Aaron Kromer said practice today was much faster and more relaxed as you get ready for Green Bay this week. Was that how it felt from a player’s perspective?

“Yes, I thought preparation was good today starting with meetings this morning and just the mindset, getting outside and on the grass and running around a little bit, putting that base install in. I thought today was very productive.”

 

You were outspoken on Monday following the Green Bay-Seattle game about the referees.  Do you have any comments about getting the regular officials back?

“No, I guess I heard the talks are ongoing.  It seems like things are close.  I think that’s great.”

 

As far as your comments on Monday and then seeing what happened that night, did that push it even further?

“I’d say that the headlines that came out Monday, which was Brees bashes replacement officials, is not entirely accurate.  It was more a challenge to the league to resolve the matter and the fact that you feel like they obviously hold a great responsibility in making sure that that’s done properly.  I’ve been at the bargaining table before with our lockout situation a year and a half ago, so I know what that’s like.  It takes both sides to come to a resolution and there needs to be compromise.  I guess it was fitting that that evening we all saw what happened and I don’t think we need to re-visit that.  I think the fact is, for me, and regardless of whether right now, and I stated this on Monday but I’m not sure if it got reported, but the first thing I said, because I talked to a few different people - to be honest with you I never heard the audio or anything that was stated so I don’t know exactly what was stated - but I know I talked to about three different outlets and basically said the same thing, and that was first of all (there are) no excuses for our play and (we) only worry about the things that we can control, and that is just going out, preparing each week and just playing, and also the fact that these replacement officials have been put in a really tough position, because they’re not qualified with the instincts and everything else to be out there with the speed of the game.  The level of play is just not fair to them.  They’re doing the best they can.  That’s what I said.  I don’t know if it got reported that way.  I don’t think it did.  The fact that everybody is getting together, it seems like they’re close to a resolution, is a good thing.  To be honest with you, I have compartmentalized that.  So regardless of what happens, that’s not my thought process.  It’s about how I can prepare to help this team win.  If there are replacement officials out there, so be it, we still play the game the same way.  If it’s the other officials, then so be it, we’re still going to play the game the same way.”

 

How important is it to you that you’re approaching the chance to tie Johnny Unitas’ record of consecutive games with a touchdown pass?

“When you say that name Johnny Unitas, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, certainly his accomplishments speak for themselves and one of the pioneers of this game, to even be in the realm of a record that he’s held for a long time, it’s an honor.  It’s humbling.  Obviously we’re not there yet, but I focus on my job.  I focus on what I need to do to help our team win.  Usually that stuff just takes care of itself.”

 

When you look at the first three games, what have you seen in the drop-off in the passing game that we’re used to seeing?

“I think it’s a combination of everything.  It’s not just one thing here and there.  I think it’s everybody’s ability to just do things a little bit better.  I’d say the more time that we get continually in practice with the game plan, execution, all those things, it just hasn’t been as crisp as it normally is and as we’re used to, and we’re getting on top of that.”

 

Postgame, Zach Strief was down on the way he played.  What do you say to a guy like him?

“Zach is a captain.  He’s a leader certainly for this team and the offense.  He’s a guy that when he speaks, people listen.  I think it takes a man to come out and want to shoulder that responsibility.  That’s why he’s one of our leaders, why I have so much respect for him and (that) we do as a team.  The fact of the matter is it wasn’t Zach Strief.  It was a combination of everyone.  Everybody on that offense has to hold themselves accountable for what happened out there in the fourth quarter and our inability to finish that game.  I think it shows a good message to our team that even a guy who’s a captain, who’s a mainstay on that offensive line, is willing to call himself out and say – hey, I have to play better – because we all could play better.”

 

Has it been more unusual this season that more people haven’t been open to throw to?

“Like I said, it’s been a combination of a lot of things.  I can’t really say it’s just one thing.  There are times where there’s good protection and we’re just not able to get open, or I miss a guy, or there’s a breakdown and we’re not able to get the ball where we needed to, or we get a penalty and we put ourselves in a third-and-long, or there’s a critical third down and we don’t take advantage of an opportunity, we drop a pass, I don’t hit the open guy, or whatever it is.  It just happens that ten guys can be doing their job and then there’s one mental error, there’s one mistake or just one whatever it might be and that causes a drive to stop.  It sounds like a small thing, but in the end too many of those end up losing you games.”