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.
Special teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga
On Tavon Austin in the return game:
He's an established returner that's created big plays and had a lot of big things happen. He's definitely dangerous with the ball in his hands. We're looking at those options.
As far as returner goes, they're born with that ability and that's why they're here in the NFL doing that because they have a natural feel for where the windows are at and what they see. Because you can't teach the vision. He obviously has that and all the good ones do. So, it's just a matter of him picking up how we're blocking things, getting a feel for how it's blocked and where those creases may come.
On JK Scott vs. Chicago:
He punted the ball well with good net and he had the good hang time. The hang time actually matched or exceeded the distance, which is what you're always trying to do. He had good direction. It hasn't necessarily happened in the previous couple games, but he's had good practices and we're continuing to build on those things. And I like where he's going. He's definitely trending in the right direction.
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine
On the long run by Chicago:
It was a double whammy because we were misaligned and we had a chance to fix it with some communication and we did not. We just have to be better as far as having an awareness of our surroundings. If something doesn't look right, we've got to get it fixed. Definitely something that we corrected right then and there (on the sideline). Sometimes, you worry about giving up a play like that early in the game and it has a ripple effect. That was something that we wanted to make sure, hey, it's behind us.
On Anthony Rush:
My first impression is he's big. Very large human being. He had been on our radar before, and I had seen him on tape. He's played with a couple (teams), he was with the Eagles, he was with Seattle, so he does have some game film out there, but it's just always nice to be able to add depth. We were fortunate early in the year that the personnel guys, they found Billy Winn and we got him ready to go and he's been able to contribute some quality minutes especially now with Montravius Adams dealing with his injury. It's just one of those things, you can never have enough guys that can go in and get you out of a game.
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
On Aaron Rodgers:
Aaron has totally bought into all the stuff that we're doing. I think we've really made this system for this Green Bay Packer team, and it's primarily for Aaron, all the pass concepts, the protections, every single thing that we've done. We've just tried to create this system that he can go out there and be comfortable and be able to execute. That's what we're here for, is to put all the guys in the best position, and it starts with the quarterback. It's been awesome. I give credit to so many people. It's been great getting everybody together and on the same page, and Aaron's trust in us and our trust in him, and I think it shows out on the field.
On Allen Lazard:
We're always looking for those tough and intelligent players, that's so important, and I think he fits that role as (well) as anybody does. It's his whole mentality. When he's out there you know he means business. He's got this big chip on his shoulder. I mean he's going out there to let people know that he's there, let the opponent know that he's there. He had a couple blocks this past game that were unbelievable, and it sets the tone for everybody.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
On getting to know Tavon Austin with the Rams:
He was really, really explosive. I just remember from the draft time, we end up losing Danny Amendola to free agency and needed an explosive player to kind of fill that role and I know that was a big reason why we ended up drafting him. When I first was exposed to him I think it was at a Penn State football camp when he was in high school and he was going through all the running back drills.
On running the ball in December:
We talk about December football and part of being effective in December football is being able to run the ball. If we can just function well enough and be productive enough in the backfield and have everything just mesh together, that's going to make us a little bit more explosive as an offense.
Wide receivers coach Jason Vrable
On first impressions of Tavon Austin:
You see him with the ball in his hands and it kind of excites you. I think it was maybe 10 years ago, I saw him play in-person when it was West Virginia vs. Oklahoma and he broke the school record with maybe like 350 yards in a game. I know the athletic ability's there, the toughness and competitiveness. I think it's just getting the game implemented and seeing where he's at.
On Marquez Valdes-Scantling's mindset:
I think of all the guys in the room, I'm most proud of him of how he's responded this year. The ups and downs, he's trying to get rid of the downs, but he's working his butt off. He's barely missed a single rep in practice and if you look at his reps in a game, he runs deep on 30 plays in a game, full speed, and never once loafs. He competes his butt off. Of all the guys in the room, I think he's taken the biggest strides since last year and I kind of believe when this thing is all said and done, he's going to be one of those receivers around the league that people know about and respect if he continues his trending upward.
Passing-game coordinator/QB coach Luke Getsy
On an emergency QB plan:
We have an emergency quarterback plan for every game. So, it's not an in-depth game plan or anything like that. But there's preparation each week in case we need to and that depends each week on who's going to be up and who's going in the game. We're prepared for that if that would happen within a game (but) hope that never happens.
On coaching Davante Adams earlier in his career:
I thought that at the end of the '14 season everyone saw a glimpse of what his capabilities were. And then in '16, just a few games into that season I think it just all clicked for him and you know, he became a pro. He figured out how to get his mind and his body in the right place and he's just excelled. I don't think he's taken his foot off the gas ever since.
Offensive line coach Adam Stenavich
On David Bakhtiari:
When I was in San Francisco, Joe Staley was there and David reminds me a lot of Joe. Not only in how he approaches the game; also not like your typical gigantic left tackle. He does a really good job changing up his sets and studying his opponent and knowing kind of what they're going to do before they do it, really combating what they do and putting himself in a good position to block them. They remind me of each other a lot, which is a giant compliment to both of them because they're both great players.
On Simon Stepaniak's comeback:
With him coming off a knee injury, you definitely don't want to push him too fast as far as, you could have a setback. We're just kind of getting out there and getting reps and just seeing day by day how it goes. He's done a really good job. I like his mentality. I think he's going to be good for us. We're just going to keep taking it day by day with him and see what happens.
The Green Bay Packers practiced on Clarke Hinkle Field on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020.