Greene Ready For New Challenge

(Over the next several days, will profile some of the new members of the team's coaching staff. Today's feature is on outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene.)

Newly hired outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene said he always felt that coaching would bring him back into the NFL some day, and when he heard of an opening on the Packers' staff that would enable him to tutor players at a position he played at a high level for 15 years in the pros, it sounded like a perfect match.

"I was just looking for the right opportunity I think, and then this presented itself with (defensive coordinator) Coach Dom (Capers)," Greene said. "I love Coach Dom and they were looking for somebody to do this outside backer (job). I'm like, 'Yeah, that may have my name on it. I'm going to give them a call and see if I can at least get an interview.' I'm blessed that it all worked out."

Although this will be Greene's first full-time position as a coach at any level, he has worked as a training camp coaching intern with NFL teams six times, including a stint with the Super Bowl champion Steelers in their camp this past season.

"I wanted to keep my toes in the water, keep my name in the hat," Greene said. "Meeting these coaches, I would say, 'Hey, I'm thinking about getting in it. Let me work with your players a little bit and let me show them some of the things I did as an outside backer and a pass rusher, and just kind of keep me in mind.' I was just basically keeping my name alive, and I knew the time would come and this was a wonderful opportunity that presented itself."

Greene was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round in 1985 after starting his college career at the University of Auburn as a walk-on. He posted back-to-back seasons with a career-best 161/2 sacks in 1988 and 1989 for the Rams. Greene was named to the Pro Bowl and earned Associated Press second-team All-Pro honors in '89.

In 1993, Greene went to the Steelers as a free agent, where he played for Capers, Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator at that time, for the first two of his three seasons there. He was named first-team All-Pro and went to the Pro Bowl in 1994 with 14 sacks, tops in the league. In '95 he went to his third Pro Bowl and helped lead the Steelers to an appearance in Super Bowl XXX.

In 1996, Greene reunited with Capers, who was then the head coach for the Carolina Panthers. He led the league in sacks for the second time, with 141/2, and posted five consecutive multi-sack games. He was a first-team All-Pro for the second time and a Pro Bowler for the third straight year in helping lead the Panthers, a second-year expansion team, reach the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay at Lambeau Field.

Greene would go on to finish his career with 160 sacks, which ranks third all-time and the most by a linebacker in league history. For Capers, who will be coordinating a Green Bay defense that is transitioning to a 3-4 as the base scheme from a 4-3, being able to hire someone with the experience and knowledge of the critical outside linebacker spot was very appealing.

"He's the all-time leader at the linebacker position in sacks," Capers said. "So much of that I think is because he did as thorough preparation, studied more tape and really knew the people he was rushing against as well as anybody I've been around."

Having coached Greene for several seasons, Capers also got the opportunity to see him in action as a coach during Greene's camp internship with Miami in 2006 when Capers ran the Dolphins' defense.

"It's always good when you have an opportunity to evaluate somebody and watch them," Capers said. "A couple of years ago he came to Miami and worked there. I know he worked at Pittsburgh and worked with their outside linebackers this past training camp, so I have a lot of good friends there and know what kind of job that he did there with their young outside backers."

With an almost entirely new defensive coaching staff, the coaches on that side of the ball are evaluating the team's existing personnel to see where players fit in the new system. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday that defensive end Aaron Kampman will line up at outside linebacker in the base defense. Though it is too early to say who else will be playing there for the Packers in '09, Greene does know what will be required of them.

"They have to rush like big defensive ends against big offensive tackles, which are 6-6, 330, and so forth," Greene said. "Obviously they get picked up by a running back every once in a while, but it's a rare occasion when a running back will try to block an outside backer in the 3-4.

"An outside backer in a 3-4 has to play the run hard from the point of attack, and there are so many different blocking schemes that offenses try to get them on the perimeter. And an outside backer has to be able to cover. He's got to be able to drop.

{sportsad300}"You have a wide job description as an outside backer, and it's a repetitive nature of working on that specific set of fundamentals and technique in order to master that. I can tell you that we will have a ton of repetitions doing the things that these outside backers need to do to play this position. They will be repped and repped and repped. It will be second nature for them."

Even though what Greene has seen from the current players has been limited to what he has watched on film, he is already excited to work with them.

"Everything I understand from (inside linebackers coach) Winston (Moss) and Coach Joe Whitt (secondary - cornerbacks) is that they have great work ethic and they have great heart and they have a fire about them," Greene said. "They are my kind of guys already and I haven't even met them."

Besides being one of the most prolific pass rushers in league history, Greene is also remembered by many for his intensity, energy and personality, something he plans on carrying over to his coaching style.

"I'm going to coach the way I played, which is fire, love and passion," Greene said. "I'm hoping it's going to be a contagious thing. I think it always has been before, so I wouldn't think it would be any different now.

"I think my players, it will be pretty evident to them that I am very, very serious about the game of football, and I enjoyed playing it. It's going to come across that way."

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