Head Coach Scott Linehan

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

(Opening statement injury report)

“Paul Smith is out with that eye injury. Couple small fractures around that orbital eye area they call it, so definitely out this game and probably the next. I think it looks like there’s a good chance with a bye coming up, that he should be ready to at least have a shot after the bye. We haven’t counted out the next week, but he’d be highly doubtful then as well. Orlando practiced some today. Taking it kind of slow. He’s questionable. Feels much better than he did last week. It’s really too early to tell where he’s going to be. We’ll evaluate him day-to-day. Fahkir Brown has a sore ankle. He’ll be listed on there today as probable. We just limited him today because of some tenderness in his ankle, but it shouldn’t be a problem.”

(Opening statement signing of LB Isaiah Kacyvenski)

“Obviously you all know about the signing of Isaiah Kacyvenski. Isaiah’s been with Seattle. I’m sure you all remember him playing in this division. He’s been known as one of the better special teams players, as all teams have a lot of those core special teams players. I’m a little familiar with Isaiah. When he was a free agent, we were trying to get him to come to Minnesota when I was up there. He ended up staying in Seattle. There are circumstances to how he ended up here. We certainly didn’t expect a player of this caliber to be available, and with Paul’s injury and looking for a guy…for two reasons. He’s a great special teams player, and he’s also a heck of a good linebacker. I think it improves our football team. He’ll help in all areas of special teams. We’re going to have fun with figuring out how to pronounce his name, or the special teams coach’s name, Ligashesky and Kacyvenski. Between the two of them, I think I’ve got it. A great sign for us. Unfortunately we had to let Dwaine Carpenter go. I told Dwaine to hang in there. You never know what can happen. He’s been doing a good job for us, it’s just that we had to make room for Isaiah.”

(Opening statement high school coach of the week)

“Something that I think is really important to acknowledge is each week we have a high school coach of the week. This week’s coach of the week is Bob Button from Parkway North High School. They’ve got a 5-0 start. We want to acknowledge that. We certainly want the area programs and coaches that are doing a terrific job to acknowledge and congratulate him from the Rams.”

(On RB Paul Smith requiring surgery)

“It will heal. I don’t know how they show up in there, but they just see a couple of small fractures around the eye area of the skull. It sounds probably worse than it is. It was a pretty good shot he took there, plus he had a concussion. With those two injuries, it’s going to take a while before he’s cleared.”

(On if he looks more at the defensive numbers or the plays the defense made)

“Each game’s different. Great defenses, in my opinion, are opportunistic. Get the ball. They’ve certainly done a great job of that. Better than anybody in the league I think. At this point, I don’t know that anyone’s gotten any more. Some games you’re going to have better games yards wise or points wise, and I think to this point, we’ve hit our points goal on defense until this last game. Again, we hit a team whose offense was hitting a stride. We alluded to it last week that some games are going to be a typical NFL-type game, where it comes down to the last drive, but maybe not that high scoring. Then every once in a while, you get one of those shootouts. We happened to be in that one, and our defense still made more plays than our opposition. That was the key.”

(On Kacyvenski starting immediately on special teams)

“Immediately. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t starting on all four right away. That’s where he’ll fit in comfortably from the beginning. We’ve got to bring him up to speed on the defense. He’ll be active, and be serving as a back up on the defensive side. He’ll get more and more comfortable with what we’re doing defensively as we go with this thing.”

(On if Kacyvenski will help kickoff coverage)

“I think so. He’s played so many spots during his career in the NFL on special teams, that it’s pretty easy to make that transition. There’s a lot of schemes that are similar. I know Bob knows a lot about him as well and has been coaching against him, and knows the spots that he’s played and things like that. We’ll put him in the positions on the coverage teams or the return teams where he’s got the most experience.”

(On where Kacyvenski will start)

“We’ll start him in the middle. We’ll kind of move those guys around here until we get him comfortable with the defense. I can see him backing up our middle linebacker spot with both he and Chillar…along with Jamal Brooks still in the mix. It might affect who’s active and who isn’t on Sunday now. We’ve got probably more linebackers than normal on our 53 right now.”

(On how he prepares to face QB Brett Favre)

“I think getting ready for Brett is the obvious, but there are some other players on that offense as well. He and Donald Driver have been hooking up now for a number of years, and have been quite a combination. I know Ahman Green didn’t play last week because I think of a tight hamstring. We expect him to play this week so you’ve got a guy who has played at the top level, the top of the game, for a number of years, hasn’t missed a game in forever, who I’ve seen at his best, and not at his best. When he’s at his best, I don’t think there’s anyone better. They also can sneak up on you with a pretty lethal running attack when they get their running game going too. Being in that division for three years, this is the kind of game that you’d really better be ready for.”

(On RB Tony Fisher’s performances)

“He still does a lot of things that don’t show up statistically, but he’s on all of our special teams. Does a lot of…he’s not the returner, but he’s the off returner. Knows that role real well. He’s on the punt teams and usually gets the toughest block assignment on the punt protection team. He does all those things, and then he has to know all the third down protections, and be ready to go there. He’s been really productive for the amount of plays he’s played. If you really do it by per play, his production and ability to convert third downs and pick up the blitz, he’s done a great job.”

(On Fisher’s positive attitude)

“No question there. He’s one of those typical guys that we talk about accepting your role and making it the most important job on the team, he does that 100 percent. Does a great job of that, and embraces everything that we preach as coaches and players. He doesn’t have to be the most outspoken guy to be a leader. He’s a heck of a leader for our special teams and our team because he just does everything that we ask, and does it at a high level.”

(On who will back up RB Madison Hedgecock at fullback)

“We’ll make the decision by the end of the week, but right now we’ll probably move another tight end up. Dominique Byrd got some reps today in there. Assuming he has a good week of practice, he’s certainly someone that could fill that void, not as a fullback, but as maybe an H-back type of a guy that if we needed to have someone in the backfield or also out wide, he could do that as well. It’s really his strength. He’s been kind of inching his way back into getting a chance to get active on Sunday. Hopefully he takes advantage of this opportunity this week.”

(On Hedgecock’s performances)

“He’s done a good job. It’s taken him a while to get back from that ankle injury. That slowed him down. When he played these last two weeks, he did a real nice job of blocking, knows his assignments, and has enough experience where you feel good about him playing. He played quite a bit last year and did a nice job. This is a great opportunity for him to get some more snaps.”

(On if playing at Lambeau Field is different from other stadiums)

“I wouldn’t be telling you the truth if I said no. It’s still my favorite place, other than where my home crowd is, to play. We played there every year when I was at Minnesota. It was always a great game. A great venue. The fans are loyal and noisy and loud, and get after you, and it makes it that much more fun if you can figure out a way to win the game. There’s something about…you know you’re in the NFL when you walk out there on that field. There’s something special about it.”

(On if he hears the “Frozen Tundra” voice in his head)

“You wouldn’t be a football fan or an NFL fan if you didn’t think about all that. Once you start playing, it’s another state, another game. You do have fun with the tradition. I’m real big on the tradition of the league, and where you play and those kinds of things.”

(On if he thinks a lot about being in first place)

“It’s not our nature to talk about where we’re at. Like I said, you’ve got to acknowledge the fact that we’re achieving some things as far as where we want to be and that, but once you get there, you’ve really got to treat the game…I know it sounds like an old cliché, but you’ve got to treat the game individually for what it is. Teams that get ahead of themselves usually pay for it. I think it’d be a big mistake if you took into account what your record is or the circumstance of that game, because every week you throw the records out in the NFL. That’s true. I’ve been in a position where we haven’t had as good of a record, and played good against a team that had a better record, and I’ve been on a team that had a real good record, should have won the game, and the team that we were playing snuck up on us. I don’t know if it’s that I’m superstitious, or whatever it is, but I just think it would be inappropriate to be harping on where you’re at right now. You’ve just got to focus in on the game at hand.”

(On if heis even a little excited about the start to the season)

“No. In fact my family tends to think that I’m doing it on purpose, but I don’t know. You try to downplay when you win a game…it’s better than the alternative. You’ve got to try to keep a pretty level head about where you’re at. If you drop one, I think you’ve got to be the same way. If you don’t do that, then you’re just going to ride a wave that you can’t get yourself out of. I think that’s the most important thing.”

(On his confidence in the kickoff coverage)

“Every week you’re going to have something that you’re going to have to work on. Someone exploits something. Somebody executes something better than you do. I’m confident that we’re going to do the best job that we can to improve on it, and we’ve got to go out and prove that’s the case by executing a better game this week. I just have confidence in our coaches and our players that they’re taking accountability into what happened the week before, and will work very hard that week to correct it.”

(On if he looks at past Packers tapes to see what worked and what didn’t against Favre)

“I think most of the things you do, is you look and see what type of scheme, defensively…like our team might look at something that’s been effective recently. Because he’s been in the league for so long, you look at what’s been, for the most part, the most effective way to defend the guy. I’m not sure there’s a lot of them. He’s dissected many a defense in his career. I think they’ve tried almost anything. I think you’ve just got to be sound. I think the biggest thing when you play a quarterback of his caliber, you don’t want to give him anything because he’ll take it. He’s like any other quarterback. If you make him earn it and they beat you, you’ve got to tip you hat to him, but you don’t want to give him anything because that will cost you. We don’t do a lot of copying what other people do, but certainly all of our schemes are similar, and you evaluate it and study it and say, ‘This has been the most effective,’ and maybe lean toward something a little bit more because of what you see on film, especially recently.”

(On if Smith remembers getting injured)

“He remembers most of it. He said it was a pretty painful deal there. It’s not like it was an out of body experience or anything. He remembers it. He remembers hitting the wedge. He remembers all that part of it. I’m sure he’d like to forget how it felt there for a while. He’s a real quiet guy. Doesn’t say a whole lot, anyways. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen anything like it. He might be one of the toughest guys I’ve ever come across really when it comes to not really showing that he had any pain.”

(On LB Pisa Tinoisamoa’s positive attitude serving as an example for others)

“You can’t follow that up. If you could, I would like to have more of that. That’s a great example of a guy leading by example. He’s not trying to impress anybody, it’s just how he thinks, how he plays. It’s inspiring to me. I’d be surprised if that isn’t the case for the players and other coaches. I know we’ve talked about it as coaches. It’s a pretty big-time thing for a guy to be able to do because it just shows you…the guy’s playing with a pretty significant injury that you can play the game of football with, but if you weren’t tough as nails, I’m not sure a lot of other guys would do it.”

(On Green Bay DT Ryan Pickett)

“You put everybody in the pool. Free agents, as you remember, free agency took forever to get started. We never really had a date when we were going to be able to get these guys signed. What we did with Glover, was we signed him…he was actually a cut player, so he didn’t fit into the free agency category. He was free to sign with anyone whenever he wanted. That did make the decision for us as far as where we prioritized signing another free agent tackle. Ryan did a nice job, was real open to possibly coming back. The business is that way. We ended up having an opportunity to sign Glove. It’s pretty hard to sign two kind of high profile free agents to the same position.”

(On if game-planning against Favre has changed over the years)

“I don’t know. I don’t think he’s lost anything personally. I know one thing, I don’t want the ball in his hands at the end of a game. I’ve seen that too many times being on the other side of the ball. He’s one of the best this game’s ever seen. You respect him. You don’t fear any opponent, but you certainly have to respect everything he can do, and he’s done it at a high level for more years than most quarterbacks ever could.”

(On using three wide receivers more in the future)

“We’re working that way. We really wanted to try and do it more last week. We didn’t get the same man coverage that we’ve been seeing on film. We’re hoping we get a good match up there. As the year goes on, I know that’ll be a very favorable match up for us, hopefully. We’re working pretty hard at trying to do that. It’s hard to get everything at once. Getting Kevin more involved with what we’re doing is a big priority for us.”

(On what was different last week with the red zone offense)

“I think execution is probably a good word. The week before, I’d mentioned that we were inches away from having a good red zone day that week, we just didn’t execute it. It’s literally inches in this game, and as long as it’s inches, you’re okay. If you’re miles away, you’ve got to really look and see what you’re doing. I just think we did a better job of executing in critical situations of the game this week.”

LB Isaiah Kacyvenski

(On his release from the Seahawks)

“I guess it was kind of tough that they needed a roster spot for Shaun (Alexander) and they thought I was the guy to release, but the plan was to sign me back. It was tough because I couldn’t just wait around. My wife and I have two kids and we had to weigh out the options. There were about six teams that called and we weighed it out and thought the Rams were the best one.”

(On when the Seahawks offered him a contract)

“I was on my way here, in a layover in Denver, and they said that they had a contract on the table. My wife and I had to weigh a lot of options. It’s my seventh year and I want a chance to play a little at linebacker somewhere in the future and it wasn’t going to be in Seattle. It was one of the factors of about five or six. It was tough for me to go there. It was a heart-wrenching decision for me. Seven years, one spot. Coach Holmgren is almost like a father figure to me. (I appreciated) the whole staff, Ray Rhodes, John Marshall, and everybody. It’s going to be tough to play against them in two weeks, but it’s a business and I had to do what I had to do.”

(On when he knew he would be released)

“It was actually Friday afternoon. It was kind of a weird day; I was just waiting around all day. It was a weird practice day because they pulled me out (of practice). I was trying to talk to people and no one would talk to me. Finally, at the end of the day at about 2:30 or 3:00, I got called up to Tim Ruskell’s office.”

(On the process he went through before being released)

“After practice I went in and talked to John Marshall and said, ‘no one’s talking about anything. I don’t know what’s going on.’ He said he’d take care of it and get someone down here for me. I went back to my locker for about two minutes, looked at my phone and saw that my agent called me three times. Then John came in to get me and I just put two and two together after that. It was kind of a tough walk-off. The stock phrase in the NFL is, ‘We’re going to bring you back Monday.’ Everybody in the NFL knows that’s a famous phrase. I was wary, I was hurt, and I had a lot of mixed emotions about it.”

QB Marc Bulger

(On going up against Green Bay QB Brett Favre this Sunday)

“You don’t want to play against a legend because they’re going to be good, but it’s just one of those things that make you appreciate where you are. Growing up watching (Joe) Montana, (Steve) Young, and (Dan) Marino, sometimes you don’t realize that you’re playing in the NFL and there are some legends. I lost that (opportunity) to play with one, with Marshall Faulk, while he was here. Obviously (Favre) is one of the best ever and to get to play against him will be pretty fun, just watching him.”

(On Green Bay DT Ryan Pickett)

“We know he’s a good player. We hated to lose him. At the same time, I think our offensive line knows some of the things that he does, obviously he’s going to know some of the things they do. He’s a good player and I think he’s doing a good job up there. We didn’t want to lose him.”

(On the offense’s progression)

“We’ve been getting better every week. As long as we’re avoiding the roller-coaster (I’m happy). We obviously set the bar pretty low to start, but we’re continuing to move upwards. I know we can’t score 41 every week, but we’ve shown improvements in different areas and obviously it was the red zone last week.”

(On what he expects from the Packers’ defense)

“Nothing crazy. I think the whole defense is pretty basic. They give you different looks; everyone in the NFL does, but it’s not like Gregg Williams or anything. We’re going to know what they’re doing. With the corners they have, they have the luxury of doing that because they can shut down a game at times.”

(On RB Steven Jackson getting his first touchdown of the season against Detroit)

“I think just getting the first one of the season was nice. Obviously, we didn’t score a lot after that. No one panicked. The one that Joe (Klopfenstein) was wide-open, we knew we were going to have more looks later in the game. I think just getting the first rushing one was more fulfilling than anything else because we know how big of a back Steven is and if we can get him going down there, that’d be huge because we’re not going to be able to just throw in the red zone. Having a walk-in touchdown was nice and I think it will start carrying over.”

(On the offense getting in sync with each other)

“I hope we turned a corner. I knew it was going to take a while, but we were close on so many occasions, but that’s the NFL. There were a lot of situations where maybe I missed a throw by a little bit or somebody missed a blocking assignment. It wasn’t for lack of coaching or anything. There were plays to be made and guys were open, but for whatever reason it didn’t happen. We knew we were close and it wasn’t time to panic. Fortunately, we’re starting to know our blocking assignments, I’m throwing more accurately, and we’re running better routes. Maybe it’s all just coming together now.”

(On why he thinks it’s taking time for the Rams’ offense to come together)

“Probably just because it’s the beginning of the season and you don’t know what everyone’s going to play. I even remember under Coach Martz we struggled a little bit at first. Not with timing, but just figuring out what everyone’s doing. Now that we have some game film and he can explain exactly what he wants in this new system helps too.”

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy

(On if he thinks QB Brett Favre will be ready to play on Sunday)

“He’s sore today. I think he’ll be fine by Sunday.”

(On coaching Favre)

“It’s a great opportunity anytime you have the chance to be around a Hall of Fame football player. Having a prior relationship with him, it’s been great to come back and be the Head Coach of the Packers and have the opportunity to work with Brett.”

(On getting more consistency from his team)

“It’s important to come out of every game and build on the positive things you accomplished and correct the negatives. Unfortunately, we’re spending a little too much time correcting right now. We have a number of things to build off of and we need to just stay the course, play more consistently, take away the big plays on defense, generate more big plays on offense, and take care of the football on offense.”

(On being an NFL head coach)

“It feels great. It’s a great opportunity to work at a great organization. I am in the middle of it, so I’m more focused on beating the St. Louis Rams. It’s a blessing to have this opportunity and I’m making the best of it.”

(On how he feels about the Packers defense)

“With all the bump-and-run that we play, we feel like we challenge the offense. I’m very happy with the play of our front seven. I think it’s been the most consistent part of our defense and probably our football team. They’re doing a good job on the pass rush and being consistent and they do a good job against the run. That’s going to be a focus this week against (Steven) Jackson. The big play opportunity is the one big negative that we’re fighting to overcome on our defensive unit.”

(On the Packers players starting to learn the system)

“I think they are. There’s evidence of them doing it correctly, we just have to do it correctly for a 60-minute football game; that’s our focus.

(On having to prepare for a the Rams’ balanced offensive approach)

“They’re a different football team; there’s no doubt about it. I think they’ve done a very good job taking care of the football and taking the football away. I think it starts with their mindset. They’re running the football; Marc (Bulger) has done an excellent job managing the game. He has a high completion percentage, particularly in the big game he had last week against Detroit. Jim Haslett has them blitzing when they get off the bus, on defense and that generated a lot of big plays and a lot of points have come from the big plays the defense has made. It’s an entirely different football team than I coached against last year.”

(On DT Ryan Pickett)

“We’re very happy with Ryan. He’s our most consistent player up front. He’s done a very nice job. He’s come right up here and fit into our scheme. He’s done a very good job against the run and pass. I’m very pleased to have him here.”

Green Bay DT Ryan Pickett

(On how he ended up signing in Green Bay)

“The Rams were pretty interested, but they backed off pretty early. I had taken a trip to Buffalo. I had one signed up for Cincinnati that I didn’t take. I went to Buffalo with coach Kollar and it was really between them…I had narrowed it down. I wanted to go to either Buffalo or Green Bay or back to St. Louis, but St. Louis dropped out of it. Then it was between Buffalo and Green Bay.”

(On Green Bay having the best offer)

“Yes. I liked what I was going to be doing a little more in Green Bay. They were going to let me play a little bit of three-technique and a little bit of two-technique, so I wouldn’t just be a nose guard all the time. I had to take on all those double teams.”

(On wanting to work with Kollar again)

“I was going to hook up with Kollar again, but then I kind of thought it was time for something different.”

(On how different it is working with a new coach)

“I can’t even believe it. It’s like night and day. I can’t even explain it. Kollar was a great coach, but he was a motivator. He yelled. Our coach now, you can’t get him to yell or cuss or anything. There’s a big difference. I have to adjust to it.”

(On how his role has changed in Green Bay)

“It’s working out that way. Everything is going just how we planned it to go. I’m playing a lot more three-technique…I’m basically playing the left side. How ever the offense lines up, it dictates how I line up. I’ve playing a lot of 3 and a lot of 2-technique.”

(On how he gets motivated)

“I find me doing it myself because it’s a lot different than Kollar. It’s a lot more of a laid back atmosphere. I thank God that I had Kollar in my first couple of years to rub me in the dirt, and yell. Now I know what it’s like. That’s kind of built in me now, so I just automatically run to the ball and things like that.”

(On motivating his teammates)

“I’m kind of like the leader. The whole D-line is young. I’m like the oldest interior linemen, so I have to watch what I say and do around them. They kind of watch me and follow that.”

(On having a sense of the history of football in Green Bay)
“It’s great history. It’s great. The whole town revolves around the Green Bay Packers.”

(On his chance to talk some trash to RB Steven Jackson)

“I’m not going to talk trash to Steven, he’s my boy. I definitely want to get a hold of him.”

(On being extra motivated this week)

“I don’t know about being extra motivated because I really do appreciate the opportunity St. Louis game me. They drafted me and I played there for five years. When I’m not playing, I really root for them, with all my friends on the team and stuff. The motivation is going to come by…I’m going to be playing some old friends, but I would like to have a great game, and it’s going to be my birthday.”