With your first season behind you, what are your thoughts?
We didn't win as many games as I would have liked to, but I got some great experience and I think I understand even more what it takes to win in this league. We were so close in so many games and came out with six wins and 10 losses. We've got to fix that and get ready for next year and shore some things up.
Are you happy that your so-called rookie season is behind you?
I didn't look at it as a rookie season. I know the expectations were high. I put high expectations on myself to play well. I met some of those expectations and fell short in some areas, as well. I want to be a consistent player. I was at times and I was inconsistent at times. This team deserves a consistent player 100 percent of the time.
Will you take some time to reflect on how things transpired?
I'll probably sit on the beach in Australia and think about some of the things that went wrong and then get back in the water. But on a serious note, I'll definitely think about it the next few days. But I'm going to clear my head a little bit. It will be a long offseason. There will be a lot of time to watch the plays from this season and think about the things that went wrong and ways to fix it.
Will you be able to avoid surgery on your shoulder?
Unfortunately, the comment that I made might have gotten a little misconstrued the other day. I feel good. Unless there's a serious reason, if it's not broken, don't fix it. My shoulder's been feeling great. Haven't worn a harness for a number of weeks on it after the injury in Week 4. I don't see any reason to do any surgery.
So, there's no reason for concern?
Not from me, no.
After starting 16 games, will you address how you train in the offseason?
I'm going to train as hard, if not harder. I guess I remembered what it was like when I was in Cal, the kind of injuries you deal with on a regular basis, the nicks and bruises and things you just have to get through. It's tough. Your body hurts. My body hurts today. Every Monday and Tuesday are recovery days. You've just got to push through it. You've got to be available to your teammates and you've got to be accountable to them on the field on Sunday.
Back in the preseason, some fans were questioning your durability. Do you think you answered those questions?
It's 16. It's important. You want to start every 16, every season. It's just 16. I know there's always going to be critiques and different things. Hopefully, I've put that one to bed for a little bit. But as a professional, you have a lot of pride in your profession and you want to be on the field and available. And as a leader, you want to be showing your teammates that you're going to play through the pain that you may be experiencing, because we're all experiencing some sort of pain on a weekly basis.
How do you think you fared in your early review?
I think I put up decent numbers, but I expect to play well every week and there were weeks when I didn't play well. I'm going to watch every play from the season at least two or three times, although I've already seen them two or three times. But it's important to be very critical of yourself, especially during a long offseason, and look at ways you can improve. Really, my biggest thing is consistency. I need to be consistent every week. More than I was. There were times that I played very well, but times when I didn't play as well as I'm capable of playing.
Is there any satisfaction that it wasn't your fault that the team went 6-10?
Well, I don't play the blame game. We're all to blame for 10 losses. If I would have played better in stretches, we probably would have won a few of those games. 10-6 made the playoffs this year. I can definitely pick out four games where we're in the game late in the game and had a good chance to win.
What are some of the little things that you learned?
I've learned a ton of things since March. The biggest thing is just worry about things that I can control. There's so many parts of this game that I can not control. I can't control the way our defense and special teams play, the field conditions, critics, media. Those things, often you'd like to be in control of, but you can't. The things that I worry about are my preparation, my opportunities to lead, to try to make the most of those, and my focus.
Which of the 10 losses bother you the most?
Probably the two division games. You know, Minnesota, we didn't play a great game — me personally, I didn't have a very good game — but we had a chance to win that one late and got beat. The defense played well. And the Chicago game, going down there in tough conditions and playing pretty well on offense but just not being able to get the job done. Those two especially stick in my mind.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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