GREEN BAY – Over the past couple of days, the Packers' coordinators and offensive assistant coaches met with the media. Here's a summary of their key comments:
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
On facing Tom Brady:
If you don't have a good plan and if you don't do a good job disguising and you go into a game with just a handful of calls and hope to out-execute him, you're going to be in for a long day. You've heard the cliche before, but he's playing chess while other people are playing checkers.
On LB Krys Barnes:
His football IQ, it jumped out to us right out of the virtual meetings in the spring. This is a kid that you tell him something once and it gets locked in. He's confident because he knows what he's doing. That's what we always talk about, confidence through preparation. He's prepared. He knows, it's not like he gets confused out there. He has a good sense of what we're doing, what an offense is doing, and what communication needs to be made.
On defending Mike Evans, possibly without Kevin King:
He's that combination of a polished route-runner, he's smart and knows how to get open, has a great catch radius, and the ability with the size to be able to go up … he can be double-covered or he could have a guy hanging on him and he's still going to make a play. Brady does a good job of essentially throwing guys open. This is a pretty deep receiving corps. Whether Kevin plays or not, this is a huge challenge for us.
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
On Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Todd Bowles' blitzing tendencies:
He is definitely very aggressive. For whatever reason, the past couple of games we have gotten a lot of pressure and we've handled it nicely. That is something he's always been known for is giving unique looks and bringing pressures from all over the place … whether it's a corner, a safety, a linebacker from overloads to different front alignments. I think it's going to be a nice chess match on Sunday.
On opposing coverages when Davante Adams was out versus him coming back:
Obviously Davante being out there potentially can change things, but I think we still have to remember when Aaron Rodgers is back there, every team wants to do something unique or different to try and confuse him. That's one of the things that we've seen – this happened to us a lot last year and going into this year – you prepare for a lot of stuff and then you get things completely different versus Aaron. So it's really going to be about in-game adjustments.
On Jamaal Williams:
He's got not only an unbelievable knowledge of the game and just natural instincts, but he's got that swag about him. When he has the ball in his hands he's going to run downhill. That energy, I mean that's what football is. He's a natural football player that goes out and he's going to make people know that he's there. Every time he touches the ball he's excited as the last time, like he's still playing Pop Warner and getting that first opportunity and I love him. That's kind of the whole feeling we want the entire team to have.
Special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga
On who will return punts and kicks if Tyler Ervin can't go:
We're still deciding. We've got multiple guys back there that go back and catch and we practice in case a number of scenarios happen. We've got to have multiple guys ready. We still haven't made that determination yet.
On keeping JK Scott ready despite his limited game work so far:
He's had some tough conditions to punt in here over the last three or four weeks. We've tried to punt with the wind, against the wind, all those things, and just try to prepare him and put him in those game situations. Have him think about hey, this is how I'd handle this and if something didn't go well in practice, learn from it, learn to deal with it and continue to grow as pro. So we're trying to make it as game-like as we can and just get him a consistent body of work and have him as prepared as we can be.
Passing-game coordinator/QB coach Luke Getsy
On QB Aaron Rodgers' comfort level in Year 2:
I think the biggest thing is just knowing which tool to use, which button to press. When you have a play call, there's things that are built into it and you need to know what the strength and weakness of the play call is. I think when you have multiple reps and experience with it, you understand how to get to those strengths and how to avoid the weaknesses. It's making a play, taking advantage of a play when you have the good look and it's making the play not-so-bad whenever you get the bad look.
More on comfort from the rest of the offense:
I think the benefits of this working around to Year 2 is that you know your team much better. We practice things that we know that we do well a lot. I think that gives us the opportunity to go into a game, and maybe not necessarily have a particular thing at the forefront of our mind, but be able to dive into it and know that we feel really confident that everybody on the field knows what's going on.
Receivers coach Jason Vrable
On how Marquez Valdes-Scantling did with Adams out:
MVS has literally played all three positions for us. He's done everything that we've asked. He was joking with me today, he's like 'Wow, I've already played every letter in our offense and already done every single assignment or route.' Our offense is built that way, but he's been the guy that's had to take over all those roles. He's been great. He hasn't said anything, prepared and done a good job.
On Equanimeous St. Brown's comeback from injury:
He's pretty quiet and pretty low key, doesn't really say much, just kind of goes out and works and prepares. He's the one guy, coming off of injury, I thought initially in training camp showed a lot of progress through the offseason, just winning 1-on-1s and playing fast and playing with confidence. I felt really, really good about him going into the season. It was unfortunate for him the knee kind of had its issues but I'm excited about EQ.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
On Tampa Bay's run defense:
They're very fast and they're strong up front. They do a great job of keeping their linebackers free. When you've got guys that can run like their linebackers can and guys that are pretty smart like (Lavonte) David, it makes it hard. And then you've got their safeties that fill pretty well, too.
On AJ Dillon's lack of playing time so far:
I know he's ready. It's just more of a product of those other two guys, sometimes based on what we're doing schematically can fit in a little bit better than what he can. I think he's at that point where he's got a better grasp, not just of the offense, but just the speed of the game. It's just a matter of now really putting him there and just letting him go.
Offensive line coach Adam Stenavich
On Tampa Bay's pressure schemes:
We're always planning and prepping for pressure. That's one thing as an O-line coach you're always paranoid about, I guess. You can definitely see it watching their film. That's their mindset. They want to be aggressive. They want to pressure the quarterback. They want to blitz from a lot of different angles. So, we just kind of do what we always do and just prepare for everything and make sure we're on point with our communication and everything like that.
On the Bucs' stout run defense:
Well, they've got big dudes up front. Suh, obviously he's been a great player in the league for a very long time. Vita Vea was doing a great job for 'em. But their backup also does a really good job, too. They just have big bodies inside. They get a lot of guys in the box and they try and corral everything inside and cage the ball in. We've just got to make sure we do a great job coming off the ball.
Tight ends coach Justin Outten
On Jace Sternberger bouncing back:
It was tremendous to see him get started. Like I said when we talked before, no one wants that to happen and sometimes it does happen. It's not always going to be perfect and you're going to have those games. But the cool thing was he came back and we rebounded and had one of the better week of practices that following week and it showed up. He's doing a really good job as far as applying the mental aspect of it and being a student of the game. Coming into the league as a tight end, from college, is a huge transition for anyone. It's been cool to see it click recently.
On his relationship with players:
This is our family. You have to embrace that mindset if you want the best out of our players and they want the best out of their coach. It's got to be a two-way highway and it's never going to be a situation where we're buddy-buddy and I'm the cool uncle. You know what I mean? They're going to get coached. Everyone knows that in this room. They take the coaching part of it and they move on. We have our fun, but we definitely, definitely when it's time to clock in, we clock in.