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Foxhole: Peppers as good as ever

Posted Dec 21, 2009

Fox
Head coach John Fox during Sunday's win. (PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


Comments from head coach John Fox's weekly day-after-game press conference following the 26-7 Sunday Night Football win over the Minnesota Vikings:

ON DEANGELO WILLIAMS'S INJURY: Right now, ankle. We'll keep you posted. We'll have a better idea come Wednesday.

ON WHETHER THERE ARE ANY OTHER INJURIES FROM SUNDAY NIGHT: Nothing right now to report. Everything is pretty much the same as last night.

ON JULIUS PEPPERS' PLAY ON SUNDAY: I thought he played tremendous. We played pretty good swarming defense, and that starts up front. I think he's had as good a year as he's had, at least that I can remember. He had a little setback with his hand (injury, in November); that set him back a little bit as far as being able to play both sides (at defensive end) and find ways to rush the passer; it limited him. But in a big spot, he had a very good game.

ON WHETHER THAT WAS AS WELL AS PEPPERS HAS PLAYED FOR A FULL GAME: Again, I lose track after eight years. He's played a lot of big games. It'd be hard to measure, but I know that it's up there.

ON WHETHER PEPPERS MADE A STATEMENT WITH HIS PLAY SUNDAY, RELATIVE TO THE PERFORMANCE OF MINNESOTA'S JARED ALLEN: That's something you'd have to ask Julius. It was a nationally televised game. I think a lot of guys in both locker rooms -- and around the league every week, really -- get excited about that. Then again, everybody has different reps. As you asked me last week, I think Julius has been a very, very productive player. No matter how you try to define it, he's done a lot of good things, been to a lot of Pro Bowls, and I think he's one of the marquee players on defense in this league.

ON PRESSURING BRETT FAVRE AND WHETHER IT WAS KEY TO SUNDAY'S WIN: We didn't really bring all that much pressure, other than what we created with a three- and four-man rush, for the most part. Some of it was some follow rush. I can't say we didn't blitz at all -- we did some -- but all in all, I thought it was a combination of the base rush and the coverage. I think both ends did their part.

ON DANTE WESLEY AND HIS ROLE AS A HYBRID DEFENSIVE BACK/LINEBACKER AGAINST TEAMS WITH POTENT PASSING GAMES: Dante's a guy that we drafted way back in our first year (2002). He bounced around a little bit and we got him back. His forté has been special teams, but he's a high football character guy, he's accountable and dependable and you try to find a role for him. I think he's gravitated to it and performed it pretty well. He made a nice play on their tight end downfield, where the down extended (because Favre escaped containment), and he did a good job in coverage. It was a big third-down stop.

ON RIGHT TACKLE GEOFF SCHWARTZ'S PERFORMANCE IN HIS FIRST NFL START: I thought he did very well against a very good defense and very good front. There are things we all could have done better and things we left out there just like you can say after every game. But all in all I thought he showed up and did a good job.

ON OPTING FOR A HAIL MARY INSTEAD OF A 52-YARD FIELD GOAL AT THE END OF THE FIRST HALF: We were lined up to kick a (47-yard) field goal. Unfortunately, we had a procedure penalty and elected with the little time that was left to try a Hail Mary versus a long field goal on grass and in that situation.

ON IF JOHN KASAY TELLS HIM HIS RANGE BEFORE GAMES: It's not so much he just tells us. We actually research this, actually practice it. We just don't make up stuff. Each game is different. The conditions are different. They are different based on wind, based on the surface, based on what direction you're going, and those things change. Whether it was a week ago, five weeks ago, it all varies. But that was the decision we made and that's what we went with.

ON KASAY'S RANGE COMPARED TO PREVIOUS YEARS: He's got the leg that he had a few years ago.

ON WHETHER KASAY'S LEG STRENGTH HAS DIMINISHED: No.

ON IF THE FOOTING AND SLIPPERY CONDITIONS AT THE CENTER OF THE FIELD CONTRIBUTED TO THE DECISION NOT TO KICK: I can say that was not part of the research, no.

ON WHETHER HE CONSIDERED HAVING RHYS LLOYD ATTEMPT THE FIELD GOAL: Not really.

ON HOW LINEBACKER JAMES ANDERSON PLAYED: He's gotten plenty of opportunities. That's a position that since Thomas Davis went down and then Landon Johnson went down, it's given him more opportunities. When you do what those guys do, who I have the utmost respect for, that's all you can ask for is an opportunity. I think he's made the most of it and done a good job. I thought probably his best performance was last night.

ON ANY UPDATES ON THE STATUS OF QUARTERBACK JAKE DELHOMME: Nope. We'll update you Wednesday on all the injuries.