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Brady, Rodgers Set to Square Off on Sunday Night Football

The Wrightway Sports Network hit the phones this week to hear from multiple members of the Patriots and Packers’ organizations in preparation for Sunday night’s marquee matchup in Foxboro, Massachusetts on Sunday Night Football. Check out some of the best sound bites from the media portions this week.

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Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy

On how the Packers’ season has gone thus far:

“Well, I mean it’s been a little bit up and down. We’ve had some tough games. You go back and look at the first game where we had the injury to Aaron [Rodgers] and bounced back stronger against Minnesota and then have it unfortunately ending there with a tie. We’ve had challenges on the road. We haven’t won a road game yet, so that’s another aspect of this big challenge we have in front of us Sunday night in New England.”

On the marquee matchup betweenen Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady:

“I think you have to because how many times does it happen? I think it’s stating the obvious, and not really having a chance to reflect on that as far as the opportunity to see these two play on the same field. I think for the fans and for everybody alike, you have to – if you truly love football, this is a fantastic opportunity to see two great players line up. As you’ve already stated, they don’t compete against each other, but I think these games are always great for football.”

On Tom Brady’s success this season at age 41:

“You just see the consistency. He’s had total command of the offense forever, it seems like 20 years – just their ability to get in and out of personnel groups and just the awareness of everything going on around him. He’s competitive, he’s obviously so competitive, but he just keeps rolling. We’ve been very impressed with the tape.”

On the Patriots’ defense:

“They’re always a challenge because you never know exactly what you’re going to get, but you know you’re going to be challenged based on what you put on film or based on plays you’ve struggled [with] in the past. This is the team that you spend more time on in the offseason – we play them once every four years, haven’t played them since 2014. You know that you have to make sure you’re on top of things, especially the things you feel that you haven’t had success with in the past. We know we’re going to be schematically challenged.”

On going up against Bill Belichick:

“I mean stating the obvious, he’s the best in football for a number of reasons. I think not only do they challenge you schematically week to week, how their research and development and game planning process is put together, they’re going to challenge it. We like to feel we do the same. But the thing I’ve always admired is the consistency and the fundamentals, the techniques and their discipline in situational football. You don’t ever see his teams beat themselves.”

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Green Bay Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

On how the season has progressed this year:

“Well, we’re 3-3-1. We’re in a tough stretch right now. Obviously, just came off an undefeated team on the road, playing in a tough environment here where obviously Tommy and those guys have had a ton of success over the years playing at Gillette. It’s a tough stretch but we have an opportunity to take a big chunk of confidence if we can go up there and play our best game.”

On how he feels about Tom Brady:

“The feeling’s mutual. As a young player, I watched a ton of his film. I had a great guy to watch every single day in Brett Favre, but Tommy’s been at the top of his game for a long, long time. So, I watched most of the snaps from the ‘07 season and I’ve always been a big fan of his. Just the stuff he does on the field is phenomenal and then to see him, as he’s gotten older in his career, continue to reinvent himself year after year and play at a high level every single season, obviously winning the championships, he’s a phenomenal player. But he’s a pioneer as far as taking care of his body and rewriting the longevity books for players of his caliber. It’s been really impressive to watch, and any time I get a chance when he’s on Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night, I’m for sure tuning in.”

On the New England defense:

“It’s typical. Bill [Belichick] is a phenomenal coach and he’s always going to have his guys ready to play. They do a number of different things – they don’t just always major in one specific thing. They’re going to try to combat what you do best and take it away and get you off-schedule and lock down the guys they want to take away and make you beat them with your third and fourth options. It’s what they do and obviously play really well in the back end. They’ve got smart, instinctive players all over the field and that’s what they rely on. They rely on being able to adjust quickly to what you’re doing and stay within the scheme and make plays inside the scheme, and that’s what Bill’s done his entire career. I have a ton of respect for him and obviously what they’ve done over the years. Every year they have different guys they’re plugging in and they make it work.”

On what could have happened had he and Brady switched places:

“Obviously, that’ll be some of the conversation this week. I don’t really try to get into the “what if” game. I’m fortunate to have been drafted here and sit behind Brett [Favre] for three years. He was obviously drafted late there and he was 100 and what, 75 picks after me in the draft, so his chip might have been a little bit bigger than mine starting out his career. He’s had a phenomenal career there and I’ve had a phenomenal start here and a great time being a Green Bay Packer. I don’t think about anything different. The reason I resigned again was because I wanted to finish my career out here. And, you look at a guy like Tom, all the years he’s been there, it’s fun to be able to be in one spot through your entire career. There’s a lot of pride in that legacy part of your career, and I think him and I both feel the same way about our organizations.”

On what he has done to model his game after Brady’s:

“Well, the first was pocket movement. Just watching him in 2007 especially, his smooth nature in the pocket and he’s able to make subtle movements and he has his entire career to create space through a throwing lane or a throwing platform. And that’s one thing – not looking at the rush and being able to find that soft spot in the pocket is something he’s just been incredible at. It’s an innate sense but something you can really work on as well. That’s one thing I definitely took from him, and just like Favre, Tom’s always been great with his eyes – being able to manipulate defenders and move them out of zones that he wants to throw into and move safeties to be able to get to spots down the seams. Him and Brett are the best two I’ve seen on film.”

On if he would wanna play past 40 years old (he turns 35 in the coming weeks):

“If I still love it the way I do now and my body feels good – I think all of us would love to be able to pick the time that we go out. It’s obviously difficult in this day in age and not everybody can stay in the same spot and be able to kind of write their own final chapter. But that’s definitely the goal.”

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New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick

Opening remarks:

“This is, obviously, a quick turnaround and a lot to get ready here for the Packers. They’re really a good football team, do a lot of things well, very well-coached. Coach [Mike] McCarthy does a great job with this team, this organization. It’s one of the great organizations in all of sports, certainly in the National Football League. I have a ton of respect for the way they’re run, what they do, how they do it and how consistently they’ve done it. A lot of great players, a lot of weapons on all three sides of the ball, all three phases. They can score points, they can score in a hurry, they’re very well-balanced offensively. Defensively, they have a lot of looks, a lot to prepare for. They do a good job of pressuring the quarterback, a really good third down team, a good coverage team on the kicking game. They cover very well, make a lot of good field position. They do a good job of creating field position in the kicking game. A big leg – the punter, [JK] Scott. A lot of work to do to get to know these guys – the personnel and the scheme – so we’ll just try and cram it in here as quickly as we can, but it’s a real good football team. I’m really impressed watching them on film. They do a lot of things well.”

On how Aaron Rodgers’ game has evolved:

“Well, he killed us the last time we played him. I mean, he’s a great player. He does everything well. He reads coverages well, very accurate throwing the ball. He’s got a great touch down the field, short, intermediate. They get a lot of catch-and-run plays. A lot of that is because of his great accuracy. He puts the ball right on the receiver and doesn’t have to break stride and can just keep running with it. Very mobile in the pocket, extends plays, really good vision down the field, uses the cadence well, is a good situational player. I mean, he’s one of the great quarterbacks in the National Football League; no question about it. He does everything good. He can even play golf. He’s a good golfer, too.”

On the challenge of defending Davante Adams:

“Again, they have a lot of weapons. He’s a big one. Again, a vertical receiver, does a great job down the field, catch-and-run player, strong runner, hard to tackle. It’s hard to play off him, it’s hard to play up on him. He does a very good job of beating man coverage with his quickness and route technique. He’s got a great quarterback throwing to him. They do a good job. Coach McCarthy does a good job of game planning, running routes that beat coverages. They move him around so he’s not always in one spot. So it’s not the easiest guy to get because you don’t always know where he’s going to be. He’s a major impact player for them.”

On how the Green Bay defense played against the los Angeles Rams this past week:

“Well, they defended the Rams with a lot of defensive backs. They were in nickel, and multiple nickel and dime packages most of the game, if not all of the game. I’d say all of the game. I can’t remember them being in base. They use different combinations of nickels and dimes. It’s not all the same thing. They have several ways of doing it. They mix in pressure with coverage with max coverage. They tried to put a lot of speed on the field, tried to match up with the Rams speed. They had a number of disruptive plays. But they game plan. They play each team differently. They play you different than they play the next team because you’re different than the team they just played, so we’ll see how they play us. Yeah, that’s it against the Rams.”

On if Tom gets the slight edge over Rodgers:

“Yeah, well, I’ve never played against Tom Brady. So I’m glad he’s our quarterback. He’s a great quarterback. He’s won a lot of games for us and hopefully he’ll win a lot more and we’ve won a lot of games because of him, but I’ve never played against Tom Brady so it’s a different context. I’d say playing against Aaron Rodgers is very, very difficult. He’s as good as anybody that I’ve faced and we’ve faced a lot of good ones through the years. That’s not to take anything away from anybody else. I’m just saying the guy is a great player. He can do everything that a quarterback needs to do consistently. He does it well. He throws a lot of touchdowns. He doesn’t throw very many interceptions. The receivers make a ton of yards after he gets them the ball, and a big part of that is him getting them the ball in space, on the run, so that they can continue to gain positive yards after the catch. He doesn’t make them work for the ball. He gets out of some plays that very few guys can get out of. He’s got tremendous production down the field. Once again, he leads the league in touchdowns-to-interceptions. He leads the league in big plays. He’s thrown however many long passes to however many different receivers. It’s not all one guy. He’s a great player.”

On the offensive line game planning against Clay Matthews:

“Clay’s been one of their impact players defensively for quite a while. They put him in different spots, especially on their third-down packages. He’s usually on the line of scrimmage. He’s played off the ball before but he doesn’t play off the ball a lot. They put him inside. Sometimes he’s in coverage. Sometimes he rushes, but he’s got good quickness. He’s got very good speed and a high motor. He comes hard every time. He’s good on games. He’s got very good instincts. He’s a hard guy to fool with screens and misdirection plays, things like that. He reads those well. He’s a good tackler. He’s long. He’s got good playing strength. Yeah, he does a lot of things well. They have a very good and disruptive front and he’s one of the key guys to it. But they have good depth at the end positon and their inside guys – [Mike] Daniels, [Kenny] Clark – those guys are really good football players and they have a lot of disruptive plays, too. It’s a good group and they’re well-coached and they do a lot of different things.”

 

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