Green Bay Packers: Joel Hilgenberg

A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike McCarthy now has a former running back coaching running backs and a former quarterback coaching quarterbacks.

Not that it's imperative to do it that way but in his most recent restructuring, McCarthy has restored some order to his staff with Sam Gash in charge of the running backs and Alex Van Pelt tutoring the quarterbacks.

Van Pelt, an NFL quarterback for nine years with the Buffalo Bills, spent the past two seasons coaching the Packers' running backs. It was the first time working at that position for him after serving as a quarterbacks coach with the Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McCarthy said he hired Van Pelt two years ago not necessarily because he thought he would excel as the running backs coach -- although he did so -- but in part to one day move him up on his staff.

“I think it definitely has broadened his horizons as far as coaching offense,” McCarthy said of Van Pelt. “I know he's very appreciative of the two years coaching running backs. But he's a quarterback coach. You're talking about a very talented football coach, played the position, knows this offense.”

Van Pelt replaced Ben McAdoo, who spent two years coaching quarterbacks despite having never played the position. McAdoo was hired last month as the New York Giants offensive coordinator.

“Anybody can coach the position,” Van Pelt said. “The only thing [having played quarterback] gives you is the ability to say, ‘Hey, I experienced this.' That's about it in that regard. I actually took a five-step drop and had to pressure out to the right side and threw an interception. I know what that's like. I've done that. That's really about all it does give you is [the ability to] say ‘Hey, I've had these experiences and this is what I've learned from them.'”

Meanwhile, Gash, a former teammate of Van Pelt's in Buffalo, was twice a Pro Bowl fullback in his 12-year NFL playing career and spent six seasons as the Detroit Lions running backs coach before sitting out of coaching last season.

“I've always like Sam Gash,” McCarthy said. “He's an excellent fit for us. He's played the position. He's coached running backs. He did a very good job in the interview process. He's worked with Alex Van Pelt in the past, I think his transition will be very easy to our offense.”

In its current form, McCarthy's offensive staff includes four players who were NFL players at the position they now coach -- Gash, Van Pelt, offensive line coach James Campen (offensive line) and Joel Hilgenberg (assistant offensive line). In fact, all of his offensive position coaches played in the NFL. Tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot was an offensive lineman, and receivers coaches Edgar Bennett was a running back.

In case you missed it on ESPN.com:
  • In the wake of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam revealing that he is gay, McCarthy said the Packers would view him like any other player in the draft and would evaluate him based on his playing ability and his character.
  • Despite some juggling of responsibilities on his defensive staff, McCarthy said he's committed to sticking with a 3-4 defense -- albeit with some tweaks.
  • The Packers might have the most overqualified assistant special teams coach in the NFL with the addition of two-time former college head coach Ron Zook in that role. But both McCarthy and Zook see it as a good fit.
  • Finally, please join me in our weekly Packers chat at 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. in Green Bay and the surrounding areas). You can submit questions ahead of time or do it in real time. Either way, it can be found by clicking here.
Best of the rest:
  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Mike Vandermause wrote that assistant head coach Winston Moss, whose role was expanded this offseason to coach both inside and outside linebackers, believes improvement on defense will come through technique and fundamentals rather than a change in scheme.
  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tom Silverstein wrote that Gash compared running back Eddie Lacy to Pro Football Hall of Famer Curtis Martin, who was Gash's teammate with the New England Patriots.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers have four new members of their coaching staff and five existing coaches with new or expanded roles.

In addition to hiring Ron Zook and Sam Gash, the Green Bay Packers hired two other new assistant coaches, Luke Getsy and former Packers linebacker Chris Gizzi.

Zook, the former Florida and Illinois head coach, will serve as the assistant special teams coach, while Gash will coach running backs.

Getsy will serve as offensive quality control coach, while Gizzi will be a strength and conditioning assistant.

Also, returning assistant coaches Winston Moss (assistant head coach/linebackers coach), Alex Van Pelt (quarterbacks coach), Scott McCurley (assistant linebackers coach), Jason Simmons (defensive/special teams assistant) and John Rushing (defensive quality control coach) all have new duties.

Including special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum, who is returning for his sixth season, the Packers will now have three coaches working directly with special teams. Previously they had two -- Slocum and Chad Morton, who was not retained.

“The offseason is progressing with the finalization of adjustments and additions to our coaching staff,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in a statement announcing the changes. “Every day and every decision has the focus on bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay. The evaluation process will continue with a vision to change, adjust or emphasize any aspect of our program to help us reach the attainable goal of another Super Bowl championship.”

Here’s a breakdown of their new coaches and the old ones with new duties:

Sam Gash, running backs coach: Coached running backs with the Detroit Lions from 2008-12. Replaces Van Pelt, who was promoted to quarterbacks coach after two seasons. Played 12 years in the NFL as a fullback with the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens.

Ron Zook, assistant special teams coach: Returns to the NFL after spending the past two seasons out of coaching. Previously coached special teams for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1996-98). Also worked with McCarthy in New Orleans, where he was the Saints defensive coordinator (2000-01) and McCarthy was the offensive coordinator.

Luke Getsy, offensive quality control coach: A former college quarterback at Akron (2005-06). Previously the receivers coach at Western Michigan.

Chris Gizzi, strength and conditioning assistant: Played for the Packers in 2000 and 2001 and is perhaps best remembered for leading the Packers out of the tunnel carrying an American Flag in their first game following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Spent last offseason as an intern with the Packers before working as a strength and conditioning assistant at the University of North Carolina last season.

Winston Moss, assistant head coach/linebackers: Previously held the same title while coaching inside linebackers. Will add outside linebackers to his duties, inheriting that role from Kevin Greene after he resigned last month.

Scott McCurley, assistant linebackers coach: Has been with the Packers since 2007, including the last five as a defensive quality control coach. Will assist Moss will all linebackers.

John Rushing, defensive quality control: Served as an offensive and special teams assistant the past two seasons after spending two seasons as the offensive quality control coach.

Jason Simmons, defensive/special teams assistant: Served as a coaching administrator for the past three seasons.

Alex Van Pelt, quarterbacks coach: Replaced Ben McAdoo, who became the New York Giants offensive coordinator. Previously coached the Packers running backs for two seasons. Former NFL quarterback, served as a quarterbacks coach with the Bills (2008-09) and Buccaneers (2010-11).

Remaining in their current roles on the coaching staff are: Tom Clements (offensive coordinator), Dom Capers (defensive coordinator), Mark Lovat (strength and conditioning coordinator), Shawn Slocum (special teams coordinator), Edgar Bennett (receivers), James Campen (offensive line), Jerry Fotenot (tight ends), Joel Hilgenberg (assistant offensive line), Darren Perry (safeties), Mike Trgovac (defensive line), Joe Whitt Jr. (cornerbacks) and Thadeus Jackson (strength and conditioning assistant).

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