Head Coach Robert Saleh, 12.1

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Opening Statement…

Alright, injuries. Obviously, Aaron (Rodgers) is going through his rehab. ‘Izzy’ (Israel Abanikanda) is going to be limited today, he is starting to feel a little bit better. Dalvin (Cook) is going to pop up on the injury report dealing with an AC shoulder, but I think he should be fine and a bunch of guys are limited and full today.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: What about the guys, Robert, that are on the IR window, other than Aaron?

It’s Wes (Schweitzer) and (Justin) Hardee, we will get a good evaluation today and make a decision.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Is (Kenny) Yeboah a part of it too?

(Kenny) Yeboah is part of it, but not anticipating Yeboah, quite yet.

 

Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post: Is Aaron (Rodgers) going to practice today?

Yes, I believe he is. I believe that is part of his rehab schedule today. He is alternating.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: So, no one is ruled out yet for Sunday on the injury report?

On the injury report, the guy who is ruled out is Aaron.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, does this, you are in December now with seven losses, does this start to feel like the playoffs kind of start now for you guys?

I feel like the playoffs are always from Week One all the way through. You can say it is almost sudden death, I guess, but you always have to have the mindset to play every game like a championship game and train yourself to operate that way. If you are waiting to rachet, to turn it up when it becomes life or death you can say, it is too late. We have got to continue the same approach with regards to mindset and training ourselves to approach every moment like a championship moment. Our backs are up against a wall, and we have to continue swinging.

 

Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Does the fact that Aaron has said about his potential comeback if the guys are still in it and in the hunt, is that adding an extra layer of motivation to this whole big picture?

It shouldn’t. Like I said, if that’s an external motivator, we should already be motivated to be our best and that’s what we’re trying to train and a lot of young guys on the offensive side of the ball who are just head above water, with regards to scheme. To help them focus on the things that actually make scheme and football come to life is our style of play. To answer your question, as an external motivator, those are usually good for a slight push, but it can’t be how you live.

 

You mentioned getting younger on offense. Has there been any considerations you’re just sort of, whether it be changed play callers or change the way that they’re operating the offense, from a coaching perspective, is there any thought process to that at this moment?

No. We’ve done a couple things with sending (Nathaniel) Hackett to the box and having him and (Todd) Downing sitting next to each other, but as far as play calling and all that stuff, that is already a collaborative effort with how we game plan. As far as calling the game, no consideration.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: How critical is it for you guys to get someone to emerge as a number two target, somebody who can take attention away from Garrett (Wilson) so that he can stop pressing and maybe this offense can go a little bit?

It is big. When you look at the team we played last week, you had (Jaylen) Waddle, Tyreek (Hill), and Garrett (Wilson) already garners a lot of attention, but the number two can come in many forms. It can come in the form of run game, it can come in the form of the tight ends, backs out of the backfield in the pass game. So, it can come from anywhere and we’ve got guys here that we think are capable of it. We just got to continue to find ways to develop them, it’s an exciting time for the three undrafted rookies that we’ve got that are being thrust in the action to see if one of them can emerge over these next six weeks. So, there’s a lot of things to be excited about, but it is critical to find a number two option to relieve him of some pressure.

 

Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: With this week’s game against the Falcons, the running game that they have, they’ve got three guys in the backfield that can make plays. What are you looking at as far as going up against them?

Yeah, they’re a talented bunch. O-line, (offensive line) year three of the scheme for them. They’re in sync upfront with how they operate, the three backs that they have, they are all unique in their style. Also, that’s what makes them pretty cool. Their first-round pick is dynamic and he’s going to be special. All three of them are unique and they have a play style that’s pretty cool. On the outside, you got the (Kyle) Pitts kid, Drake London, John (FitzPatrick) who does a great job. They’re really good all the way around. I think (Desmond) Ridder, we had him at the Senior Bowl, I think he’s a young, exciting, quarterback. He’s just got that bravado to him, just remembering from the Senior Bowl, that’s contagious. It’s a really good group, well coached group, physical group and it is going to be a challenge.

 

An eye on Carter Warren, with Duane Brown, Mekhi Becton practicing, is there an expectation that he’s going to play on Sunday and one of those veterans is going to sit and sort of mentor him from the sideline?

We’ll see how today goes. We got full faith in Carter (Warren) going out there and performing. Knock on wood for him, he’s been doing a really nice job surprising. He’s got such great body control and footwork with regards to his sets and run game and all that stuff. He’s only going to get better. Considering that he missed all of OTA’s and training camp and has been playing catch up, for him to put out the tape that he’s put out, he’s only going to get better and it’s exciting to see him kind of develop. He’s got a chance to stick for a while.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Is Duane (Brown) a possibility this week?

He’s a possibility, again, we’ll see how today goes.

 

Going back to Garrett (Wilson), after the game he sounded exasperated, and out of answers. Guys like that who have never lost much in their career, do you worry about kind of losing them in some regard in terms of like the frustration levels? Or is that good to see that they are that frustrated?

It’s good because it shows that they care. It’s a good question. It is a tough pill to swallow for people when explained this way, but the result of the game can’t affect how you operate day to day. You could have the best game of your life, the best process of your life, the best game of your life and you can still lose. In Garrett’s world, he can run the greatest routes, he can be blocking his tail off and end up with a couple of targets and no catches. So, there are things you have no control over, and it can be frustrating and that is why people get frustrated. It is not because they are not out there dominating what they have control over, it is because they are not able to gain control over the things that they don’t. That is where frustration comes in. You just have to understand that and stay focused on the things you have control over and be satisfied with the fact that some days even your best days isn’t good enough, but if you put your best foot forward day in and day out, and you have a great process, and you are dominating the things you have control over, especially with a guy like Garrett more often than not, he is going to have the production of a number one receiver that we all know that he is.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: One of the things you got a lot of praise for when you got this job was the job you did in San Franscico in 2020 when you guys had a number of injuries to key players, how much of that as part of a coaches job is to kind of figure it out when you get the number of injuries you have right now on the offensive side of the ball?

It is a really good question. It is not hard, it is going to be long because I want to make sure I explain this the right way. The parallels are slightly different. In 2020, when we lost all those guys, I think we lost eight guys from the Super Bowl roster. The backups who stepped in there were year four, so they knew the system, they knew what was being coached, they knew what the issues were, they had been practicing for four years. It is why we were able to survive the Philadelphia game when we lost the two corners. Bryce Hall steps in, he has gotten a lot of playing time, Craig James has been here, he understands the system, Ashtyn Davis stepped right in and had a big role and increasing his role. Guys understood from a coaching standpoint, understanding every snake in the grass, to a player’s standpoint, being coached and understanding everything, because they were here, we were able to at least out execute the people and the other teams that we were playing. What has been frustrating for everybody here is that this is year one of a new system, with regards to Hackett and his staff, built for a certain style of play as we were heading into this season. Then within four plays, it is change, change, change, change. You are trying to adjust on the fly and you are having the injuries compound each other. At the end of the day, as coaches, we still have to figure it out. The parallels are just slightly different in regards that year one of a system, you are really behind the eight ball, all of us are with trying to figure out what works for the current group. Like I said, I felt like we were doing a good job. In terms of, New England, Kansas City, Denver, really getting good. We had decent production against Philadelphia and then that Giants game, it felt like where all the wheels feel off with all the injuries on the offensive line. It is never an excuse, it is just trying to understand it so that we can find a way to get it better.

 

Jeane Coakley, SNY: Tell us about your shirt?

This week with My Cause My Cleats, we are recognizing Coach (Greg) Knapp. If everyone remembers, two years ago he tragically was hit and killed by a distracted driver. So, we are running the steps for him on Sunday. Everyday, there are 50 everyday, so this is daily, 50 distracted driving deaths every day in America. That number needs to change. Put your phones down and try to do your best to save a life.

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