For the first time since they were able to coach up their incoming college players at rookie minicamp, the Green Bay Packers’ coordinators spoke to the media on Tuesday. Offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich, defensive coordinator Joe Barry and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia all noted that these rookies are still learning the playbook, but they generally seemed to be happy with the progress they’ve made over a few practices.
Stenavich was promoted to his position earlier this offseason after the Packers lost Nathaniel Hackett to the Denver Broncos, where he became the team’s head coach. The team also lost quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy, who received a play-calling offensive coordinator job with the Chicago Bears. Stenavich, previously the team’s offensive line coach under head coach Matt LaFleur, is not expected to take over play-calling duties from the top man.
He did note, though, that he may call a preseason game in August. As quarterback Aaron Rodgers has previously noted, each offensive coach typically has their section of the field to know inside and out. Unsurprisingly, the former offensive line coach’s specialty was the ground game in 2021.
Aaron Rodgers talked about how the coaching staff splits situational football on offense:— Justis Mosqueda (#1 draft class haver) (@JuMosq) December 28, 2021
Luke Getsy (QB)-Third down
Steno/Butkus (OL)-Run game
Nathaniel Hackett (OC)-"Gold zone" (red zone)
Jason Vrable (WR)-Two minute
Justin Outten (TE)/Ben Sirmens (RB)-Short yardage/goal line
“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 can watch other positions coach. You get to see things from different angles that you didn’t really get to see before because you were so busy coaching the offensive line,” said Stenavich. The first-year coordinator joked that it’s been a while since he watched seven-on-seven drills and described his style of offense as “speed and physicality,” speaking on how he wants to stretch the field and run the ball.
Stenavich also stated that the team wants to get running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon on the field together, which may help some of their skill position issues at receiver and tight end. “We’re excited to get those two on the field [together] and do a bunch of different stuff,” said Steno. It’s worth noting that the Packers played significantly more than their season averages in split back gun formations, with Jones and Dillon both in the backfield, against the Arizona Cardinals when receiver Davante Adams, among others, was unable to play. Jones was even used as a motion man from the slot and Dillon was given a handoff as a fullback in the I formation.
The company line about rookie receiver Christian Watson is sticking, as it seems every member of the Packers answers “size and speed” at some point during their press conferences. “[Watson’s] combination of size and speed is great. He’s a big guy. He can move. He’s gonna be a problem once he figures things out,” said Stenavich.
Green Bay’s other first-year coordinator, Bisaccia fresh off of an interim head coaching stint with the Las Vegas Raiders, pushed back against special teams being a phase of the game that players don’t want to participate in. In his words, it helps players continue to play the game as professionals. Beyond mentioning that a veteran like a David Bakhtiari might have to play in field goal protection, he brought up the fact that cornerback Ronde Barber in Year 17 of his career was on the kickoff team, was a key player on the field goal block team and participated in punt return coverage. It shouldn’t be surprising if more starting offensive linemen and defensive backs see the field on the third phase of football for the Packers this season.