After a disappointing exit in the playoffs last year, the Green Bay Packers are back and better than ever in RML. We sit down with Coach Joe Cool, who is coming off a win in the divisional round against the 10-6 Buccaneers and now has his eyes set on the #1 seed Washington Redskins. We talk with Coach Cool about his gameplan against Redskins and how he has gotten to this point.
BF: Coach Cool, congratulations on reaching the NFC Championship, it is a huge accomplishment for anyone to achieve. What enabled this team to make it this far?
JC: That’s a good question, one I’m not even sure I know the answer to. The focus all offseason was creating an opportunistic defense, one that could thrive on turnovers and pressure, and I think it’s safe to say it has been a success. Whether it be game planning or just more skill along the depth chart, the defensive improvements I think have to be one of the main reasons for success this year.
BF: Who would you say have been the key contributors this year to allow for this success?
JC: Marcus Mariota has to be in the conversation as far as key contributors go given his ability to avoid turnovers, but then I think you have to look at the secondary as well. Whether it be Gareon, Humphrey, or Landon, each has made tremendous strides this season. Landon in particular has been critical, as his ability to lay the wood in zone coverage has freed me to try a handful of different coverages through a given series. And he’s worked well with hall, who is basically all speed and nothing else. We call it a battery of sorts in the secondary as at times the offense seems like they are playing pitch and catch with us.
BF: Ah I see, well something’s definitely been working. So now let’s talk about what everyone wants to…the playoffs. First off, let’s talk about the game you just played. You beat Bucs in a great game…what was your plan going in and how did you execute it?
JC: The Bucs are a man heavy team, and through our scouting we identified that the defense often comes out in man on first down, so we planned to take advantage of that. However, the Bucs didn’t give us nearly as many opportunities as I hoped, which forced us to create on the fly. Defensively, the plan was just to contain Langford, and not make mistakes-whether that was overextending for tackles or getting caught out of position on coverage. The defense calls it limiting “Joeism’s” because I guess I do a lot of stupid things around the facility. Whatever gets them all on the same page I guess.
BF: Well whatever you did it worked. Now this is what everyone wants to hear about…THE matchup of the NFC. Redskins vs. Packers. Redskins is coming off an absolute beatdown of Cardinals. How do you plan to beat this juggernaut of a team?
JC: It’s tough. You talk about limiting Joeism’s, well Luke Kuechly is built to take advantage of any mistake possible. The last time out we hung tough, limiting his running game while avoiding mistakes. That’s the key this time around. Watch for Dak Prescott though. Everyone knows how good of a thrower he is, but it’s when he takes off that always seems to present problems for us. If he’s running for first downs, you know we are in trouble. But make no mistake, we don’t feel like we are underdogs. There might not be a better player in the NFC than the Redskins, but maybe for one glorious night, the Packers could take that mantle.
BF: It should be an exciting matchup and I, for one, can’t wait to see it. With that said…do you think this team of yours is a Super Bowl winning team this year?
JC: I think we could be if everything breaks right, I want this run to continue in the worst way. It’s something we could have talked about since the start of the offseason, and our dreams are so close to being realized. All it takes is one opportunity and we could flourish.
BF: Well best of luck to you Coach Cool. We’re all looking forward to the NFC Championship and I know a lot of people are pulling for you!
JC: Thanks, appreciate the time.