GREEN BAY – The Packers' coordinators and offensive assistant coaches met with the media over the past couple of days leading up to the matchup with the Rams. Here's a sampling of their key comments.
Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia
On getting another blocked field goal:
Our guys are doing a good job, really, of studying our opponent and putting themselves in good position depending on the call. As the game's going on, they have a feel for how they're protecting it and how they're playing against us, especially T.J. (T.J. Slaton). He's been around a while and he'll come off and tell me how he thinks he can do something, or how he thinks we can make it a little bit better, and we've rolled with it. Our effort's been outstanding all year. Putting Yosh (Yosh Nijman) in there, certainly with his height, his ability to reach, has been good for us, and then obviously (Karl Brooks) Brooks came up with a big one. He and T.J. were in a good position and gave us a chance to make a play there. I really think it goes to the preparation they're doing, in film work, certainly on their own and getting the alignments during the week. The credit really goes to them.
On whether the kickoff return is close:
I just think we've had too many penalties throughout the year, and then we're just being a little bit more sensible as to when we take it out and when we don't. Teams are starting to do different things against us. We got the ball in the corner a few times last week when he didn't think he could put the ball in the back of the end zone. Every time we go out there, we like to think if we get our block, we believe we have a chance to score. That's the attitude and the mentality we like those guys to have. It's a one-play deal. Get your body and your eyes and your hands all in the right position and give Keisean (Keisean Nixon) a chance to score with it. As the weather changes, we'll continue to get funky kicks across the field, and sky kicks and some of those things.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry
On CB Carrington Valentine:
With young players, especially when they do give up a play, no matter what the circumstance is, I always look at those guys, especially early on when they're young and green and see how they'll respond, see how they'll react, and he's come back and worked and showed up and I expect him to just go out and compete his butt off.
On the Rams QB situation, whether Matthew Stafford or Brett Rypien plays:
Thankfully, we did get a little bit of film on (Rypien), at least current film, when he had to go in and play – I think he played the last quarter-and-a-half of the Dallas game. But he's a four-year guy, he's been in the league, he's been around. I think in situations like this, we're taking the approach that No. 9's going to play. If he doesn't and we get No. 11, I don't think they're going to change what they do. They're not all of a sudden going to put a Rypien offense in; they're going to run their offense.
On Rams WR Puka Nacua:
When the Rams started out the year, this kid kind of comes out from nowhere, and he made plays for that offense the first three or four weeks with Cooper (Kupp) not being available. Honestly, I didn't know anything about the kid until probably three or four weeks ago when he started coming onto the scene and just watching his explosive plays, watching his targets even before this week preparing for him. He's very Cooper Kupp-ish, for a young guy, a very polished receiver, very detailed, lulls you to sleep almost. Everyone thought, this guy's just a place (holder) until Cooper comes back, and then since Cooper's come back the last couple of weeks, they've really been able to incorporate and use both of them. But he's as close to a Cooper Kupp clone as I've seen, and that's saying a lot because I think Cooper is as good as they come.
Offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich
On the issues with penalties:
There's two main things when you get penalties. With the pre-snap stuff, that's the focus, just making sure you hear the entire play call, you hear the cadence, you're communicating, and you're on point with that. And then also the focus of playing with good fundamentals. Because a lot of times penalties stem from that, whether it's your hands outside, you're taking bad footwork, whatever it is. A lot of it has to do with playing with bad fundamentals so those are the two biggest things but that revolves around focus.
About success with no-huddle:
We've kicked around basically everything. I think the hurry-up stuff, it does dumb defenses down to some degree when you're going too fast. They can't make their calls and disguise and things like that, so that's definitely some things that we've talked about. Using tempo in order to get it going and get these guys playing fast.
On making more contested catches:
You always can be better there. I think No. 1, that starts with the attitude of the guy going up for the ball. 'It's either mine or nobody's.' and then, we practice that a lot actually where we're working on fades. I think Romeo's done a really good job in those situations. But yeah, everybody, it all starts with a mindset of just going up there and attacking that ball.
Offensive line coach Luke Butkus
On fixing the struggles up front:
It's just the consistency of execution for me. Because again, we do flash. We show it. Everybody on that line has shown they can do something very well. It's just we pick and choose right now. We have to dig in the details every snap. We have to be disciplined enough to be able to reset and play that next play … to be able to lock in and have that focus, when we break that huddle every snap, that it's a new play. That we can't let the play before us, whether it's good or bad, affect that next snap.
On how the offensive line can help the offense start faster:
The physicality part. Up front, we have to be the enforcers of the group. We can always get better, if we go hard. Effort is No. 1 for us. If we can come off the ball and give great effort and play with great physicality, the technique issues, the focus things, that'll take care of itself. But everything will be easier once we keep continuing to give great effort on every single snap.
Tight ends coach John Dunn
On what he learned about Luke Musgrave coming back so quickly from injury:
Luke is really tough. But I don't think I learned that last week. You could kind of see that. You talk about an unselfish guy, worked his tail off to get back for his team, it speaks a lot to him. Going through the fire for the first time, you learn things at different points, but just his mental toughness. He's just a tough, tough kid. It meant a lot to him to get back.
On Tucker Kraft's improvement:
Technique is the biggest thing. How am I supposed to step? What does it look like when I'm blocking a guy lined up here as opposed to here in the bigger picture. Just today, he's answering questions … all these guys, they're maturing physically, maturing mentally, understanding the big picture in the game.
Passing game coordinator/receivers coach Jason Vrable
On Christian Watson not making contested catches in Vikings game:
This year we've had a couple of those moments where we wish we would've come down with it. I think last year coming back against Tennessee, he made a big one in the end zone, and it was contested. We ended up being behind the guy and pulled the ball away. When you're going up and getting it, it's not just getting your hands on it and clinging it. You've got to be able to get the ball away and hopefully get it tucked before you hit the ground. Last week, I think there were two of them. We would've loved for him to make 'em. He's going to continue to grind and work and his practice habits and just build confidence.
More on Watson:
I think the last three weeks, he's looked really good. He's hit speeds in practice that he hadn't hit when he first came back and he's playing with confidence and he's attacking it. I really believe that on offense we're taking the right (trajectory) in practice. I feel like the last two weeks were the best practices that we've had in our (receiver) room since I've ever been in this building. The speed, the confidence, and the results, I think they're going to start coming.
Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements
On Jordan Love's completion percentage and whether he's accurate:
No, I think he's an accurate passer. He makes some very good throws. Obviously like anyone he misses some throws, and sometimes it could be under pressure, sometimes it could be the receiver routes, sometimes it could be him. All those things factor in. But just as a general statement, I think he's an accurate passer.
On overcoming the struggles on offense:
When things aren't going your way, you just have to have a tough mindset to keep on practicing and have confidence that what you're doing is eventually going to lead to more success than we've experienced. I think the way they've been practicing, that's an indication that could happen.
Offensive football, you need 11 guys to do their job, and if one guy doesn't or is off a little bit it can impact the whole play. If the defense is a little different, you can compensate for it. So I just think the more that we can practice together and be together and learn each other's habits, it's going to eventually turn for us, and that's what you have to keep on working towards.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
On Aaron Jones wearing a red no-contact jersey in practice:
He probably didn't even need it on to be honest with you. But you've just got to be cautious with everything, with him moving around. Especially in pads, you just don't want anybody pulling him around, because it could take just one sudden movement that could reaggravate it. Right now he's in a good spot, so it's better not to take any chances. … This is the best that he's felt in a long time. We want to try to get him to Sundays where we can just unleash him and let him play. He's definitely in a much better position than he was in the past. We feel that way. You still have to be just a little cautious, but we're very optimistic.
On James Robinson:
I said this to some of the other coaches. I can see why this guy rushed for 1,000 yards as a rookie, because you can see he's got good vision, good instincts, he's patient, and he has the ability to find a crease, because he moves just fast enough to let things develop in front of him, then he can interpret what he's seeing and then bam, he's hitting it. I've been pretty pleased with him, and I totally feel confident that if he's a guy that had to go in a game, he would give us some production based off of what I've seen so far, without being live.
On AJ Dillon bouncing back from earlier struggles:
I think it was probably more of him overthinking too much, in terms of I've got to be exact here, I've got to do this the right way. Finally he got to the point where, I'm just going to play, and whatever happens, just happens. Once he started getting back to playing a lot freer, he's been playing much better and looking much more like himself. Even just running freer in practice. Some of the cuts he makes at times, it's like, man, that probably was a little unnecessary, but it means that he's playing free, and that's what I want, that's what he wants, and that's when he's at his best.