During the last media availability on Thursday with the Green Bay Packers, I had the chance to interview C Scott Wells. It will be very important during the Super Bowl for the Packers to pick up the blitz, and account for players like SS Troy Polamalu, who can blitz for so many different positions. He's also been the starter all season, and certainly been part of the Packers improved pass protection.
(on his responsibility for picking up the blitz)
"Absolutely, that's a big responsibility of the center on our office. We have get up and ID the front. Declare a pass protection, so we have to make sure everyone knows who we have. And if Aaron wants to make an adjustment, he can."
(on how he and Aaron Rodgers coordinates the pass protection)
"What I'm doing is identifying the defense for the line. And then he's pointing out who the running backs have. And if he wants to make an adjustment, you'll see him tell the running back "hey, go over here instead." Usually if he's talking to us, he'll tell come up to the line and he'll tell us "no, I want you to go here" and he'll him name guy, the number. So basically, I'll make my identification, and everything is based off of that."
(on a 4-3 vs. 3-4 defense)
"It's a transition, you have to account for the outside linebacker so it's almost as if they have five defensive lineman. So the way the outside linebackers play in a traditional 3-4 defense, they're big pass rushers. They have the speed to cover the pass, but they also have the speed to rush up the field. So definetly have to account for those guys when you're throwing the ball. It makes everything a little wider too because they have the edge set wider. So when you're running the football you have to account for that as well. So there is a little carryover but it just kind of changes where the holes are."
(on the effect spreading the line has on the tackles compared to the center)
"It does, but at the same time, there is a defensive end that aligned right on [the tackles] too. So basically you just have to account for those guys. And we've gone against 3-4 defenses the whole off-season with our defense. We have a very similar defense. Two years in a row we've done that. So I'm looking forward to the carryover between our defense and theirs."
(on the Steelers middle linebackers)
"Their linebackers do an outstanding job of covering and blitzing. As they do with everybody. As they do the same thing for Troy Polamalu. He's all over the field as well. He's kind of the wild card. You definetly have to account for those guys. Make sure that everyone is on the same page. Try and get your pre-snap reads, and see if they give anything away, which they seldom do. They do a good job of disguising it. Basically we have to follow our rules that we have in our pass protection and communicate."
(on Charles Woodson to compared to Polamalu)
"I think it's a similar role. Charles is all over the place as well. He's dangerous in coverage and in pressure."
(on being named the starter throughout the past off-season and this season)
"I came off a shoulder surgery three years ago. I missed the whole off-season. It puts you at a disadvantage anytime you miss an entire off-season. We didn't have a great year that year either, so they're looking for solutions. Beginning of last year, wasn't the way I liked for it to have turned out. I had a good camp, they told me that I had good camp, but I didn't get the nod at the beginning. But second game, due to injury, I stepped in, and kept the spot from then on."
(they've said you're the starter)
"The last two years have been two of my best. They've also been two of my most healthy years. In this business you have to be healthy. If you're not, they're constantly looking for a replacement. You have to to go out their and be available and accountable."
For the last few minutes, we discussed how he's only missed a few games in his career. He's gotten smarter and more mature with his workouts over the years. He spends off-season workouts in Green Bay, but he lives with his family live in Nashville only about 10 minutes from LT Chad Clifton. His alumni ties with other players from the University of Tennessee helped his transition to Green Bay. He wants to approach the game as just another game, while taking advantage of the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl.
Click here for the audio of the complete Scott Wells interview.