Coach's Corner

Here's how Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Ed Donatell responded to questions from Packer Report managing editor Todd Korth and other members of the media a day after Green Bay's victory over the Detroit Lions:

How would you compare the defense now to last year at this time?
"We're more of a collective mind, the coaches and players together. We're a year into exchange and growth as far as dealing with people. Our only mindset is doing what it takes to help this team win, and that varies on different days. Whatever it takes to win is the object of this thing."

Did you make any changes with the defense from last year to this year?
"Not really. You're always going to tinker with things. You always evaluate yourself, or scout yourself and ask, 'OK, what do we need to maybe complement what we're doing?' There's just a couple of things. To make a step is for that knowledge to go down through your players. When that goes down to the front line and the guys understand why ... when they understand why they're doing something, boy, it can get pretty powerful. We've got a group of guys right now that want to work hard. These guys want to work hard. They like hard work. That really helps in preparation because they want to work hard. They have a great work ethic."

Where and from whom did you learn about this defense?
"I'm just a student of different defenses, different teachers. If you look at the guys who have probably influenced my teaching are guys like Pete Carroll, Greg Robinson and Monte Kiffen. Those are all guys I worked with when I was with the (New York) Jets, and (Denver's) Mike Shanahan. Now, there's another side of this thing – the guys on our staff who have contributed an awful lot."

What is your philosophy on blitzing?
"We always tailor whatever we do week to week, whatever is necessary for us to have success. We'll never stop bringing pressure because we feel you have to have some uncertainty in the offensive line. You have to have change, some kind of deception.

Do you have any areas of concern at this time with the defense?
"No I don't. We've got enough guys joined up and we're ready to go. You're always going to have to adjust. There are going to be bumps along the way. That's the law of the land, everybody has to deal with that. Last year at this time, I walked off (Lambeau Field) 0-1 and Mike McKenzie was getting surgery. The next week I walked off and Antuan was getting surgery. That didn't feel as good, I hate to say."

Do you feel the team's pass rush will improve this year?
"Certainly. Our intention is always to improve. We're looking to go out start with a personal best for some people. Now they've got to go out and get a new personal best. That needs to be your mindset. We're always trying to create something better. That's kind of our attitude."

How is defensive end John Thiery holding up after three offseason surgeries?
"He's doing good, doing well. He didn't play a lot in training camp, but he looks to be on target, better than last year. He's healthier than last year at this point."

Is defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila the most improved player on the defense this year?
"I don't know because we have such high expectations for everybody. Maybe you guys can call that better than me as far as results and productivity. It's an accomplishment when you get three sacks in a football game."

Will opponents make it harder for Gbaja-Biamila to rush the quarterback with the success that he has had early on this season?
"I think anytime you have results, people are going to target you. He just has to raise the bar. People are going to try to do things to counter what he does, so we have to look for our whole group to come together to offset that."

How many sacks can Gbaja-Biamila get this season?
"You can't put a limit on a guy. When I sit in bed at night I envision real, real high numbers. People might think I'm crazy, so I can't say that."

How much better is the run defense this year than last year at this point?
"I don't know the answer to that. We just intend to improve in all areas."

How is defensive tackle Gilbert Brown adjusting after not playing since 1999?
"I think you're going to see the guy continue to rise, I really do. He didn't get a lot of training camp (but) every week he gets a little bit better. He's hustling."

Do you have any sense how will defensive end Jamal Reynolds will do when he finally returns from his knee injury?
"I know what my vision is. I intend for the guy to jump in there and give us a spark. We intend for this guy to spike up and get better. We want a guy who is going to give us big explosions. He's got to be a guy that is going to give tackles fits."


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