GREEN BAY – The Packers' coordinators and offensive assistant coaches met with the media over the past couple of days. Here's a summary of their key comments:
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
On facing QB Tom Brady:
You have to understand who you're going up against and just how detailed he is in his preparation and how far back he goes into things that he watches and he studies. Our guys, they've just got to be as on point as they've ever been on point. We talk about how we're going to disguise something, or something we're going to run, but they need to know that he is soaking in all that information. We always talk about winning the pre-snap and equating it to a poker game, and you obviously don't want to be the sucker at the table. If you find yourself early in the game and he's looking at you every play, then you're probably holding your cards the wrong way. I just think it's important for our guys to understand that the attention to detail and the urgency, just how important it is against a quarterback like this.
You don't let it consume you. I mean, the scheme is important, but the National Football League is still a players' league. We've played some good defense this year, and that's gotten us here, and there's no sense straying away from that. We're going to be who we are. We're going to throw our fastball. Our guys understand that we're not going to fool him, but at the same time, we can out-execute him.
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
On the Buccaneers playing a lot of zone in the first meeting:
Whenever you see a lot of zone, it's about people getting into certain sweet spots. Tampa came out and they played a little man and then jumped to some zone. Guys just have to be able to see those different coverage contours and understand where they fit within each route concept. I think that's something that we just continue to grow with and figure out so that the guys know where to fit, and we've got to hit them in those spots.
On facing Tampa Bay's inside LB duo:
In the end we've got to be able to find the best angles. Both of those guys are spectacular. They can flat-out run. They are very, very good football players, and we've got to make sure that they're either guessing or there's misdirection, or if we are running full flow we've got to make sure that we've got good angles because the minute you don't have a great angle, they're going to make you pay. They showed that on the very first play of the game when we played them last time.
Special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga
On the reason to continue to use Mason Crosby on kickoffs despite his shoulder injury:
Just his experience. The leg swing right now for JK Scott is different and just devoting the practice time to that. He still works on those things but I just feel like Mason's our best option as far as being able to move the ball and kick it different direction, and maybe not give away which way we're kicking it and be able to mix it up. I feel like that's our best option right now but JK's always ready to go.
On the possibility of Tramon Williams returning punts:
We'll have those conversations, depending on his status and things. That'll be determined. He's definitely an option and he's been catching punts. I talked to him about that and he caught some after practice. He's always been reliable and sure-handed. He's made plays with the ball in his hands.
Wide receivers coach Jason Vrable
On Allen Lazard's personality coming out more, such as with celebrations:
Last year he probably just signaled first down and went back to the huddle. I think it was just because it was his first year in the league getting to actually play. Sometimes, guys are just a little intimidated to show their true colors and have as much fun as they should be having. We want them to have fun out there and celebrate with their teammates and show the energy and juice. I think he's always had it. Just some guys want to stay the line and stay in their lane and not be who they are probably because the pressure of the NFL.
More on camaraderie and celebrations:
You can see our whole offense, when we get first downs or we show a touchdown, there's one thing for certain: We celebrate together. We have a good brotherhood together and guys have really grown around each other and became good friends, not just teammates but true friends. Whenever Davante Adams has success, or Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Allen doesn't, the one thing about guys is we're truly happy in our room when we watch the tape. When you can get to that point, I think you're going to be pretty successful in the NFL. It's hard to do that. It takes a whole year or maybe two years of growth and trust. I think we're there with our guys. It's been a fun product because of the relationships they have.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
On using all three running backs last week:
The opportunities, when you look at it, we had a decent amount of long drives in there. It's rare that you're going to have huge or long drives where one guy's going to play all 11 reps. I think we might have had one that was 14 or 15. The amount of snaps we had, I think we had over 70 (total). You just have an opportunity and chance to mix guys in there. In terms of running the ball, when you have an opportunity to have a lead, now you're going to create more opportunities for guys to get in and play.
On the benefits of using them all:
I just try to keep guys fresh. I try to measure them within a drive, particularly if one guy was in for a long drive, I may start another guy the following drive just to try to keep guys fresh throughout the games. When the guys are fresh, they make a lot less mistakes and also they play with a lot more energy and that's when they're typically able to finish with some strong runs or break a long run.
Offensive line coach Adam Stenavich
On the success of the O-line despite all the juggling:
Well, I haven't forgotten that David Bakhtiari's not there, or Lane Taylor or anybody. But it's just cool, the professionalism in the room is great. These guys, they're all about one thing and that's winning. How can we help this team win? And every week it's just fun going in the room with those guys and watching them compete. It's just a testament to them and a testament to coach Butkus and how he does a great job with them, too, and all around the guys just buying in and doing whatever it takes.
On Rick Wagner:
He's been great. You don't get a lot of emotion from Rick, which is a good thing. He's just pretty reliable. Hey, this is the job to do, and he's like, 'All right.' There's not a whole lot of conversation. So, he's a blue-collar, old-school guy who's just going to get the job done. And I have a tremendous amount of respect for Rick and the different hats that we've asked him to wear throughout this year. He's done a great job with everything we've asked of him.
Tight ends coach Justin Outten
On the improvement with Robert Tonyan's blocking:
It's been a pretty drastic turnaround since last year. He was still raw in the run game. He just didn't know how the mechanics worked, how his body worked in the trenches, and understanding leverage and running off the ball. There's so many moving pieces to the run game in this system, and he finally slowed it down in his mind, and I tried to put it in verbiage that he would understand, and just kind of walked through the technique itself. But at the end of the day it's the confidence that you need to put your hand down in the dirt and go against a guy that gets paid to rush the passer and set the edge, and you're a guy that has to do everything.
On Marcedes Lewis' impact:
He's just been a tremendous outlet for the young guys and older guys. You'll see Aaron Rodgers, you'll see 'Tae, all those guys gravitate towards him, because it's not just the football player, it's the spirit in the guy and the person that he is. If you took him off the football field and he never saw this game in his life, people would be attracted to him because of his positive mindset, his vibe that he puts out. Now you put in the football part of it, 15 years of it, it's extremely comforting when he goes out there as a coach, and also as a teammate, knowing that you're going to get his best, and his best has been helping us make this run.