*With the Ravens preparing to take on the Green Bay Packers this weekend, two members of the enemy team answered a few questions about their squad. *
Here is head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Head coach Mike McCarthy
Should the Ravens expect very cold weather on Monday?
McCarthy:"My understanding is today's weather is going to be very similar to the game-time temperature. We practiced outside today and just had very light snow flurries. It was a beautiful day. It was a great day to play football."
Can the weather get into a visiting team's head if they're not used to the cold and snow?
McCarthy:"I think it may... I don't think 'get into your head,' but that's something I think you talk about more when you're a team from the South. I know when I was working with the New Orleans Saints, we went up to Cincinnati and played the game up there. It was like 34 degrees, and it felt like it was minus 10 because we hadn't been in it, that type of weather before. Coming from Baltimore, I don't think it would be a big difference for their football team."
What do you think of the Ravens' pressure on quarterbacks?
McCarthy:"No. 1, we have a lot of respect for their defense and the players that they have on defense and the experience that they have in that scheme. They've been… They're a good defense, and they've been a good defense a long time in this league. That's the way we view them as a defensive unit. As far as the ability to get after the passer, they do it different ways, whether it's with a four-man rush, and then their pressure package on third down. They definitely make you work during the course of the week."
Is Ray Rice's versatility the most dangerous part of his game?
McCarthy:"Ray is a very explosive, dynamic football player. You really enjoy watching him, particularly when you don't have to play against him. Especially when he hits the line of scrimmage, he has the ability to get to the second level whether he's running the football or catching the football. He has the ability to make people miss. He has the ability to finish the long runs. He's definitely someone that we have a lot of respect for."
Is your defense's No. 1 ranking a sense of pride since that's something the unit has been working toward?
McCarthy:"It's definitely a target that we've hit as far as our plan and our vision for our defense. Really, those statistics don't mean anything until the season's over, so it just kind of shows us where we are today as a defense. But, we're very much in tune with the ability we have and the opportunity we have to not only win with this defense, but to improve as a defense."
QB Aaron Rodgers
Do you feel like they have solved your early-season pass protection issues?
Rodgers:"Well, I think we started to do some of the things that we feel we're capable of doing, as far as protecting and getting the ball out quickly. I think it's a combination of getting the ball out quickly, feeling comfortable with the protections called and executing those protections as well as we possibly can. So, those three things combined have allowed us to decrease those number of sacks the last couple of weeks."
Is there any advantage in the cold December playing at home at Lambeau Field?
Rodgers: "Well, we like to think that we have at least some sort of small advantage. A lot of us are from different places, myself being from California. In high school, junior college and Cal, they weren't playing in cold weather, but I think when you live in Green Bay for an extended period of time, you just get used to dealing with it. I think you're better at dealing with the cold weather, because you have to live in it, and shovel your driveway in it, and be outside in it from time to time. So, I think you just get a little bit better at dealing with the cold weather and I think that's the slight advantage that we do have. Not to mention, we have a great crowd which continues to show up, and support us, and cheer loud in the cold weather."
What is the biggest challenge when facing the Ravens' defense?
Rodgers:"Well, communication on third down I think is very important. Their scheme is very intricate, and a lot of their guys have played in it for a number of years. Obviously [LB] Ray [Lewis] does a great job of diagnosing plays and reacting and getting those guys to play with a great passion. And I think you have to be good on first and second down, is probably the main key, so you put yourself in third-and-more manageable situations. So, if you're playing in third-and-seven, plus, the entire game it's going to give Baltimore a very good advantage with the type of scheme they want to bring on third down. So, we're going to have to stay out of those long yardage situations."
What makes Charles Woodson such a special player?
Rodgers:"Well, Charles is an incredible player. Since Day One when he's been here, you've noticed just something really special about him and the way that he plays. I think his ability to understand route concepts, and read and react, trust his instincts, is second to none. And there really isn't a player that I've seen on film, or in person, who I wouldn't take Woodson one-on-one in any position against, as far as who is a better player. He's that good. He's so smart, athletic, incredible ball skills, and he's able to take over games at times for us, or keep us in games. And he's done an incredible job for us, on and off the field, in the locker room, and he's just been a very good pro for us."
How much has it helped to have three extra days off with playing in a Thursday game?
Rodgers:"It helps a ton, because by this time in the season, everybody is dealing with bumps and bruises and nicks. And to be able to have those three days off, was I think, pretty good for a lot of us to just rest, and get our bodies back, get our legs back. You know, we played three games in 12 days and a lot of us were pretty banged up. So, it was nice to have that little time off to not only get refreshed physically, but also mentally, kind of get away from the stadium for a few days and enjoy time with our families and then get back and get ready for this five game stretch we have in December."