Assistant Coaches Six-Pack of Quotes

Which running back has been "impressive" in pass protection? What does offensive line coach James Campen want to see from his young blockers? Those questions and more as the position coaches sound off on what they're looking for in tonight's preseason game.

Here's what several of the Green Bay Packers' assistant coaches had to say ahead of Thursday's preseason game at San Diego.

Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt: Running the ball is nice, but it's pass protection that gets a running back on the field. Where do the Packers stand? "James (Starks) has been impressive. The more reps he gets with Aaron (Rodgers) in there, the more comfortable he'll become with the calls that Aaron makes — and there are many calls. He'll grow and develop. I like his physicality. He's not afraid to put his face on guys. He does a good job with the physical part of it. Marc (Tyler is) a natural; Brandon (Saine is) always consistent. We're all working to get better. The big thing is getting on the right guy. Once that's accomplished, it's just using your technique to execute the block."

Offensive coordinator Tom Clements: If you think scoring a lot of points is high on Clements' to-do list, you'd be wrong. "Especially in the first game, you want the game operation, No. 1, to be the way it should. We play at a fast tempo, so we want to get in and out of the huddle. We want to make all the communication calls that are needed to be made, both at the line by the linemen and the quarterback. We want to make sure we aren't penalized — no presnap penalties especially. We just want to play fast. If we do that and know what we're doing, hopefully we'll have some success. But we want it to look the way it should. And, obviously, we'd like to win the game."

Offensive line coach James Campen: Campen's starting five is set, but it's a wide-open race for the three or four backup positions. There's a lot of young players in the mix. "Really, I'd just like to see them go out and have fun. Now that you have a game plan and you're not installing, installing, installing and having to learn, it's going to be fun to see those young guys go out and compete. Just stay loose, have fun and win. Then we'll get that tape, correct it, go through the fundamentals and start the process again. Just to see them grow and see them hit somebody different."

Safeties coach Darren Perry: Other than Charles Woodson, the Packers' safeties are Anthony Levine (25), M.D. Jennings (24), Morgan Burnett (23), Jerron McMillian (23), Micah Pellerin (23) and Sean Richardson (22). "They're all young and green as grass. That's why these games are so important for those guys to get out there and show us what they can handle and all of the things that come along, not for half a game or a quarter or two, but to be able to do it with some consistency is so important. That's when a lot of guys fall by the wayside. You see a play here, you see a play there, but then you see something that will get you beat. That's what you're looking for in these exhibition games in terms of guys going out, executing with the proper technique, being disciplined, playing with poise and being productive."

Quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo: All eyes will be on Graham Harrell as he takes the next step toward securing the No. 2 job. "I saw him have a heck of a finish to the Indianapolis game last year. That's what sticks out to me. I remember him being savvy with the football. He's been throwing the football for a long time in spread offenses that relied on him making plays with the ball. So he can put it where he wants, and now with him being able to protect himself and understanding the offense and the adjustments and him getting stronger – he's a better athlete than he's given credit for – it's only going to help him."

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt: It's a derby for playing time behind Tramon Williams (and Woodson), with Jarrett Bush, Davon House, Sam Shields and Casey Hayward vying for roles. "The games will separate it out. Practice is practice. Practice is where we work at it, work the techniques, work the skills, but once you get into the games, the games will be the deciding factor on who gets more reps the next week. I'm excited to watch them go out there and play, watch them compete."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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