FLOWERY BRANCH – Before All-Pro wide receiver Roddy White could be asked by Aaron Rodgers’ comments about the Falcons being “borderline” disrespectful” after last year’s 48-21 playoff thrashing, the interview was cut short by the teams’ communications staff.
White said he had three minutes to chat, but 1:57 into the three minutes, a staff member gave another member of the staff a sign to step in and cut off the interview.
We were told he had to “go to a meeting” during what’s supposed to be the open locker room time to meet the media.
White’s not shy and he would have addressed the comments. It seems that the Falcons have orders to shut White up over the matter. (FIRST AMENDMENT!!!) White’s his own man and probably can’t wait to tell us all about what he thinks of Rodgers’ perceived slight.
Stay tuned . . . .
NOTEBOOK ITEM By Chris Vivlamore: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently stated that some Falcons’ comments this offseason, following the playoff loss, were “borderline disrespectful.”
Roddy White was quoted as saying: “We were a better team than those guys. We went out there, and we didn’t perform at our highest level.”
Rodgers addressed the issue when asked by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution during his conference call with reporters Wednesday.
“I don’t care to expand a whole lot on that,” Rodgers said. “I just think that some of the general comments that I heard that that game was kind of a fluke maybe. I would just say that I think you need to respect your opponents. We definitely respect the Falcons.
“We were fortunate enough to go down there and play a clean game. I just felt like that maybe the respect level, just as far as those comments were concerned, maybe weren’t there at times.”
The following are excerpts from Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ conference call with the Atlanta media Wednesday in preparation for Sunday night’s game against the Falcons.
Q. What have you seen four games in from the Falcons defense?
A. They are 2-2 but they are playing well on defense. I’ve been really impressed with Curtis Lofton. I’ve always thought he was a good player. This is his third year. He’s jumped up another notch. He’s one of the most underrated players at his position. I’m hopeful, for his sake, that he starts getting the recognition that he deserves. He’s playing really well. Obviously the front four is solid. Adding Ray Edwards in there is a big help. You already have Kroy [Bierman] and John [Abraham] on the outstide. They are a solid defensive team and they are going to have something special for us this week.
Q. You’ve had a lot of success in the Georgia Dome, especially the playoffs last year. What has been the secret of that success? What have to you effectively against the Falcons?
A. I think we struggled the first time we were down there last season [a 20-17 Falcons win]. The last time [a 48-21 Packers playoff win] we did a little bit better than we did the first time. I was able to get out of a couple sacks and make some plays. If those are sacks, the game is probably a little different. I would expect a tough game for us and them to be aggressive like the last time we played them. It will be important for us to be as efficient or as close to efficient as we were last time we played down there.
Q. We you talk to the Falcons there is a lot of talk about the way you played. There is a lot of reverence there. Is that one of the best games you’ve ever played?
A. I think it was. I think it was one of the better performances that I’ve had. It was a pretty clean game, not a lot of mental mistakes. I was throwing the ball the way I wanted to. We moved the ball pretty effectively. When you combine not turning the ball over and throwing the ball the way you want to you usually have pretty good results.
Q. There are a couple reasons it’s hard for teams to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The idea that you were so close to not being in the postseason last year, is that almost something you can say we are even better than we were for the entirety of last season?
A. That was a special group of men. This is a new team. We have 10 rookies. We’ve made some changes. We have a few different guys starting. Those are the challenges we like to take on with the new team we have in 2011. Also, looking at the first goal we have. Obviously everyone wants to win the Super Bowl. But we want to get a home playoff game in Green Bay, something we haven’t done the last few years. Last year we got in the playoffs as the sixth seed and ended up winning three on the road. It’s tough to do. … We’d like to get a home playoff game in Green Bay in January. To do that, we have to win the division.
Q. Can you talk about Jermichael Finley and how he’s added to your arsenal?
A. It’s great having Jermichael back. He’s a big body. He’s very athletic. He has good body control. He understands good route concepts. He catches the ball extremely well with his hands. He’s extremely talented. There are not many guys like him in the league. To have him back is another weapon. He’s given us great balance in the passing game with teams trying to figure out how to stop us. He had three touchdowns against Chicago. Last week, Denver’s plan was pretty obvious. They wanted to take him out of the game and you do that you leave some of those other guys open for big-play opportunities.
Q. You have been quoted as saying some of the comments down here were borderline disrespectful. I wonder if you would expand upon that and what bugged you about what was said?
A. I don’t care to expand a whole lot on that. I just think that some of the general comments that I heard that that game was kind of a fluke maybe. I would just say that I think you need to respect your opponents. We definitely respect the Falcons. We were fortunate enough to go down there and play a clean game. I just felt like that maybe the respect level, just as far as those comments were concerned, maybe weren’t there at times.
Q. Last year during the playoffs, it seems like you guys went after nickel back Christopher Owens a little bit. Coming in was that a point of emphasis for you guys?
A. I would say not, not necessarily. We made some plays. I feel like he covered pretty well. There were just a couple plays where we fit the ball in certain spots. Atlanta is not an exclusive man-to-man coverage team. To say we targeted one guy or another is not entirely accurate. We just wanted to stretch the field at times and take what we could when they were playing soft. Like I said, we were able to take care of the ball and move it effectively when we needed to.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog