Q&A with Derrick Johnson 12/14

Posted Dec 14, 2011

Q: What would it be like to rise up and beat this team which no one else has done?

JOHNSON: “It means a lot each week just to get a win. And as hard as it is to get a win, we know how hard it is to get a win each and every week and to come out against an unbeaten team, against the Green Bay Packers, it’s just one of these games that you’ve got to get up for. No one is going to give us a chance to win this game and that’s okay. I guess as a strong-minded team we’ve got to pull together and we’ve got to play good, we’ve got to play really good and with playing really good that’s just going to give us a chance and if we can make some plays at the end of the game and keep it close we’ll be okay.”

Q: Would you rather be playing this particular opponent at a time like this then a lesser team?

JOHNSON: “I guess it came at a good time. You would think there would be a lot of distractions going on right now, but there’s really not. We know this business is about change all the time so as players you’ve got to be professional and regardless of what goes on with the coaching staff, as players you’ve got to fight your butt off so you can be here next year. We’re still getting evaluated each and every game so we have to play good, each and every one of us.”

Q: Do you feel the team is in shock a little bit?

JOHNSON: “Shock, no I don’t… shock of what, what do you mean?”

Q: It’s an adjustment when you’ve had a big change.

JOHNSON: “It’s definitely a change whenever you change a head coach. But being a pro, being a professional athlete you have to adjust to change, you have to be good when change comes and you’ve got to adjust on the fly. Maybe we needed a little change, due to schedule wise or anything Coach [Romeo] Crennel has us to do and the one change I hope we have this week is getting a win for sure.”

Q: How do you stop the Packers?

JOHNSON: “It’s going to be a team effort, all three phases. You’ve got to play good in all three phases. I don’t want to say be perfect because football’s not perfect, the Packers aren’t perfect, close to it but they’re a really good team and doing a lot of good things. The main thing they’ve got going for them is their confidence level that they are playing with. When you have the confidence level that they are playing with you can do a lot of great things so we need to match that Sunday.”

Q: Your head coach is your defensive coordinator so does that mean you won’t have to make many changes on defense, is that the right perception?

JOHNSON: “Yes. Romeo is still the defensive coordinator and he’s still going about things week in and out like he usually does and there’s really no change on the defensive side of the ball.”

Q: What makes Aaron Rodgers so tough?

JOHNSON: “He can pass and run. People don’t give him enough credit, or I don’t think they give enough credit on him getting out of situations where he should be sacked. He has great pocket presence. He’s a quarterback that is just spot on. You see some of the throws he makes, guys not really open, covered good but he makes a good throw and they make a good catch a lot of the time and it’s just hard to defend a quarterback like that.”

Q: Is Rodgers in the zone, whatever that might be?

JOHNSON: “Yes he’s definitely in the zone. Aaron Rodgers is a guy that’s playing the best ball, he’s the best quarterback in the league and we have a big challenge ahead of us this Sunday, big.”

Q: Have you watched any tape where you had to stop and go no he didn’t just do that?

JOHNSON: “That’s what I mean about him getting out of some sack situations. You don’t think of him like a Michael Vick guy or a Vince Young type guy that can run, but at times he’s getting out of trouble and then looking to throw the ball so man, just some throws he makes, it’s hard for the defensive backs to cover receivers at times. But regardless of that, they have to keep doing what they’ve been doing every week, I’m sure they want to be unbeaten throughout the season and hopefully we can change that.”

Q: As a player do you like the coach to be direct and for things to be black and white?

JOHNSON: “Yes, I’m definitely used to that hard core discipline. That’s good, we all respond to a guy, it’s never grey with him, it’s black and white with Romeo and he lets us know that. He’s our leader right now and we’re going to follow him all the way.”

Q: What were some of the lessons or things you learned from Todd Haley?

JOHNSON: “I learned a lot. Todd has taught me to be a tough-minded person. He’s always saying tough times don’t last but tough people do. That hardness of mindset that you have to have regardless of what other people say or regardless of your situation in football, you can overcome it through a strong-minded person. That was the biggest thing but we all loved being around Todd.”

Q: When he came in did you think you were a tough minded person, or were you a lot tougher after a year?

JOHNSON: “I thought I was a tough-minded person before, just had never been in a situation, a couple of years ago that I was in as far as not starting, but you build character through hard times and I definitely built my character through that time and it paid off.”

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