Do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of Mercury Morris and some of the other former Dolphins from the 1972 team popping bottles of champagne after Green Bay lost to Kansas City this past weekend. It looked like this year’s Green Bay Packers team had an inside track to join the Dolphins as the only teams to run the table all the way to a championship. Perfection looked like it was well within their grasp. Even though the defense had struggled at times this season, Aaron Rodgers and the Pack offense looked unstoppable and were able to overcome that. They had yet to be held under 24 points in a game this season. Well, until this past weekend in Kansas City. Of all the teams to stop the run towards perfection it is a shocker that it was the previously five win Chiefs that had just fired their head coach.
The Pack’s shot at perfection is no longer a possibility but every other goal they had going into the season hasn’t faded. The Packers are already NFC North Champs, home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is there for the taking, and their dreams of repeating as Super Bowl Champs are still very much alive.
Ryan Grant joined WSSP in Milwaukee with the Big Show to talk about whether or not it was a surreal feeling when the clock was running out on their perfect season, why he thinks the Packers abandoned the running game when it was successful, if they still feel like their number one goal is within reach, whether or not the Packers lost focus heading into the game against the Chiefs, and if he thinks every other team in the league is giving Green Bay their best shot.
Whether or not the feeling was surreal when the clock was clicking towards zero:
“It definitely was. I think even till this day all of us were like ‘man there’s no more time on the clock.’ That’s how we felt. Unfortunately we didn’t play our style of ball. Our defense did a good job of keeping them to field goals but we just never really got anything going. Very, very inconsistent the whole game and it showed on the field.”
Why he thinks the team abandoned the running game:
“Yeah well that’s not our identity necessarily. You’ve gotta take the good with the bad. I don’t think we’re gonna change things up when our identity has been one thing throughout the whole year. We just have to do a better job with what we do. If that means passing the ball or whatever, it all starts with protecting Aaron and making him feel comfortable and I don’t think we did that as a whole, as a unit yesterday, and across the ball. We had drops, we had missed assignments, and all the things that aren’t our style of football. You look and people will say ‘oh the formula to beat the Packers and everything.’ Yeah it’s us making mistakes. Plain and simple. Too many mental mistakes, too many balls on the ground, and it just seemed like the whole day we were just all waiting for someone to make that play, somebody else to step up as opposed to all of us stepping up.”
Whether or not he thinks the goal of Super Bowl is still within reach:
“That’s the number one goal. That is the number one goal and that was the number one goal from day one. Going 16-0 and perfect throughout would’ve been awesome and that was also a goal of ours but it was not our number one goal and it doesn’t take away from our number one goal. You’re gonna see that this team is more focused than ever now on the focus at hand. Right now that focus is getting home field advantage and getting back to playing our style of football riding this thing into the playoffs. Last year they had that six game winning streak and that run and that’s the same thing we want to do this year. It’s a little different situation since we’re trying to get home field advantage but it’s no different from the style of football we’re trying to play.”
If he feels like the team might’ve lost focus heading into the Kansas City game:
“No I think more focused than ever. I’m not saying refocused because I don’t think our focus was incorrect. I think we really took the mentality of one game at a time, we understood what we were trying to do. We wanted to go into Kansas City and get that 14th win because we knew that was the next win and that would get us home field advantage. We knew why we were playing in that game and why we wanted to win that game so I don’t necessarily feel like it’s refocusing because our focus has always been in the right place. I think that’s why our team has succeeded. We will just be even more focused. Guys are gonna be dialed in because guys are pissed. Guys are upset with their performances, guys are upset with the outcome and we didn’t want to feel it once and we don’t want to feel it ever again. We’re gonna make sure we’re playing our style of football and playing it at the highest level.”
On the Packers getting every team’s best shot:
“Of course. That’s necessary and I would think that’s common sense and a given because in this league we’re a bunch of professionals and teams want to play at their highest level. Right now we have shown that we’re the team playing the best football I guess you can say over the past year because of what we did last year as a team. We are the defending champion and teams want to give us their best shot. You see Kansas City did. They played their butts off and you’ve gotta give them credit and say kudos to them and hats off because they had a great game plan, (Kyle) Orton managed that game very well offensively and then defensively they made plays when they needed to and got pressure on our quarterback. We made our mistakes but I don’t take anything away from the opponent because not to say we helped them but we didn’t do our part to put ourselves in the best position to win. They played their game.”