GREEN BAY, Wis. – As each group of rookies worked with a position coach -- the offensive linemen with James Campen, the quarterbacks with Alex Van Pelt, the inside linebackers with Scott McCurley and so on -- one voice boomed through the Green Bay Packers' practice facility.
It was Brian Angelichio, who was running the tight ends through a blocking drill.
“Drive, drive, drive,” he instructed his group.
The rookie orientation camp not only was the first on-field look at the players general manager Ted Thompson added on draft weekend and in the days after but also the chance to see the newest members of coach Mike McCarthy’s staff.
And in Angelichio, it looks like the Packers added a vociferous teacher who will go to great lengths to get the most out of his players.
The former Cleveland Browns tight ends coach is one of two new position assistants McCarthy hired from the outside this offseason. He replaced Jerry Fontenot, who was not retained after last season. The other new assistant is running backs coach Ben Sirmans, who spent the last four years with the St. Louis Rams. He replaced Sam Gash, who, like Fontenot, was fired after last season.
“Part of the change on the coaching staff is, I think stating the obvious, you have different personalities, you have different experiences,” McCarthy said during the rookie camp. “Really, their experience level and what they bring to the table as far as their knowledge in the past places that they worked in, we’ve been able to listen, go through the installation-building phase that we do as a coaching staff [and] listen to their input. At the same breath, let’s get everybody on the same page. That process is really I would say complete.
“Now, it’s time to coach it. It’s good to see those guys out there and their particular coaching style and expand the fundamental drills.”
It would be wrong to make any grand assumptions based on one rookie practice, but it offered a brief look into Angelichio’s coaching style. He appeared to be a show-and-tell coach -- not only giving verbal instructions but demonstrating the proper way to execute them.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all philosophy, but it is one way Angelichio plans to get through to his players.
“I think every player’s different,” he said shortly after he was hired earlier this year. “Sometimes, when you need to get in their butt, you’ve got to get in their butt. Sometimes, when you need to put your arm around him, you need to do that. I tend to try to reach a player depending on how they learn best, how they’re coached best. But I think also, it’s important for me to be who I am as a coach. Every player’s different and I think you have to treat them all different. You have to know which one you can push their buttons, when you can’t, and certainly the goal is to get them to respond at the highest level that they can.”
Angelichio will be charged with integrating veteran free-agent Jared Cook into the offense while also further developing third-year pro Richard Rodgers and younger tight ends such as Kennard Backman, Mitchell Henry and Justin Perillo.
“Unfortunately in this league, whether you’re young or not doesn’t matter,” Angelichio said. “You have to practice and play and perform. Nobody’s going to wait for you in this league. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you and say, ‘Well, you’re young.’ I don’t look at it any different. Hey, the job is whoever we’ve got, my job’s to get them out there and get them to play at the highest level we can to help this football team win. It is what it is and you just go.”