Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard on Clubhouse Live: Finish against Panthers 'isn't up to our standard'
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard co-hosted Monday's Clubhouse Live, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin’s live weekly football show. Packers wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown were Lazard’s guests.
Among the topics they touched on were Saturday's performance against the Panthers, feeling satisfied with a victory, offensive consistency and beating a defense. The show can be seen live on any of our USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Facebook pages or websites, including clubhouselive.com. It can also be seen on our YouTube channel.
Here are select and edited answers from the interview:
Q: You beat the Panthers 24-16 on Saturday to claim your 11th victory of the season and inch closer to clinching the NFC's top playoff seed. And yet it was clear afterward that guys like Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur were disappointed with the offensive performance. Why?
Lazard: We're definitely happy and gracious to be able to come away with a win no matter who we're playing and what the score is. I think it's more so just the fact that we were able to start the game very well, and we didn't finish how we probably should have. And to let them come back in the game and make it that close of a game isn't up to our standard to what we hold ourselves to each day. It's the NFL. It happens. No one's perfect out there. So the most important thing is we came away with the W, and now we have a lot of good teaching tape to make corrections and fine-tune things, especially right before the playoffs.
Q: We hear all the time that it's difficult to win in the NFL, regardless of the opponent. So weren't you being a bit too hard on yourselves in feeling that disappointment after the game? Or is that just how you guys are trained - to be perfectionists?
Lazard: Yeah, I think that's just the standard that we have here in Green Bay. We see the history. We see the trophies that have come before us and everything. That's what our standard is - to be able to go out there and to be able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy again. We knew that we weren't playing to that championship level (and) caliber on Saturday night, and we were very much capable of it. It's more of us just being unsatisfied with the work that we put out there on Saturday.
Q: How do you put together that complete game on the offensive side so you're playing your best football when you hit the playoffs? How do you avoid the cold spells like we saw Saturday night?
Lazard: I think it's just really fine-tuning our coaching skills and our technique that we're using with the plays that we're kind of finally being able to know which plays are working the best for us. And to be able to go out there and execute those and just have our solid base plays. No matter what situation, we can always rely on these few plays to go out there and get us out of any hole. And to not have any three-and-out situations. To be able to still flip the field even if we aren't able to put up points on the board.
Q: Take us on the field. You're matched up against a cornerback - one-on-one - and it's an obvious passing down. What are you reading before the snap? What are you studying in the cornerback who's lined across from you?
Valdes-Scantling: When you read the defense, you look at where the safeties are. You know where the corners are aligned to. You think about the route that you have to run and where you have to go and how you're going to beat him against the leverage that he has. You have about four to five seconds to make all that come to life between Aaron (Rodgers) calling the play at the line of scrimmage and you making it happen. So it's kind of one of those things that you've got to do very quickly. That's why I never understand why people call athletes just dumb jocks. Because you have to be very intelligent to be able to do the things that we do at such a fast pace. Make split-second decisions. And I think that's a testament to all the athletes that can do that.
St. Brown: I'm usually looking at the safeties, mainly. They give the best read for what kind of coverage you're about to get. Corners can do a better job disguising. I also look at the corners, but usually safeties, then corners and try to get a man-zone read and try to see what zone it is - just to see if I have to adjust my route or keep it on.