Former Packers tight end Tom Crabtree on Clubhouse Live: Green Bay 'far more talented' than 2010 title team
Former Green Bay Packers tight end Tom Crabtree was the guest on Monday's Clubhouse Live, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin’s weekly football show. Crabtree was a member of the Packers' 2010 team that went on to win Super Bowl XLV.
Here are select and edited answers from the interview:
Q: You've been keeping an eye on the Packers this season. What do you like about this year's team? And what concerns you as they get ready for Saturday's NFC divisional showdown with the 49ers?
Crabtree: What concerns me out of the gates? ... Special teams. Holey Moley. What are we doing out there, boys? That scares me off the bat. What do I like about this team? (Chuckling) Everything else other than special teams. And they're getting healthy at the right time. It's weird to look back (at) the early weeks in the season like, "Man, this team is pretty damn good." And they've just kept kind of riding this ramp upwards. I know Aaron (Rodgers) missed a game or whatever. But they've just kept kind of riding this wave and getting better when it seemed like there was no way. They're just playing so darn well right now on both sides of the ball. They've found guys they can plug in, whether through injuries or free agency. Guys they can plug in, especially on defense and O-line, that just kind of get the job done. It reminds me a lot of that run we made in 2010.
Now, I think this team is far more talented (and) has a much higher ceiling and playoff potential right now than the 2010 team did. So, I don't know if that means anything to anybody, but that's huge in my book.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Packers' divisional playoff game with San Francisco? Is it a good matchup for Green Bay? A bad matchup? What are you thinking as you look ahead to Saturday?
Crabtree: I was kind of texting with some friends, family during the day (on Sunday) like, "Who do we want to play?" Kind of playing armchair quarterback. ... The crazy thing is, that's what you do - like, I've been on that side of it as a player. You're literally doing that. When you have a bye week, you're going, "Oh, who do we want to play?" Or what matchup. You're looking at everything like that. And there's definitely a team you know you don't want to play, and I would say that's the Niners right now, unfortunately. And that seems to be, kind of across the board, the consensus from fans. Like, if you had to pick one team from the start of this weekend that you don't want to play, I think it's the Niners.
Just the way they're playing right now on offense. Defense. The weapons they have on offense, especially with Deebo (Samuel), (George) Kittle. I don't know that we want to be playing them right now, but that's not to say - I still think Green Bay is far and away the better team, and they have homefield advantage. But still, it's kind of like how we rolled in (in 2010). And I always use the analogy of how we rolled into the playoffs in January of 2011. We were just hot. We had won a couple of games we had to win in the regular season. Caught a couple breaks. But we rolled in hot. We went into Philly and won a game. Went into Atlanta and won a game. You see that happening in front of you, so by the time we get to Chicago and the NFC championship, Chicago was probably like, "Oh, poo." Like, "We don't want to play these guys." And you saw what happened.
Q: It looks like Rodgers is on his way to winning his second straight NFL MVP award and the fourth of his career. You played with him. And you've watched him. Is there anything he does that still amazes you? Or have we all become spoiled by his continued high level of consistency and play?
Crabtree: Yeah, I kind of tweeted about it, I want to say a few weeks ago there towards the end of the season. Just the fact (of) how easy Aaron - and combined with Davante (Adams) - how easy they make it look. Just even a simple pick up a first down on second-and-eight, third-and five - whatever it is. They make the every down or the easy-ish play look so simple and so extra easy that we take it for granted. And they also make the special play look easy, as well, which is terrifying. And I said something to the point like we'll never see that quarterback and receiver combination again, I don't think, in the league - certainly not with the Packers anytime soon - not in our lifetime. The way they're able to just make like being Hall of Famers on the same wavelength together, play in and play out, how easy they're able to make that look is insane. And I think we take that for granted. I know I certainly have at times, and I try to catch myself now when I see him throw it through a tiny window. Or Davante just absolutely tear some guy's Achilles on a route. I try to take pause and appreciate it more.