GREEN BAY – The Packers' coordinators and defensive assistant coaches met with the media over the past few days. Here's a summary of their key comments:
Special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga
On what makes Cordarrelle Patterson so good:
His vision. He's got a rare combination of his size and how big he is and how well he runs. He's got great balance. He sees the whole field and he's a threat. He can hit it downhill, he can cut it back, he can run a naked if you're backside players squeeze too hard, he can bend it back on his own and make people miss. He's a very big athlete that's really got the whole skillset with the speed and things. He's definitely one of the best to ever do it.
On how to counter the strategy of short kickoffs:
It's beating it. It's blocking it. When the ball hangs up we've got to shorten our drops, pick people up a little bit sooner and get on our guys a little bit sooner when they kick it higher and shorter. The higher they kick it, their coverage team is getting down and all of a sudden you're inside the 25 and you're making those blocks. You get flipped around and you've lost vision on the guy … it's one of the hardest things to do is to single block and maintain those blocks. It's still a timing play.
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
On facing the Bears' defense:
It's another great defense we're going against. You always want to try to run the ball … because that kind of opens up everything across the board. And when you're going against a great defensive front like this, two more great linebackers – I mean 52 (Mack), 96 (Hicks), they've got some guy that are just spectacular – so you have to try to do your best to figure out how you can run the ball to then open up the play passes, open up different things. You have to be creative, you have to try to see how you can not let them all play downhill and tee off on the offensive line. It's definitely a challenge. This is a really good group, a really good defense.
On Elgton Jenkins' versatility:
Yeah we're thinking about moving him to wide receiver now. We're just gonna see how many different positions we can have him line up at. It's pretty special what he does. It's unbelievable, unbelievably important for us as a team, what he's done for us as an offense and as a team. And not even blinking an eye, not even worrying about it, just going right in there and, 'OK, I'll play center.' It's pretty awesome.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
On any rust factor with Mitch Trubisky:
He's a professional, he's gotten all the practice reps. It's not like he's a rookie. You just compare the styles that it changes for us, meaning that we have to be much more conscious of the scramble. He was able to make plays with his arm, but when it wasn't there, he could take off and make people miss. That's something we have to be aware of. Fortunately we kind of had the sense early in the week that this was the way that it was going to go, so what we've done this week has been geared that way.
On Rashan Gary's progress and playing time:
We consider him a starter. In all the packages that we run, he's a starter in some of them. He's really been a bright spot for us this year. It's great when you see a guy that put the work in, in the offseason, especially in an offseason where you were essentially on your own, that he didn't have the spring structure with us and all the learning stuff was virtual. But the workout stuff, and how he just came in in such good shape, and this is a guy that can go all day … it's such a great example for the other players that the work you put in pays off, and the jump that he's taken from Year 1 to Year 2. The success that we've had this year, he's been a big part of it, and I'm sure he'll continue to be.
Defensive backs coach Jerry Gray
On Kevin King's return:
I thought he looked pretty good. No one thought he was going to play the whole game, but you know what, he said, 'Hey coach. I want to go' and it gave us a chance to win the football game.
On Ka'dar Hollman's extended playing time previously:
I was really, really proud of Ka'dar, just with what we asked him to do. I think it was 51 snaps against Jacksonville. Most of them were man-to-man, which is to his strength. He had a couple of PBUs, a couple of break-ups. He had a couple little bitty mistakes that you can correct. But I really liked the way he went out and competed against, I thought, some good, young receivers that Jacksonville had.
On the soft third-down coverages:
One thing that you have to be aware of is your surroundings and where the sticks are, and if you are put into a zone coverage … you've got to drop to the sticks. When you are dropping, when the quarterback sets his feet, you set yours, you get ready to trigger, but our guys were still floating when the ball's in the air, and that's not a good sign of a zone team. We have to be just a little bit more aware of our surroundings.
Outside linebackers coach Mike Smith
On Rashan Gary:
Since the day he walked in the building, you knew there was something special. We all know he's explosive, he's fast, loves football, is very physical. Right now, he's doing a great job with the run, he's affecting the quarterback. He's playing really good football right now. The game's slowing down for him. Couldn't be more proud of him. The more we get going, the more reps he's going to get and he deserves more reps.
On Preston Smith:
He just has to use his power more. When you're dancing in place, shaking back and forth, all that type of stuff, you're going nowhere. I think it's going to start coming around for Preston, because I know he wants to be good, and he's frustrated. It's easy for me to sit up here and say hey, don't get frustrated. He's a good pass rusher, he knows what to do. He's a smart kid. I'm hoping it'll turn around for him.
Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti
On Kamal Martin blitzing up the middle:
When you're blitzing, you have to have an arsenal, and it has to be based off of something, and obviously the one two weeks ago kind of you could see that he ran through the guy pretty well. And when you have that on film, you have to have an arsenal that comes off of that, and he does. He has a couple different things. It's things that he feels comfortable using, so we'll see if we can get those on film at some point here moving forward in the next couple weeks.
On whether the inside LBs should get more snaps:
I don't focus on those kind of things. It's coach-speak but it's true. Every game is different and every situation is different. It's fine by me. We got 11 dudes out there and everybody has a responsibility. If everybody does it right, then we should be able to stop whatever play they put in front of us. No, I don't lobby to try to get certain guys out on the field or anything like that. Obviously, I lobby to get the best players out on the field because that doesn't really take lobbying. It's usually something that jumps off the film at you in practice.
The Green Bay Packers practiced on Clarke Hinkle Field on Friday, Nov. 27, 2020.
Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery
On Kenny Clark's play vs. the Colts:
Very good O-line, but I want to say the first series of the second half was probably his worst series of the game, not the whole series, but about two or three snaps. To that point, he was dominating the line of scrimmage and he did most of the night. Like I said, there was about two to three snaps in that series where he wishes he could have those back.
On Billy Winn's pass deflection:
Our guys are taught when we're rushing the quarterback, if we can't get there we should match the path of the arm of the quarterback. He did a great job because we talk about tips and deflections going to the defense, and he came up with the big play there that turned into a turnover. So that was huge.