'Level of consistency' from defensive newcomers was 'impressive' to Pettine

LBs Preston Smith & Za'Darius Smith
LBs Preston Smith & Za'Darius Smith

GREEN BAY -- The Packers' three coordinators met with the media prior to Thursday's practice. Here's a summary of their key comments.

Special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga

On what he told JK Scott before his last punt in Chicago:

We just talked through the scenario and what would happen if they left our gunners uncovered. We always talk leading into the punt. I let him do his thing after that. … We talked about the scenario where we’re going to bring our guys in to max-protect. He felt like he was protected, so he didn’t feel like he had to rush anything. He wasn’t really worried about that.

On Aaron Rodgers saying JK Scott is one of the most interesting guys in the locker room:

He really cares about everything. He’s as genuine of a guy as you’re going to find. I think he has a really good heart and tries to help others. He takes an interest in other people around him. He’ll talk to everybody he meets in the hotel. He’s a great person.

On how special teams performed in Chicago:

I thought we went out and played hard, played fast. We utilized our speed, stepped up and made plays. We covered well. They have two of the best, most dynamic returners in the league. Mason hitting all the touchbacks helped eliminate (Cordarrelle) Patterson. JK obviously punted well.

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine

On Minnesota:

I think it starts with Cook. We have to do a good job not letting him get to the perimeter. You saw what happened against Atlanta when he circled the defense. We’ve talked all week, we have to play with great run fundamentals up front to start. It’s stuff we preach from Day 1, getting knock-back, locating the ball, separating, getting off the blocks. We’re all going to get blocked. We have to have that sense, that feeling I’m not going to stay blocked. I think it’s important for our guys to go into the game with that mentality.

On stopping the run at Chicago with only one true inside LB:

Our guys thought really bought into how we’re teaching it. Schematically, I don’t think it was that unorthodox. It was five guys up front and playing a safety at essentially a linebacker position for some of the game. I just thought our guys did a good job of reading keys, separating and tackling. We had some issues on the edges last year and one of the reasons we made the moves we made in the offseason was to have that bookend look, to make it difficult to turn the corner, and now we feel we have the guys to turn the ball inside.

On being stout up front:

The league has trended so much to spreading the field and getting three wide receivers. Most of the time in the past the response has been to go with a four-man front, two linebackers, and the secondary out there. But I know it can cause problems when they’re so used to going against a four-man front and now we’re giving them five-man looks. It causes some issues, if you’re playing a team with some speed that wants to get to the edge, when we have two big edges in a five-man front.

On the overall performance in Chicago and the celebration afterward:

I just think for the whole unit it was one of those nights everything fell into place. We were prepared. I thought we had a really good training camp, as far as building a foundation of this is what we’re doing fundamentally and this is what we’re doing schematically. As training camp wound down, we were gearing our preparation toward Chicago. They didn’t always know we were working on it but we were, and then when we got to the game week, this is a group that was confident. They were prepared. We talk about the best way to be confident and have that swagger to you is to be prepared. Obviously I enjoyed it to the end. I almost got knocked to the ground, too, and that would have been looped over and over on the internet. We asked them to cement the buy-in, and we knew they were all-in.

On the three free-agent additions:

You look at all three of them, they all made big plays, but their level of consistency throughout the game was more impressive to me.

On what he saw in Za'Darius Smith:

He didn’t have the volume of reps at Baltimore, but when you looked at the plays focused on him, it didn’t take much to figure out he’s a special pass rusher. Not just his size but his strength. It’s rare you have a guy that big with that get-off. That was an easy evaluation watching the film, because we also knew about the guy as well. It was good news when we knew he was coming.

Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett

On installing an offense:

Anytime you ask a player to go out in a high-pressure situation and execute, you always have to keep in mind you’re giving them a brand-new language. That process, as simple as it might sound, it takes time. That’s the biggest challenge because that’s when they’re able to play fast.

On the Vikings defense:

I think the biggest thing about Minnesota is they’re a veteran group who has been together for a long time in the same system. It’s about us being able to execute things we’re comfortable. They’ve seen everything so you try your hardest to throw a couple wrinkles at them.

On taking advantage of matchups if the Vikings double Davante Adams:

I wouldn’t say it’s one guy. Just as a unit, we have to be more efficient. First and second down is the big focal point this week. It’s about getting positive yards. It’s everybody just trying to continually getting comfortable.

On Marcedes Lewis:

How about the old guy? Good stuff. I have a long history with Marcedes. Obviously he’s done a lot of good things in the past. He had some opportunities and he took advantage of them. … Knowing who he was, we all knew what he was capable of.

On responsibilities from the coaches box:

We’re kind of the eyes. We want to be sure in what he’s calling, what happening and where we can take advantage. I think we have a great routine right now. I thought it was really efficient with Coach (Adam) Stenavich talking and everybody chiming in. As we continue to grow as a staff, it’ll hopefully be even more efficient.

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