GREEN BAY – The Packers’ offensive assistant coaches spoke to the media following the first public practice of organized team activities on Tuesday. Here are some highlights:
Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin
On QB Aaron Rodgers:
It’s obviously been great being back here and around him, watching him throw the football. One of the things being away from six years is the 7,000 NFL reps. His mind is working so fast and he has a great, great understanding of the game. He made some nice adjustments out there today, putting us in good situations. That’s one of the biggest differences. Not that he wasn’t bright back then. He certainly was, but all these repetitions have helped him process even faster.
On DeShone Kizer:
He’s very eager. Even in phase one, when we didn’t even get on the field, you like the way he handles himself. I was in the quarterback room a little bit with him. He’s attentive. He’s bright. So far, in a new system for him, I like the development I’ve seen. I think he’s off to a really good start.
On relationship with Mike McCarthy:
It’s a special relationship. I absolutely love working with and for Mike. He provides you with an opportunity to make your mark and coach within your own style. He allows you the freedom to function within those guidelines. Mike has a really creative mind. I think he’s an excellent teacher. Because he has so much on his plate, I can drill down into the specifics a little more. I think we’ve done a good job in the past of balancing that. What new creative, innovative things can we do, but also staying focused and true to what we want to be and what we can be great at.
Run-game coordinator/offensive line coach James Campen
On Jason Spriggs:
The work he’s doing, he’s doing well. He looks good. He’s bigger and stronger than he was last year. He’s moving well.
On opportunity with Lane Taylor and Bryan Bulaga sidelined, and open spot at right guard:
I think it’s a heck of an opportunity for guys to rotate in there and do a lot of things now. We’re getting whatever that team period, I think it’s 14 reps or 16 reps, but it’s the work we get to do on the side with them. Now, they get to have bags in front of them and those type of things. You move guys here and there. You use it as an advantage because as we’ve seen before at times, you have to put guys in and move guys around, people get really comfortable with guys they’ve worked with. You try to rep a lot of that as well as looking at the evaluations. I look at it as a positive things. Obviously, you’d love to have Bryan and everybody out there doing their thing, but be that as it may, even if everything was there, there’d still be some rotation and some things going on.
On Justin McCray:
The kid just keeps impressing me. The guy came back, he’s lived here and changed his diet. He’s totally engaged with what Coach Lovat and the strength staff are doing. I won’t give numbers, but the things he’s done and displayed this offseason speaks volumes to where he wants to go. I think you saw the tip of what Justin will be.
Pass-game coordinator Jim Hostler
On his role:
It’s just a resource for the perimeter guys. I’ve been in the receiver, quarterback and tight end room in this league. Helping tie the perimeter to the quarterback room. Mike isn’t in every meeting. I’m sort of a bridge through those positions and Mike. I’m an extension of Joe if he’s not in there.
On working with Rodgers:
He’s a natural passer. He’s gifted, arm-talent-wise. He had all that in college. It just didn’t show like it does at this level. The other thing that’s unique is his ability to create. He wasn’t in that environment in college. College football isn’t quite as dramatic of creating plays from the QB position. It’s more bang-bang-bang and the play is over.
On the Packers’ three rookie receivers:
It starts when they get here on how to run routes. It’s different from college football. This league is about how to win matchups one-on-one. This league is all about that. These guys have to come in and learn how to run routes. That process starts as soon as they get here. That continues as they go. They have unique skill sets, but all three of them have the ability to run. They’re bigger-body guys, which makes them problems.
Quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti Jr.
On DeShone Kizer:
You treat them all the same. You go back to Day 1 and teach the system, the offensive identification system. You start from scratch again. DeShone fortunately got the chance to play a lot of football last year. There’s no substitute for experience.
On working with Rodgers:
Any relationship takes time. It’s a daily process. I’m so impressed with Aaron, not only as a quarterback but as a person. So bright. He thinks and reacts so quickly. He’s an open book to the younger quarterbacks.
Receivers coach David Raih
On Davante Adams getting to this point:
I’ve thought about this – the perspective I’ve had is the third room I’ve been in on this team and offense, the consistent thing for the high performers is the level of detail. From an outside look, you look at Davante Adams and you just think he has incredible athletic ability. You see him move defenders. When you sit down with him and go through the film, the thing that jumps out so much is the amount of film he watches and the detail in which he watches it to set up different things. Randall Cobb is the same way.
On Randall Cobb:
I think there’s a lot of football left in Randall Cobb. This guy is one of the most tenacious people I’ve been around. His entire life he’s heard something along those lines (of being small) and that’s something that fuels his fire. He and I come in and have a business approach together. I think it meshes well. I’m excited about Randall because every rep you can see him trying to use what he’s learning to improve his game. He has the type of approach that’ll get results.
On Geronimo Allison:
Geronimo has got incredible effort and tenacity and the way he approaches every day. You could ask any of the men in that room, he’s all business. It’s just refining the things he does.
On three rookie receivers:
It’s a great group, met with them this afternoon. They’re all unique in their own right. All three of them love football and all three of them are very competitive. I’m just excited about it. I think they fit into the room well. I’m really impressed with them as they learn what they’re doing, they’ll continue to grow.
Tight ends coach Brian Angelichio
On Jimmy Graham:
Jimmy has been great from the day he got here. His approach and diving right into the playbook. His work ethic has been very positive. Certainly we’re off to a good start. … Obviously Jimmy has had a lot of success. He’s been productive, his energy and knowledge has been positive.
On how quickly Graham processes information:
Obviously Jimmy has a feel for what’s going on on the back end and how things are going to play out. Obviously the more those two are together and see how each other see it will only be good for the Packers.
On Lance Kendricks:
With Lance, he’s a player who has position flexibility. He can play a lot of different roles. Wherever his role is going to lead him, he’s certainly a capable player and someone we hope will help us win.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
On using three returning backs:
Part of it is figuring it out as we go and figuring out what strengths guys have. All you have to do is look at what happened in the Super Bowl how the Eagles utilized three different guys to score points and be successful. I think our guys know if it’s something that it comes down to that or someone shows themselves to be head and shoulders above the rest, they’ll be the guy who gets a brunt of the reps.
On Aaron Jones adding size:
He seems stronger. He came back a little bit bigger. He’s still moving around pretty good with that added size. I call it ‘Grown-man weight.’ He saw for himself how he could benefit from playing stronger. It’ll help him break tackles and do those things.
On key to Jones’ explosive gains last season:
I think he’s got great instincts. Instinctively, he probably displays that the best out of all the guys as far as hitting a hole and seeing what’s in front of him. Those are the types of things why his average is a lot higher than other guys. It more has to do with his instincts than physical natural ability.