Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
October 6, 2016
Q: You get a couple extra hours.
A: Yeah. But not on the other end. We are always thinking about it on the other end.
Q: How do you feel that things stand with your cornerback right now?
A: Well, we are getting a little bit of work out of some of them right now. DRC got a little work and Eli (Apple) is working off to the side right now, but we are hopeful that we can get one and a half, three quarters, yeah, we need them back. We miss them. Look, I thought that [Trevin Wade] battled his butt off. I told him after the game, ĎJust keep fighting.í All that we can ask from him is to play his best football and fight and that is what he did. There were a couple plays there where they got him, he feels bad about it, but it is a team game and we play it as a team, so we will keep at it.
Q: Through four games you have had to throw in some undrafted rookies. How do you think they have responded?
A: Yeah, I think they have responded really well. I am glad you brought that up. I would also mention this, when that happens, when somebody who is undrafted and hasnít had a lot of reps [then] there are a lot of good coaches doing a lot of good work. Dave Merritt, Tim Walton, Bill McGovern and Pat (Graham), Z (Jeff Zgnonia) and Rob (Leonard), those guys work their butts off and I think that the players will tell you that they have done a good job getting them ready. There has been a lot on the back end when you talk about Andrew (Adams) having to go in there and Darian Thompson was a rookie and even Eli Apple, but we have some vets in there that are helping and we have some good coaches in there that are helping. I think that they are excited about that when it happens, any competitor is going to be excited. I really like the way that Andrew Adams has responded to being on the back end, having to communicate, work with Landon, I think he has done a solid job. We have a ways to go. It was one game and everybody has to step it up. We all have to be better. 24 points is too many points in my opinion. We didnít play red zone as well as we normally have and that hurt us, in our opinion it cost us eight points, so we are all trying to get better.
Q: Is the biggest compliment to Adams, the fact that you havenít signed a veteran safety this year?
A: It is a good way to look at it. I hadnít thought of it that way. If I am him, yeah that would be. We have guys, everybody trying to work through this thing. Leon Hall is back there Ė there is a constant shuffle and I go back to Tim (Walton) and Dave (Merritt) who have done a nice job with those guys. They are in there battling away right now, working on Green Bay and piecing it all together, so hopefully we come up with something good.
Q: We talked about the snap counts with JPP and OV last week. Is it still that hard balanced to strike?
A: It is hard to take guys of that quality off the field. Now, OV is battling with that hand. I donít think people realize that it is affecting him as much as it is and he battles with it all week and then goes out there and plays. But, because of who they are and what they like, they donít want to come off the field either. I wish like heck and it still goes back to third down, I will segway to that because it needs to get better Ė I wish we werenít playing as many plays as we have and if we were better on third down in just a couple of instances, I think that we could cut down about 12-15 plays and that would help with what you are talking about. But, I talked to a couple of guys this week about their numbers because I look at the overall for four weeks and some of them are a little too high, so we are going to start to play a few more guys.
Q: Vernon had the one game against Washington where it looked like he couldnít use his hands at all. Is he getting back?
A: Getting better, yeah. He is getting to where he is using it a little more, Mike. But in that game he was actually asking to go inside a little bit more because you donít do as much hand fighting as you do outside, but he is getting there. He doesnít use it very much during practice, but then when he gets to the game he forgets about it and goes.
Q: Olivier obviously got a lot of money and you know what JPP is about. You probably look at them as home run hitters. Have they hit enough home runs?
A: I donít look at it that way. I am looking at all 11. I am looking at good football plays. Now, do we move them around and try to take advantage of what we think their talents are? Yeah. But, to me, it is strictly how many points are allowed on the scoreboard. It really all comes back to that.
Q: But they are here for a reason. I am not saying it is all on them, but they are here for a reason.
A: Yeah, they are all here for a reason. They really are. As a group and I think they would tell you because they are prideful men, that they would like to step it up, but I think everyone really needs to step it up, I really do.
Q: Do you think the interior needs to get more penetration on the pass rush?
A: Yeah, I think that when you do that it helps the outside, so there is some truth to that. [Patrick Graham] and [Jeff Zgnonia] we try to put together some gains inside to work on a little bit. It depends on who you go against and you try to find the weaker link if you can. It may not be inside some weeks; it may be outside Ė that helps the pass rush.
Q: What is the issue on third down?
A: I canít put a finger on it. But every time I go through, it frustrates me more than anything Ė when I end up looking at it, it is usually one or two of them. Our goal is 35 percent or less than 36 and it is usually one or two and then you can detail everything, but we had one that I remembered distinctly. Jackrabbit was guarding 14 (Stefon Diggs) and it was a third-and-four and they get four and half yards, just got enough, so we were off by half a yard, otherwise that is a stop and they punt the football. I will say this, we have done far better on the third and shorter down and distances, the one and two and threes, certainly than we did last year and those are hard downs to win. Why we arenít winning some of the third-and-sevens and third-and-eights, that is frustrating, but we will figure it out.
Q: How difficult is Rodgers in that sense, that he is able to move around back there and extend plays?
A: Yeah, he can extend the down and look, he is not going to change. He is a great football player; he is a Hall of Famer. We need to affect the other 10. That is what we are talking about. If we can do that, then we can have some success, but if you let all those guys do what they are capable of doing then Aaron is going to find them and it is going to be a long day.
Q: You have been involved in some memorable matchups with the Giants and Packers. How has the team evolved since the last time you faced them?
A: Yeah, look, it is all separate to me. To me, in this business, every year sits on its own. I really donít compare and go back and forth and really, we are just so focused on what we are doing right now with this group, who we have, what we have, it would be hard for me to go back and compare. Look, it is a great place to play a game. Lambeau Field and everything that goes with it and our guys are excited about that, so hopefully we can go up there and perform well.
Q: There's this idea that Ben McAdoo can sit in your room and tell you about tendencies about Rodgers or McCarthy. A) does that happen...?
A: Well I will say this, Ben and I have had a lot of conversations about the Packers offense, even prior to this week, back in the summer, we do our off-season studies. He's been a big help in seeing things that you might not see. Taking all of that and getting it to the field and having it actually be useful against Aaron Rodgers, sometimes that's difficult. But understanding what he's trying to do, but I mean it helps that we go against Eli because the offense is very similar. When it's all said and done, their players are a little bit different and we have to defend what they've been doing, what they don't do or what they do well or don't do well. I've enjoyed listening to the why, why is Aaron doing this, or what do you think he would do here, what's his favorite this. Those are the things kind of things that will hopefully be helpful.
Q: Did you revisit that this week or is this back from...?
A: Last week when we had the extra day, we had the Monday night game so we spent a little bit of time there, not much, and we did it early in the week so we don't get confused. That happens, I get jersey numbers in my head, so we stayed away from that.
Q: Does it worry you when you look at all the talent they have that they haven't had that breakout game yet.
A: Yeah, let's hope it doesn't happen. But, there's bits and pieces in there. You can say what you want, but I can see plays in there and throws and guys getting open and how nifty and say that's a good football team with a lot of talent. I'm sure they feel the same way because they are.
Q: How does that dynamic work with you and Ben? He's a guy who has an all offensive background.
A: Some of the most valuable information you get, I'm not talking about just the Green Bay Packers, but of what we would do defensively or not do is from an offensive perspective. I'm either down in his office or he's in mine. There's always a back and forth and a I enjoy that. He's great that way. When you're the head coach and you're able to...Ben's a little bit more available right now defensively than he really would have been last year. So, that is really good.
Q: To go back to the snap counts, is that something that Owa Odighizuwa and Kerry Wynn aren't showing you that's holding them back?
A: I would say it's a little bit of their development. But, Kerry played a lot of snaps last year. More than anything, I think it's, we need to do it. We need to do it. It's hard to take those other two guys off the field. I know Patrick Graham feels that all the time. And maybe what we need to get to is to say, hey, here's how the rotations going to be but, we'll see as it goes. We do need to that. As these games go, it's going to pile-up. There's other guys who's numbers are piling-up. But, I still think a lot it goes back to 3rd down. We could help ourselves all the way across the board if we could be better.
Whether he can coordinate a defense competently at this point is debatable. We suck on third down and were bad Monday in the red zone.
Not suggesting an in-season replacement but the guy was given a whole lot of talent between FA and the draft so its up to him to make it work on the field.
Hopefully he does get some of secondary back on the field soon so he doesn't burn too many brain cells as to why they are struggling on 3rd down.
It goes without saying that the bloom has fallen of the rose several times now with Spags...