The New York Giants face the 11-0 Green Bay Packers this week and I was able to contact Rob Demovsky of The Green Bay Press Gazette and ask him a few questions about the team he covers on a daily basis. Rob has covered The Packers since 1997, and has been named Wisconsin Sports Writer of The Year Twice.
1. Being that you are with the team daily, have you noticed anything
different this year from last year as a result of the Super Bowl
victory? Has there been less or more access, different scheduling,
anything that you found different?
Not much has been different from the day in, day out routine of years past. Mike McCarthy is nothing if not a creature of habit. He’s used pretty much the same in-season schedule that he’s used his entire six years as the Packers’ head coach. That means practices are about the same length, meetings last about the same amount of time, his media schedule is exactly the same. As for the players, locker room access is about the same. The same players you used to see in the locker room on a daily basis are still usually in there regularly. The same ones who almost never were in there are still almost never in there. About the only difference in media access is that the offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators are no longer available after games. Instead, we get them the day after games. What’s more is that McCarthy himself seems about the same. I’ve gotten no sense that success has gone to his head. Don’t get me wrong, he has an ego, and he’ll admit to that. But as far as NFL head coaches go, he’s the most like a “regular guy” as any of the four head coaches (Mike Holmgren, Ray Rhodes, Mike Sherman and McCarthy) I’ve covered in my tenure with the Press-Gazette.
2. Many Patriot and Colt players over the years have discussed the
pressure of an unbeaten season. The extra questions, the extra media
attention, and the added pressure of not just watching the standings,
but having a higher threshold to uphold. Have you seen any changes as
the season has progressed, and how do you think the team will handle it?
So far, it seems like they’re fine with it. This week, there’s been more national media at Lambeau Field than I think I’ve seen all season. And of course, the number one topic among them has been 16-0. I don’t think McCarthy has told his players to avoid the topic, at least not based on what Clay Matthews said on Wednesday. Though he seemed to purposely not mention the phrase “16-0,” Matthews did say this: “We’re embracing it. We’re not shying away from it. The fact is we’ve been able to stay undefeated for a little while now. We have to take it 12-0 in order to get to what you were saying. We’ll try and go 12-0 this week against a good New York team and take it from there and then hopefully take it game by game and work towards our ultimate goal.”
3. Are you surprised that the Giants are only a 6 point underdog this
Based on how explosive the Packers have been, how beat up the Giants are and the skid the Giants are on, yes, I’m quite surprised. Although I guess if you consider the three-point homefield advantage, it’s more like a nine-point spread.
4. It was always widely reported that Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers
had little if any relationship. Is that actually true and can you
expound on that?
That was definitely true of Rodgers’ rookie season, 2005. It’s true Favre was more or less insulted that they picked Rodgers. He also would have liked to have seen the first-round pick used on someone who help him and the offense. Those two factors pretty much led to Favre giving Rodgers the cold shoulder. But by 2006, their relationship improved. And in 2007, my sense was they got along fine, at least in a professional sense. Watch highlights from that season, and you’ll see them celebrating touchdowns together. That wasn’t the case early on. However, they had no relationship outside of the team headquarters. I can’t remember exactly what year it was, but one time I asked Rodgers about that, and he said he didn’t even have Favre’s phone number, so how could hang out with him? He also noted that he was closer in age to Favre’s oldest daughter, Brittany, than he was to Favre.
5. And finally…..What have you seen of Eli this year, and how do you
think he compares to other QB’s?
I haven’t studied him extensively this year, but in a recent conversation with a top-level NFL personnel guy, he was still willing to put Eli in the top 6 or 8 QBs in the league. Now that was a couple of weeks ago, before the recent slide, but this scout noted that he thinks Manning’s high-interception total from last year was not the norm. He still looks pretty accurate to me, and that drive to beat New England a few weeks back was impressive. Still, you have to question his decision-making at times.
I want to thank Rob for his insight inside the Packers and if you would like, you can follow him on twitter @RobDemovsky