GREEN BAY – The Packers’ offensive assistant coaches spoke with the media this week. Here’s a sampling of their key comments.
Offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich
On the philosophy of prioritizing versatile offensive linemen:
It comes from worst-case scenario, kind of planning for the worst. It’s just basically trying to be prepared for things that can happen. In 2019, we really didn’t have to dig into our depth that much. We had pretty much a starting five that played the entire season. Then 2020 and 2021 was a little bit different story. So it’s just kind of making sure you’re getting the guys ready for the worst. Once you get the right kind of guys in the room, every single guy prepares to be a starter, and then once their number’s called, it’s not that big of a transition.
On absorbing everything that goes into being the coordinator:
When you get an ability to take a step back and see it more from a big-picture aspect, it’s kind of cool because you get to watch other coach positions. You get to see things from different angles that you really didn’t get to see before because I was so busy coaching the offensive line. So, it’s been fun, just working with other positions, sitting in position meetings of other coaches and listening to them go. So it’s been really beneficial for me just from a holistic standpoint of the offense.
On what he wants the offense to be known for:
Speed and physicality. I think that’s the biggest thing. You want to see physicality up front, you want to see guys coming across the ball, you want to see us attacking the defense across the entire field, and I think the best offenses in the league, they play fast, they stretch the field, they run the ball. Those are the big things right there that I hope we can hang our hat on.
Wide receivers/pass game coordinator Jason Vrable
On what the Packers have at receiver behind Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard:
I feel really good about the direction of the room from a competitive standpoint and just buying into what we’re looking for. Right now, I’ve seen Malik (Taylor) and Juwann (Winfree) and Amari (Rodgers), who look night and day compared to what they did last year. I think it’s all the way they worked in the offseason, the way they understand the playbook and the way they’re flying around out there. It’s a totally different speed. So I feel really good about them right now.
On the Packers signing Sammy Watkins, whom Vrable coached for two seasons in Buffalo:
Just see where he’s been and his maturity has been exceptional. He was just a young rookie before and now he’s a grown man with a family and living life the right way, and trying to do as much as he can to get back and get another Lombardi, which he’s one of the few guys who’s held one up that I’ve been around. That’s his goal. Sammy is just smiling and happy to be in a building where he feels a good fit right now. I did not know but I’m fired up he’s here.
On what a Watkins can add to the offense:
I talked to Sammy about it the other day. The way he was running some routes and catching, it reminded me of when he first walked on the field. The biggest thing had been some injuries, if you looked at the thing. But he knows he’s going to work as hard as he can. He’s here doing all the workouts right now in conditioning. He feels good where his body is at. One thing you’ll see with him is he plucks the ball different. He has hands where you’ll hear the pluck and running through catch, and his play strength. There’s a reason why we drafted him that high and he’s had a lot of successful years in his career. … He said to me, ‘Man, it’s different. I’ve been in four systems in the last four years, just getting back to what you coach. You know, Vrabs, it’s been fun hearing you coach the same stuff then as now. ‘ He knows the details. He’s in a good place right now and I’m really excited about him.
Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements
On what Aaron Rodgers’ rep count will look like once he’s back in Green Bay:
That’s still to be discussed. We’ll have to see what the program is like during the OTAs. I know it’s a little bit different than it was previously when I was here, but Aaron doesn’t need reps at this time of the year. Obviously, it’d be nice to have him here, but he’s seen these things 1,000 times and he’ll be ready to go when training camp starts.
On Danny Etling’s extra work during rookie minicamp:
It’s always beneficial. Prior to that, we were just meeting. We were doing individual work on the field and not until next week can you do any teamwork, so he liked it, he enjoyed it. You get a different kind of look when you’re doing it, I don’t want to say live, but doing it against a real defense as opposed to just walking through things or talking through things or watching on film, so he enjoyed it and it’s a benefit to get any rep you can get.
Offensive line coach Luke Butkus
On determining where a rookie lines up right away:
As a young guy, you come in and you don’t know where they’re at mentally. You’ve talked to them, you know a little bit about what they’ve been taught offensively, but it’s usually a big jump coming to this level. You want to see how flexible they are by playing different positions. But, like you said, they’ve got a lot on their plate. We like to cross-train, play different positions, so you try to be coherent of that, know that but, at the same time, at a position where they’re at and the time of their career, they’ve got to be able to do multiple things.
On whether fourth-round pick Sean Rhyan can play tackle:
We’re going to find out if he plays tackle or guard. We don’t know that yet. It’s still May. How do you get around anything? Your will, your competitiveness. They probably said the same things about a lot of guys. David Bakhtiari, right? What is he? 6-3 1/2, 6-4 maybe. There’s a lot of ways around it – again, by just playing hard and being determined and having that competitive drive. Tough, smart and competitive. We talk about it all the time. That’s how you get away with not having the so-called traits that you need to play the position.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
On the No. 3 running back competition:
Starting off with PT (Patrick Taylor), it looks like he’s moving around a lot better so far in OTAs and the Phase 2 part of things. I think that for him, just getting his feet wet last year coming off the injuries that first year, so I think he’s got a better feel for what’s going on. I think that’s going to help him. With Kylin (Hill), it’s too bad with the injury, but he’s been working his tail off. He looks good physically, and from what I understand, he’s moving in the right direction. I guess it’s one of those deals where you really won’t learn anything until we get into training camp, in terms of battling for that and seeing what everybody has.
On Hill’s development through his rehab process:
He’s done a great job really of doing more with trying to learn the offense. Sometimes what happens if you’re thinking about things too much, you can’t really play at your full potential because you’re out there thinking, so one of the things that he’s been doing in the offseason since he’s been back is really taking a great grasp of making sure that he’s got a great feel for the offense so that when he comes back physically, he’s not overthinking this play or that play, he’s ready to go. That’s the biggest thing he’s doing right now. Physically he’s doing all that’s asked of him. I think he’s a little hungrier. He understands what’s expected of him as a pro. Sometimes as a rookie, you’re trying to get a feel for your environment and what’s going on around you. I expect that he’ll be a lot more on point this year.
Tight ends coach John Dunn
On getting to know Robert Tonyan:
He’s done a lot of good things here. To me, it always starts with the person, so getting to know him as a person. He’s a phenomenal guy, always with a smile on his face, very jovial, really smart, he attacks every day mentally, physically. So, I’m really excited about him and who he is and his character. I think that always bleeds over to the player. I’m excited obviously at some point to be able to get back on the field and be able to work with him.
On Tyler Davis’ second season in Green Bay:
Obviously being thrown in last season did nothing but help him. The unique thing about Tyler is because he came during the season is this is his first real offseason. Being able to essentially start from scratch, learn the system from scratch and get to go through everything is very valuable to him. Obviously, you have to reprove everything you do every year. For him, again a lot like Bobby, he’s just really smart and attacks the day. He’s very humble, really hard worker and obviously he has some talent in his body. Whenever you mix those together, you always have a chance of success.