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.
Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia
On Keisean Nixon as both kickoff and punt returner:
Keisean's really an athletic guy. He's got great eye-hand coordination and he's got a lot of confidence. He's done both before at different levels and again, I've been around him a long time, so we'll see how the next game goes, but he's certainly going to get opportunities as we go forward.
We want to make sure the decision-making process stays on course with what we're trying to do both on offense and certainly setting our defense when he covers for us.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry
On why the defense has underperformed overall:
I wish I knew. I've stayed up many nights thinking about that and I wish it was one specific thing that I could put my finger on. Definitely periods during games, we've played dominant. And for whatever reason, … losing some players, not having some guys in there, you could say that, but everyone has to deal with injuries and everyone has to have that next-man-up mentality. So there's a number of things that you could put your finger on, but I wish I knew.
On facing Justin Fields one week after facing Jalen Hurts:
You can't just say, 'Oh, these guys are a mobile quarterback.' They're a different style of quarterback that's come into the NFL. With these guys, it's truly a college-style offense. They're not just running around when pass protection breaks down. I mean, they're running legitimate quarterback-designed runs all the time. And when you're dealing with an athlete like Justin Fields, you can't just rely on, 'Hey, you're the free-hitter, you've got to make the tackle.' Because it's hard. These guys are special athletes with the ball in their hand in space. They're big, they're fast, they're powerful, and they're going to make you miss a tackle. And that's where the population to the ball, the strain, the effort, the relentless pursuit to the ball, for the whole game ... Because these guys are legitimate ballcarriers from the start of the game to the end of the game. It's got to be on everyone. It can't just be one guy.
Offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich
On what he liked best about Jordan Love's performance:
I would say I just liked that everyone played ball. You didn't really notice a change. It was go in there, everyone ran the right routes, they all performed, caught the ball, just ran our offense and it looked smooth.
On the difference a perimeter playmaker can make for the offense:
It starts with execution. It starts with the foundation of running the ball. We did a very good job versus Dallas with that. I thought Philly for the most part we did a very good job of running the ball there, too. When you can do that and you have a guy outside who can take the top off a defense, that's how it all plays together, so yeah, it is that simple as long as you're running the ball effectively.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
On Aaron Jones' TD catch off the scramble drill in Philly:
I think the most difficult part of it was understanding how to read and set the safety up to get open. That was probably the most impressive part of what he did. Then the hard part about it was waiting for the ball to come to him. He basically almost body-caught it. I don't think the catch itself was as challenging as it was just understanding how to maneuver himself to get open in that situation.
Wide receivers/passing game coordinator Jason Vrable
On Christian Watson coming on strong now:
Aaron (Rodgers) did mention one week he was like, wow, this guy is getting open a lot, maybe I should give him a little more attention like I used to with 17. Maybe the first time we played the Bears, there's a couple clips on the sideline there where he's running past guys and getting open. The ball didn't go to him, but he showed that he could get open, and then he had the injury. That set him back a little bit.
What you saw on that Philly clip was more what I saw in college. The first week he was actually here, he ran a couple in-breaking routes, and just his stride and his speed … the one guy who probably said it first was Sammy (Watkins) said to him, 'You don't know how powerful and fast you are, man.' Because Sammy was with Tyreek (Hill), right? And knows that type of speed and power. And he said 'Christian, if you just keep working and have the right mindset, you have the ability to be special.' We were in a meeting room and he was like, 'You guys aren't listening. I'm telling you the truth. Your ability, to get this to translate to the field, it's going to be tough to stop you, man.'
Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements
On Jordan Love's progress:
He's probably getting to the point where the game has slowed down for him. When that happens, you kind of see things in slow motion. You see where guys are moving, you see where guys should go, and you're able to react quickly.
It's the things we've worked on the most, which is footwork, the proper drop, going through your progression, not getting stuck on a receiver, not being late with the ball. We work on different route concepts each week, we did a lot in the spring, but then you have to see it play out when you have a defense out there. You have to be able to go from 1-2-3 to your outlet quickly. You can't lock on a guy. You have to process information quickly, figure out where to go, and your footwork plays into that as well. If your feet are right and you're seeing things right, you're able to decide where to go with the ball. His footwork, rhythm and getting the ball off on time is where he's gotten a lot better.
Tight ends coach John Dunn
On Josiah Deguara's multi-faceted role:
The best part of about playing this position is you get to do everything. The hardest part about this position is you have to do everything. Sometimes, it's not so much learning but it is the techniques that go along with that. That's something that we juggle daily in terms of what does each guy need based on the techniques that he's being asked to do to make sure they're honing their skill-set in their role.
Offensive line coach Luke Butkus
On the continuity developing with the same lineup every week:
It's pretty cool. The offensive line, everybody knows it's five of us working together as one. Unfortunately, the first several weeks, we've had to mix and match but now getting these guys to play full games together, you can see the growth. You can see the improvement and just the trust of the guys playing next to each other and not having to make a call sometimes. Maybe they just know instinctively, 'Hey, this guy I've played next to now for a couple weeks in a row. We have a rapport and we're not tipping our hand on what we're doing.'