Gadget plays from Packers? Interim coach Joe Philbin putting emphasis on winning

Tom Silverstein
Packers News
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Green Bay Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin during practice Wednesday, December 12, 2018 in the Don Hutson Center in Ashwaubenon, Wis.

GREEN BAY – It’s not exactly in Green Bay Packers interim coach Joe Philbin’s nature to run double reverses, flea-flickers and gadget plays and so it’s unlikely he’ll be springing those things Sunday in a meaningless game against the New York Jets.

 Philbin said Thursday that he is counting on his players being professionals and wants to find ways for them to succeed rather than putting in a bunch of plays that might be fun but have a far less chance of succeeding.

“Whatever we have to do to win a football game is what we’re going to do,” Philbin said. “Again, it doesn’t really change. The job since Day One has been to put the players in a position to be successful. If that means double reverse, great. If that means a dive play, great.

“I’m not as much worried about the plays as I am, the mindset our players have for the game and the energy and the passion they bring to the game. I think if we have that, then the plays become better calls, right?”

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With the Packers officially eliminated from the playoffs and the entire coaching staff’s future up in the air, it wouldn’t seem that unlikely that players and coaches would be distracted.

All of them are creatures of habit and the preparation structure remains the same, so it’s easy to continue to do what you’ve been doing for 14 previous game weeks. But everyone is human, too, and finding motivation to finish out the year strong isn’t going to be easy.

For the players, it should be the fact there’s going to be considerable turnover with a new coach on board and the personnel staff is more likely to be looking for reasons to replace players than keep them from a losing team.

The coaches want it known for their next employer that their players didn’t quit on them.

Philbin said he hasn’t done anything differently this week to create a more relaxed atmosphere so the distractions can be put aside.

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Practice inside the Don Hutson Center appeared to be no different than any other over the course of the season and if there were crazy plays inserted into the preparations, the media weren't around to see it. It looked like the Packers were sticking to their routine and not doing anything crazy to break their seven-game losing streak on the road.

“Somebody once said we want to take our jobs seriously but not ourselves,” Philbin said. “But you know, it's still football and you've got to bring some juice to the game. If we can interject humor in there, and I enjoy that, then I'm all for that. I think that's great.

“So, we'll do whatever we have to do. But I think for all of us, it's the obligation we have to one another.”

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