Packers rookie D-lineman T.J. Slaton has 'a lot of tools'

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

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DL T.J. Slaton

GREEN BAY – The Packers defensive and special teams coaches met with the media on Sunday. Here are some of their key comments:

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry

(on Eric Stokes' work with the starters in Kevin King's absence)

With the practice time that Kevin had missed, especially the first couple weeks, what an unbelievable opportunity it's been for Eric. For him to go against No. 17 (Davante Adams), not every rep but a high percentage of reps, you can't create that anywhere else. I think it's been great for Eric to get that work, but absolutely in this league you can't have enough corners. I love where '21' is at. I love where Ja' (Jaire Alexander) is at. It will be great to get Kev back into a full-time role hopefully this week. But shoot, I've always said you can't have enough pass rushers and you can't have enough cover guys in this league.

(on playing Krys Barnes, sitting De'Vondre Campbell)

Krys Barnes is a young guy. He was an undrafted rookie last year that never went through a real training camp and a real preseason. That's the main reason. With Dre, Dre's started 80-some-odd games in this league, so that's why we've chosen not to play DC and to play Krys just because of the fact that he's a young guy and I think he's played somewhere between 10 and 12 plays the last two weeks.

Defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Jerry Gray

(on new acquisition Isaac Yiadom)

I got a chance to see him play left corner last week. He did some good stuff, but it's learning techniques that's really different. The defenses were similar, it's the techniques that he's really going to have to get up to speed on and that's where he's really behind. But other than that, he understands what I'm trying to get done.

He can press real well. He's got great ball skills, I don't have to teach him that. The next one is he's not afraid, so when he has to go compete against big top guys, that's going to be a big deal. And then my job is to teach him tackling. There are some guys who aren't used to making tackles. They tend to shy away. What I found out is the more you shy away, the more the injuries come and the more pressure you're going to get hit with. If you initiate the tackle, it's a lot less. So I've got to teach him that and it's more of a mindset.

Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery

(on what he sees in rookie DL T.J. Slaton)

Yeah … 6-4, 330, 18% body fat. He's a man and he's got a lot of tools. If we get that going in the right direction and using his hands, that's going to be a pretty big force in the middle, especially in the run game. We've just got to get him where we need him and I think he's doing the right things, but we've got to continue to do that every day.

(on how Kingsley Keke has looked after returning from injury)

He's rusty right now. We've got to get him back in football shape with the practices that he missed early on. He's going to be just fine. He still has all the twitch and wiggle that he had before 10 pounds lighter, but the more you practice, the more you play, some of that weight comes off naturally. I've been pleased with some of the things that he's done but he's got to get into football shape. It was good for him to get those 12 snaps in the game and then some of those snaps in practice against the Jets. Really good work.

Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti

(on De'Vondre Campbell picking up the defense, not playing in the preseason)

He's a real pro. He has his system of learning. As a coach, you try to figure out what that is so that you can help him do it, obviously. The guys that have the system in place already are pretty easy to feed them information. He is a real pro. He studies it. He's not afraid to make a mistake. He's also not afraid to ask a question.

(on Oren Burks' start to training camp and preseason)

He's put together a good couple weeks. The biggest thing is trusting his technique. When he does the techniques right, you see that he's being really productive. When he trusts his eyes and goes, it's the player that you guys have been looking at the last two games, or if you're at practice you see him flying around. Effort and those kinds of things, they're always there with OB. You've just got to love the way that he runs nonstop.

Outside linebackers coach Mike Smith

(on Jonathan Garvin's next steps)

Continue learning offenses and learning football. The one thing I love about him is he knows who he is. He's not going to go out there and try to be flashy and do all this finesse stuff. It's his strength. You can ask any of those offensive linemen; they struggle with him. Again, there's a lot of things that we've got to clean up with him, and he's still learning – a lot like Rashan Gary was his first year – but he's going to be a damn good football player. One of the smartest, if not the smartest, in the room. Picks up things very, very fast. Just love his demeanor.

(on Preston Smith practicing well vs. the Jets)

Here's a guy who's big, strong and can really do it all and at his size, it's hard to find those type of guys. When he plays like that, that's contagious. That's what missing when you don't have Za'Darius Smith and Rashan out there. When you have multiple guys doing that, it's contagious. That was a good week for him. I expect to see that every week from him.

Special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton

(on Reggie Begelton's nice punt return vs. Jets)

The hangtime was pretty low on that punt so Reggie was able to get the ball in his hands much faster. Now, what I'm very excited about and he was committed to the return. He got downhill right now once the ball was in his hands and he was able to make a few people miss and carried a few people with him. If you go look at the shot of the sideline to watch his teammates be happy for him, that was really fun to watch.

(on Kylin Hill on kickoff return)

He is what we call a jump cutter, and sometimes with guys who are jump cutters, the kickoff return aspect doesn't come as natural to them. But he has shown in practice that he'll be able to bend out of that jump-cut ability and get more into where he can stick his foot in the ground and get vertical in the kickoff realm. So we're encouraged by it.

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