Aaron Jones’ ability to ‘smell the end zone is unbelievable’

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

GREEN BAY – The Packers’ coordinators spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon. Here are highlights from their news conferences:

Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett

On Jamaal Williams’ season:

Both of those guys have done a great job. Just involving both of them, you don’t lose a step when Jamaal is in there. I think both of those guys play off each other and support each other, which is great.

On how Aaron Jones has fit into the system:

His ability to smell the end zone is unbelievable. It shows up. I give a tone of credit to the offensive line. It’s important once you have the opportunity you take advantage of it and Aaron has done a great job with that. … He has a knack for the end zone and it shows up.

On similarities between Green Bay and San Francisco coaching staffs:

There’s a lot of love on that side. Besides this week. It’s going to be fun. … It always does come down the execution but it’s going to be hard to trick certain guys who know you so well. There’s so many commonalities. It’s just doing what we do and having guys execute at a high level.

On working with Matt LaFleur:

I think we have a great time. We work really hard in this business. To be able to keep it light, I think it’s critical. Matt does a great job and the whole staff together has been awesome going back to when we talked a long time ago about putting together the whole group. There’s so much humility in the group to get it done the right way. It’s awesome working for him.

On borrowing ideas from other teams:

Every week you study an opponent and try to find things they’re susceptible to. Whenever you watch a game and see an amazing play, you want to be part of it also. Everyone has a different vision and you always want to push yourself to grow as a coach and not stick in one world. You might not have the same guy on your team that another team has but you just try to be inspired and creative throughout the whole week.

On the receiver rotation:

I love the rotation we have going on. The more guys you can get out there is so critical. To have the ability for everybody to have different scouting reports on each guy, I think it’s going to be a challenge for other teams.

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine

On similarities between Matt LaFleur and Kyle Shanahan:

Just the way they see defenses and how quickly they can diagnosis what hurts that defense. They see that quick. We’ve had some great football conversations as we watch some of our tape together; just (LaFleur’s) depth of understanding defensive football. They always have an answer.

On playing Ibraheim Campbell 42 snaps vs. Carolina:

That wasn’t the plan. We wanted to see if we were defending the run OK with the smaller groupings we were in and then we got hurt with a couple passes. His paly count was OK until we got to that last drive. You never plan on ending the game on an 18-play drive. He almost doubled his snaps at the end. He was ready. We felt he was capable. With another week of practice, I think he’ll be a week better.

On what Kyler Fackrell means to the defense:

He means a lot. He’s a man of very few words and it takes him a while to get going to with us, but he’s everything you want and you’re looking for in a guy in your room. He’s smart. He’s tough. He studies the game. His interaction with teammates and coaches as far as what the opponent is doing. He’s had some really good rushes and close calls. Guys are just getting there a click before he got there. The same thing for Kenny Clark, who’s playing at a very high level. … It’s just the production is not there and that can be frustrating. I could see some guys where it would be upsetting (but Kyler) has handled it great.

On familiarity with the 49ers’ offense:

I think the offseason helped us as far as the one thing about this system is a lot of condensed formations, a lot of bunch formations with receivers inside the numbers. This is a different play-caller. They game plan differently. Kyle does a great job of playing to particular player’s strengths. It helps a little bit but that’s it – just a little bit.

On what defense has done well:

The resiliency part is important and the takeaway piece is big, much better than a year ago. We’re ranked pretty high in the league as far as turnover differential. It comes down to points and takeaways and that’s two areas where we have improved. If we get things cleaned up, we can be pretty good.

On benefits of the bye week:

You just have to look at our injury report. Getting our guys back. Not only physically healthy … but more stepping away from it. We wanted them to be able to get away. I thought it came at a perfect time for us with the stretch of games still in front of us and what that opportunity is. Not that many guys have been 8-2. I think Tramon Williams is probably the only one, even from a coaching standpoint. Making sure what’s happened so far, here’s where we are and it’s all about moving forward.

On self-scouting during the bye week:

The biggest project was studying the explosives and taking the notes of why did this happen? Was it something schematic? Was it something scheme-wise or a personnel issue? Sometimes it’s a good play by them. It was good to be able to sit back and look at it from a different perspective and see it all together. I thought there were some good things to come out of it at all positions. The big thing for us is raising our level of consistency. That’s something we’re really driving home, especially with our young players. It’s not good to have two or three moments when you lose focus. That’s been the message. Everybody take their inventory – what have I done well and not so well and raising the sense of urgency.

Special-teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga

On Mason Crosby’s season:

He just has the one miss but I think he’s been great for our room. He’s been a leader among the special teams guys. He’s well-respected and been a great resource for me. He’s been in all these stadiums and kicked before, so that’s been a great resource for me.

On selecting special-team units with a relatively healthy roster:

There’s always a give and take based on who’s up and down. I think it’s starting to solidify itself a little more. Anytime there’s injury, there’s a revolving door. I feel good about where we’re going.

On San Francisco’s special teams:

A lot of team speed across the board. Their skill guys are some of the best gunners we’ve seen and disruptive on kickoffs. They’re a 4.3 team with fast linebackers. Their speed stands out.

On self-scouting during the bye week:

Kick return, I think we’re starting to trend up. We’re heading in the right direction there. Punt return, we had 37 opportunities. There are about 10 opportunities where we could’ve doubled both gunners and we did that six times. There’s been less than 10 opportunities where we’ve said we need to get a good return here. As the weather gets colder, we’re going to try to make those things happen.

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