Cory’s Corner: Assistant coaches don’t excite me All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Ron Zook was the head coach at Florida at Illinois. And is now the Packers assistant special teams coach. How did that happen?
Ron Zook was the head coach at Florida at Illinois. And is now the Packers assistant special teams coach. How did that happen?

It’s usually pretty hard to get excited about assistant coaches.

But now the Packers have the highest number of middle management in the NFC North.

And I’m still not excited.

Granted, Mike McCarthy knows that changes need to be made, but I don’t think having 21 assistants is going to be the difference. Does Ron Zook really get anyone excited? And what exactly does an assistant special teams coach do?

That’s quite a fall from grace for a two-time major college football head coach.

But new assistants are just window dressing. This team needs personnel. It needs players that don’t give a half-hearted effort like B.J. Raji and then turn down $8 million from the Packers.

It needs Tramon Williams to play like it’s 2010 and Derek Sherrod to start his first NFL game in his fourth season.

This team needs Clay Matthews to start 16 games for the first time in his career. It needs a tight end to fill Jermichael Finley’s shoes but do it without chirping.

I think we all saw how important a mean streak is. The Seahawks and 49ers approach the game like the movie, “Slapshot.” Both teams try to blow you up on every single play and it’s about time the Packers thought the same way.

Green Bay doesn’t have that on-field sergeant that will not only impose its will but make the opposition think twice about something just because of the physical ramifications.

By the end of the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVIII, the Broncos wide receivers knew they were beaten. They knew they weren’t going to outmuscle, out tough and outwork the best secondary in football.

I need to see more out of guys like Nick Perry and Andy Mulumba to get an accurate gauge. But adding a dynamic linebacker for the 3-4 defense wouldn’t be a bad thing.

This team needs more creativity from the offensive play calling. Just because it’s first down, it doesn’t automatically mean you have to run the football. This team needs more quarterback pressure out of the front seven to ease the burden on the secondary.

And finally this team needs Jarrett Boykin to take the responsibility and grab the No. 3 receiver job. He has had flashes this past year in a fill-in role, but he must prove he can be counted on consistently.

What this team does not need are more assistants to talk about what didn’t work and what should work.

This team needs action, and unless Zook straps on the pads, bringing him onboard doesn’t mean much to me.




Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


42 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Assistant coaches don’t excite me

  1. Now that’s an article that gets me pumped. Finally someone can tell it like it is. THANK YOU Cory. If MM and TT think that all of these new assistants are going to make the players play with attitude, they have another thing coming… Maybe they should start making people accountable for their actions or lack thereof. There are no consequences for being lazy piece of crap losers, so why would anyone change. They have bred a team of pussies…

  2. Yes, I was thinking the same thing since early October. A very long list of needs. You didn’t mention top D-coaches. After seeing all of the grades handed out, and the number of C, D and F grades…there is little to no probability a whole unit fails, without pointing to the coach. If a whole school class fails, then you have to suspect the teacher. I don’t have optimism without change of top coaches. I sadly include MM, though he is a great guy.

    1. ” If a whole school class fails, then you have to suspect the teacher.”

      The efforts of a teacher must be matched by the efforts of the student.

      The ability of a student must be matched to the ability of the teacher.

  3. Cory – I’ve been saying for quite a while now that our defense, in particular, needs an attitude adjustment. They need to stop playing like it is illegal to make a tackle or a legitimate hit. This is one of the main reasons why I believe that Capers needs to go. We need a D coordinator to bring a new attitude to our defense whether we play 3-4, 4-3 or 11-0. We need to play hard, fast and angry. I agree with you, that adding more assistants is not going to make a difference. This must have come out of feedback from the staff during the recent evaluation period conducted by MM and TT during January. We need a new attitude and ILBs and safeties who can deliver hits (legally of course), with a roughing penalty to send a message, early in a game a couple or three times a year. Thanks, Since ’61

  4. Good article.

    Has Jarret Boykin done something to make you think he hasn’t grabbed the #3 spot? Looked pretty good to me this year.

    1. Boykin will definitely be the #3 WR this year. He showed last year w/ Cobbs injury that he could take a larger role. Boykin is every bit as good as James Jones. If Jones comes back it’ll be on a very team friendly deal and he’ll have to beat out Boykin to be the #3 WR.

  5. The Packers have employed Zook, a man that hasn’t coached the last 2 years. Meanwhile teams like Pittsburgh actually improve their coaching staff when a position sucks. For example, Pittsburgh had O-Line issues, so they went out and hired a excellent O-Line coach in Mike Munchak. Apparently TT and MM are approaching the coaching staff like the roster. UDFA or coaches that haven’t coached in 2 years, just a bunch of guys no one else wanted.

    Every offseason I hope Thompson and McCarthy might make some meaningful changes. Like finding someone to replace Nick Collins after 50 games. Maybe learning from that mistake and finding some leadership lost when Woodson left. Or maybe signing Wade Phillips to coach say the LB. I know Phillips has been a DC and a HC, but at this time he’s unemployed and it wouldn’t hurt taking a shot. A hire like that would get Packers fans excited, a feeling like our team is moving forward. Who knows, it’s a long offseason and maybe TT will actually participate in Free Agency, or sign more UDFA for Ron Zook to coach up. Oh boy!!

    1. I wouldn’t hold my breath or bet the bank on that. TT and MM’s EGO’s are gigantic, they don’t want anyone stealing their thunder. They need to suck it up and admit they need some serious help. Is there a 12 step program we can sign them up for?

      1. I know T, but it’s February still and one can hope. I still hold out hope they sign at least a Safety, TE, or ILB in Free Agency. I’d be happy with one of those, ecstatic with two.

  6. Cory, I appreciate your comments, but I’d like to offer a little push-back.

    While they may not excite you like a splashy free-agent signing or a high draft pick, I think coaches are vital for translating the strategy down onto the field. Dom Capers can put a player in a position to make a play, but he can’t make that player execute. Let’s take the example of an OLB who fails to set the edge and force the RB inside. You seem to suggest that’s an issue with the player – he just doesn’t have the talent or attitude to make the play. I’d argue that the position coach has a lot to do with it too. Think about Kevin Greene’s “It’s time” speech to get CM3 fired up (attitude) or Edgar Bennett emphasizing ball security to the WRs (ability). If players aren’t sure about their assignment or the proper technique to use, I think that’s a position coach’s responsibility.

    The other role position coaches play is in developing talent so our young players are making marked improvement from one season to the next. How many players on defense have made steady progress? How many are underperforming and not making that leap that we all are hoping for?

    I also don’t think it’s meaningful to tell players to just stop getting hurt. Unless you can point to specific things that can be changed to prevent injuries, I don’t think pointing a finger at them helps in any regard.

    Do we need a few new key players? Yes. Do we need some players to step up? Absolutely. But let’s not dismiss the importance of the coaches.

    1. If players cannot learn/succeed, then the coaches need to adapt to make the players they have as successful as possible. I don’t see that in Green Bay’s defense.

  7. A more appropriate title to the article may have been “all the things that I feel are wrong with the Packers” -by Cory Jennerjohn. — I don’t know if these moves are good or bad, but to write them off as meaningless or a waste of time seems to be a little premature. — Tom Silverstein wrote a great article today at JSonline talking about the changes and the notion that MM is trying to improve ST’s with these changes. We have all clamored for better ST’s play. Why not give these a chance? Maybe the pressure on slocum will improve his coaching.–GoPack!

      1. It was the presumption of the Silverstein article. I don’t know that it will, but since so many people are assuming and commenting that these hires are awful, I thought I would attemp to provide some other perspective. GoPack!

  8. was this the best that mm could come up with. he is starting to show that he might be a bit incompetent as a head coach. he refuses to to fire his buddy capers he went out and hit the bottom of the barrel for new coaches to replace those that left for greener pastures . i wont lie i have no clue who getsy is and look at gash’s history he has been fired for not producing and do we want our rbs we have now to go into the lions mode before reggie bush . zook is not a good coach so why does mm do this maybe he has hopes of going to the steelers after all its his hometown. i hope murphy is watching all this very closely because i feel he is the only one that will be able to stop all this bs thats been going on

    1. Is Zook a bad coach or is he a bad HeadCoach? I would be interested to know anyone that can speak definitively about Zook as a position coach…. anyone know anything about him as a position coach or are we all assuming he is going to suck because he’s not head coach material? Just curious.

      1. Only thing I can say is that you usually have to be a very good position coach and Coordinator in order to become a HC. Then a lot of very good coordinators don’t make good HC, Capers being a case in point. Kinda hard to judge the guys that are position coaches just based on how the unit as a whole performs. There’s a lot more involved than just the performance that fans don’t know squat about.

    2. Have a great ideal to the critics here we made the playoffs without many starting players during the season. Lets hire you and see if you can do any better in a salary cap world. Look at Oakland and what Mckenzie ended up with. he still digging them out of the hole. The draft and free agency is just a gamble and Seattle won that gamble the year they drafted Wilson , Nobody thought the kid was going to be that good. Not even Carroll

      1. No they actually have 38 million in cap space. Reggie’s did a unbelievable job, the Raiders were smart to give him time because he needed at least a few years to dig out from Al D a

  9. To take the next step towards another SB, this team needs to unseat the nines and seahawks.We all know that ain’t gonna happen unless out D improves . There are a lot of problems on this D …confusion in the secondary, no steady 4 man pass rush , run defense, lack of attitude and physical toughness, leadership, coaching problems and lack of overall talent due to our GM. Can all this be fixed in the next year or two? I hope so. We need AT LEAST one more SB while we have Rodgers.

    If there is no improvement on this D in 2014, I think there needs to be some house cleaning in the upper management of this team

    1. Even MM needs to be considered. I just don’t see him as a person who requires accountability from his staff.

  10. I think this article is a bit knee jerk. The Packers need to stay healthy. The team is pretty much in place. In fact, if GB has the same sort of injuries as SEA or SF, the NFC championship game may have been in GB.

    And how do we know how good or bad these coaches will be? We are not in McCarthy’s shoes.

    You talk about SF like they are world beaters and WAY better than GB. In fact, they won at home against GB on a last second FG after Hyde was unable to corral the interception. And, GB was playing without their best defender and with a rusty QB who had just come back from injury.

    Relax …. Chill

        1. 2010 when Mike Singletary still coach. That was the game Driver had the most unbelievable TD catch and run I’ve seen. But I would still like to see this team play with all their starters HEALTHY and a decent Safety.

  11. Nice article, especially the part about the front seven. As long as this defense continues to struggle to generate pressure on the QB from someone other than Matthews, the number of turnovers generated by the secondary will continue to decline. Jones and Perry, two first-round picks, have got to take their game to a new level next year, no more excuses…

  12. I must have watched the last 4 games against SF in my sleep then, MR Aaronqb. Because it seemed to me our defense was unable to stop the niners offense in all 4 games….I guess I’m wrong because you said so.

    1. They’ve certainly improved stopping SF! After Kaeperdork caught them by surprise in ’12 the Packers over-reacted in gm 1 in ’13 but in the Playoff game they held them to 23 pts! And the Seattle game in ’12 they held Seattle to 14 pts.

      The Defense will improve w/ more experience and knowledge of Capers schemes. And if they find a good Safety and ILB to replace the playmakers they lost at those positions (Collins and Bishop) they D will be very good.

  13. I must have watched the last 4 games against SF in my sleep then, MR Aaronqb. Because it seemed to me our defense was unable to stop the niners offense in all 4 games….I guess I’m wrong because you said so.

  14. Not sure what this article has to do with the coaches. If you want to complain about the lack of talent, health or leadership on the field then okay, I see some of your points. If you want to write about missing pieces or under-performance then thanks for pointing out some of the obvious.

    As to the new coaching additions, I like what we did. I think that ST needed help and we got someone who knows how to coach and organize. I think that Slocum will benefit and/or be gone. I like Gash as the RB coach. He is actually a RB guy, an experienced RB and a guy who has done his apprenticeship in the coaching world. I like Chris Gizzi as new blood with the strength and conditioning. And, I like Van Pelt as the QB coach.

    There is a great deal of positive going forward if we stay healthy and add some missing pieces in the draft. The organization has done a good job of shoring up a pretty good coaching staff and done it in a timely manner.

  15. During the 2012 season I the Seahawks blocked a field goal and ran it back for a TD vs the 49ers. I hope that Zook puts this play in the Packer special teams play book. Also, the blocked punt/ run it in for TD would a great play to add to the play book. I am sure that with this addition the Packers will have at least 10 punt of kickoff returns for TDs.

  16. All I can is the Packers can’t announce personnel changes until it’s time to start acquiring players. All they can do is announce the changes that can be, or have been, made. I don’t believe the Packers have announced these coaching changes to excite or enthrall us, the fans. They announce them simply to inform.

    To those who complain about not getting “top-tier” coaches, the Packers have done much of this, and you’re still not happy. Hiring Dom Capers was such a signing. Regardless of what many fans think of Capers, he is still regarded as one of the top defensive minds in the game, period, and has HC experience. Darren Perry is an up and coming coach who was regarded by that certain coveted DC in Pittsburgh to be ‘a great coach who will be a great DC in the league someday’. Mike Trgovac is a highly regarded DL coach with HC experience. Even though Kevin Greene had little to no experience as a coach, and he has done little to show he’s a stand out coach while in GB, many of you bemoan his loss as though he was the Vince Lombardi of position coaches… How about some consistency, people?

    Well, get used to “no name” coaching moves, because the Packers philosophy of cultivating talent isn’t limited to the playing field. They’ve been doing it with their coaching staff since day one.
    Edgar Bennet moved up from being a player development position, to RB coach, to WR coach.

    Joe Whitt, Jr., Quality Control to DB coach.

    Tom Clemments, QB Coach to OC.

    Jerry Fontenot, Intern, to OL asst, to RB coach, to TE coach.

    Alex Van Pelt, RB coach to QB coach (oh, and for a no-name coach with no RB coaching experience, Eddy Lacy seemed to do okay..)

    …Let’s not forget the reason so many of these guys are getting lateral and upward moves, either. Yes, it’s MM’s clear intention to give coaches the opportunity to grow and cultivate their craft and their carers, and yes, it’s clear the organization believes good coaches are capable of coaching ANY position. But moreover, most of these guys get the opportunity to move up the chain because the “no-name coach” whose position they are claiming LEFT THE TEAM BECAUSE ANOTHER TEAM OFFERED THEM A JOB WHICH CONSTITUTED A PROMOTION. You know, no-name guys like Joe Philbin or more recently Ben McAdoo.

    I guess I just believe that the GM’s of the 31 other teams are probably a better gauge of the no-name coaches on the Packers’ roster than us fans. While many of us sit around and crow and caw about the lack of talented coaches on the Packers, Mike McCarthy is slowly and quietly cultivating a coaching tree of his own. Who knows, perhaps some day it will rival that of Holmgren’s coaching tree. Time will tell.

    Until then, Keep on Cluckin’.

    1. Great comment… Kinda goes where I did w/ an earlier comment. Fans really don’t know what makes a good position coach. Most seem to think the only thing is how well the position is performing, which is pretty low on the list. There is a lot that goes into coaching that we the fans don’t know squat about, even those of us who have actually coached something.

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