Packers 'unsung hero' from fellowship program, gets to play Aaron Rodgers for the day
GREEN BAY − Shouts rang out across Clark Hinkle Field, echoing off the tin side of the Don Hutson Center.
“Come on Q, get it up, over the top,” Green Bay Packers wide receivers coach Jason Vrable yelled.
Then the quick answer from receiver Allen Lazard as the ball landed softly in his hands, “Yeah Q!”
Q, the nickname assigned Quinshon Odom, was understudying for quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Wednesday while the quarterback took a rehab day due to lingering knee and thumb injuries. Jordan Love and Danny Etling were running as QB1 and QB2, but the Packers needed one more passer, so in stepped Odom.
It was an unusual spot for Odom in a Packers practice, something Vrable reminded him of, screaming down the field as media watched, “Got that spotlight on you, come on Q!”
But it delivered a shot of energy to the dreary Wednesday practice in Green Bay.
“Q being out there throwing the ball to us,” Lazard said following Wednesday’s practice, "we don't really get to work with him as much hands on so the times that we do, we always really appreciate that."
Odom is in Green Bay as part of the club’s minority coaching fellowship program, an initiative to inspire and create opportunity for “young and aspiring minority coaches.” This is his second stint with the Packers, having previously worked with the team player personnel department during the 2018 season. From there, the former Shaw University quarterback worked with various NFL and NCAA programs, before returning to Wisconsin through the fellowship program.
“I think having someone who's played the game, especially at a high level, is huge when it comes to coaching and just talking the game,” Lazard said. “Because it's one thing to sit there to watch it on TV or to watch film, break it down. But to be able to go out there to do and understand how the body moves and how the mind processes things in short time, being able to give you the best realistic possibilities.”
It can also mean long days, longer nights and toiling in the shadows for recognition that may not come. But on Wednesday, Odom got to step into “that spotlight,” as Vrable put it, and give players the chance to highlight all he and offensive quality control coach Ramsen Golpashin do behind the scenes.
“I have a lot of respect for Q,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “He has one of the toughest jobs in the building. There's nobody puts in more hours and makes less than Q, I would guess on the coaching staff. His pay per hour is a little different than most of those guys. But that's how you start in just about any business … And I think that's what a lot of these coaches have done. It's going to serve him well. For both him and Ramsen, you know, put in some incredible hours.”
Added Lazard, “Q and Ramsen and the other assistants that we have, you know, those are kind of the unsung heroes to the team and the coaches because those are the guys that are really breaking up the film. Pulling up the cards for the scout teams and like really kind of doing all the dirty work, the stuff that no one wants to do to help us prepare each and every week.”
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Every year, Rodgers jots down handwritten notes to each of the coaches. When he got to Odom’s and Golpashin’s this year, he made sure to highlight all they do that would otherwise go unseen. “I just said, ‘I have so much respect for the job that you do and the hours you put in, and probably the very little recognition that you get for all the little things that you do. But it's important, it matters, it helps.’ And I really hope, for both those guys, it sets him up to have a long career in the NFL.”
Rodgers told reporters Wednesday that he should be back at practice Thursday, so Q’s career as an NFL practice quarterback may be short lived. But as those in the locker room are quick to share, it’s possibly the beginning of a long career ahead.