(How is Brandon Chillar fitting in on and off of the field?)
Brandon is someone that we targeted in free agency and we were very fortunate to be able to sign him. I think he really fits into the way we like to play defense. He is a tremendous athlete. He has also shown the ability to potentially play all three positions in our scheme, so I really like the way he has stepped into our program. His work ethic is very high, and he's just a very good fit for our scheme. Athletic, can run, smart, tough, I think he is a very good blitzer. You don't really get to see it in the spring workouts, but having the ability to compete against him the last two years in St. Louis, where he played primarily in the blitz scheme in both the base and sub packages, so we're very pleased that he's a part of our football team.
(What do you like so far about Jordy Nelson?)
What I like about Jordy is he is a young player that continues to improve. You go to the first week and he is in a bump-and-run situation against Tramon Williams and Tramon gets an excellent jam on him, and like a lot of players, they are taken back by it. Now you see Jordy is advancing and getting off releases. He sees the bump-and-run every day. He seems to be very bright and he seems to be picking things up at a fast pace, and that's important in our scheme because our receivers play all three positions, four positions in some cases. So I am very, very pleased with that. He has the size and speed and looks like a natural route runner. We're excited about all of our players, but I'm glad he is here.
(From your side of things, what went into getting Al Harris here?)
Once again, the offseason is very important. We've talked about it a little bit in here already. I've addressed it with the football team. We have a very distorted training camp schedule, compared to the ones we have had in the past. I think it will play parallel to our in-season schedule, so there is an amount of work that needs to get done in the offseason. These OTAs are important. Our mini-camp in a couple of weeks is important. It's important or Al to be here, just like everybody else, to make sure he is getting ready to go because the practices are less than what we have done the last two years in training camp. So you only have a certain window to get ready, and it's important for our players to be here. We're smart with our veteran players; we always have been since my time as the head coach and we'll continue to do so. You've just got to kind of find that happy medium.
(How does he look physically?)
I didn't study him today, but Al keeps himself in great shape. He's a player that we don't concern ourselves with as far as getting out of shape. He has an offseason program that he has stuck to and it definitely works for him. He is so powerful on the point. His jam technique is as good as I have been around. So he looks to be in good shape. Just watching him work post-practice with Lionel Washington, I don't have any concerns.
(Was today his first day?)
(How is Jermichael Finley doing after going down in practice?)
We talked about him on the way up. He is being observed. They are looking at both his shin and his ankle, so that's all of the information I have for you.
(How are Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn doing to this point?)
Progressing. I'll tell you, Brian Brohm is as sharp a young quarterback that I have been around, and that's a big statement because I have been fortunate enough to coach some very bright quarterbacks in their first and second year in the league. I have been very impressed with the way he picks up the scheme and the way he is able to communicate it. Matt is getting much better. They are starting to get a little more comfortable. The last two days were great tests for the quarterback and really for the offense. Yesterday's practice was not particularly good at all for the offense. It was probably as poor of a practice as we've had here in a while, just with a bunch of turnovers. On the other side it was a great day for the defense. But I thought today's practice was another practice where you saw progress in tough situations. We worked a lot of, we refer to it as 'jam', and a heavy blitz period and a lot of third downs. It really challenged the offense from a protection standpoint. I thought our defense had two outstanding days in a row. The young quarterbacks have to really step up and fight through that because they are going to get some tough looks in these types of practices.
(What kind of strides have you seen from Aaron Rouse?)
Aaron Rouse is having an excellent offseason. I'll tell you, he is very instinctive. He is getting his hands on the ball. You can see the comfort level of Aaron as a second-year player. It's kind of been the pattern around here for our young players, and I like that. It tells that the players are taking advantage of the program and the teaching. He is coming on. He is going to be someone that has a chance to maybe have an impact this year. I'm really pleased with him. I can't say enough about the way he has picked it up and his production is something that stood out in his limited opportunities last year as a rookie, and he really has picked up on that.
(How much of an opportunity will he get to work with the first unit?)
There is competition throughout and that's another position. I think Atari Bigby is really coming on strong. Nick Collins is as talented of a player that we have in our back end of the defensive perimeter. Charlie Peprah is another young man that just continues to improve, so that's an excellent group. You'll see Jarrett Bush at some point start working back there too. There is a lot of talent back there. The competition has definitely picked up, so time will answer that question.
(Was this the first day that Tory Humphrey was able to participate fully in practice?)
It was actually Tory's second day, and it was great to see him back going through everything. It has been a long road back for him and he has done a great job from the standpoint of being here all of the time, throughout the season, throughout his rehab, and he looks good. He is a unique player that I was very high on last year, and not just for tight end, because he can handle all three positions at the tight end slot. He can also be a factor on special teams, so it was great to see Tory back out there.
(Can you talk about Noah Herron's state of mind right now?)
The Noah Herron situation is obviously very tough, and frankly it's something that I hope that everyone here can respect, not only for Noah but for everybody. It's an ongoing investigation as we know. We're going to stand behind Ted Thompson's statement. I understand that there may be a need to come at our players when you do open up the locker room with your questioning; I hope that you can respect that it is a very tough situation. We've talked about it a lot as a football team. Noah is going through a tough time, and we're supporting him and I'd like to leave it at that, and I hope you guys can respect that.
(You talk all of the time about avoiding bad situations off of the field, but this is obviously different?)
That's a tough situation and he handled it probably the best he could. It's a tough time.
(How lightly will you go on Chad Clifton the next few weeks?)
We're just being smart with Chad. He's got some nicks and things, so it really gives other guys an opportunity as you all know with how young we are in the offensive line. I think there is going to be some big-time competition come training camp in that group. Chad has been very steady for us, so we're just being smart with him.
(How has Brandon Jackson looked?)
Brandon has really benefited, going all the way back to training camp, from all of the reps he was able to get at a young age. I think now he probably chuckles at that experience because everything came so fast for him and he was thrown into a situation where he was not able to probably learn our offense in a progression like most young guys. I think we are now seeing the benefits of it. He is one of those rare players that has so much natural ability, both in the weight room and on the playing field and he is taking full advantage of it. I think he'll be an impact player for us on special teams, and he looks very comfortable in all aspects of our offense. Very pleased with the progress that Brandon has made, and he really looks comfortable out there. The game has slowed down for him. Today was an excellent illustration of that with all of the different types of blitzes we saw from our defense and some really tough looks, particularly on the backs. He doesn't miss a trick.
(Did Aaron Rodgers get knocked to the ground or did he slip on that play where he threw an interception?)
Yeah, he was knocked to the ground.
(Was that something that gave you pause?)
You never want to see any of your quarterbacks on the ground, but based on what happened up front, there is a reason why he was. It was something that I didn't think was out of the realm of a practice environment. You still don't need to throw the ball late over the middle like that.
(Where is Herron at from a football standpoint?)
Excellent. He has had an excellent spring.