Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, 9.14
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Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Just on a personal level, what it was like, how you processed the emotions of Aaron’s (Rodgers) injury?
I don’t think there’s words to describe it. I mean obviously we know how much he means to me and just as a human being, so I just feel horrible for him. He’s thrown everything into this organization, this transition. Even though he’s not here at this moment, it is unbelievable to see the impact he’s had on this team. I absolutely love that and seeing those guys, to see the standard that he set and carried on through that game.
Zach Braziller, New York Post: He put out the Instagram thing yesterday. Do you expect him to try to play next year?
Oh, yeah. Whenever Aaron (Rodgers) has his mind set on something, good luck for anyone that wants to change his mind.
Zach Braziller, New York Post: Have you talked to him about it at all, just about the injury and how he’s doing?
It’s been a short week. I’m just trying to get ready for the Dallas Cowboys. We’ve talked quite a bit, but right now, it’s about him getting healthy and us getting ready for the Dallas Cowboys.
Antwan Stanley, New York Daily News: What does Zach (Wilson) show you in that second half on Monday night?
I’ll tell you, my respect for him it off the charts. For a guy to not have not have any practice to come in there and execute the way that he did. It’s so great to see. It’s funny, I wish the world could’ve been in that locker room at halftime to just see the entire team and how they responded. Especially the offense, just the way they were looking at each other in the eyes. They were fired up for the challenge and they stepped up to a very, very good football team. I think Zach did a really good job and I think he kept his composure and that’s all you can ask.
Antwan Stanley, New York Daily News: What were those conversations like after Aaron got hurt with Zach?
It was more of what we’re going to do next, what we’re going to get to. What are the best things for Zach, the things that we can accomplish. You always have a plan, every quarterback is different. Every quarterback likes certain things. So we wanted to switch to those to make sure that he was in a good comfort level and able to make some plays which he did, especially there at the end. Some of those third down plays were absolutely clutch to be able to give us the opportunity to win that football game. So, I give a ton of credit for him. I give a ton of credit for the coaches, for everybody making adjustments at halftime. I think we definitely saw that and felt that and were able to move the ball and do some good things.
Connor Hughes, SNY: How do you slow down Micah Parson?
You can’t slow him down now. You watch the tape and talk about a guy that jumps off and seeing him grow as a player is… they have done an outstanding job with him. He’s done an outstanding job himself, and he’s somebody that, he can totally wreck a game, so everybody has to know where he is at all times.
Bruce Beck, WNBC: Coach, Zach is athletic and has good speed, but a lot of his mistakes occur when he’s on the run. Do you have to temper his enthusiasm to try to make plays with his feet?
There’s a fine line with that. Whenever you have an athletic quarterback like that, you want to take advantage of it, but you want to take advantage of it the right way. I think that’s just part of his training right now, is understanding the rhythm, the timing that we’ve been training since we’ve gotten here and he has put a ton of work in there. I think Aaron has been absolutely unbelievable. He might’ve coached him more than I have or Todd (Downing) has. I think that he’s benefited from that. So, the first most important thing for any quarterback is to get the ball into your playmakers hands and then utilize your skills to then be able to still find a play. That’s just what we’re working with and understanding those timings and moving up in the pocket.
Connor Hughes, SNY: When Zach’s out there, or I’m sorry, when Aaron is out there, you give him a play, he can go to the line. He’s so experienced, he knows so much that he can change things out the line just from how long he’s been doing this. I imagine that changes some with Zach. So, does that adjust how you call a game or how you approach preparation? Just when Zach goes to line and not being able to do as much as Aaron would?
Like we said earlier, every quarterback’s different. I want Zach to be Zach, Aaron to be Aaron, and Tim to be Tim. I want all the players to be who they are. My job is to try to put them in the best position so that they’re successful. There are certain things that Zach can do that are really exciting and we want to take advantage of that. Like I said, every guy’s different, so we’re going to try to do what’s best for them.
Zach Rosenblatt, The Athletic: You weren’t here last year, but by the end of the year everybody’s pretty open that like Zach was having issues with this confidence. When you got here how did you try to attack that and build him back up?
I wasn’t here like you said, so I have no clue. I just know the Zach that I’ve been lucky enough to work with, and he’s been incredible. We have to go back to just the entire transition of getting Aaron here. He was as excited as anybody and even having Tim (Boyle) come in, another person that I was familiar with, he was just as excited for him to be here. The way that he’s handled this entire situation, all I see is confidence and all I see is an eagerness to learn and grow in the position and we saw that. Even growing from… he throws an interception and he comes right back and is able to make some plays. So, I mean, all those things are great to see and for me, it’s not necessarily about building up, it’s just working with the man that we have in the room right now.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: There’s been a lot of chatter about the play that Aaron got hurt on with the Duane (Brown) cut blocking and so forth. Has Aaron ever expressed any hesitance about having guys cut block because it speeds up the play and he can’t improvise? Has he ever expressed any concerns with that?
With Aaron, every play that we have in the game plan and every single thing that we do and with any quarterback that’s in there, we discuss to the finest detail. That was something that we all knew that was going to happen and we wanted to do and it was a very unfortunate incident.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com It looked like, and this is hindsight, but Garrett Wilson was really open on that play. It just seemed like it could have been a really easy, quick slant. Why didn’t he…?
A lot of people think that people are open all the time, but playing that position back there, there’s so many things that go on and in the end, it was an unfortunate incident.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: I’m sure you’ve seen a change from Zach from day one to now, but is there a change this week? Have you seen something different from him knowing he’s going from number two to now running things?
I’ll tell you, I think the great thing about Zach is he’s been consistent this whole time. From the first day I got here until now, like I said, his eagerness to work, his eagerness to grow, the ability to take coaching all the time, his want to learn, and those are all things that you’re excited to work with as a coach. They just want to know the why and I think that when you have a guy like Aaron in the room, a guy like Tim that are so inquisitive, that allows him to really express himself and, and ask those questions. So, he’s doing his same thing just like he was prepared for last game and coming in without any practice, now he gets some more practice and he gets to get out there a little bit with the guys. I think it’s been really good with him the whole time.
Connor Hughes, SNY: Will having that additional practice time, will that allow you to maybe be a little bit more aggressive in the passing game with him? I imagine most teams that are going to play you now, it’s going to be different than Aaron. They’re going to load the box up. Let’s just force Zach to beat us. So does that allow you to then have to call?
You know what’s funny is even with Aaron at times, we’ve got some pretty good running backs also, and they know that Aaron will capitalize on that. So, we were getting some loaded boxes then when I was at Green Bay and even this past game, we were going to see some of that stuff. One of the plays that he checked, it was because of that, sowe want to do what’s best to go against that defense. Whether it’s passing, whether it’s running, we want to be as balanced as we possibly can and in the end, like you said, we got to have hands on Micah. So, we got to make sure that we’re protecting him that way.
Bruce Beck, WNBC: With your running talent, do you want him to be a game manager or you want him just to be a quarterback?
I want every quarterback just to be a quarterback. In the end, I want them to be out there and have that can’t stop me mentality. For us, whether it’s the run game or the pass game, we want them to have their minds working and making sure that we’re always doing the right thing.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: With Zach, you obviously, like you said, you weren’t here last year, but a lot of the guys in the locker room and on that offense were with him, do you kind of have to try to make people forget last year, the struggles he went through last year, so that the slightest struggle he might have, everybody doesn’t start saying, oh man, here we go again?
Again, that’s the past. This is the future. This is a guy that’s been training his butt off and learning a new system and growing within it. I think everybody can say that they’ve seen him grow and that’s all we can do every game. There’s going to be ups and downs with all quarterbacks and with all players, especially young players, there’s always going to be questions. For me as a coach, I just want to keep teaching him. I just want him to feel more and more comfortable and keep growing.
Antwan Stanley, New York Daily News: You said you’ve seen him grow many times, just how have you seen him grow in the limited time you’ve been there?
Oh gosh, just from understanding protection adjustments to understanding footwork’s, getting the ball out earlier. I think in the beginning it was all very new and very fresh and there’s a lot of things that he’s done in the past that are the same, but there’s just a little bit more in the west coast, true west coast style that I kind of grew up in. To see that kind of become natural for him. The one that he threw to Allen (Lazard) on the end cut. That thing was absolutely beautiful, and that’s what we talk about and train. Just his rhythm, his timing, being able to get the ball out before the rush got there. That was great. So, I think those are the things that you’re always excited to see and it’s not necessarily that he’s growing from the past, just with us in a new system, seeing him gain knowledge of it and understand it, which is what we’re looking for as coaches.
Zach Rosenblatt, The Athletic: You mentioned the running backs. What did you think about what Breece (Hall) did in that game because I think, people generally, when you see a running back coming off of an ACL, I think everybody kind of assumes it’s going to be a little bit before they look like themselves, but he gets that 80-yard run.
He’s got to get that X button back in. I think the guy has that burst button for the video gamers, or at least back when I used to play video game. You could see in his eyes when we got out there that he was ready to rock and roll and to have, three running backs like we do, we’re very lucky for that. Those guys are all very good runners as we know and we want to take advantage of that as much as still make them honor the pass.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Connor McGovern said that and I don’t know if it was before or after the game or after Aaron got hurt, that you had a video or a picture of a roller coaster in one of the meetings. What was that? Was that again, was it before or after all this happened or was it just going into the season that it’s going to be?
We did not have a rollercoaster at halftime. It definitely was this week. I’ve grown up in this business. I’ve been in this business my whole life. I’ve seen all kinds of wild stuff. I remember my dad told me that Joe Montana told him, he said, never get too excited, never get too low. That’s what this game is about. It’s who can handle the adversity, who can handle the success. So, I think for us as a team, you want to continually grow throughout the season. You want to find out who you are as you move forward and with that being said, that’s something that we utilize. It is a rollercoaster because they’re really fun, but they can be very scary at times. Then you get that relief and relaxation once you get down. I’m a big rollercoaster guy. I really like them, the ups and down ones. My kids love them, but I just think that that’s what this is and everybody has to be prepared for it. You never know what’s going to happen and the idea is to enjoy the ride as you’re on it.
Bruce Beck, WNBC: You lost your starting quarterback. Do you still have a playoff team in your mind? Of course. I mean, this is and watching. Again, I wish everybody could have been there at halftime. We’re down to a very, very, very good football team. We all know how good that team is and just to see them, it was a coolest thing, just watching the offensive guys, the veteran leadership. I mean, we didn’t skip a beat and I think that’s what was so great to see that, and no one man makes a team. I’ve been on teams that have gone very, very far, that there might not have been a lot of star power. I’ve been on teams that, you know, there is star power. You do good and you do bad. So, I think that in the end it’s about how a team plays together. It’s all the team, the team, the team, how the defense works with the special teams and the offense and how we all gel. If we all are in there and we’re all working, going in the same direction, you always have a chance to do some special things.
Andrew Crane, New York Post: How would you assess Mekhi’s (Becton)first extended action? You know, at the offensive line in a couple of years?
He did good. I think it’s kind of the whole line as a group, that was one of the questions last week was how were they going to be able to play together and I thought they did a good job. We got a lot of little things we got to work through and get better at, but for the first go around, I thought there were some good things that were shown by everybody up on the line.