This week, some of the new coaches and some of the returning ones with new responsibilities met with reporters.
We’ll introduce you to them, beginning with new running backs coach Sam Gash.
The 44-year-old played 12 years in the NFL as a fullback for the New England Patriots (1992-97), Buffalo Bills (1998-99, 2003) and Baltimore Ravens (2000-02). In Buffalo, he was a teammate of Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, who previously held the running backs coaching position.
Gash spent six seasons (2008-12) as the Detroit Lions running backs coach, but he was out of coaching last season.
Here’s what Gash had to say on:
Running back Eddie Lacy, the reigning offensive rookie of the year: “I’m going to let him run. Runners run. I’m just going to help him with some of the little things. Whether it’s a step -- he does a pretty good job of pass protection. As he gets older, just helping him more with the recognition of things so he plays faster with his eyes and things like that. The sky is the limit for the kid. I’m not coming in here trying to reinvent the wheel by any means.”
Fullbacks being an endangered species: “Well, that’s a funny thing because it was when I was playing. It’s always been on the endangered species list, but you’ll always have some that show up because it’s the nature of the game. It’s a physical game. As much as people don’t want it to be that anymore because it scares people about what’s going to happen when they get to be my age. Being an NFL player, you can’t really worry about that. You know what you sign up for. Once you sign up for it, if you don’t give everything you’ve got -- and sometimes that entails hard hits -- then you just may not get the most out of yourself. As a fullback, I hit every play that I was in the game most of the time. The Lord, knock on wood, has still blessed me to have all my marbles.”
What he did last season: “I interviewed with the Cowboys last year, I think around the Senior Bowl. … That didn’t work out, so I basically ended up getting into a couple things that were outside of football. Renewable energy, I was doing some renewable energy things. I companied with a water solutions company that basically takes standing and still water and pumps it into the earth through the hydrostatic pressure of the earth so there’s no pumps or anything. I was representing the retired players and the trust.”
If he knew last year that he wanted to get back into coaching: “No, I didn’t actually. It was kind of to the point where I’m kind of like a self-starter in the sense that I’m not going to sit back and wait for someone else to tell me what I can and can’t do. I have five boys living with me right now, my kids, so I have to give them an example. I can’t just sit back and hope that everything works out. That’s kind of what I was doing the whole time, just pushing the fact that daddy’s going to do something and these things could still hit because they’re not things that hit instantly, they’re all startups. You will hear about a few of these things.”
On how he got in contact with the Packers: “Alex Van Pelt. The last couple of years I’d talk to him about running backs stuff, and this year he basically texted me and asked me if I wanted to interview for the running backs job, and I said of course. I came up and felt like I had a pretty good interview. After the Super Bowl, I went down to Cleveland and was interviewing down there. I went down there, and as I went down there on a Tuesday night, I had spoken with Mike and he offered me the job.”