GREEN BAY – The Packers' coordinators and defensive assistant coaches met with the media on Thursday. Here's a sampling of their key comments.
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett
On getting Randall Cobb involved when the offense has so many weapons:
I call that a great, positive problem. I mean, that is definitely a positive problem. Definitely we want him out there; we want all of them out there. I wish we could have so many more plays a lot of the time.
On defenses playing differently vs. Aaron Rodgers than against other QBs:
He just kind of expects it because it's happened to him so much in his career. You see a Cover-1 team and they play Cover-2. or a Cover-2 team and they all-out pressure you every down. I mean, there's so many different things, and everybody has a different plan that they want to try. So I think going into this third year (with the offense), we just kind of talk about what we see, talk about who they are, and then be ready for anything and everything versus this guy.
Defensive coordinator Joe Barry
On using different guys at the slot corner:
I think that's a weapon for us just because offenses look at that so much. A lot of things they do, especially in the passing game and the protection game, identification of who is that nickel? So if you can keep them guessing a little bit, it's always going to be beneficial.
On turning things around in the second half vs. Lions:
To be able to go out and respond the way we did and to shut them out the second half … I think with three minutes left when we started that (last) drive, I can't remember how many yards they had but I don't think it was a lot. I was very proud of the way our guys didn't blink, they didn't flinch. We came in at halftime, talked about some things and went out and took the field and they did a great job – two big takeaways. Are we there? By no means necessary. We've got to play a lot better. I keep saying we've got a phenomenal quarterback, we've got to get the ball back for him because great things are going to happen. We have to improve, but the way we finished Monday night, I was excited for the guys.
Special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton
On Kylin Hill's progress returning kickoffs:
He is a work in progress. We have miles to go, but he's doing a great job. When you turn on his college tape and you see the way he's able to process things, read blocks, we felt like we could build around his skill set of his vision, being able to press and get vertical.
On Amari Rodgers' chance on punt return vs. Lions:
There's definitely things he could have done better on that play, and he knows it. Anytime you have yardage that you leave out there, it's a disappointment, because you don't get that many opportunities in the National Football League where you catch a punt and you have that much running room initially. I often say being a rookie returner in this league is one of the hardest jobs to do. This thing is a marathon, not a sprint. It's only a few that have come into the league ready-made. Tyreek Hill was one of them. Has there been one since? I don't think so.
Defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Jerry Gray
On Eric Stokes:
Making plays helps confidence, especially when you're a rookie and you know you're going to get most of the balls thrown at you. He's making his plays. Even the fourth-down play at the end of the game, I thought he did a really good job getting his head around, where most rookies they'll be like panicking when the ball's in the air and you get a DPI. Well, he didn't get that, so he's letting me know he has some confidence, and he has understanding that when the ball's in the air, I have to get my head around and find it so I don't get the flag. To me, that's going to warrant him more plays. You have to earn it to be on a good team. They're not going to give it to you, and then when you get out there, these quarterbacks say OK, he's a rookie, let me see if he can hold up.
On trying Jaire Alexander in different spots:
I think Ja can pretty much do just about everything right now, and it's our job to put him in position to where he gets a chance to get into the action. Because if you're outside and they're not throwing the ball at you, now you get kind of bored, so I always tell him, hey look, you can't get bored, because somebody's gonna try you now. So you have to always be ready, and when we put him inside, I think that kind of gives him another thing. But they still didn't throw at him. I think they had one ball, tried to run a wheel route last week and he knocked the ball down. You're glad you've got a guy on the team like that, the bad thing is you're trying to find ways to get him plays.
Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery
On watching the last game from home:
It was hard. There's nothing I could do or say to help them. I was nervous sitting at home, hands sweating, watching it by myself, yelling by myself. Talking to the screen as if they could hear me. Yeah, it doesn't work. It wasn't good. It was very hard to watch. I wouldn't recommend that for anybody.
On how the unit played vs. Lions:
We weren't good enough at times in that game and we know that. It's not our standard and we've got to be better. We've got to do better on early down and distance, getting after the quarterback and some of those play-action situations. We've got to be able to beat a double-team. We've got to be able to win a one-on-one when we have it. We've got to recognize play-pass. Second half, when we got them into some obvious passing situations, I thought we were a lot better getting after the quarterback as a group.
Inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti
On De'Vondre Campbell's INT vs. Lions:
He actually made a correction from a previous play, maybe two plays prior to that – they ran a similar concept and he made a correction and Garvin did a nice job getting some pressure on him and he got an interception. He's been doing a nice job for us.
On the 49ers using a lot of shifts and motions:
That's part of what they do. They shift, they motion, they kind of move around pre-snap and they're messing with your eyes and they're messing with your alignments and they're trying to create angles on guys. It's simple in a lot of ways but it's very complex in a lot of ways, too.
Outside linebackers coach Mike Smith
On Rashan Gary:
One thing that always stands out with Rashan is his effort. You know, he's just all over the place. He's violent, he's physical. Just like last week when (the Lions' offense got) one-dimensional, you see what he can do. They can't, people struggle to block him. And the things he needs to work on … his drops and the run game and pass rush and getting his spot right. But again, I like where Rashan's at.
On Jonathan Garvin's pressure leading to the INT:
When you make the play like that, you kind of realize, … you know, I remember Ray Lewis telling me a long time ago when I was a rookie, obviously I was '51', he was '52' so my locker was right next to his. But the second or third day I was there he said 'Mike, most of the guys that don't make it in this league, they make the game bigger than what it is.' And that's so true. You let doubt and all that stuff creep in and you're done. You realize it's a game and you've got the talent, you're here for a reason, then things start slowing down. You have confidence and believe in yourself. When you have plays like that you're like, 'Oh, wow, I can do this.' Right? Coach was right I can do it. So it's just a big confidence builder and you just keep going from that.