GREEN BAY – Head Coach Matt LaFleur’s offensive staff for the most part has taken shape for the Packers, with a mixture of new names and familiar faces.
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett leads the group (with an intro previously published), and here’s a closer look at those around him.
1. Colorado State did not want to see Alvis Whitted go.
The Packers’ new receivers coach is credited with helping CSU earn the moniker “wide receiver U,” as he’s coached three All-Americans over the past five years. First-teamers Rashard Higgins (2014) and Michael Gallup (2017) were drafted by the Browns and Cowboys, respectively, while second-teamer Preston Williams (2018) is expected to be drafted this spring. This will be Whitted’s first NFL coaching job after about a decade in the college ranks, which followed his nine-year career with the Jaguars and Raiders, for whom he played in a Super Bowl. Before that, Whitted played football at North Carolina State, where he also set school track records in multiple sprints, and he raced Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson in the 1996 U.S. Olympic trials.
2. Adam Stenavich has worn a Packers uniform before.
And not just as a Marshfield, Wis., native who likely cheered for the green and gold growing up. Stenavich, Green Bay’s new offensive line coach, was a member of the Packers’ practice squad in 2006, shortly after entering the league as an undrafted prospect despite a pair of first-team All-Big Ten seasons at left tackle for Michigan. Coming over from the San Francisco 49ers, where he was an assistant on the offensive line the last two years, one thing won’t change for Stenavich – he’s got an All-Pro anchoring the left tackle spot. Joe Staley is a three-time second-team All-Pro (2011-13) for the 49ers, while David Bahktiari is a two-time second-team (2016-17) and now first-team All-Pro (2018) for the Packers.
3. Luke Butkus has a similar playing background to Stenavich, whom he’ll be assisting.
Butkus, the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus, was a two-time All-Big Ten player. For Butkus, the honors came at center for Illinois, where his uncle also played. Like Stenavich, Butkus also played in NFL Europe before getting into coaching in the college ranks. Butkus’ coaching career on the offensive line has included different stints under Lovie Smith, with the Chicago Bears and Fighting Illini.
4. Justin Outten is in the most unfamiliar territory of the offensive assistants.
That’s because he’s a position coach in the NFL for the first time, after spending the last three years in Atlanta as an offensive intern (2016) and then offensive assistant (2017-18) without a specific position group. The bulk of Outten’s work as a coach thus far has been on the offensive line, where he played at Syracuse before getting into coaching. Outten is also taking over perhaps the most unsettled offensive position group on the Packers’ roster, with veterans Marcedes Lewis and Lance Kendricks both pending free agents.
5. One of the familiar faces will have a new position.
Luke Getsy, who coached the Packers’ receivers for two years (2016-17) before jumping back to the college ranks as offensive coordinator at Mississippi State last season, is back but will be coaching the quarterbacks now instead. QB is the position Getsy played in college at Akron, and he also coached it at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2011-12) in a dual role that included the offensive coordinator title as well. The other returnee is running backs coach Ben Sirmans, who first came to Green Bay in 2016 and during his first two years tutored seven different running backs who rushed for at least 100 yards in the regular season for the Packers.
6. The two latest additions have connections to other staff members.
Offensive assistant Jason Vrable has twice worked directly for Hackett in his coaching career, first at Syracuse in 2010 as a graduate assistant and assistant QB coach when Hackett coached the position. Vrable also worked as an offensive quality control coach for the Buffalo Bills during Hackett’s two seasons there as offensive coordinator in 2013-14. Offensive quality control coach Kevin Koger’s time as a graduate assistant at Michigan overlapped for one year, in 2013, with Stenavich, also a grad assistant for the Wolverines at that time. Koger was most recently at Eastern Kentucky coaching wide receivers and special teams.