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Packers S Darnell Savage is 'the old man in the room now'

Key comments from Packers GM Brian Gutekunst and Green Bay’s coordinators

S Darnell Savage
S Darnell Savage

GREEN BAY – Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst and the coaching staff's coordinators spoke with the media on Friday.

Here's a sampling of their key comments.

GM Brian Gutekunst

On LB De'Vondre Campbell's ankle injury:

It's not a long-term thing. You'd like all your guys to be out there, because I think this time of the year is important, but obviously he's a seasoned pro so I don't think this will hold him back too much. I don't think (Week 1) is going to be an issue.

On the early success of the draft class:

Not only the drafted guys but some of these undrafted guys, too, I think they've done a really nice job. Again, there's been more opportunities this year than there has been maybe in some years, but when those opportunities have been presented to them, they've taken advantage of them and that's good to see. We're still pretty early. These next two games are going to be, very, very important. I'm looking forward to seeing if they can stack success and keep going. Because now we're getting into that time where the bodies aren't feeling quite as good as they were before, and two joint practices right into a game, can you repeat those kind of performances? So we'll see.

On rookie K Anders Carlson's ups and downs:

That's pretty typical. That's got to get fixed and we've got to get to a point where we can produce when it matters, but I think that's pretty typical.

We believe in him. He's got a lot of talent. He's done some really good things since he's been here. We've seen the leg strength and the power. We like the way the ball elevates off of his foot. You've got to find a way to get to a more consistent level. Throughout the league there's not a lot of patience sometimes when maybe there needs to be. Certainly, Mason (Crosby) had multiple times where he was in some really bad spots, struggles and I always thought Ted (Thompson) gave him a pretty long leash and he always came out of it. So, I think that's important especially for young players, to give them that leash to get there. But at some point, when this stuff becomes real, then it becomes different.

On QB Jordan Love playing in the preseason games:

I think it's important for our offense to play together, and you guys have heard me talking up here a million times of how he needs to play and lot of it is just to see things over and over until you just kind of develop the instincts and the callouses to know what you can and can't do and with our offense, with this particular group. So it's not just him. It's our entire offense together. We've got a lot of young guys that are seeing some things for the very first time … reacting to them, learning from them, growing from it. It's not always comfortable for us, especially me because you want to keep everybody healthy and get 'em to that first game. But I think it's necessary.

On LT David Bakhtiari:

First off all, we're not going to trade David, so let's just get that out of the way, because I know there's been a little bit of chatter about that and it's not going to happen. But, I think Dave's a pro's pro. What he went through was tough, it was tough on our football team, it was tough on him and I think he's really in a good place right now of understanding what he needs to do to get ready to play. There's a lot of trust with him of what he needs to do. A lot of the things that we're really needing our offense to see, he's seen.

On letting young players play and not bringing in extra veterans:

Obviously we want to win every game and we don't ever want to sacrifice that. But the goal here is to win a championship, right? We're not here to just win some games. We're here to win a championship and sometimes you have to create room to get better. And you can't get better without playing. So that's part of it. It's not easy. Growing pains are never easy. But if we're going to win a championship, we have to get better. We weren't good enough last year. We have to get better and sometimes you have to create opportunities for that to happen.

Offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich

On the offense's tough day vs. the Patriots in Thursday's practice:

When I went back and watched it, there was a lot of really cool teaching things from that practice situationally, just schematically from what the defense presented us. We had a lot of good looks in the red zone with some different things that they do that our defense doesn't do. So, there's a lot of good teaching things there. Obviously, all the fights, that's just something that we've got to make sure we maintain our poise. Yeah, a lot of good stuff came out of that and I think it'll help us in the long run.

On figuring out what the offense is good at:

That usually happens about halfway through the season where you have ideas, you keep working through it, but the hard thing is right now we have so much competition at a lot of different areas, we still don't even know what our roster is going to look like yet. You have an idea of where you want to go but, at the end of the day, you've still got to wait to see, 'All right, who are the guys that are on the team? Now, how can we make our offense the best it can be?'

On Zach Tom's best spot:

Zach's a pretty unique guy, just like Elgton (Jenkins). You can move him around and he'll be pretty solid in a lot of different spots. I still think that he's got the ability to play all across the board and be a pretty solid player. (At right tackle) he kind of knows his strengths and weaknesses. His size, he's not your typical right tackle where he's a big, giant dude. So, he's got to have a different kind of play style and I think he's doing a good job with that.

On QB Sean Clifford moving forward into New England game:

For him, it's getting the play, analyzing the play in his brain, spitting it out to the offense going up to the line of scrimmage and just being as smooth as possible executing. There's a few snaps last game where he kind of lost the play in his head, and that happens to every rookie quarterback and quarterbacks in general. That would be the biggest thing for me is just getting the play, knowing what to do, communicating it and then just going out and executing it.

Defensive coordinator Joe Barry

On LB Rashan Gary's recovery:

The excitement level is high. He hasn't been cleared to do any team things yet, but just to have him around and out there and involved, even if it's just going through individual every day, he's able to now be able to go through our walk-throughs at night, so that's been great. Hopefully the next step, obviously, we'll be able to get him in (11-on-11) practice and hopefully that's soon.

On CB Carrington Valentine's strong start as a seventh-round pick:

How was Tom Brady the 200-and-whatever draft pick he was? The draft is not an exact science. I tell the rookies that every year. If you're in this long enough, I've coached first-rounders that have been done and out of the league in two or three years and I've coached seventh-rounders that have gone on to have great Hall of Fame careers. It's not an exact science, but CV specifically, he's done some good things three weeks into camp. Got two more weeks. Hopefully it continues.

On the safety competition:

When you're talking about one of the starters, you're just looking for consistency every day. Those guys have all done a good job when they've been in with the first group and we will continue, like I said, we've still got two more weeks of camp. It will be interesting to see how that thing plays out.

On S Darnell Savage:

It's been cool to see Darnell, he's the old man in the room now, he's the leader in the room, and it's been neat to see how he's really embraced that and I really like the style of play that he's playing with right now. He was here all offseason, which was great, and he's had a great camp so far.

On new passing game coordinator Greg Williams:

Just a great guy. He's got a great demeanor about him. He's smart, he's tough. Guys love playing for him, so I think he's come into the room and done a great job. Greg's a great coach, and I think the connection that he's made with the guys, being able to go through an offseason with them and then working through camp, it's been really good.

On DL Devonte Wyatt's growth:

It's not going to go as fast as you want and some guys have really easy transitions when they come into the league. Other guys it takes a little bit of time and I know as a coach, we're just always looking for daily improvement. Looking back to where D-Wy is at currently in this moment right now compared to where he was a year ago, he's made those improvements. He's in a good place right now.

On coaching from the press box last week instead of the sideline:

It was great. Now I know what you guys have experienced all these years up in the press box. It's much calmer up there, you can lay all your stuff out. It's amazing how much more you're able to accomplish in between series as far as looking at the pictures and those things, so to answer your specific question, I really liked it. So I'm going to do it again tomorrow and yeah, I think I'm onto something here. I kinda like it.

Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia

On Carlson:

Brian and I were on the same page obviously when we made this decision. I think age and wisdom to some degree allows you to have patience, especially with the specialist position. He's exhibited a lot of the things that we thought he was in a lot of the positive ways, and there's always going to be things to clean up. We're excited about what tomorrow will bring and hopefully we can play well in the game and evaluate the things that are good and keep getting better and evaluate the things we need to work on and hopefully get better in that direction as well. I think patience comes a little bit with age and to some degree wisdom and believing in the character of who the man is. And I think we strongly believe in that with Anders.

If you feel like the mechanics are all there and the mental makeup is there to keep improving, that's where we are right now with Anders.

On losing TE Tyler Davis to injury:

I feel like to some degree we lost our right hand, you know? He was an exceptional special-teams player, someone that you could count on in every critical situation, count on to play multiple positions. He's a big-bodied guy who can really run, was a double-digit tackler a year ago. So, I really haven't gotten very comfortable with not having Tyler Davis to this point. It's cost me some personal trepidation because of who he is and how much he puts into it and how important it is to him and how he feels about the Green Bay Packers and being a part of this. So losing him is a big blow to our unit, I think it's a blow to our team.

On the punting competition between Pat O'Donnell and Daniel Whelan:

We think it's been a really good competition between the both of them. They both have their strengths and for Whelan it's new. Obviously his football awareness is increasing all the time, but he's had some good days and he's had some days where he didn't get the hang that he quite expects, and so I think we'll look forward to how he plays here in the next two games. I think he's learning a lot from being around Pat and I think his holding has gotten better as well by getting the repetitions that he's getting in practice.

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