Head Coach Matt LaFleur

201227-postgame-quotes

TITANS at PACKERS
Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020

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(opening statement) "Just want to start out by saying I am really proud of our team's effort tonight. Going into the game, especially against a really good team like this, we talked to the guys, there's going to come a point somewhere within the game where we're going to have to face some adversity and we'll see how we respond to it. And that point came when we were up 19-0 and we have a field goal blocked, then we go for it on fourth down and don't convert. Then they proceed to take the ball down and make it a 19-7 game and then just coming out of the half, went down and scored again, to make it 19-14. But what I loved was how our guys responded. Nobody panicked. Everybody focused on doing their job, doing their 1/11th and we were able to close the game out and just really proud of our guys. And just the effort that they put forth. Got a lot of respect for the Tennessee Titans and what they have been able to do, but that's the type of effort that we're going to need moving forward. And we know that this will be short lived in terms of celebrating this win. We have a great opponent coming up that is really on a hot streak right now. Nothing matters more, or nothing matters to this point other than going down to Chicago and battling against a team that is really hot. I think they've scored 30-plus points in four straight games. Like I said, we'll celebrate tonight and get on to the Bears tomorrow."

(on what he thought of the Packers defensive performance tonight) "Yeah, that's a really good offense. Really, across the board they've got great skilled players. From the receivers to the tight ends, obviously Derrick Henry, I think (Ryan) Tannehill has been playing unbelievable his whole time there in Tennessee. To hold a team like that, that is that explosive to 14 points and 260 yards, I think that was a hell of a performance by our defense. And, again, the way they responded, you know, giving up the score before the half and then coming out the second half and giving up another score. I just sense a different energy with our defense. And guys are flying around, making plays, making plays on the ball, I want to say we had 10 passes defensed tonight. We were getting after them up front, putting pressure on the quarterback and that's what it's going to take. Because from here on out, it's nothing but playoff-caliber teams."

(on if he was expecting the Titans to pressure QB Aaron Rodgers as much as they did early in the game) "We had an idea that could potentially happen. I think you kind of prepare for that each and every week. You never quite know how teams are going to…their game plan going in to defend our offense, especially with a quarterback like we have. So, you just kind of prepare for everything and have a lot of all-purpose plays and try to have the answers and try to get a feel for what the game plan is early on. So you want to have plays that always have an answer for that and I thought our guys did a tremendous job of just going out there and executing."

(on if he tailored the game plan to AJ Dillon and if he earned more carries next week) "Yeah, I think so. He was tremendous tonight. You could feel him. I wouldn't say we tailored our game plan to him. It was the same game plan no matter if Aaron Jones was in there or AJ Dillon, despite what people might want to believe. We've got a lot of confidence that AJ can do a lot of great things. He's capable out of the backfield as a receiver. He's gotten so much better in pass protection so that gives you a lot of confidence. And then you could feel his physicalness, his physicality as he was running the ball, just really trying to punish defenders. It was great to get him back. There were a couple times where I was trying to call for him more and Ben (Sirmans) was telling me he needed a breather. So we've got a lot of confidence in him. Obviously Aaron Jones, you know he got a little banged up early. We wanted to be very, very careful with him because he is so important to our offense. Just like Jamaal (Williams) is. But it is so exciting when you have three backs that you have so much confidence in. All three of those guys, to me, are starters in this league. It's just great because if somebody can't go for whatever reason then you've got people that are so capable to go in there and the standard never changes and the expectations don't change."

(on if there was any thought to taking this game off so to speak with Seattle winning earlier in the day) "That's something that we never even really talked about. I think every week you've got to go in with the same mindset. Especially when you're playing a team that is most likely going to be in the playoffs. And they were, shoot, they were in it to the end last year. We knew we had a great opponent. I think it was a great measuring stick to see where we're at, what we're capable of doing. And we'll enjoy it tonight and move onto Chicago tomorrow."

(on if there was any point this season in which he didn't think he'd get Dillon back because of COVID) "Yeah, Mark, I think there are so many unknowns with COVID. And so it was a little bit amazing how long it took, but it effects everybody a little bit differently. We're just thankful, first of all, that he's healthy and was able to fight through it. I know there were some scary moments, definitely, for him in terms of just battling through that and you know, he's really worked hard. I'll say that Flea (Bryan Engel) and our athletic trainers have done a great job with him. Chris Gizzi and our strength staff have done a great job just trying to get his wind back and getting him back in shape because that knocked him out for quite awhile. And you never know the affects that could have on somebody. But he battled, he stayed into it mentally, and that's a credit to him. I think Ben Sirmans does an outstanding job with him. I think that whole room when you talk about Aaron Jones and Jamaal, it's a cohesive room. How they all interact with one another, how they all push one another. I'd put that room up against any other running back room in the National Football League."

(on if a night like tonight shows what home-field advantage could mean in January) "Yeah, I think absolutely. It is a different deal when you come in here and play and there's snow. It's almost what you envision when as a kid when you come into Lambeau. It's snowy and cold. We wouldn't want it any other way. Just our ability to operate in that snow, both in the run game and the pass game, I think is pretty special."

(on the play of S Darnell Savage lately) "I think he's just trusting what he sees, trusting his eyes. I think Jerry Gray does a phenomenal job with him, always talking to him about making sure his eyes are right, making sure he's doing his responsibilities. Those plays will come to you. Anytime somebody tries to force that play, a lot of times bad things will happen. And so you've just got to trust it and know those plays will come to you. Shoot, he almost had another pick-six, one that we were talking about after the game. I'm like, 'hey man, you've got to make those.' Just really proud of him, he's such a smart player, he's so athletic. It's so fun to see a guy work so hard and then start to have the results. We've just got to stick to our process. I think if you are committed to the process those good things will happen."

(on if this game changed his feelings about his team, or if confirmed his feelings about it) "Yeah, I thought our guys did outstanding, and they answered the bell. I'd be remised to not mention the offensive line, just how they protect, how they open up holes in the run game. Our tight ends, our receivers getting involved in the run game. We always talk about it taking all 11. And then defensively, I just saw all three levels, from the D-line to the backers to the secondary, flying around and making plays on the ball. I was really proud of our effort. Any time you can hold Derrick Henry to under a hundred yards, that is a win. Those guys, they knew they were going to feed to ball to Derrick, and our guys were flying around. You know, it was complimentary football at it's finest, and that's what it's going to take for us to continue to move on and get wins and end up where we'd all like to end up."

(on what AJ Dillon's performance does for his confidence and the confidence of the offense) "I think it's big, and you never know when your number is going to get called, but you got to be ready. Just for him to stay with it through everything he's been through, I think that says a lot about him. Just really proud of his effort and just not getting discouraged, because that can be tough on guys, especially when they're the star in college at that position where you're getting the bulk of the carries and the bulk of the plays, and then coming in here and not getting a whole lot of action and just never knowing when your number is going to be called. I went up to him prior to the game and I said, 'Hey, you better be ready tonight, we're coming to you.' And I was just happy that we finally delivered on that, because I feel like we've said that a few times now. For him to step up, be ready to go and just run really well and violent and physical, and did a nice job in the pass game, I think that gives everybody a lot of confidence."

(on if there was a part of him that was hoping for a bad weather game before the playoffs began) "I think that the cold is something that we always embrace here, and just that's what we practice in, that's what we live in every day. So, our guys embrace that. It's just we've had some bad weather games, more so in terms of the wind. That is something that I think is a little bit more challenging then all the snow that's out there tonight. Obviously, I think just guys having the proper footing in those types of situations, I think is critical."

(on how surprised he was in the amount of single coverage Davante Adams faced, and his 32-yard reception in the fourth quarter) "I think you never quite know exactly what they're going to do, whether they want to make it a two-high game, a one-high game or bring pressure. You just better have answers for everything, and that's what's so great about our quarterback's ability where you can call a couple plays and he can get you in the right look. But you know, their [Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams] connection tonight was pretty spectacular. I want to say the throw that you're talking about, I think it was an all-out pressure where we actually called a slant and Aaron checked it to a go-route, and it was unbelievable. It kind of surprised me a little bit, but that's just the kind of freedom when you have players that are capable of doing those types of things, you give them the freedom. That was a great check by Aaron and great execution by him and Davante and the guys up front giving him time to make that throw."

(on if he got a chance to talk to Mike Vrabel after that game) "Yeah, just very quickly. How it typically is, you know the standard handshake. We just wished each other well, and that was about it."

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