If one characteristic defined the Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl championship season, it was resilience.
Decimated by injuries, Green Bay found willing and able replacements all season. Three players who stepped up on defense — LB Desmond Bishop, SS Charlie Peprah and CB/special-teams ace Jarrett Bush — took time Tuesday to chat with NFL.com about their offseason, the lingering NFL lockout and overcoming adversity individually and as a team.
In the aftermath of the Super Bowl, how has life been for you guys? Obviously, the lockout has changed some things.
Peprah: For us, this offseason has been kind of good after going deep in the playoffs, getting to rest a little bit, enjoy the fruits of our labor, enjoy the Super Bowl victory a bit longer. Spending time with the family. Little things like that. Getting longer, more detailed individual workouts, which I think will increase production on the field for everybody who has been working hard. As a team, we should be better. It’s about time to get back to work. For us, going so deep in the playoffs, it’s a blessing in disguise, but at this time, it’s time to go back to work.
Bishop: It’s kind of good in a sense that the next season hasn’t started yet, so we can bask in our Super Bowl glory just a little bit longer. Unfortunately, all the lockout talk has taken a little bit of light off of all we accomplished. But at the same time, the lockout afforded us opportunities to do charities, go back to our high schools and run camps, and do other things we wouldn’t have been able to because we would be training back in Green Bay. It’s given us time to hang out with our families and take trips, but at the same time, we’re still working out because you never know when the lockout is going to end. To be back home and get healthy was a blessing. Like Pep said, I know I’m speaking for the entire league, the vacation is over, everyone is ready to get back to work. We’re all competitive, we all love our jobs, so it’s like we miss the grind, waking in the morning and hitting the field with the guys. Now everyone is separated. … Once we get back, we become one again. We all miss that camaraderie.
The rest has to help, but has there been any downside?
CP: Another bad thing is we don’t get to do stuff as a team like celebrate, like going to the White House, we’re missing out on that. They’re not going to scrap it, are they?
Bush: We’re going to get to go, aren’t we?
Each of the three of you has overcome adversity in your career, and each of you was called on to start and play key roles for the Packers. How did you overcome those obstacles to become NFL starters?
DB: Going through the season and into the playoffs, we had a saying: “If you’re not chasing something that’s worthwhile, you won’t face adversity.” What we were chasing was a Super Bowl championship, and in order to reach a goal like that, you’re going to face adversity. The season was like a microcosm of our NFL careers — none of us were drafted really high. Jarrett was a free agent. Nothing was expected of us. We expected a lot from ourselves. The opportunity wasn’t there for us to capitalize on. We were backup players. Our mentality — all three of us hang out a lot, so off the field, we get a chance to talk about personal stuff. Some of the stuff we talked about was once we get our opportunity, we have to take advantage of it. We talked for years, “I can’t wait ’til it’s my turn.” It’s a totally different thing to say it and then do it. We prepared mentally for our chance for years, so when it finally came, we were ready.
JB: There were a lot of ups and downs (in my first five years). I was always the utility guy. I was the backup at corner, safety, nickel, dime, behind Charles (Woodson). I wanted to play, I wanted to play so bad. I just had to wait my turn, and it came in the Super Bowl. It’s funny I had to study for all these different positions, but when it’s time to play, you have to ball. Everything happens for a reason. Charles went down in the Super Bowl, and I had to step up. If there is any time you have to step up, (it’s then). I studied my butt off — I knew there was a time the team was going to need me. We’d talk to each other. I understood my role on the team. I got my chance, and I just shined.
CP: It was all about opportunities. We always had confidence in ourselves. Unfortunately, my chance came through an injury to Morgan Burnett, who will be a great player. You hate to get it like that, but that’s the way the league goes. As a backup player, you don’t get the same reps, you have to get it right on the first opportunity. You have to watch film a little differently because you have such a slim margin for error. So when I got my chance, it was like I had been starting my whole career because I prepared like I was a starter. The path that I took, I wouldn’t change it. It wasn’t the fanciest, but I feel like the path I took is what helped me to succeed.
Was it a team-wide attitude?
CP: That mindset is what everyone on the team had when people started going down. We had the next-man-up mentality. Whoever’s in there, we didn’t care if you hadn’t started, you had to play like a starter and then some, make plays. That was the accountability that we forced on each other. And don’t forget, we had talented players. You have to give the coaches a lot of credit, give the GM credit for bringing everyone in, but everybody can play. You could have thrown anyone in there and they would have played well. That’s the type of talent we had.
– Chris Bayee