Charles Woodson:Things Just Got Interesting Again In The NFC North

Randy Moss’ acquisition by the Minnesota Vikings doesn’t just affect that team and his former team, the New England Patriots. It has a ripple effect throughout the entire NFL, especially in an NFC that is as wide open as ever. Who is the favorite in the conference right now? Atlanta, who just narrowly eked out a home victory over the winless 49ers? New Orleans, who lost to Atlanta at home and just edged Carolina at home last weekend? Dallas, who started 0-2, yet may have the most talented roster in the NFC? Is it Minnesota, who also started 0-2, but just added Moss? Philadelphia? New York? Chicago?

A week ago, the answer to that question looked like the Green Bay Packers. Yet, after a close home game against the Detroit Lions and injuries that have taken Al Harris, Atari Bigby, Nick Barnett, Morgan Burnett, Nick Collins, Ryan Grant and Mark Tauscher out for an extended period of time, if not the full season, the Packers’ case looks a lot shakier. One steady play-maker still excels for the team on each side of the ball though. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of the elite players at his position just three seasons into his starting career. And Charles Woodson, who gets to play a unique roving cornerback/safety hybrid position in Dom Capers 3-4 defensive scheme, has turned making big plays into a weekly occurrence.  His 48-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Lions meant the difference in the game and he is coming off of a 74 tackle, 9 interception, four forced fumble, two sack season that won him the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award. And fortunately for the Packers, who still play Minnesota twice, Woodson is their answer to Randy Moss. Green Bay Packers defensive back Charles Woodson joined Jim Rome to discuss the addition of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings, wanting his team to answer that move, concern with the team’s health and play against Detroit, NFL rules that benefit the offense and how his initial resistance to playing in Green Bay has evolved over time there.

On the addition of Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings:

“I think things just got interesting again in the NFC North. That’s a big deal for those guys. I know they had some personnel issues and felt like they needed another guy to come in with Sidney (Rice) being out and not getting production from some other guys. They bring Randy in. He’s played there before. You know he is going to come in and add a threat to those guys. The NFC North, it’s a big division. I think he’s got a lot left. If you see what he’s done, I think you can see that he can still make plays down the field. He can still catch the ball. He can still get down field. He’s just a guy that’s always a threat. Knowing that he’s out there, he’s going to demand attention, no matter what team he is on. You got to know where he is all day every day.“

On what the team can do to answer that:

“The politically correct answer is that we want to go and fight with the team we have. But whenever you look on the TV and you see breaking news and it’s somebody making a deal like that, a part of you wants to do something to rival the attention that another team is getting from making a big trade. We would definitely welcome that… For us, as players, there’s nothing you can do. All you can do is go out there and play football and give it all you got.”

On if he is concerned with the team’s play against the Lions:

“The bottom line is wins and losses. It doesn’t matter how you get it done on Sunday. As long as you win, it’s good. When you have a game like that, you don’t hit all of your statistical goals, which coaches often emphasize. But at the end of the day, you are 3-1. Yeah, there was a lot of things that went on in that game. Defensively not being able to get off the field. Offense turnovers. Special teams turnovers. Those are the type of games you are going to have during the season and you got to find a way to win.”

On the NFL rules favoring the offense:

“I’m not happy with that. The thing is that you never get the call. You can talk to the officials and what they give you, the response is that they didn’t see it. As soon as you reach your arm out or grab or hold or whatever, the flags are coming out. It’s definitely a bias approach to offense and getting points on the board and letting guys push you in the back or grabbing your jersey and pull you past them. My mindset is, whatever they do, I’m going to do. If I get called, then, ok.”

And on his initial reaction to playing in Green Bay:

“I had no idea. I had no plans of visiting here. I looked the other way when my agent told me they were calling me. But, once getting here and once being able to get established on the team and in the community and meeting people around here, it definitely turned my head to what a great place this is. This place here is all about football. It’s all about the Green Bay Packers. They love this team. They take care of you here. It’s been a great move for me.”

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