively with a little bit more firepower and yet from the way the game unfolded I felt we came up defensively with a big stop. It's easy to say that all of our wins were good team wins but I think yesterday from a confidence standpoint and our guys being able to get on to the next play and really get past the last play and understanding the importance of doing that, we handled that pretty well. There were some big conversions – they had a big third-and-15 they converted when Tyler (Thigpen) scrambled and made a big pass play and then the quarterback draw play that he made. Those are plays that can set you back but defensively it's critical that you get on to the next stop and the next down and I thought we were able to do that fairly well."
Q: Do you have thoughts on your position within the conference now?
A: Like we said a week ago, there's little wiggle room and there's obviously a sense of urgency. Each week you're playing to stay in the hunt, to be in the conversation. With six weeks left in the season, that's still a lot of football, but for the teams that are on the bubble, it becomes that much more pressing."
Q: Would you call this week's game an "elimination game"?
A: I don't know. I thought last week was a game we needed to win. When we went and played San Diego and both teams were 3-4, I think everyone felt a sense of urgency that the winner of that game going into the bye was going to have a better opportunity at a postseason run than the loser of that game. There is a sense of urgency that this game is important and it's certainly important for Green Bay. I think that after this game next week there's going to be that same urgency because not only the division, but the rest of the NFC is playing pretty well. There are going to be a lot of games where we play each other here in the next three, four or five weeks and that always seems to clear things up, but again there's little wiggle room."
Q: Looking at your conference record of 2-4, do you think that could hurt you?
A: I think it's hard to begin to look at tiebreaking scenarios with six weeks left. It's really wins and losses and understanding the importance of those opportunities as each week they become one less. There are six games left and we're sitting here at five wins – I think it's important that we have a good work week this week and study for a much different opponent than we just played and an opportunity for the first time to get a second win in a row and see if we can't improve on some of the things that we didn't do as well yesterday. That's the challenge.
Q: Do you remember who you played here last in a home game?
A: Was it Oakland?
Q: A lot of players had a long hesitation with that question. Does it seem like longer than a month since you've played at home?
A: The one thing about the season is that typically you get into a routine and the weeks just kind of fly by because this is Monday and tomorrow we're into the game plan – this week will be a little bit different with the players back in on Thursday. But you get into those routines and you really don't look ahead. Often if you asked that question to our players of who we're playing three weeks from now they would have trouble answering that. You really just know who you're playing and you probably know who you're playing the following week, but we're all creatures of habit to some degree and you get into your work week routine and it can go by fairly quickly. It does seem like it has been a while since we've played a home game and yet I think all of us are looking forward to that opportunity and I'm sure the fans are as well.
Q: Would you ever want to do something like this again?
A: I think there has been a lot of positives about it. It really just comes down to the London game. Outside of that, the schedule is very typical. It's not uncommon to play a couple weeks on the road or a couple weeks at home in a row – maybe three – but it really just comes down to a home game in Europe rather than playing it at home. That's really the difference.
Q: Do you feel like the rest of the league is starting to who Lance Moore is?
A: He has been consistent. I think the players and the people that study the tape certainly pay attention to who is getting the ball on third down and Lance has done a good job of being very consistent. He has strong hands in traffic and has real good athleticism. To his credit, he's a guy that really came from first base, that it didn't come real easy to. He was a free agent that played over in Europe and has really had to earn each inch of the way so there's a little bit in all of us that roots for players like that and he has worked extremely hard to put himself in this position. There's obviously a lot of confidence that Drew (Brees) has in him. The play yesterday was an audible. The corner bit up on a slant move and Lance did a good job of getting outside leverage and then staying in bounds. But he has been very important, certainly in the absence of Marques (Colston) with the hand injury and now it's hard to get him off the field.
Q: Has Marques Colston struggled a little bit at times since coming back?
A: I was encouraged last week. He made some tough catches in traffic and made a few yesterday. There's still a play or two that you look at and I'm sure that he would want back. You see a continued improvement in regards to him getting back into the flow of things. When you're out for as long as he was, there's usually a transition period coming back in, so it's just finding that snap total and that balance with what he's doing – that's really the key."
Q: Is he comfortable with his thumb?
A: I think so. I'm sure that he would tell you that it might not be the same as when it's completely healthy but I think he has gotten used to the little brace that he wears. He puts the gloves over it, so I think that part of it he's handled pretty well."
Q: When will you know more about Reggie Bush?
A: Really just during the week. It's a lot like last week and so I'll try to keep you up-to-date as best I can as we go. Our next practice is Thursday, so hopefully this extra day for him will help. But we'll practice Thursday just like it would be a Wednesday and we'll practice Friday just like it would be a Thursday, with each day just basically pushed back a day and then see how it responds to the practice time.
Q: So you're giving the players off Tuesday and Wednesday?