Q. When Aaron is out extending the play, what’s the mindset of a receiver when he’s out in the pocket and scrambling all around?
GREG JENNINGS: Get open. You’ve got a quarterback fighting for extended life. Obviously he has extended a play to make a play and it’s our opportunity to obviously get open, get separation from our defenders.
Q. Is that all ad‑libbed? Is there some method to the madness when it’s going on?
GREG JENNINGS: It’s a little method to a scramble. You want the shortest guy on the route to kind of work up, come back down. You obviously probably want somebody going deep. But you have to be smart about it. But most of the time it’s pretty much ad‑libbed. You can’t really draw that up in practice.
As much as you would like to, it’s just guys just got to go to work and be smart about the situation and get open.
Q. What’s going through your head when you see a guy like Aaron Rodgers run down Brian Urlacher?
GREG JENNINGS: Get him. (Laughter) But we were all ‑‑ we worked these drills every day in practice. You throw a turnover or you have a turnover and everybody pursues to the ball. So obviously once we saw the pick, the pick was made, we’re all hustling. But obviously he’s in the best position.
He did a great job not only getting him down, but if he didn’t get him down, at least he made him cut back, slow down, so some of the guys can kind of rally up and try to get him. But you don’t ‑‑ you never want your quarterback really tackling a guy like Urlacher. But in that situation we have to do whatever we can do to get that guy down. He did an outstanding job.
Q. Perimeter guys had a pretty good day last year in Pittsburgh. Polamalu has been in that mix this year. Talk about the quantum leap he makes in that secondary’s overall ability?
GREG JENNINGS: He’s obviously the chief of that secondary, of that defense, really. He’s what makes those guys go. And when he’s back there, you can’t really ad‑lib for a guy like that. You can prepare only so much because a lot of his game is kind of instinctive play and just veteran savviness. Watching him on film, he does a lot of unique things that you don’t see a typical safety do.
A lot of safeties aren’t given the amount of freedom that he has, and rightfully so. He deserves the freedom he has because he makes plays when the ball is snapped.
Q. What did you take away from last year’s game at Pittsburgh?
GREG JENNINGS: That was one of those games that, one of those close games we didn’t come away with. We’ve had a lot of experience in a lot of close games that we haven’t been able to win. Obviously this year we’ve had some close games that we didn’t win, but we won the majority of them. But for the most part we were able to move the ball. We were able to establish some identity in what we were trying to do offensively. But you can only look so far into what you did last year.
Because from year to year, from game to game, from week to week, teams kind of change up what they’re going to throw at you. In this case, Dick LeBeau isn’t going to change up his whole entire scheme. But he adds a player that we didn’t have out there competing against us last year in Polamalu, probably one of the better players on the field.
Q. We just got done talking to Aaron, obviously. He said he hoped to try and approach this one like any other game, like any other week while knowing that it still could be a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity. He’s such the focus of the team being the quarterback and being the star player. What do you expect out of him come Sunday?
GREG JENNINGS: I expect the same performance as we’ve been getting. And the one thing I’ve learned playing and practicing with this guy, he prepares better than anybody I’ve been around and he handles the big stage. He handles all the flashy lights and the spotlight better than a lot of guys would at his age.
I just started calling him “kid” because he’s younger than I am, although he has more years of experience in the league. But he handles situations very well. He’s very comfortable and he controls the situation. He never lets anything get away from him.
And I think with all that’s going to be thrown at us, with the media and him being tugged left and right, Like you said, he is the face of the team so he is going to get a lot of attention, and rightfully so.
I think he handles it the right way. I think he’s still going to prepare as though this is it. That’s the way we all have to approach it. He’s not in it by himself. He’s not going to approach it like he’s in it by himself, but we all have to rally up and make sure we’re doing the things to prepare to win the game instead of just going down there and enjoying the atmosphere.
Q. You’ve seen teams come out flat in the first quarter in this game or panic set in because the other team had some early success. What can you draw from the last year, year and a half with this squad that convinces you’ll be able to handle that early on in that game?
GREG JENNINGS: Ironically enough, we’re a young team, but we have a lot of experience with the young guys. And sometimes that bodes well for you and sometimes it works against you. And I think in this case it kind of works well to our advantage, because guys don’t, they really don’t know what to expect. So you kind of go in there with kind of a nonchalant attitude. Not so much nonchalant, maybe that’s the wrong word, but a kind of carefree attitude like this is it. I’m not nervous.
They don’t know what to expect, so they don’t know to be nervous or they don’t know to be tight or to be tense. It’s like we’re too young. This is a lifetime opportunity and we’re getting it at a young age.
And then you have some of the older guys who can come from the other end of the spectrum, they have been in this situation. Charles, a guy like that, a guy like Ryan Pickett who has had this opportunity. It may have slipped away, some may have capitalized on it. We have a lot of different guys, not a lot of different guys, but a few different guys from two ends of the spectrum, myself. It’s a dream come true.
And I’m going to prepare like I’ve never prepared before. But at the same time keeping in mind it is a game. It’s the biggest game of any game that I’ve ever played in and probably ever will play in. But at the same time you’ve got to keep everything to the right perspective. And that’s the same routines, preparation has to be the same. A little bit more increase, because this is for everything.
Q. Most Super Bowls have a couple of players who emerge as sentimental favorites. It would seem Donald Driver has been chasing it longer than anybody in the organization, is well positioned for that role. What do you think this opportunity means to him and what does this mean to his team?
GREG JENNINGS: I’ll answer the second question first. He means a lot to this team, not only to this team but to this organization. What he brings to the table is unmatched. You can’t supplement for a guy like that.
You can’t take a piece like that out and kind of just plug a piece in. His veteran leadership, his game smarts, his football IQ. I mean, all of those intangibles, they’re hard to imitate.
They’re hard to duplicate. And with a guy like that, I’m just fortunate he’s in our room having not been afforded this opportunity to play on this stage. Obviously emotionally there’s a lot of things running through his mind; but at the same time he understands that this is a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity, and he’s trying to come away with a win as we all are.
Q. You talked about how Rodgers is going to approach this. How are you going to approach this? We all know your personality, your effervescence. Are you going to embrace it?
GREG JENNINGS: I’m definitely going to embrace it. I talked to a couple of guys. I talked to Fitz a few times and he was letting me know how he went down there, Kurt and himself were pretty much locked up in the hotel room just studying film, studying film, studying film. And he never really got to enjoy any of the festivities around him.
He took it so serious that he wished he had done some things differently. So getting that advice, you know, I would definitely kind of enjoy the moment, live in the moment, but at the same time recognize that this is a business trip. We’re not going down here to enjoy being a part of Super Bowl XLV. We’re going down here to bring home the Lombardi Trophy that’s been not a part of this organization for like the last 13 years.
So we understand ‑‑ I understand it. I’ve played long enough. I haven’t been on this stage, but I’ve been around some older guys that have helped my progression mentally. And we understand the magnitude of this game.
Q. How pleased are you that this game is in a dome?
GREG JENNINGS: That’s all I can do is smile. I mean, you go from playing in Chicago in January, late January, to Dallas and they close you inside a dome. You can’t do anything but smile. Obviously the surface is going to be perfect. The atmosphere is going to be unmatched.
You can just smile. It’s going to be exciting. Obviously we play well inside. But in a game like this, game of this magnitude, it didn’t matter if we had to play in the park. Guys are going to bring their ‘A’ game and guys are going to come well prepared.
Q. You’re not afraid of contact, but when you watch them, is it like preparing for 8-10 car crashes?
GREG JENNINGS: Oh, I think when you watch anybody in the NFL it’s like preparing for 8-10 car crashes. But they’re a team that really tries to get after you physically. We understand that.
We feel like we’re a pretty physical team as well. But at the same time, you know, we have to be elusive when the ball is in our hands but at the same time be smart and know when the down is over. Make the best of each and every opportunity.
Because, again, this is a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity. We’re not going down here just to lay down and say, hey, we were part of this game.
We understand we have young guys. But we have a lot of experience with our young guys. And we’re going to try to get this done, period.