GREEN BAY -- The Packers' coordinators and offensive assistant coaches met withi the media on Thursday at Lambeau Field.
Here's a summary of their key comments.
Special teams coordinator Ron Zook
On Davis' decision-making:
Those are things that with experience he’ll get better and better. I think he had maybe six or seven kickoff returns in college, and he wasn’t a punt returner. Every time he’s back there, he gets better and better. I’ve told him we just need all the little things to round your game out.
On Carolina's special teams:
"They have impressive returners. That’s what they hang their hat on. They’re a return team, particularly with punt returns, and they do a great job on the edge guys, the outside guys. Our gunners have to get out, and we have to place the ball. They’ve got the same guys that played two years ago."
On Allison's contributions:
I’m really proud of him. He puts everything into it, asks the right questions. From where he started to where he is now, it’s unbelievable.
Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett
On how Rodgers looks:
Pretty good. We continue to make progress. We know what it means, what’s on the line, and what’ll it take to win.
On coming back from the injury:
Once he steps out on the field between those white lines, he’s that same confident competitor he’s always been, and he’ll leave it all out there on the field. That’s his mindset. The joy, the passion to be back out there, it all shows up.
On re-connecting with Nelson so quickly in this situation back in '13:
Tremendous chemistry. They’ve been playing together for such a long time. The time off doesn’t necessarily hurt. They’re in sync. We want to get out on the practice field and make sure we’re all seeing it the same way, but when two guys have been playing together for such a long time, the chemistry factors into it.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers
On Carolina's run game:
It’s been efficient. What you see, early in the season, Cam wasn’t carrying the ball as much. Now he’s got 100 carries, averaging 5.9 per carry, which is pretty phenomenal for a quarterback. The last 5-6 games, he’s carrying the ball. Down in the red-zone area, he keeps the ball a lot. They’ll spread you out and run the quarterback draw."
More on Newton:
"He does a good job on the option keeping the ball in there until the last second and pulling it out. He’s adept at running the option. He’s a fearless guy. He’s bigger than any of your linebackers. You have to play good leverage on him and keep more than one person coming. Because he can quick stop and start, he breaks the leverage down, and that’s when you see the long runs. He can come out of there with the big play at any point in time."
Does having Rodgers change how you call a game?
Not necessarily. We know going in the things we have to do. This is a unique week for us. We saw a little bit of option last week. They got a nice run on third-and-short. We have to be on the top of our game defending the option part of their offense.
On McCaffrey in their offense:
He’s their versatile guy. McCaffrey for a running back has 67 receptions. His combined yardage is pretty impressive. You’ve seen him like most rookies, they’ve gotten him more involved in the offense. They’ll line him up in a lot of different places and run gimmicks, try to get the ball in his hands.
Quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt
On how Aaron Rodgers looks:
He’s looked good. It’s like old Aaron back there. It’s good to have him back. … Definitely studying. He’s been doing it for a long time. He has great study habits. I know he spent some extra time on Carolina last week. I know he’s dove into the film and he’s where he needs to be.
On if he needs to be cautious coming off the collarbone injury:
I don’t think you’re ever going to stop him from playing the way he plays. It’s easy to say but hard to do as a player. I would expect him to come out and be what he usually is. He’s going to do him. That’s great. We’re excited for that.
On Rodgers’ communication on the sideline:
He’s obviously been in those experiences and had those experiences. There was a lot of communication between him and Coach, myself and Brett down the stretch and into overtime. He’s been a great help on the sidelines. He always has great ideas. He’s talking with Coach about the plays. He’s not changed all season. It probably was just in more focus these past few weeks.
On whether Rodgers could be a coach someday:
I think he would be a great coach. His knowledge of the game is huge. He’s seen every look. He’s thrown every ball. I hope he doesn’t get into coaching. I hope he can enjoy his life afterwards. He’d be tremendous.
On Brett Hundley’s maturation during his seven starts:
I’d say accuracy. His feet continued to get better over the weeks. One thing I’m proud of is his competitive nature. I’m really proud of the way he played. Today he’s a much better quarterback than he was when he got thrown in the Minnesota game. I told him this morning I’m proud of the way he competed. … His ability to scramble and use his legs. That stood out as much as the competitive nature of the kid, especially in crunch time and move the offense in both of those drives. Those are huge strides for a young quarterback.
Offensive coordinator James Campen
On the offensive line blocking again for Aaron Rodgers:
Let’s be honest when you have someone of that stature, it’s natural to say we need to pick it up a little bit. They do a good job with whoever is back there. I just know from personal experience, when someone of that nature is behind you, you tend to go, ‘hey, he’s back.’ I’d be lying if I told you there isn’t a bit of excitement in the air. I’ll say this, too. That No. 7 – those linemen will block for him any day. … His maturity and what he did as far as communication with the line. He did a terrific job with that. I’m very proud for Brett Hundley.
On Jason Spriggs:
You have to continue to prepare as if you’re playing. When you do that, it makes the time go faster. He’s done a good job with his study habits. Things are starting to click for him. I expect him to keep progressing.
On Spriggs potentially lining up against Julius Peppers:
Julius Peppers is a tough draw for anyone. One of the best all-time. He’s a class act. … He’s a dominate football player. He gets the job done. He fits well within their scheme. They have a lot of good football players there.
Receivers coach Luke Getsy
On the receivers getting comfortable again with Rodgers’ calls:
I think it’s the communication with him to them, more than anything. Brett has more of a direct line to the play call. Aaron is going to have a lot more freedom to do what he does. It’s just getting acquainted to those things. Just knowing he’s going to say it a certain way and we have to react.
On Jordy Nelson’s chemistry with Rodgers:
You have two really good football players who have played a lot of football together. When you have that type of relationship, he started off the same way. He was leading the league in touchdown receptions. The chemistry they have is special. There’s no denying that. Anybody in this league that watches those two play. You remember the Seattle play last year when he put his hand up and Aaron knew exactly what that meant. I think there’s a lot of that those two have that’s special and we look forward to getting back to a lot of that again.
On broken tackles against Cleveland:
Edgar Bennett does a great job each week of demanding that of our football team. When Brett stepped in there, we took it upon ourselves to do some things better. We went into Cleveland knowing that was going to be something we needed to do. We definitely emphasized it a lot last week, but EB does that every week.
Tight ends coach Brian Angelichio
On Panthers linebackers in coverage:
They’re good. Collectively, it’s a good group. Davis and Kuechly have been some of the best at their position. Shaq Williams has been playing really well. They have a good group.
On tight ends’ production:
Those guys, they get it. Whatever the game plan is, they’re going to do their jobs. They’re pros. Sure, they’d like to catch a bunch of balls but whatever is expected, their job is to go out and do what’s best to help the team win. … Coverage dictated that’s where the ball went. If those opportunities happen again, it’s up to use to make the plays that need to be made.
Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
On young RBs working with Aaron Rodgers:
I don’t think it’s as big. Jamaal, he did play at the beginning of the season when Aaron was available. They’ve practiced with him before. The way he’s wired, I don’t think that’s a big adjustment for those guys.
On Jamaal Williams as a workhorse back:
I think the biggest thing is we evaluate them throughout the draft. He showed some signs in the preseason. He was a little bit too conservative at the beginning of the season and then he relaxed and started playing the way he’s capable of playing. He’s a complete, every-down back. … He never wavered. He’s still the same guy. He’s still smiling, dancing.
On backfield evolving since the Dallas game earlier this year:
It was a step taken by our entire offense. We changed our approach to how we wanted to do things and emphasizing the running game more. Even the guys up front, they get excited about the prospects of running the ball. We didn’t lean on the passing game as much. We shortened the game down and found ways to help out Brett.