|QB Aaron Rodgers says this year's Packers' team is more battle tested. (US Presswire)|
Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers met with the media this week and answered questions about the Packers' recent re-signing of veteran RB Ryan Grant, his revamped offensive line, his thoughts on Sunday's rematch with the Detroit Lions and what he sees as different about this year's Packers team than the 2011 one.
What's it like to have Ryan Grant, who spent 2007-2011 in Green Bay but wasn't re-signed in the offseason, back on the team?
Rodgers: He's back in the green and gold. I've missed him. He's done a lot of great things for this organization, he's a great teammate, and we're excited to have him back. We've won a lot of games together, and he's been a part of a lot of big victories. He's as tough as they come. He runs as hard as anyone, especially in the winter months. He's made some big plays for us over the years. It'll be good to see him back out there and get some plays. There's not going to be any period of him trying to study the playbook, he knows what he's doing. There are a couple changes here and there, but we've got a pretty good feel in the backfield together, so I'm sure we'll be fine out there.
Was the standing ovation the team gave Grant when he first walked into the gym on Wednesday a joke or was it serious?
Rodgers: Nothing in jest, it was all respect. We like to make jokes from time to time, but I think it was legit. At least it was for me, I don't know about the rest of the guys. We were excited to see him back. It was fun to see him walking down those stairs. It's good to have him back. Just his presence in the locker room alone is fun.
Rodgers: I thought Don played excellent (against the Vikings). I was really proud of him. He's come a long way, from training camp on, and he's really in the right frame of mind. For him to sit for 12 weeks and then finally get a chance to play, and play at a high level, it said a lot about the kind of preparation he puts into his week, and I give him a lot of credit for that. I'm excited for him. Evan's coming along. Like I said, he's probably our center of the future, and he also feels comfortable at guard. So we have a lot of confidence in those guys, and it's a big test for us. (The Lions are) stout and savvy and athletic up front.
What do you take away from the 24-20 win over the Lions three weeks ago, and what do you see from Detroit that is different now?
Rodgers: I take away the fact that we won. We had a drive that we had to have after stalling for a good portion of the second through fourth quarters, and we had to have a drive late in the game, and we came through. That's something to build on. What do you take away? You've got to score points on this team; you can't expect the defense to slow them down all day. It's a high-powered offense with the ability to move the ball vertically down the field, and we've got to help our defense out. There are some different guys that are going to be out there. (Safety Louis) Delmas was hurt last time and he's going to be out there (Sunday). People change from game to game; you try and work on things, always self-scouting. They have a veteran coaching staff, (defensive coordinator) Gunther (Cunningham) has been around the game for a long time, he's always trying to come up with new stuff to play to his strengths.
What's been different about this year's Packers team than last year's, which was 15-1 and set several passing records?
Rodgers: It's interesting to see each week who steps up and how we get the job done on the field. There have been a lot of different ways to win. Last year, it was pretty consistent -- the offense scored a lot of points and we won a lot of games by multiple scores. I don't know that we had many games where we were trailing last year by more than a few points. This year it's been different things; we've had some comeback victories. Last week, we had an 11-minute drive (in the fourth quarter) to put us up two scores. So it's been a team that I think has been a little more battle-tested than last year, been through a lot more adversity, especially early in the season. We're playing the right way right now, and we've got to keep it going.
Follow Packers reporter James Carlton on Twitter @CBSPackers.