Greg Jennings “Once That Ball’s Kicked Off, There Are No Friends Out There”

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Greg, please.

Q. The goal is to improve every week. But where do you look at room for improvement off that Atlanta game?
GREG JENNINGS: Number one, I can start with myself with the turnover. The one turnover, obviously it cost us seven points, put us in a deficit on the road, something you don’t want to be in.
So it starts there. And just the details. Obviously we performed at a high level. We were pretty much efficient all phases of the game. But you have to look at things on film and make sure that you can pull ‑‑ there’s always something you can pull out to perform and enhance your performance.

Q. On the road, how difficult did it ‑‑ it turned out not to be difficult but how difficult is it to overcome on a deficit like that on the road?

GREG JENNINGS: It can be difficult. This week, with the mindset of our ball club, and I think going forward, our mindset is one that it’s hard to be matched.
And what I mean by that, with the deficit, with the fumble, with the kickoff return, they had a couple of big plays, the mindset of our team never wavered at all.
It was we get another opportunity to go on the field and put points up on the board. And, you know, we had that mindset that we were going to score every time we touched the ball.

Q. That playing surface down there has been criticized over the years. What’s your take on that playing surface?
GREG JENNINGS: Should I criticize it even more? (Laughter). No, it’s rough. It’s probably one of the worst ‑‑ probably the worst in the league.
But at the same time, you have to go out before the game, pregame, and kind of get a feel of what you’re working with, what you’re dealing with, get your footing, because that’s going to play a huge, huge role in the game.
But you can’t ‑‑ you can’t allow that to affect the way you play. The grass, the surface, how hard it is, how soft it is, what have you, it really ‑‑ it plays only so much into the game if you allow it to.

Q. Did you watch the game yesterday? Do you think that may have affected the Seattle guys? Did you see it at all?
GREG JENNINGS: I did watch the game. I know it affected those guys on a couple of routes that I saw, couple guys slid.
But that’s going to happen regardless of what field you’re on, if you’re in that type of climate. You have to be mindful of your footing and your body lean and things like that.
So, I mean, their field is not the best. Their players know that. But it is what it is. And we have to go down there and play a great game against a good team.

Q. As a Midwestern kid, when did you first sort of become aware of the intensity of the Green Bay/Chicago rivalry? And is there anything either as a player or before you got here that stands out in your mind?
GREG JENNINGS: Honestly I didn’t become aware of it until I got here. I could have cared less for the Bears, and should I say the Packers, too? I really didn’t watch either the Packers or the Bears. I was a Barry Sanders follower. So whatever Barry did, I knew everything he did.
But once I got here, I started to understand how in depth the rivalry was and how important it was to not only the players, the organization, but to the fans.

Q. What are the advantages or disadvantages of playing a team for the third time in one season?

GREG JENNINGS: Well, there are advantages and disadvantages, as you mentioned. But the number one thing I’ll go with the disadvantages first. There are tons of disadvantages, just basically because they know you inside and out. You know them inside and out.
But at the same time, you can flip that and that’s an advantage at the same time. Obviously we know those guys. They know us. There’s nothing that they’re going to do different that we’re going to be like: Oh my gosh, where did that come from. And there’s nothing that we’re going to do that says wow we didn’t prepare for that.
They know what we are. They know how we operate. And we know who they are. We know how they operate. Obviously we’ve played them twice already. Two close games, two games that could have gone either way.

And here we are again, when it really counts this time. Well, it really counted the last time we played, too.

Q. What’s your take‑away from the two games you played against the Bears?
GREG JENNINGS: Well, number one, you know you’re going against a fast defense, a defense that can make plays. They thrive off of turnovers. If we can take control and keep their defense on the field and keep their offense off the field, but at the same time be mindful of the ball security phase, then we have a great shot of winning the ballgame.
But knowing what type of defense they are, what type of team they are, they thrive off big plays, in special teams, as well as off turnovers.
If we don’t allow them more opportunities on offense, by giving them turnovers and having ball security issues, then we should be okay.

Q. Is that the fastest defense you’ve faced this year?
GREG JENNINGS: I would have to say yes. They do a great job of flowing to the ball. Obviously a lot of those guys, veteran guys, savvy guys.
So they know what it takes to get wins. And that’s why they’re in the position they’re in as well. Obviously what they bring to the table defensively is pretty much the ground and the foundation of their team.

Q. What did you learn from your experience in the NFC title game the last time you were in it three years ago?

GREG JENNINGS: Not to walk away the way I felt the last time. That’s number one. That was a bitter taste. I remember sitting in my locker room for about 15, 20 minutes after everybody left.
And I mean not having taken off any equipment. It was an unfamiliar feeling. But at the same time it was a sense of, boy, we got here and we let one slip away. That’s one thing you have to take with you the feeling you had or we had coming off that field at home and seeing another team celebrating on our field on our turf obviously the window of opportunity is not always open and it doesn’t come each and every season. Obviously it’s been three years since we’ve been in this position and we’re fortunate to be in this situation and we’ll try to make the best of it.

Q. You really liked playing in the dome because you could use all of your plays. But now it’s going to be down there cold and miserable. Does Rogers have to adjust any of his throws in the wind? And likewise, do you have to adjust any of your routes or can he cut through the wind with his passes?

GREG JENNINGS: We all have to adjust. Playing outside, playing inside is totally different. Obviously we all know that. But when you’re down there off that lake and that wind gets to working like it typically does, it can change the way the ball is coming in flight.
Aaron throws a phenomenal ball already. But at the same time when you’re playing in those environments with those weather conditions, potential weather conditions, you have to focus in and the ball might dip on you a little bit, but it’s like I said, if you can overcome that aspect of it, the field, the weather, the elements, it’s a mental game. And that’s how we’re going to win this game.

Q. I don’t know if you can put a percentage on it, but how often do they use cover 2, how often do they show you cover 2 and shift to something else?

GREG JENNINGS: Typically, later on in the season, I remember last year when we played down there, they went more single high, three deep zone. And I think it has a lot to do with the elements, the conditions of their field and them knowing their environment and knowing that a team is not going to be able to just run up and down the field and run all kinds of routes and do those types of things on that field as we would if we were here or inside in a dome.
So they kind of throw a different look at you every now and then. But we know what to expect with them. They know what to expect with us. So there won’t be any hidden secrets or anything like that.

Q. What does it feel like to be the favorite instead of the underdog this time around?

GREG JENNINGS: I couldn’t tell you, because I didn’t know we were the favorite. It really doesn’t matter whether we’re the favorite or the underdog. We know we’re going into a hostile environment. We didn’t get it done the last time we played up there.
We know we’re going against a great opponent, a division opponent, and it’s going to take a full‑out 60‑minute effort from our ball club to get it done.

Q. You mentioned basically locked on to Mike Williams, regardless of which field you end up on. And I think he was on you a lot a few weeks ago. Do you sort of anticipate that you may see the same sort of battle this time around?


Q. You think they’ll play straight up ‑‑


Q. You don’t want to answer or ‑‑

GREG JENNINGS: I don’t think they’re going to do that. No.

Q. Going back to rivalries, can you explain how players view rivalries? The fans are obviously Bears, Packers. Coming from Michigan you talk about following Barry Sanders, how do you feel about the Bears and how do you feel about the rivalry?

GREG JENNINGS: How I feel about the Bears, you know, I’m friends with a lot of those guys on their team. And that’s pretty much in the off season. We talk before the game, and depending on the outcome, after the game.
But once that ball’s kicked off, there are no friends out there. You may laugh and chuckle with your own teammates about something that another guy’s doing, but when you’re on that field, the rivalry is full effect. And I think it’s ‑‑ I think coming here, seeing the fans, how they react to the Bears and the Vikings and things like that, it’s probably more of a rivalry for the fans than it is for the players.
And they really get us revved up and ready to go each time we play these things.

Q. Greg, the Bears are known for their defense, and they always have been. You get to practice against the Packers defense, what is it like, do you think, to play against the Packers defense?
GREG JENNINGS: It’s tough. It’s tough. Those guys, they really fly around. Obviously with the kind of guys we have in the secondary, they’re able to make plays with the ball in the air. And the thing about playing against our guys, we get a different variation of looks.
We get the man. We get the zone. They can press. So we get to work on bump coverage quite often. And then when they’re in zone we get to work on off coverage.
So they throw a lot of things at us that we’re going to see from opponents and some things we’re not going to see. They work well on preparing us, and we try to do the same to reciprocate that.