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Jimmy Graham's presence is 'taking pressure off other guys'

Packers' coordinators and offensive coaches spoke to the media Thursday evening


GREEN BAY – The Packers' coordinators and offensive assistant coaches spoke to the media on Thursday evening. Here are highlights from their new conferences:

Special teams coordinator Ron Zook

On Williams returning punts:

"I went back this offseason looking at tape from previous (years), and I said to Coach, 'Tramon is really a talented guy.' He still is. He does a great job, he's willing, and he wants to do it. I'm all for it."

On Detroit returner Agnew:

"Not sure he's got the (same) quickness the guy from Chicago's got, but obviously he returned two for touchdowns as a rookie and he's had two or three big ones called back. You have to cover the whole field, he'll take it all the way across the field. He's the real deal, on both the punt and kickoff returns. Everybody will have a heightened alert to get this guy on the ground."

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine

On the slides he showed the players before the Buffalo game:

"I just wanted them to see how we were in the first quarter versus how we were in the third quarter, and the stark difference between the two. Nobody had an obvious answer, but it was a challenge to everybody in the room. There were no fiery speeches at halftime or throwing out game plans. It was focusing on the details, and making sure we captured that coming out of the locker room in the beginning."

On going from Allen to Stafford as opposing QB:

"It's the opposite end. A rookie quarterback playing on the road versus a veteran quarterback playing at home and a guy that's been very productive throughout his whole career. We weren't going to diminish what we accomplished on Sunday. We appreciate what we did, but this league is all about the ability to compartmentalize. (Just like the Washington game) the Buffalo game has to go in a box as well and move on from it. We don't want to keep celebrating a shutout late in the week when we're moving on to a division opponent."

On the current state of the defense:

"We're making progress. As a coaching staff, we're getting a better understanding of who we are, what we do well, what we don't do well. We started broad with the install back in the spring, started to narrow it down at the end of training camp, and now we're starting to find out who we are. You can't narrow it down too much or you become predictable, but the guys are understanding some of the nuances of what we're doing."

On Stafford:

"If we make a mistake against him, he'll see it. It's important to disguise pre-snap. We always say never let them read your mail. He's a preparation junkie, and we have our hands full."

On getting Breeland involved:

"This is a veteran guy that's played a lot of snaps, but he still has to learn it. You can't just throw him out there and expect him to know it right away. We're bringing him along. We're getting him back in playing shape. He's passionate, he loves the game."

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin

On adjusting game plan after an injury to a skill-position player:

It does evolve. As you guys probably imagine, sometimes on Monday and Tuesday you have great ideas, and then you get out on the practice field or you see some potential flaw you're not aware of on Tuesday. It definitely evolves. That's part of the process week-to-week. I think it's human nature to like the things that look good. Things can change. No question.

On game-planning with questions at receiver:

We're teaching a system of offense and an approach to the game, what kind of releases, techniques and routes to certain coverages. At the heart and soul of what we are, we're a fundamental-based offense. You hope all this training has dividends. There's no substitute for live reps against quality NFL players. They've had a lot of reps in practice. They've all got talent. They've all come a long way. At some point, you have to find out what you have. Quez (Marquez Valdes-Scantling) has done some good things. J'Mon (Moore) is continuing to get better and better. E.Q. (St. Brown) was up for the game.

On Rodgers throwing to three rookies in practice:

There's always subtle stuff. We watch together as a whole offense together and then coaches break off. We've had a good learning atmosphere in the meeting room. Guys aren't afraid to speak up. There were a lot of good things in practice. We have to tie it down from our end and these young guys making sure they know the game plan.

On J'Mon Moore:

He's gotten better. We have a nice one-on-one period on Thursdays and he's really come along with that from a competitive standpoint and play speed standpoint. Finishing with the ball in his hand, he's done a lot better. He's coming along.

On Byron Bell stepping in at right guard:

He's a big man. He has good length. One area we wanted to emphasize last week – he did a great job of getting around the football and hustling down field and playing to the whistle. We want to get our play speed up. I liked the tempo he played the game with.

Run-game coordinator/offensive line coach James Campen

On Bryan Bulaga's first month of the season:

I think he's gotten better every week. He's getting his legs under him. He's done a good job and I think he's going to get to a point where he's getting comfortable in his sets. He's also had to adjust to working with Justin (McCray) and Byron dating back to Kansas City, the preseason game. I think he's on track.

On Corey Linsley:

Corey has done well. I think he had some targets to things he needed to correct in the offseason and I think he's getting close to hitting those targets. There's a couple blocks, specifically, I thought he needed to improve and he's worked hard to improve them. He's doing a good job. He's been solid. I'm very pleased with Corey Linsley. He's a dang good football player.

On the rushing offense:

Things aren't always generated as a stat or yardage from a coach's lens. It's the little things that will create big things moving forward like pad level. I think we're making progress in that direction. In the first part of the season in pads, it takes a little bit longer at times.

Offensive pass-game coordinator Jim Hostler

On the three rookie receivers:

It's been going on since they got here. It's not going to happen in one week. They've all been progressing as they've been going through the process. Quez is the furthest long, but the other guys have been doing a good job. It's easier for Quez to gain a little more momentum because he's been in there with the first group. It's just a slower process when they're not in there with the first unit. They've been doing a good job. … They've got what you want in the position. Now, it's just experience.

On where they're trained to play:

They're all three trained like that – him more than the other guys. When you're the fourth guy, that's what your role is. They are extremely intelligent guys. All three can do all three spots. That's part of the process of how you train them. The last thing you want to do is train them in one spot.

On getting Jimmy Graham opportunities:

That's the good part of a good player – they have to pay attention to him. That helps other players. He has helped us in other realms with his ability to take pressure off other guys. Randall (Cobb) has been inside and doubled a lot. Now, Randall has a lot more freedom.

Quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti Jr.

On value of Aaron Rodgers practicing this week:

I think it's great. Anytime you practice, you have more preparation for a game. … I thought he looked great. You could see he's moving around better. It was great seeing him out there leading the offense.

Tight ends coach Brian Angelichio

On Lance Kendricks as an H-back:

Depending on the game and how we're going to play it, he's asked to be in the backfield and do the fullback position. He's the guy who has settled into that role.

On flexibility of tight ends as receivers:

Sure, I think they all do depending on the matchup and what we're trying to do and take advantage of. That's the diversity you get from the position. If the game plan calls for that, that's the direction we'll go.

On Jimmy Graham:

I certainly think his presence is felt. Teams have to have a plan for him. If that's to take Jimmy away in certain situations, then it opens other things up. If the read goes his way, he's going to be there. He's definitely added a dimension where teams are aware of where he's lined up and what we're trying to do.

Receivers coach David Raih

On injuries at receiver and working with the three rookies:

Whoever is standing in that room, my job is to coach them. If one player is practicing and another isn't, the mental preparation is so critical. Visualizing yourself going through the mechanics and the details of the game plan. The guys have had a pretty good week from that standpoint. … Honestly, a player in his development is different, but we're all still there in the room together. The structure of the room isn't any different. I'm coaching everyone like they're going to be ready to play.

On J'Mon Moore and Equanimeous St. Brown:

It's an exciting week for those guys. The process is in flow and has been since they got here. The game, as you all know, as soon as you get in there and get hit, you wake up and now it's a matter of just playing ball. For those two, it's just the mental jump of getting there and get going. I think the preseason was very good for them.

On the receivers' yards after catch:

Looking at Davante, when we get the ball in his hands quickly, things happen. Randall is the same. The thing that plays into that is the pattern of the play and the defense is set up. I love getting the ball in their hands as quickly as possible.

Running backs coach Ben Sirmans

On Ty Montgomery and importance of pass-catching RBs:

He's been doing stuff like that since we started the season, just giving him more of those responsibilities. … Matchups. If you have a guy who can run precise routes out of the backfield and has the same skill sets as a receiver versus different type of linebackers that can play to your advantage. For the most part, it's about trying to find matchups.

On the dimension Aaron Jones brings to the offense:

He's got very good instincts. Each one of them has strong traits that help them. He's probably the best instinctive runner we have in terms of being able to make good decisions. He'll make more big plays because of those things. That leads to more big plays.

On balancing workload of three veteran running backs:

Sometimes it goes by the flow of the game. The first two games we've played a lot of stuff was done by series and trying to keep them all fresh. It's a long season. When all those guys have the ball, the more touches they get, the stronger they get from an individual standpoint. It's a very unique situation where we can play all three of these guys. There might be a game where one guy plays 30 reps and one guy might play 10.