ORLANDO, Fla. -- Taking a spin around the room at the AFC coaches’ breakfast on Tuesday morning at the NFL’s annual meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes resort, there were a number of Green Bay Packers ties.
Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders coach
Allen discussed the signing of unrestricted free agent receiver James Jones, who played seven seasons with the Packers.
On what Jones will bring to the Raiders: “He’s going to bring a lot. No. 1, he can still play, all right, and that’s the thing I’ve tried to emphasize with all of these veteran players that we’ve brought in, that they can still play and they can still play at a high level. James Jones, he’s got outstanding work ethic. Nobody’s going to outwork him, he’s got great leadership qualities, and leadership skills, and he’s a guy that’s going to provide a big physical target for the quarterback to throw the ball to.”
On Jones’ valuable leadership skills: “I wasn’t in the building in Green Bay, but from what I understand he brought a lot of (leadership) to the room in Green Bay. That’s definitely something that we’re going to be looking for him to bring to us.”
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals coach
Lewis talked about the recent signing of offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse to a reported one-year contract for slightly more than $800,000. Newhouse played four seasons in Green Bay and was the primary starter at left tackle in 2011 and 2012.
On what Lewis likes about Newhouse: “Really felt like he was a talented guy with great movement, good feet, has showed some strength, he’s played a lot of football, and had some position versatility.”
On Newhouse losing his starting job in Green Bay: “They went through some transition and so forth as they saw fit, but he’s got an opportunity to get back to that level. He’s been well coached, he comes from a program that was a winning team, so he’s used to winning, so you want to add guys like that as much as we can.”
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts coach
Pagano discussed linebacker Erik Walden’s contribution to the Colts in 2013. Walden spent 2½ seasons with the Packers before signing as an unrestricted free agent with Indianapolis a year ago.
“Erik had a really good year for us,” Pagano said. “He’s a great edge setter in the run game, that’s the No. 1 criteria for that position that he plays is set the edge. No. 2 is pass rush, he’s more than capable pass rushing.
"The numbers (45 tackles, three sacks) weren’t what he wanted or expected, but he affected a lot of plays. You may not have a lot of sack numbers like Robert (Mathis) had on the other side -- 19½, led the league and all that stuff -- but he affects a lot of those plays. He affects plays that other guys make and so, he’s tough, physical, passionate, loves to play the game, plays the game the way you’re supposed to play the game.
"We’re very fortunate to have had him come to our organization and feel like in Year 2, he’s going to even be better with us within the scheme.”