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Mike Pettine thankful for return to coaching

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GREEN BAY – Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and special teams coordinator Ron Zook spoke to the media on Thursday evening. Here are highlights from their news conferences:

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine

On the coaching changes:

Sunday went from bad to worse. It was very disappointing. I can’t put into words how much respect and gratitude I have for Mike. He hired me. I’d been out of the league and he took a leap of faith on someone who he hadn’t worked with before. … And just how much I learned from him. The measure of Mike McCarthy, it doesn’t just end with football. He’s as fine a man as (there is). He was a great role model for our players and coaches. When you look back, the fact it occurred when it occurred, is probably the right thing to do. Just at that time it’s hard to deal with.

On whether he’d like to pursue another head-coaching position someday:

Despite the struggles we’ve had this year, this is probably the most fun I’ve had coaching in a long time. It validated for me the interaction I missed in the staff room and building a plan, and the day-to-day with the players. Again, I haven’t given that a ton of thought. I don’t think my feelings likely have changed much, but I’ll think about it at that appropriate time.

On why it’s been fun:

This is an outstanding defensive staff. It’s a good group of personalities. We coach hard and get on each other, and the same thing with the players. That daily interaction, you have to know when to work and know when to play. I don’t think you can be serious all the time. I think the thing players and coaches miss the most is the comradery.

On what he expects from the player against Atlanta:

I’d be surprised if they didn’t come out and play hard. They understand it’s part of the business. I know a lot of them were shocked and surprised by it. In the end … you’re in charge of everything you have full control over. That hasn’t changed. That’s the physical, mental and how they take the game plan and apply it to the field. Part of what we do is dealing with adversity. If you want to win, you have to be mentality tough. I don’t know if there’s any bigger testament than that than this week.

Special-teams coordinator Ron Zook

On how he expects players to react to coaching changes:

If yesterday’s practice and today’s practice is any indication, I’m excited. I look forward to it. They’re fond of Coach McCarthy. I think the world of him. They understand this business, you’re not promised tomorrow. I think everybody wants to go out there and do the best they can.

On Jaire Alexander and Jamaal Williams on returns:

They’re both up. It’ll be the direction Joe feels like he wants to go. I’m excited about both of them. Just because of injuries, that’s where we are. We have them both ready to go. Josh Jackson is ready to go.

On Mason Crosby’s missed 49-yard field goal:

The wind was changing. We were talking continuously through every quarter, where’s the mark at? Where are you good at? Mason and I talked before the game, if it’s not too long of a field goal, I may just hold (the line). The advantage Mason has is being in there. We go kick in there on Saturday.

On competition committee saying there are too many penalties on punts:

The hardest thing for the officials is being consistent. Your special team guys might be on the punt team and punt return team. You try to coach it the way they say they’re going to call it. Sometimes they call it and sometimes they don’t. They have a hard job. If a guy goes down, they’re going to call a penalty. I think the one thing officials are doing is they’re studying more, they’re watching tape more.

On Hunter Bradley’s ankle injury:

I don’t know where we’re at with that. If we go into a game and something happens, we have a plan for long snaps or short snaps.

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