Packers looking for 'drastic step' from Kingsley Keke in third season

Key comments from Green Bay’s defensive and special teams coaches


GREEN BAY – The Packers' defensive and special teams coaches met with the media on Wednesday. Here's a summary of their key comments.

Special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton

On the new draft picks who could help on special teams:

I tell you, this draft class, I'm really excited about it. In no particular order, I really love Shemar Jean-Charles out of Appalachian State. He has an attitude about teams that I really like. Excuse my phrase, but he has this dog mentality that's kind of infectious, so we like him a lot. Of course, Amari, looking forward to big things out of him, very smooth athlete, very smart, heady. Eric Stokes, if called upon, he will be ready to play, as well as Kylin Hill. Just pleased with that group.

On Amari Rodgers as a punt returner:

He catches the ball, one. Our No. 1 job as a punt returner is to give the ball back to the offense. He has a great idea on how to track a ball. His catch point is the same on every catch. His approach to it, he understands the importance of it, and that's what makes him very valuable to us right now.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry

On the "star" position:

We're going to rep a lot of guys and a lot of guys may get opportunities. It's a unique position because you've got to be able to play man, you've got to be able to play zone. And when I say zone you've got to be able to play like a linebacker almost. You've got to be involved in the run game and the run fits. We'll ask our nickel to be involved in the pressure package, so it's a unique position, but we've got a bunch of guys that are learning it just like they're learning every aspect of the back end.

On having three starting-caliber edge rushers:

In today's NFL, you can't have enough guys that can rush the passer. And to have Za'Darius Smith, to have Rashan Gary, to have Preston Smith and then we'll wait and see who that fourth and fifth guy is, that will be coming up out of the ranks. But all three of those guys I'm excited. It's great whether we have two of them on the field, all three of them on the field. We'll get creative and have some fun with it.

Defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Jerry Gray

On Shemar Jean-Charles:

No. 1 I really like his smarts. He's a smart football player, very crafty. He understands what we're trying to get him to do. We've put him out at corner, we put him also at the star. That's going to give us a lot more chances to put guys in different positions. You could be from a small school but I really love the way he competed. When you watched the film, he's always somewhere around the ball. He was getting after it. He's only a small-school (guy) until he got to Green Bay. Now he's just like everybody like else.

On Jaire Alexander:

I thought he had a great last game. We've communicated a couple of times about his goals also, and the thing I've told him is his biggest problem is going to be him. Right now, you're sitting on the top of the mountain, you're one of the top corners in this league, how do you get back there? There's going to be steps that you have to take to get back there. It's not easy because everybody is going to go at you now. If they see any kink in your game, then they will start throwing back you. He has to be ready. He has to fight being an All-Pro right now. And that means can I go out there and do it again? Then people will say it's not luck; he actually knows how to become an All-Pro football player and do it more than one time.

Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery

On Kingsley Keke:

Year 1 to Year 2 was a huge step. Year 3 should be another drastic step for him. Obviously affecting the quarterback, being more consistent in the run game and just building his brand. That comes with all the hard work that he's put in during the offseason and that we're doing right now, and once fall camp comes. He's working and trending in the right direction. But definitely, I expect him to take a drastic step again this year.

On Dean Lowry:

Dean comes to work every day. He does everything you ask him to do. I would say we didn't have the greatest start last year. Dean made great progress. That Tampa game at the end of the year, he and Kenny inside dominated that line of scrimmage. I know the outcome wasn't what we wanted but he was trending in the right direction there at the end of the year, exactly where we want him to be. Love his effort. He's a great teammate and the guy just comes to work every single day like you're supposed to.

Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti

On Oren Burks moving from outside back to inside LB:

I'm happy that OB is back in there. It's something we just decided that would be the best spot for him to learn the defense through and OB is just outstanding as far as learning the defense. He's great on the practice field, he's always going to be the guy that's running around and is really good for the group to have in there.

On Isaiah McDuffie:

From first impressions, he's a very serious guy that he's not afraid of a hard day's work and he's not afraid to ask a question if he doesn't understand something. Which, that's big, you know? Some guys don't want to ask the question because they don't want to pretend like they don't know something. I've been impressed with the way that he works. All you have to do is click on the film and you see there's a guy that's going to play extremely hard all the time.

Outside linebackers coach Mike Smith

On Preston Smith looking leaner:

I think he does look a lot leaner than he did coming in last training camp. Those guys know how I feel about training. To me, that's the edge and that's the secret. I was fortunate enough to play with Ray Lewis for a while and if you'd ask him, he'd tell you that's his No. 1 thing.

On Za'Darius Smith getting left off a top 10 list:

You've just got to find a why. Maybe that's what ticks Z. He sees something like that, it keeps him hungry. Some guys, it's Super Bowls; some guys, it's money. Whatever it may be, you've got to find that whatever makes you (ticked) off. My dad used to say, 'You've got to find a reason to hate your opponent.' Sometimes you look for a reason. Yeah, if I was Z I'd be (ticked). I'm probably playing favorites but I do think he's one of the best in the league and I think he's proven that the last couple years.


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