GREEN BAY – The Packers' three coordinators and offensive assistant coaches met with the media over the past two days. Here's a summary of their key comments:
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
On Allen Lazard:
Being with him for a while (in Jacksonville), he changed his body (in Green Bay). We were trying to move him to tight end in Jacksonville and seeing what he did with his body to lose weight, get faster. His intelligence has always been there. That chip on his shoulder about how he's not going to be denied. You could see it in his eyes he was going to keep fighting no matter what. He loves the game and he's an intelligent player. It's that drive that he's never going to be denied.
On Jamaal Williams' improvement:
I'll tell you, he's one heck of a dancer and I can judge that. One thing is it looks like he's cut some weight and it's allowed him to become quicker, faster and he's much more confident being in the system for a second season. He's doing some really good things.
On David Bakhtiari:
David is a premier player in this league. Day in and day out, he's a leader. He's a guy who practices hard and is continually trying to master his craft. He has a great sense of humor, too. You love it. Knowing you have that left side taken care of is great. It is a comfort level for a coach when you know you have him at left tackle.
On young receivers understanding the scheme:
I think there's so much that goes into this game that the blind eye might not notice. Every time you install a play, you want everyone to understand why you're attacking that way and your steps of why you're aligned the way you are is so critical. In the beginning, those guys are all in the mindset of where they have to line up and what route they're running. As you spend more time in the system, whys become more clear … allows bigger things to happen.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
I think it's important that your edge guys, your key pass rushers, are fresh late in the game. You're going to win a lot of games if you guys that can rush the passer have their legs late in the game. That's' the goal. Last year, those guys were in good shape. You had to save them from themselves. They wanted to fight you if you were taking them out of the game. It's not just them. We felt Kenny Clark's snaps last year were up there as well. Just looking for ways, without dropping our level of efficiency, to get him some decreased reps as well.
On the edge rushers defending the run and staying aggressive:
Part of it is just their process pre-snap, taking the picture like everybody else does. What personal grouping are they in, what's the down and distance, what's the formation telling them. Having an educated guess on what they're going to get. We don't play laterally and have guys chase their gaps. If we get knock back, if we knock the guard a yard back in the backfield, and end up alter in the down in the wrong gap, we've created separation between him and the linebackers, and the feel of the linebackers is now my gap has changed, from the A to the B. Most guys have a natural feel for how to do that. We feel good about where we are, some of the tweaks we made. We're going to get tested right out of the gate on Sunday.
On Christian Kirksey:
He's a natural leader. We saw that when we drafted him in Cleveland. Now the guy has some time in the league and just knows the NFL game. To the surprise of no one, he's made it as long as he has in the league because of who he is. He's a professional, he takes care of himself. He's everything you're looking for. He's smart, he's tough. We're certainly looking forward to get the best of him this year.
On run defense being about attitude:
It's more than that, but you have to have that mentality, you have to take it personal when teams want to run the ball on you. It's not necessarily what we're playing, but how we're playing it. We want to be able to line up in the most basic front and basic coverage and be able to stop the run. When you throw scheme on top of it to defend a certain team, you hope your results are positive.
On Chandon Sullivan:
He's been a professional. He's always prepared. He's super coachable. He asks the right questions. He's one of those guys the ball just finds him. He's really settled into that slot corner, the nickel role, and he's taken it and run with it. He's been solid.
Special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga
On expansion of defenseless receivers to punt returners:
Returners still have to have a feel for guys getting down. Most guys who are experienced will take a peek to see where the gunners are at and get a feel for where the bodies are at. I don't think it will but you just never know.
On Tyler Ervin:
He was a great addition for us last year. Hopefully, we can build on the things we've done. He's prove himself to be a quality returner. We get excited. We gotta go out and block for him and give him an opportunity. We have to do our part around him but we know we have a threat back there who can take it the distance at any time.
On what to expect on special teams after no preseason:
You don't have film on the rookies. You try to track through their beat reporters who's going to make the squad and stuff, but you haven't seen them in a pro game. As far as in practice, you can try to go full speed but there's nothing like game speed.
On Mason Crosby and the FG operation:
It's been good. They ironed out a few things. His times have been consistent. The operation has been fine. I'm happy with where we're at right now.
Passing-game coordinator/QB coach Luke Getsy
On Aaron Rodgers in camp:
I think he's in a good place. I think his preparation has been awesome, his approach has been awesome, his leadership skills for the entire offense have been really good. He's a mentor for guys on the whole offense.
On installing the offense and game planning:
Matt did a great job in the offseason just building day by day, so we didn't crush the guys in the beginning when we got back, and we just got better every single day. I feel good about where we're at. There's nothing like playing live ball, so you're not totally certain where you're at. But we're excited to get going.
On Jordan Love:
He's becoming a pro. He knows how to work. The work thing is not an issue for him. We just have to keep getting him more familiar with what we do and how to do it, and how to play quarterback at this level. We play those (scout team) reps live. We have him do the footwork, read the defense and everything. Those are live reps.
Wide receivers coach Jason Vrable
On working with Davante Adams off to the side every day during camp:
Davante has proven himself in the NFL and done a lot of big things and great things for this organization and himself. But we always talk about you're only as good as today, so you can never take your foot off the gas pedal. You have to hold that standard high. You just want to feel comfortable in your own skin, and if he's a guy who says I need to work on deep balls today, we're going to try to get as many balls as we can. There's a true confidence that comes with work ethic.
On Allen Lazard:
I had watched him coming out (of college), and like some of our people did here, I liked him a lot. I was with the Jets at the time, and I got here and we signed him from Jacksonville. Coach Hackett talked about how he was a tough kid and worked hard. It took about two weeks in practice, and he was always in my ear. He had this approach and this mentality where he believed in himself, even if other people didn't. You could tell him something and literally the next time, he was going to do it right. He's a quick learner. It's hard to find a guy as tough and gritty as him on any team.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
On Aaron Rodgers' comments about Jamaal Williams and in what ways has Williams impressed this summer:
I think more so the way he came back physically. I think the biggest thing is I gave him, like at the end of the season, we talked about some of the things that I felt like he needed to work on to become a more complete player. He went out this offseason and did that. You can see it more in his quickness, his ability. He wanted to improve his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. You can see that he's done that. It's more of a deal where we had put in the blueprint for him to improve in certain areas and he went out and did that. So I've been pretty pleased.
On where Williams has improved as a pass catcher:
He's always been able to catch the ball pretty good. Even thinking about the catch he made last year against Kansas City in the end zone, I think it's more of his ability and how he works versus man coverage. I think that part of it, in terms of the subtle quickness, that's the biggest thing that's improve. Being able to be utilized more in that aspect as opposed to more than just a check-down guy. He's always had good hands but he's worked on the other things, too.
On Minnesota's linebackers:
I've said it, and going against these guys for all these years, they've been together for a long time together. When we look at core linebackers, they're among the best, if not the best, that we'll face. They're very smart. They work well together. They fill gaps. They're very hard to deceive. That's what I mean, they both particularly, we start looking at Kendricks and Barr, they have Pro Bowl ability physically. But it's not just that. It's their mental and their IQ, their football IQ is so high. They rarely make mistakes. They present a great challenge and problem for us on all fronts, physically and mentally.
Offensive line coach Adam Stenavich
On Lane Taylor:
He works hard every day, he's a professional in everything he does, shows up prepared, ready to go, and yeah, it's been fun getting to work with him. I'm glad he's back doing his thing and I'm really looking forward to watching him play this year.
On Jon Runyan:
He's been one of the most improved guys that we've had. Obviously, any time you make that switch from college to the NFL there's a transition and also then switching positions. You know, he had played guard before, which was nice. But he hadn't played it in a while, so it was just kind of getting back into it and then playing against better competition. So, he's a very coachable guy, he works hard and I'm really excited to see what happens to him in the future.
On the value of a strong RT:
I think the typical right tackle is kind of gone away. I always laugh when people say, 'Oh, this guy is a right tackle.' Well, you know what, Khalil Mack lines up on that side, too. So, you have to be athletic enough to block him too in pass protection and all that stuff. The emphasis in the NFL has changed because people are really into pass rushers. So, you have to have guys who can play in space on both sides.
Tight ends coach Justin Outten
On having multiple guys getting snaps:
Every guy is going to have enough to play, and that's the way we want it. It's not too easy for defensive coordinators to say, 'Oh, this is the starting guy, this is the guy we have to plan for.' It's never going to be like that here because there's so many guys in that room and other rooms that we can use to our advantage in the schemes that we run. So these guys are so down to earth when it comes to that stuff, they're not going to sit there and bang the table because they weren't listed as a starter. Because they know they're going to get their opportunity in the game.
On the young guys being ready:
The defense we go against is not a bunch of slouches, so they're getting the physical aspect of it each and every day, so they're prepped in that world. And then just the second year in the system and getting all the details nailed down and all the ways we can use them and kind of make everything look the same but different, those are the things that make them better. They're nailing it both on the field and in the classroom, so I feel like they're going to be OK.