Thursday, January 23, 2014
Van Pelt a natural choice for QB coach
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- As soon as Ben McAdoo's name came up as a possible candidate for a new job, it became clear who the favorite would be to take over as the Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach.
On Thursday, nine days after McAdoo left to become the New York Giants offensive coordinator, the most logical candidate to replace him has apparently done just that. CBSSports.com was the first to report that Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt, a former NFL quarterback who coached his old position for two different NFL teams and also served one season as an offensive coordinator, will coach Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packers quarterbacks next season.
The Packers have not yet announced the move. An NFL source said that was expected to happen soon but perhaps not until coach Mike McCarthy fills his other two staff openings.
Alex Van Pelt, who spent the past two seasons as the Packers' running backs coach, will coach the quarterbacks in 2014.
Van Pelt spent the last two years as the Packers running backs coach. Previously, he coached quarterbacks for the Buffalo Bills (2008-09) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2010-11). Early in the 2009 season with the Bills, he became their offensive coordinator for the remainder of that season.
Before he came to the Packers in 2012, he had never before coached running backs.
“Obviously I've learned so much about the run game the past two years,” Van Pelt said earlier this month. “It's been a huge experience for me. It really has. I really threw myself into it. I enjoyed it. I love it.”
Now, his attention will turn back to his specialty.
Van Pelt played quarterback for the Bills from 1995-2003 and appeared in 31 games (including 11 starts). He has a long history with McCarthy, who was an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburgh when Van Pelt played there.
In fact, when McCarthy first became the Packers coach in 2006, he wanted to interview Van Pelt for the position of quarterbacks coach. However, Van Pelt had just taken a job at the University at Buffalo and opted to remain in that position.
Van Pelt's name surfaced as a possible offensive coordinator candidate for new Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine. The Packers could have blocked that move because Van Pelt was under contract for the 2014 season, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. McAdoo had reached the end of his deal and thus was free to pursue other opportunities.
Van Pelt will become the third quarterbacks coach to work under McCarthy. The first, Tom Clements, served in that position from 2006-11 before being promoted to offensive coordinator when Joe Philbin left to become the Dolphins head coach. McAdoo, who had been tight ends coach since 2006, replaced Clements.
In Van Pelt's new job, his responsibilities will be two-fold. He will need to prepare Rodgers on a weekly basis while also developing a capable backup in order to avoid a repeat of 2013, when the Packers broke training camp without settling on a No. 2 quarterback.
The move still leaves the Packers with two openings on their coaching staff -- Van Pelt's old running backs job and outside linebackers, which opened last week when Kevin Greene resigned.