Sherman Talks About the Falcons

Here's how Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman responded to questions from the media this week regarding Green Bay's game Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field:

On if kicker James Tuthill, signed on Thursday by the Packers, will kick off for the Packers this Sunday:

"There's a chance. I have the utmost confidence in Ryan (Longwell). If this guy can give us a better distance or hang time, we may go that way. We're not sure right now which way we're going. We'll have to wait until the end of the week. He and Ryan will compete against each other and whoever we think will be the best guy for us to help us win that game, we'll use that guy."

On if he has been disappointed in Ryan Longwell's kickoffs:

"We'd like to get a little more hangtime, a little more distance. He's working on those things right now. It may be just what we want on Sunday. We'll see what (Tuthill) can do and see if he can help us win a football game. It's not a knock against Ryan, it's just trying to get someone who can give us more hangtime and distance on Sunday, that's all. That may very well be Ryan Longwell."

On Atlanta's wide receiving corp:

"I don't know the exact statistics, but collectively have probably scored more touchdowns than anyone in the business right now. They're an older group. (Tony) Martin has come back. He's been injured. He's back and he's one of their faster guys. (Shawn) Jefferson is a fast guy. (Terance) Mathis is a good one. They have three receivers that are very good. I think when you put in Alge Crumpler, their top pick last year, they have a very formidable group of receivers and tight ends." On Atlanta's defense:

"I see an extremely fast defense. They play with great effort and intensity. (Keith) Brooking is a great middle linebacker. He is someone that I never realized, until I studied the film, how good he really is. He can play from sideline to sideline. (Defensive end) Patrick Kerney has 8.5 sacks, a very good pass rusher. (Defensive tackle) Shane Dronett is a good inside player. They have a group of guys that play with a lot of intensity and effort. They concern me. They're relentless in their approach. Sometimes they might be too aggressive. They are an aggressive style, attacking defense."

On playing a team that you're not quite familiar with:

"That is a challenge in iteself. As I told the team today, we know Tampa, we know Chicago, we know Detroit, we know Minnesota very, very well. But this game is just as important as those games. We have to learn and study this opponent. ... We're studying these men and were introduced this morning (Wednesday) by myself and coaching staff. I do think you have to be familiar with who you're playing against. They were in the Super Bowl in '98. They've been there and they have a fair amount of guys that have been on a championship team. This team does know how to win.

"They're in a position where they are 4-4 now, but they really could have been 6-2. They lost two overtime games to the San Francisco 49ers, which could have gone either way. They go down to New Orleans and beat the Saints 17-14. Our team respects the Atlanta Falcons. That won't be a problem for us at all."

On if they are different on grass than on artificial turf:

"I don't see a major difference. They are a fast team. The speed on turf is still speed on grass. It shows a little bit differently, but it's still the same speed."

On defending against Falcons punt returner Darrien Gordon:

"I would agree that is of equal challenge to us this week as our defense and our offensive challenges as well."

On defending against quarterbacks Chris Chandler and Michael Vick:

"Obviously, they are different type of quarterbacks. Chris Chandler is a quarterback that is extremely accurate. He's also very rhythmic. He gets rid of the ball. He has played the game for a long period of time. He has a good release. Does a lot of good things. ... He's a very accurate and proficient quarterback.

"Changing up the tempo for Michael Vick, who has the ability to scramble and run, creates another challenge as well. Also, he has a rocket arm. He can throw the ball the length of the football field."


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