Coachspeak: Assistants Discuss Hot Topics

In our third installment of this can't-miss pregame feature, we take you into the hallway outside the Packers' locker room to get the scoop from the assistant coaches. This week, it's Dom Capers on the rookies, Joe Whitt on winning a starting job ... plus much, much more.

Here's the unfiltered scoop, straight from the Green Bay Packers' assistant coaches.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers, on the pressure on his rookie defenders to be immediate contributors: "Well, my experience is this: These guys normally put more pressure on themselves than anybody else does. Your good competitors, they put a lot of pressure on themselves. Once you get out there and start playing, it's just playing football. I think that you can't be influenced much by outside expectations. You've got to challenge yourself and be more demanding of yourself than anybody else would be. What I've seen out of our young guys in this class, I think they're all pretty demanding on themselves. They're looking forward to playing again. The first two preseason games, they've got more reps than anybody else, which has been by design, and that should be the same way this Thursday night. We'd like to come out of preseason with these guys playing as many reps as they can in game experience. It's going to be important to us, especially early in the season."

Safeties coach Darren Perry, on the safety rotation and whether M.D. Jennings failed to win the starting job: "No, we never handed one guy one job. They all knew that that position was open and it was going to be open competition. Nothing has changed. I think Coach Mike said earlier that the depth chart at that point really didn't mean anything. The guys understood that, so nothing has changed. We're still mixing and matching and trying to find that right combination."

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt, on what it will take for someone to win the vacant starting job: "I want to see improvement in play, I want to see a level of consistency and playing with an edge and playing with an attitude. That's the whole group; that's not individually. Our play style should be a certain way and I want to make sure every individual that steps out there is playing that way."

Outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene, on Dezman Moses: "You really don't know about free agent rookies coming in. I had no idea who Dezman Moses was until he got here. He is a pleasant surprise as a kid coming in with is as athletic as he is and as instinctual and the work ethic that he brings and the hunger."

Receivers coach Edgar Bennett, on the competition for roster and practice squad spots: "You know what? All of our guys coming into this season knew it was going to be an extremely competitive camp, especially the young guys but the veterans with play time and things from that standpoint. As far as the urgency right now, mind-set-wise, they had that going into it because it was going to be competitive with the numbers. This week goes back to making the most of your opportunities. However many snaps you get, you've got to make the most of those snaps. If it's 10, so be it. If it's 20, so be it. You've got to make the most of it, and I think our guys understand that."

Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt, on Cedric Benson's debut vs. Cincinnati: "I'd like to see him be productive in the run game, but at the same time assignment-sound in protections. Especially against these guys, they give you some exceptional blitz looks on third downs, so for him to go up, listen to the line calls and the QB's protection adjustments and be able to react off of that, that for me is as critical as anything – protecting the quarterback."

Quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo, on rookie B.J. Coleman: "It's a little bit of everything. He has to develop an understanding of what we're trying to do on offense — he's working at that — as well as refine some of his fundamentals and really work on how to adjust things in the scheme that he's not used to and probably hasn't had to work on in the past. So, being an NFL quarterback. That's what we're working on."

Offensive coordinator Tom Clements, on evaluating quarterbacks in the preseason: "The quarterback has a job to do on each play, and as long as he's doing his job and giving more often than not the receivers a chance to catch the ball, you can make an evaluation. Sometimes in the preseason, you have younger guys in there and he's not as well tuned with the offense and make mistakes. And sometimes the quarterback does, too. Offensively, you need 11 guys doing the same thing to hopefully have a chance to succeed. And if one guy is not doing the right thing, it's a problem. If you have multiple guys doing the wrong thing, it's more of a problem."


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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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