GREEN BAY – The Packers' coordinators and offensive assistant coaches met with the media over the past couple of days. Here's a sampling of their key comments.
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
On the challenges in the red zone:
Every time you enter into that 20-yard line, the whole game changes. Once you're inside that 20, less for them to defend, more people in a very tight area and all the gaps makes it much more difficult to run. One of our philosophies is you have to be able to go north and south. Watching AJ (Dillon) do what he did down there was awesome and hopefully that's going to bring more people in there and we'll be able to attack more outside. It's just kind of a give and take once you're down there.
On where the offense is as a whole:
Heck, I look back at last year and I thought we should've been better, so I think as coaches we're always going to think that we should be better. I think we have a ton of room to grow. We're far from being where we need to be. In the end, we want to win a championship here. That's the standard that we've all set and we've got to get better and we've got to continue to just have that arrow go up. It's about December football. You want to be rolling then. I mean, we were the best red-zone team in the world last year, and then in the end, the red zone's what's got us in that championship game.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry
The good thing with Jonathan is he's played quite a bit for us, in a rotational role this year and every time he's been in there he's done a great job. We're excited about Tipa. Tipa's a guy that's been in the program for a couple years. The previous place I was at, we really liked Tipa coming out (in the draft) with his motor and how physical he was. So, he's been a guy that's worked his tail off and he's gotten bigger. Now, he's going to potentially get an opportunity to do some stuff for us. It's exciting.
Special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton
On Amari Rodgers' punt returns:
The natural tendency for a rookie returner a lot of times is to try to catch a corner or catch an edge, because in college, quite frankly, you're so much faster than a lot of your opponents. So it's that process of understanding that we're in the National Football League and everybody's pretty fast, so you want to stay on that return track, hit the return where it's supposed to be and maximize your yardage.
Quarterback coach/passing game coordinator Luke Getsy
On his name being connected to college coaching jobs, like Akron:
I obviously have dreams, aspirations, to be a coordinator in this league or be a head coach eventually. But as far as how that stuff plans out or where you go, I just figured out early in this business that if you spend a lot of time trying to figure out exactly where you want to be, you're going to miss an opportunity or not be prepared for an opportunity. I try to kick butt at what I'm doing right now. I try to let that speak for what it is. As far as opportunities like that, I'm always flattered, especially at a place like that. It's my alma mater so it hits different, right? I don't know what's next but I do have aspiration to be a head coach and an offensive coordinator in this league, so we'll let whatever happens next happen.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
On AJ Dillon's workload:
If you ask him, which I have, he feels like he can carry the ball 35 times if he had to. Because he did it a bunch at BC, so he still has that type of mindset. You probably wouldn't want him to carry any more than like the mid-20s, I think that's still a lot for any running back in the NFL, but it's one of those deals that we'll see. We'll see how the game goes, see how much he can handle, and who knows.
On Patrick Taylor's meticulous notetaking:
It's one thing to write things down, but then to be able to spit back what you've learned and be able to answer questions as quickly as guys who have been in this offense for several years, you're really encouraged by that. It doesn't matter how talented you are – you've got to have trust in that player. So the first thing you start thinking is this is a guy that we're going to be able to at the very least, trust. And then we'll see how his physical skills are when he's finally able to get out there on the field.
Wide receivers coach Jason Vrable
On Seattle triple-teaming Davante Adams in the red zone:
I think they might have busted a coverage to be honest because they had three guys, and it might have been an accident. Should have probably been two. But in the field he had a couple true double-teams, where the corner's there and Jamal (Adams) was eight yards away, just staring right at him. Like not even playing a half or a quarter. It was just double 17 on a couple of those coverages. They did a good job on those. They're going to take him away. Two guys are going to guard him hopefully somebody else gets open and wins.
On Randall Cobb:
Him showing up and only being in the offense for one year and not having all that exposure, he's really not even had a mental error. I mean, I told our room the other day, I said to everyone, you young guys, if you could just imitate this guy right here you've got a chance because you have the athletic skill set.
Offensive line coach/run game coordinator Adam Stenavich
On Royce Newman:
There are improvements, definitely. He's done a lot of good things. But there's definitely been some inconsistencies that he's just gonna have to keep working through. Plays hard and he's working at it, so it's just a matter of fixing his errors, fixing his fundamentals and just making him a better-rounded player.
On David Bakhtiari's return:
He's just working through stuff. He comes in every day, same mentality, ready to go, ready to attack the day. It's going to be a grind for him. I think he's realizing that. It's just him focusing on attacking whatever he can control (and) just going after it. He didn't have camp, he didn't have anything built up. Practices are limited right now. So, that's going to be his biggest challenge is getting to a place where he can sustain that performance for an entire game.
Tight ends coach Justin Outten
On Marcedes Lewis' increased workload:
it's hard to keep him off the field with his production and his consistency and what he brings to the table and allows us to do what we want on offense. He probably didn't feel it, 44 plays, just because when the crowd started barking, it electrified not only him but the sideline. It was a cool atmosphere to hear that and the appreciation they have for him. He puts it in every single day. He's just a cornerstone that we lean on.
On Josiah Deguara:
The more reps that he gets, not only in practice but in games and feels the speed of it coming off the major injury he had last year, he's improving and he's showing it. It came to light last week with a couple of the run plays where his fits were off two weeks ago, and he nailed them last week. He was a big part of why we able to run some more gap scheme and get downhill. He was bringing it, running his feet, finishing guys, so it was cool to watch. He's definitely progressing.