- Rob Demovsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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This week, some of the new coaches and some of the returning ones with new responsibilities met with reporters.
We've introduced you to them throughout the week – running backs coach Sam Gash, assistant special teams coach Ron Zook, assistant linebackers coach Scott McCurley and assistant head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss – and we’ll conclude with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt.
The 43-year-old Van Pelt has spent the past two seasons as the Packers' running backs coach before being promoted to replace Ben McAdoo, who left last month to become the New York Giants' offensive coordinator.
For Van Pelt, it’s a return to his natural position. He played nine seasons in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills, mostly as a backup quarterback from 1995-2003. He also coached quarterbacks for the Bills (2008-09) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2010-2011) before reuniting with McCarthy, who coached Van Pelt in college at the University of Pittsburgh.
Now, Van Pelt will be charged with preparing Aaron Rodgers on a weekly basis while also developing a capable backup.
Here’s what Van Pelt had to say on:
His dual role of coaching Rodgers and developing a backup: “There has to be a separation of the two. You have to coach the younger guys anytime you get a chance. It might just be in the middle of a special-teams drill. Those extra times when you can grab the younger guys and bring them along. The quarterback school we do here is built that way to help them all. The thing with Aaron, there's not a lot of new things you're going to be able to teach or show him or tell him. It's continually stimulating him and trying to help him challenge himself, so to speak.”
What he can teach Rodgers: “It's tough to say you're going to go out and teach Aaron Rodgers how to throw the football. My job is to continually challenge him, to make him think and learn about things that haven't been emphasized in a while. Point out areas where I think we can improve in. For a guy like Aaron, it's really about continuing to challenge him and make him come to work and have to think differently than he has in the past to maybe stimulate and keep him growing as a quarterback. It's tough for a guy who's at the top of the charts in that area, but that's our job as coaches to continually stimulate these guys and challenge them, and get the best out of them."
His tenure as running backs coach: “I think anytime you can now see the game through the eyes of the running back and the quarterback, that's big. Aaron, like I've said in the past, has done a tremendous job of in the running game, understanding the schemes and the angles and leverage of the players, and getting us into positive run plays. That's huge. I think he already has that, but anytime you can go outside of your area and try to learn and get better is only going to help you as a coach.”
Coaching a position he also played: “I don't think it's necessary, but I think it definitely helps. I think you speak from experiences that you've had on the playing field and locker rooms. Is it necessary? No.”
Scott Tolzien’s future: “I like Scott. I think Scott is a tough, tenacious guy who has a presence to him. He's a natural leader. His work ethic is sensational. … I could see him around here [at] 7, 8 o'clock at night going over the cadence downstairs by himself. Things like that. Obviously he's a self-starter. Physically, he has the physical tools to be a player. This system is complicated for a quarterback, so I think he'll grow in another year of the system and understanding all the adjustments. Those will just help him."
Matt Flynn’s future: “Matt has a great track record. He's been successful in this system. His understanding of the system is huge. It's very tough to operate as a quarterback in this system with all the flexibility you have to be able to change plays at the line of scrimmage. Having an understanding of the system is huge for him. The way he fits in the locker room, especially in the quarterback room, the things he does to get Aaron ready to play on Sundays are little things that are hidden sometimes when you're looking at guys, so I'm excited to hopefully get him back in there.”