GREEN BAY — The Packers’ coordinators and defensive assistant coaches met with the media on Thursday in the Lambeau Field auditorium. Here’s a sampling of key comments from each one:
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers
On Adrian Peterson:
We’ve seen the best of him at times. You have to play great leverage against him. You have to set the edge outside because he’ll take the ball anywhere. He’s a big guy and an explosive guy. When he gets running north and south, even after the first hit he’ll be falling forward for extra yards. You have to do a great job tackling. Very explosive.
On this year’s emphasis on pursuit and finish:
We got back every year and evaluate things. You asked me about our run defense last year, which is one of the highest percentages of win-losses per play. We felt we gave up too many big runs, which is why you’re run statistics are where you want them to be. … We just felt for us to improve and be the kind of defensive team – our leverage, finishing with the proper leverage. It helps you in not missing as many tackles.
On Julius Peppers’ workload:
You have to be careful. When you have a guy like Julius, there’s a tendency to want to play him more early. It’s sometimes easy to forget how long Julius has been playing. That could vary from one week to the next, but hopefully we can keep going a little bit with what we started. Every great player would like to play every down, but Julius is a smart guy. Where we go with it, who knows? But I look back, he’s played some of his best football at the end of a season.
Associate head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss
On Nick Perry and Datone Jones’ development:
They have done a great job embracing whatever we’ve asked them to do. They’re off to a really good start. They’ve done a really good job of taking advantage of the opportunity given to them so far. You can’t speak enough about how those guys have stepped up and accepted the challenge of doing a lot of different things.
On young linebackers facing Adrian Peterson:
They played a lot of football versus a lot of good guys. I think when you face someone as elite as Adrian Peterson, you worry more about your preparation and what you do. As long as you go into that game doing your best, then whatever Adrian Peterson does it will settle on the field. You go in there, say ‘this is what we do. This is how we go about doing it.’ Step up, do your best and see what happens.
Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt
On Quinten Rollins’ bouncing back late against Jacksonville:
He accepted the change that was made (at halftime) once it was given. … Whenever a change is made, it’s a group decision. When we do make a change, we’re trying to win that football game. At halftime, I told (LaDarius Gunter) you’re going to go. I told Q we’re going to need you later and we needed him later. If we’re a true team, we’re not going to drop our head. I was proud of the way he came back and bounced back.
On Micah Hyde:
It gives you great comfort at the beginning. When we made the decision Micah was going to the start, there was not panic. He can play it all. He can play everything on defense outside of that defensive line. It gives you great comfort.
On Damarious Randall:
He’s a really smart kid. D does most of the talking anyway. He studies more film than anybody else in the room. He’s started to take a leadership role, but I’ve really been pleased how he’s approached training camp and preseason this year as opposed to last year.
Safeties coach Darren Perry
On where Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has grown in Year 3:
Just learning he still has a long way to go. He works as hard as anyone we have. He’s staying on the grind, staying focused. Ha can be as good as he wants to be. We can’t get too high with the highs and too low with the lows.
On what Marwin Evans and Kentrell Brice did to make the team:
They can line up and know what you’re doing. You have to play with a certain style, a certain demeanor and attitude. They played physical. When the opportunity came to make plays, they showed up. They both can run, which is a big asset in terms of being able to play line of scrimmage and deep part of the field.
Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac
On Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion’s workload:
I never in a game felt stressed by their playtime. You had enough of the other guys coming in and then we were in dime, I never felt stressed in the game on that.
Assistant linebackers coach Scott McCurley
On the young linebackers facing Adrian Peterson:
Great challenge. New stadium. It’s everything you could ask for. We have to step up to the challenge. As long as Peterson is stepping on the field, he plays at a level that’s really second-to-none in the league. We have to step up to that challenge and play physical. We have to rally to the ball because nobody wants to be on their own. We have to rally to the ball to get him down.
On Joe Thomas’ development:
I’m proud of the growth he’s made and the commitment he’s made to his role. We talked a lot in the offseason about that defined role and getting the most out of him. At the same time, there were a lot of plays he left on the field when you looked at the tape. He stepped up and made those plays. His play speed was very fast and he’s got to keep it going now.
Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett
On Mike Zimmer’s scheme and Vikings’ defense:
I think it’s a combination of the two. They play a pretty good scheme as well as the players being in that scheme for quite some time now. They play as a unit. Our task is to stay true to who we are and perform at a high level, and executing.
Special-teams coordinator Ron Zook
On Vikings KR Cordarrelle Patterson:
Tennessee, the opening kickoff of the third quarter, the kick was a returnable ball and he takes it about 60. He’s big and strong. They do a nice job of blocking. You have to tackle him to the ground. You have to wrap, hold on and get him to the ground.
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