PACKERS HEAD COACH MIKE McCARTHY
MM: I'm very pleased with our start to the preseason. We obviously want to win, but tonight, as always in the preseason, is about creating as many opportunities for your football team as you possibly can. I thought we were productive – the fundamentals I'm sure will be evaluated, and we'll take a look at it because there are definitely things we can improve on. To compete against the Patriots is always a lot of fun and I felt good about the work that we were able to get done tonight. With that, I'll take your questions.
Q: You said at halftime you were getting bored silly out there. This is a different role for you on gameday. How did you handle that and how was the communication with everybody?
MM: The communication was really good. I felt good about the whole communication network – the offense, the defense, the special teams and the medical staff – just all of the things that led the flow over the course of the game. It's usually reflected – a pretty good indicator is the substitutions on special teams and I thought that our guys handled that pretty well. We're off to a good start.
Q: Do you think that the play you challenged in the second half on the spot in your old role was something you would have been on to? Did you see that right away or did somebody tell you?
MM: No, we all saw [it] on the sideline and actually had a really good picture up on the Jumbotron, so that's why I challenged.
Q: How about your two backup quarterbacks?
MM: I thought the group played well. Scott [Tolzien] had the offense running at a very high tempo. They were doing a very good job of no-huddle mechanics and he was obviously productive, and I thought Brett [Hundley] did some nice things. The touchdown throw was a nice play – he had a couple throws that were drops – so I think both of those guys got off to a good start.
Q: You had such a good rhythm in the first quarter with Aaron Rodgers. When you were going for it on fourth down, was that something where you just wanted the keep the flow going?
MM: Those decisions are made before the game. Going for it on fourth down and two-point plays, it's really just the opportunity when you're in those situations to take advantage of them with the opportunity to work them and compete against the Patriots. No, I don't think I'll be going for it on fourth down six times a game or however many times we did it today. It was really just about taking advantage of the opportunity.
Q: Because it's a preseason game?
MM: Correct. Preseason, yes.
Q: I know you only saw him out there for a couple of snaps, but I was wondering if you can offer your take on what Tom Brady looked like?
MM: Tom looked excellent. He's so fundamentally sound, in total command of the offense. I think he looked good.
Q: Did you think that the balls to Eddie Lacy and the one to Davante Adams in the corner on your other drive down there, do you think they should have been caught?
MM: I'll have to look. I think they were catchable balls, but yeah. There were too many drops in the first half [and] too many missed tackles, but I thought we did a much better job with that in the second half.
Q: You get the challenge right whether you're calling offensive plays or not, but what about other aspects of the operations today? What felt different to you? What did you like? What felt uncomfortable maybe or just weird?
MM: It's totally different. I'm not competing against their defense calling plays. It's a different role, so yeah, you do enjoy the game more. That's what a number of people were telling me beforehand, that you do enjoy the game more. It's preseason [and] there are a lot of things going on that you don't think about during a normal game – substitutions, trying to get certain guys opportunities. We played no-huddle the whole first half so I wanted to make sure we got our fullbacks some work, so those kinds of things. Those are conversations you don't have in a regular season [game].
Q: What did you think of your two rookie cornerbacks, LaDarius Gunter and Quinten Rollins?
MM: I think they did some really great things. Our guys are doing a great job – we're getting our hands on a lot of balls – you can see it in practice. I think as a secondary, it's happening more this year than in prior years. You can see it in training camp practices, and I think it definitely carried over tonight.
Q: Did you see any improvement or reaction from the inside linebackers? Did you see them stepping up?
MM: I thought our linebackers made plays. We've got to watch the video, but I thought our defense was very active and I thought our younger guys did a heck of a job in the second half.
Q: What were your impressions of Jimmy Garoppolo?
MM: I like him. He's athletic. I remember him being an athlete, and I was impressed by the way he moved in and out of the pocket.
Q: Is it important for you to get Ty Montgomery as many return opportunities both on punts and kickoffs here to see what he's got?
MM: That was the goal. That was the goal, to play Ty Montgomery on both punt and kickoff to try to get him as many opportunities – particularly punt [returns]. I think he's a little more comfortable in the kickoffs.
Q: Did you feel like you needed something to do with your hands? You looked like you're used to having that play sheet with you, and you didn't have it out there. Was it a different feel on the sidelines?
MM: Yeah, it's different. I'm actually building my sideline sheet as the preseason goes on, so that's the plan. I didn't know what to do with my hands. I'll have to look at the tape.
Q: You were down in the red zone twice. You had good field position. You drove, you got a lot of yards and three points. Were you disappointed or pleased with the number one offense?
MM: I don't really view it that way. Obviously, we want to score touchdowns. That's the goal. I'm more focused on the opportunities, and I think it's great work to be in fourth-down situations, two point plays – you can't really simulate that in practice. We compete against each other, but to have the opportunity to do it in a game-like setting – those are very valuable reps.
Q: You know what you've got in Eddie Lacy and James Starks. What did you see from the other three young guys? They all did something good it looked like.
MM: I thought they all ran the ball well. No doubt about it. I thought the backs played well and [were] productive. I'll give you a better assessment once we watch the tape, but I thought as a group, the run game was productive.
Q: I know you have turned the page, but did it feel good to get back on the field and play the way you did in the first quarter off of last year's finish?
MM: Definitely. It's a new year. It's our first time to compete and to come up and compete against this organization, this football team, it's great work and exactly what we needed, and we took our first step as a football team and we'll grow from it.
Check out a selection of the best images from the Patriots preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, August 13, 2015.
Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback
Q: How does it feel to start a game, to play football?
AR: Feels good, good outing for us tonight, we moved the ball well. [We] had a lot of reps, got our conditioning in. [There's] stuff to work on, of course, but it was a good start for us.
Q: What did you think of the offensive production and not translating it into touchdowns?
AR: Well, it's a short playbook, it's the first preseason game. You know, for us, in our progression as an offense, it's about kind of getting in shape with the no-huddle. And we moved the ball pretty well in the red zone; we were in one personnel group the entire time, limited substitutions. So, it was good exercise out there for us and communication was very good. Corey [Linsley] did a good job up front, the line blocked really well. We made some plays, we missed some plays. We had some chances on some throws and catches and didn't put it together. That's what the preseason is for and I am happy with the first game.
Q: Going for it on fourth down and two-point conversions, talk about that?
AR: That was Mike [McCarthy], he wanted to practice doing that. So, you know, it was nice. I don't know if it's going to happen in the regular season, hopefully it does. [It] gives us some more opportunity to convert them. But yeah, the two-point thing will be an interesting thing when we get into the season, especially late in the year, when the weather gets rough, if we decide to go for two or kick a 33-yard extra point.
Q: Aaron, so much preparation goes into the preseason, but when you look across the field, how do you feel about a guy like Tom Brady going through everything that he's going through right now?
AR: Yeah, not a lot of preparation in specific to the opponent, especially in the first and fourth game. There is a little more preparation in the second and third games, but yeah, Tom's a buddy. And, yeah, he's going through some stuff right now and I'm sure we'll have a resolution here pretty soon.
Q: It looked like you guys had a moment there at the end of the game. Can you shed light on what you guys might have talked about?
AR: I can't. That's a personal conversation, but Tom's a friend, and we'll see what happens.
Q: What was your sense of Jimmy Garoppolo?
AR: Again, we have played probably some very vanilla stuff on defense, it looked like. They played like three coverages. So you know, when you get into the second and third games, it's more like a road game. But he made some good throws, he's got a strong arm, and he's able to move around and extend plays, which is definitely an asset in this league. And I think he's got a good future.
Q: Would you comment on Scott Tolzien and Brett Hundley?
AR: Yeah, they played really good. It was fun to see Brett get a touchdown. He took a couple big shots, but stayed in there, took a couple good checks. He's a great kid, really cares about it, puts a lot of time in. Scott, you know, it's just a natural progression for him, making plays – he made a good throw there on fourth down to Jeff [Janis]. Nice to see Scott be productive, as he should.
Q: You know last year you didn't play in the opener at all and today you played a lot. Did you get what you wanted out of it? You said your goal was to stay healthy. Was it also good to take a hit or two, to get back into it?
AR: I didn't expect it from the backside there, but yeah, it's good to get out there and take a couple shots. And move around, I felt good moving in and out of the pocket and the line did a good job extending plays. They covered pretty tight on a few of the plays and we didn't have a lot of guys open, so we had to kind of extend them. And we had some chances to make some things happen, felt like Q [Andrew Quarless] might have had a first down before the play on the fourth-and-one that got stopped. Regular season, that might have been a challenge play there, although Mike had a good challenge late in the game, but we had a chance of Davante [Adams] for a touchdown. He kind of lost the ball in the lights, he said, and then you know, on the fourth down scramble didn't really have a chance. That ball was coming too hot for Eddie [Lacy] to handle and then the last drive, we had a couple chances probably to score a touchdown. But, you know, that's what preseason is for. We accomplished some of our goals, but we have a long way to go.
Q: How do you hope it turns out for Tom? Do you feel he deserves the four games?
AR: You know, I don't know enough about it to make a comment on that. You know, Tom is a buddy and I'd like to see it figured out before the season.
Q: Did the play calling thing make any difference for you tonight? Or is this not the night to know and you have to wait for the regular season?
AR: [It] was a good start for us. Tom [Clements] was very calm on the headset and he enunciated well. We had a headset issue at one point, but that's kind of preseason. I was telling Brett about my first preseason game when the headset went out and he had one [headset] out there and was trying to get us into a good formation, but that's preseason football and Tom did a really good job.
Q: Why is the quarterback position such a fraternity in the league?
AR: Because there are only 32 of us. It's a tough position. You face a lot of expectations, a lot of adversity. We also have a great opportunity and platform to make a difference. I think you realize how difficult it is to play the position, and every single day, you wear a lot of hats. You know, as a leader, as an encourager, as a supporter, as a cheerleader, as a disciplinarian. You lead from a lot of different vantage points and it's also really thrilling, so you know what those guys are going through so it's fun to get to know some of the guys.
Q: So you were OK with the air pressure in the ball tonight?
AR: Yeah, it was fine.
Q: Being taken out for that amount of games, what do you think it would be like?
AR: Yeah, I missed eight games in '13 and stuff. It's tough to miss games. I missed a game from a concussion. That was a tough week. Yeah, it's tough to not be out there.
Q: There was a point when you, Tom [Clements] and Davante [Adams] came out on the field during a timeout and you were talking to Ty Montgomery. I mean, he's the guy that's got all of our attention during camp so far. What did you think of what you saw from him? Were you just working with the young guy there?
AR: Well, Scott didn't come over, so I was trying to tell Ty to tell Scott something. They had two minutes left, two-minute drive, two timeouts, between two minutes and a minute, you're not so worried as much about the clock, especially with two timeout. So, it's about getting first downs, instead of just running straight out of bounds. Yeah, Ty made some good plays. He caught the ball on the punt return. That's big and I can imagine the nerves when that ball is coming down for a young rookie. But he made a first down catch and I had a couple opportunities. I think he was frustrated by stepping out of bounds with that second foot, but he's a smart kid, cares about it and he's going to continue to improve for us.
Q: What's the next progression for the next game? The next step?
AR: Probably play a little more in the second one judging by what we did tonight, but you know, it will be a good test for us. Day game, which is different in the preseason, but Pittsburgh will be a very well coached team. And we look forward to that meeting.
Q: Anyone else grab your attention, you said you like to root for guys.
AR: Well, I was happy for some of the defensive guys. I think Quinten [Rollins] played really well, he had a lot of opportunities, had a couple chances on interceptions, but he was around the ball a lot, tackled well. The safeties, Jean [Fanor] and Chris [Banjo] did a good job of making open field tackles. Andy Mulumba had a sack that was kind of set up by Datone [Jones]. You know, Datone was very active tonight. Jake Ryan made some plays, so it's fun to see those guys get after it. Offensively, you know we had a lot of guys with opportunities. [Larry] Pinkard had a nice catch and run for us. Running backs did a good job; Alonzo [Harris] and [John] Crockett, there with the touchdown. That has to be pretty thrilling, he was holding onto the ball pretty tightly. Don't know if Brett would try to take it from him, but yeah, I was happy for all the guys that got in and played well.
Kennard Backman, Wide Receiver
(On his success tonight)
"It definitely felt good to get my first catch."
(On sharing the field with Tom Brady)
You have those moments but you have to stay focused. I'm not going to lie to you it does cross your mind, just being out there with the atmosphere. It was just a blessing."
Don Barclay, Tackle/Guard
(On playing in his first game since sustaining a knee injury that sidelined him for the entire 2014 season)
"It felt good to be back out there playing with these guys and competing. You just got to build off it and get better for the next time. There were a couple of plays I didn't like and would like to have back, but I'll get back out there and work on it in practice."
Randall Cobb, Wide Receiver
(On what he wants to accomplish before the season starts)
"This is the first opportunity you get to go against a different defense rather than going against our defense. I'm making sure some of the new things I am trying to do with my releases and with my route running that I have been working on and see how it works against a different opponent."
(On team goals)
"We are setting our foundation right now. We do not have any expectations. We are living in the moment and trying to get better every day."
(Asked if he sets personal goals)
"I do, but I keep them to myself."
Casey Hayward, Cornerback
(On the goal for the season)
"When the first team is out there we just need to be really consistent. We just need to try and play consistent ball. We are going to be facing 'ones' all year and facing better quarterbacks all year. We are going to facing Tom Brady's every game, so we have to come to play lock and loaded and have a lot of confidence. We need to feed off each other, not just from the offense, but we feed off them and the offense feeds off of us."
Brett Hundley, Quarterback
(On his first NFL game)
"My teammates helped me out a lot back there and the O-line sort of eased my nerves. They were joking back there. It helped me out a lot. My teammates picked me up when I was little tense. My first play I came in and you know [fullback John] Kuhn was cracking a joke and the O-line was cracking jokes and we were just having a good time. It eased my nerves."
(On how he thought he did)
"I think I did alright. No one's perfect but I feel like it was a good start. I just hope to get better."
(On what it feels like to put a touchdown drive together)
"It feels awesome. First NFL touchdown pass and to put against a drive like that against New England was an awesome experience. I'm blessed and happy to be in this kind of atmosphere. These teammates – they're awesome. I just can't say enough."
(On his mindset going into the game)
"Just learn, do what the coaches taught me, do what I did in practice. Just not be tense, go out there and have fun."
Jeff Janis, Wide Receiver
(On his game playing)
"Yeah coming from last year, being a rookie, there is so much to learn. I think it is so much easier to go up, people seeing you make plays and things like that. Your second year you got to kind of maintain that. So hopefully I can show the coaches that I'll be able to maintain that and hopefully be able to make the team and be a part of the team this year."
(On the touchdown)
"Scottie's [Tolzien] been making good throws all camp. He's been doing his job, so it makes my job that much easier."
Ty Montgomery, Wide Receiver
(On his first NFL action)
"It was just another football game. It was definitely faster, and different, but it was just football."
(On the first punt)
I just wanted a chance to return it, and I figured I would because they were backed up and they brought their gunners in. I just peaked up at the ball and peaked back down to make sure nobody was there and I just took my shot.
Mike Pennel, Defensive Tackle
(On how he thought the defense played)
"We played well. I was excited to finally see the young players out there and see them perform in a game."
(On how his play has improved)
"That's just the second year. Becoming more comfortable with the system and knowing the plays, it's just the natural progression."
B.J. Raji, Defensive Tackle
(On the Game)
"They came out with a heavy run personnel so you just have to fight. I am happy with the progress but we have a lot of work to do."
(On playing in New England)
"It is tough to ignore, having gone to school in this area, but this is a business trip. Once the game starts that is my focus. Right now I am going to see some of my family, so that will be fun, but for the game we focus on the game."
(On his goal for the season)
"To be disruptive and to get the defense back to the elite status that I know we can be. We need to stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback."
Richard Rodgers, Tight End
(On coming back to Massachusetts)
"Obviously, it is good to come back. I heard everyone call my name from the stands but I couldn't acknowledge them. It was a fun experience. I came here when I was in high school so it was fun. It's a preseason game so there was not much at stake, but like I said, it was a fun experience. I think I had a couple St. John's people watching me."
(On seeing college teammate Chris Harper)
"I got to talk to him after the game. He played well today, he had a couple catches. He looked good out there."
(On team goals)
"Obviously we are looking forward to our major goal this year which is winning the Super Bowl. We didn't get that accomplished last year but this is a new year and we are focused on it."
(On playing with Aaron Rodgers)
"He's a cool guy. He is very good with the young guys. He brought me, Davante [Adams], Corey [Linsley], really everyone, along last year and we had the benefits of the older guys really push us and help us along the way."
Quinten Rollins, Cornerback
(On what he thought of his first NFL game)
"It was fun. It was good to get out there and go against guys we haven't seen. We had fun playing fast and hard."
(On the physical element of his game)
"I got that a lot going through the process of the draft – that I was a basketball player that was known to be soft. But growing up I was a physical kid. I was always physical on the court doing all the little things. I don't mind the physical part."
(On playing a lot on the outside tonight)
"I really don't care, whatever I can do to help the team. I just need to put myself in a position whether I am inside or outside, to make a play on the ball."
Jake Ryan, Linebacker
(On the game)
"I'm just learning. Especially for us rookies, it is about getting in and getting our feet wet. I think that is what happened in this game and it is one of four. The number one goal is to make the team. Everyone is working hard and trying to show what they got"
Scott Tolzien, Quarterback
(On the game)
"We were all just anxious and looking forward to it. You look back even when we started in April and it is all building up to game day. I think more than anything everyone is just excited to play against a different opponent and be out there on your own without the coaches. That is what we enjoy."