Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan
Q: Is Aaron [Rodgers] as good as there is getting the ball to the hot?
Coach Bresnahan: You know what – I think he's as quick as there is right now in the game in releasing the ball. The one thing that you do is when you study his throw areas, his target areas, is even though they're deadly deep down each sideline, he's got majority of his throws quick in the shallow areas. So then they rely on their guys to make plays after the catch, yardage after the catch, and they do a great job of it. So the challenge's there – when you have so many different weapons and you chart their first 15 and you've got eight, nine guys that have catches in the first 15 plays, you can't defend one guy. Yeah sure, [Greg] Jennings is his lead target and with [Jermichael] Finley and then you go with Jordy Nelson but you can't target just one particular player or you're going to get burned somewhere else. So, you've got to keep him a little bit off balanced with a mix of coverages. But at the same time, you can't do too much or he's going to pick you apart because if you're not sure on what you're doing, he's as good as there is right now in getting rid of the ball and making a good, quick decision.
Q: He's also able to keep plays alive with his legs and move around in the pocket. How do you deal with his mobility?
Coach Bresnahan: It's like everything else. You have to have a rush plan, you have to have a way to contain a quarterback and again when you watch the troubles that we've had, we've had a loss of contain or we've opened up an inside rush lane. You can't do this with this guy. Now he looks to, especially when he goes to his right, to throw the ball down the field and make a play – extend the play. When he goes to his left, it's a little bit more run-oriented or throw the ball away but he's still deadly over there if he can get the shoulders square. So, you've got to have a very coordinated rush plan. Our guys have a hell of a challenge in front of them.
Q: [Michael] Huff was saying yesterday the D-line has to have a huge game to help us on the backend. Is the blueprint for taking out a guy like Rodgers kind of what [Mike] Waufle's defensive line did to [Tom] Brady in the Super Bowl. I mean you've got to have that kind of game…
Coach Bresnahan: Yeah you know what, you do. You have to get him off his rhythm and some of the time when the ball's coming out so quick in the short routes, that gets tougher. So, you have to have your coverage combinations to take away the short routes to buy your defensive line so it's a hand-in-hand deal, but you do. You have to have the defensive line step up and that's been our challenge this week is that they have to get after him, get the hands up, get some tip balls and right now, they're sitting undefeated. So there hasn't been a blueprint totally out there. You've seen some guys come close, especially the Giants the other night but you just brought it up – it's a shooting match and they outscored you. So again, you're not going to eliminate the plays in this game but you have to minimize them and keep them within a good realm of keeping our offense in the game and then we've got to limit their series. The best way to keep guys like that out of the end zone is keep them on the sideline, so that's again, that's stuff that we have to be concerned with and getting off the field, and not having seven, eight or nine play drives. We've got to get off the field in three, four, five and try to force them into punts and field goal attempts.
Q: First half of last year, Rodgers was getting sacked quite a bit. Since then, nobody's been able to really…
Coach Bresnahan: Yeah, he still gets hit and sacked more than you think. He's got 29 sacks right now, so it's not like he doesn't get sacked. But with everything they do around him and you're scoring 38, 35, 45 points, people don't look at the number of sacks. So you can get after him, you can hit him and he doesn't want to get hit. He wants to get rid of the ball so quick and get it out, and he knows where his guys are. They've been together for awhile now and they do a great job of understanding the freedom they have within the route, but the timing of the route so the ball is out on time every single time. If you get him to hold the ball, that's when he gets not frustrated but impatient.
Q: He's had great numbers against the blitz. Is it a situation where you have to get to him with the four or you can't…?
Coach Bresnahan: You prefer to do that because you prefer to play coverage with vision to him, so that you can be breaking on the ball and eliminate the yardage after the catch. But you still have to have a good mix and I think when you get into a little bit of man coverage, not necessarily blitz but man coverage, you get to hold the ball a little bit more.
Q: You had Charles Woodson when he was young player. When you see what he is now, any observations, any surprises? It seemed like towards the end of the career, you were here at that point where he'd had a lot of injuries, there weren't a lot of people looking at him in free agency at the time and he just took off in Green Bay…
Coach Bresnahan: Well I think the fact that you mature as a player, you mature as a person. Charles had his first child and I think he even said it that when that happened to him, the sense of responsibility changed and his whole life changed. But, I couldn't be more proud of Charles. I mean I sit back and watch him every game. I love to pull him out in the offseason and study him because the things that he does now that he's getting all the recognition for are things he still did here. The causing turnovers, the way he tackles, the ferocity in which he tackles, and goes after the ball to strip every single time and playmaking ability. I think it was a couple of weeks ago – that interception where he came over the top, I mean, he's the only guy that's going to make that type of play and it's fun to watch him. I wish him well, but not too much luck this weekend.
Q: Tyvon Branch – what has he been able to do for you?
Coach Bresnahan: Tyvon is in my mind a Pro Bowl player without a doubt. I mean this is a guy that every game, he comes with his A-game and effort-wise, tenacity-wise, playing physical, doing what you ask him to do and we do move him around. He plays safety in base, he plays nickel in nickel, he plays in a corner position in our big package against big personnel so he does anything we ask and he never says a word. He comes out and practices 1000 miles an hour every day in practice and he is the epitome of a Pro Bowl player in my mind.
Q: In order to get to the Pro Bowl, don't you have to get those interceptions to get in with the high-profile people that you see around the league? They always look at the stats…
Coach Bresnahan: Yeah I think, especially with fan-voting and all that, just the name – the household name, you have to get it out there a little bit but I think his peers know. The guys that watch him play or play against him every Sunday know what Tyvon Branch does and it clearly shows on film. So anybody that knows football sees the impact that he has on a game.
Q: What happened to your run defense last week? I got the impression that you guys had turned the corner…
Coach Bresnahan: We did. We did and it's a total disappointment. I've told you – the most disappointing thing for me when I step up here is the rollercoaster ride. One week you're good, one week you're not, one week you're good. I've told you the word we've used is consistency and we didn't do that last week. With Reggie Bush, you had to set the edge and they hit us on a little bit of a gimmick play; that fake toss where he cut it back and they got the big play early. But then we kind of controlled it but when you give them five, six, eight yards on some of these mulching plays, you don't do that and we have to step up to the challenge. What we did is we've said from here on out, it is a fresh start. I mean we're in a four-game audition right now for the playoffs the way we're looking at them. We've got four very good football teams that we're going to play and then shoot, we're playing the best right off the bat. So this is a great audition for the playoffs, so we've got to step up and we've got to have our A-game but we're treating it like a whole season.
Q: How's [Mike] Mitchell's versatility with matching up with guys like [Jermichael] Finley and things like that?
Coach Bresnahan: He brings a lot of versatility. When you tie him in with Michael Huff and Tyvon Branch, it gives you some serious versatility in your backend. The things that you can do to mix and match and give it different look now, but he's a guy that again is working at it. He fought through the injury early in the season and he's stepped up and really given us something extra the last four or five weeks that has allowed us to do some things with Tyvon that we wouldn't have done with Tyvon. So yeah, he definitely adds to our package and he's really practicing and doing the things we ask him very well.
Q: Who is having the worst time sleeping heading up to Sunday facing Aaron Rodgers? Is it defensive line, linebackers, or secondary?
Coach Bresnahan: You know I would hope to tell you that nobody. I hope we're getting well rested because if you're a competitor and that's as a coach or player, you guys right here – you want to play the best. This is the greatest challenge going, especially against a team that is the champions and they're undefeated, what a great opportunity. So, I hope our guys are resting well and getting ready to go.
Q: With passing offenses evolving and guys like Finley going four or five spots, how much tougher now is the spot of safety than it was 10 years ago?
Coach Bresnahan: Oh, much tougher. Much tougher and like Hue started to say – when Tony Gonzalez came into the league and Antonio Gates younger in his career, I mean these guys brought a whole new element to the tight end position similar to what Kellen Winslow did when he was with the Chargers. But to me, this is a guy that again adds a version of versatility to their offense where they could put him at number one, they could put him at number two, they could put him in a traditional tight end position, they could put him in the backfield, there's so many ways that they can try to get the mismatch. You have to be disciplined in what you do and you have to change up the coverages so that you don't get that mismatch too many times.
Q: You had a little bit of a run there with multiple interceptions in back-to-back games. How can you get back on track and cause more turnovers?
Coach Bresnahan: It's a concerted effort and if you know turnovers, turnovers come in bunches just like what happened in the three-game win streak. We had 10 turnovers in that time frame with one from the special teams, but again, it's ball-hawking, it's taking the drill work that we do every week with the turnover circuit to the field and it's not just interceptions. It's causing fumbles, creating big hits that cause fumbles, sacks that cause fumbles, and then recovering fumbles so it's tying everything together. That's what we do in our turnover circuit.
Q: Do you want snow or you want it to be a nicer day?
Coach Bresnahan: Doesn't matter to me. I've done it all. We played in whatever the temperature was last week, we've played in the Snow Bowl, it doesn't matter. Really, it doesn't matter to me.