GREEN BAY -- The Packers' three coordinators met with the media on Monday prior to practice. Here's a summary of their key comments.
Special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga
On Shepherd as a returner after his fumble Thursday:
Unfortunately he doesn’t want to turn the ball over, but I’m still confident in him. He’s proven himself in practice and in the games. We’ll work on ball security.
On going with Crosby over Ficken:
It was a good battle, but again, Mason’s our guy and I’m excited about him and the level of experience he brings, the veteran leadership and kicking in Green Bay and Chicago and the weather conditions. He’s one of the leaders on the team.
You’ve seen in preseason he’s kicked really, really well. From practice to the preseason games it has carried over. His hang time, distance, where he’s putting the ball at has improved. I’m hoping that carries over to the regular season. That’s the plan. I’m excited about where he’s going. He continues to trend up.
I’m excited that he’s here. He’s a legitimate NFL returner who can score from anywhere on the field with his speed and vision. My feelings haven’t changed. They’ve only continued to grow stronger for him. If we can block for him, he’s definitely a weapon that can help our return game immensely.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
On how quickly a new player can get up to speed:
That’s always dependent on the player, their experience, what they’ve played in. If the player has played in your system before, it’s much quicker to get them up to speed. It’s rare you would put a lot on a player’s plate. It would be more a package or situational thing.
On playing safeties at inside LB:
We did it a lot last year against nickel personnel groupings. Our safeties are no strangers to playing down there. All those guys have a pretty good sense.
On King possibly returning:
We’re still evaluating that. He’s got to work back. He’s in shape but there’s still no substitute for getting those playing reps. We’re optimistic that he’ll be able to handle some of the workload, but for any player that’s had that period of inactivity, I doubt it will be a full game.
First of all, he’s an exceptional athlete. They do a lot of creative things with him to get him out in space. He has a really good knack. He changed a lot of games for them last year to get out of the pocket and be productive scrambling. He’s still a threat when he starts to go to get it down the field. That’s one of the first things you ask, is how good a scrambler is this guy, and I think he’s one of the better ones in the league.
On being ready with few preseason snaps from starters:
I feel good about where we are because we did so much competitive this year against our offense. We did very little opponent prep in the preseason. We went good against good for the bulk of the days in practice, and we’re still doing that. We went against an offense we feel is going to be pretty good, and I’m sure they feel the same on the other side of the ball.
On whether getting more turnovers can continue:
I think so, because I think it’s a result of our practice habits. It’s across the board. You get what you emphasize. We realized coming out of last year we didn’t emphasize it enough. When you break down the statistics and all the stats that are available and out there, outside of the final score, it’s takeaways that are the biggest determining factor. That’s something we made a big investment in, in a lot of different ways. We stress it every day. We have gotten the results in practice and the preseason games, and we hope it’s going to carry over. We believe we’ve created good habits, and we hope it’s ingrained.
On coaching from the sidelines:
I’m glad I did it and not looking back. There’s been no thought, not even for a second, about going back up. I think the sideline process we worked out in the four preseason games, we feel really good about. How we handle the players coming off the field, the substitutions were cleaner, the communication … and they know not to take anything personal if I say something not so nice.
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
He’s come along really well. He’s been consistent and done a lot of good things. He practices like a professional, works like a professional. Those are all great attributes.
Don’t look back, don’t blink. You want to have a short-term memory but you always want to learn from something that’s happened. He’s got a pretty strong arm, when he’s able to set his feet, it’s pretty good.
On preparing for Week 1:
You like to act like you know what they’re going to do, but in the end you have to be ready for anything and everything. They could do the same stuff they’ve done, or they might have thought of something completely different. I think that goes anytime you’re playing a first game or a coordinator who’s been out for a while.
It feels like we’ve been watching everything, trying to find anything that might happen, and it can actually mess with your mind a little bit. It’s about us. It’s about us, understanding our rules and what we’re asking our guys to do, and understanding our rules are what’s going to save them. You go as far back as you have to and get the guys feeling as comfortable as we do.
On continuing to tweak the game plan:
Every day is a different situation, always working on that with your mind and the base game plan, touching on it every day. You never want to say the game plan is set in stone ever, because when we get to the game we have to be ready to change certain things. You never know what they’re going to do. It’s fluid every week.
On the makeup of the WR room:
You can look at it as a positive or a negative. A negative is the lack of experience and not a lot of veteran guys. But Davante has accomplished a lot. He’s a veteran and has set the standard. You want a guy to want to do it the right way, and I think we’ve got a lot of good character guys in there that look at it like that.