Van Pelt calls coaching 2 positions 'a chance to grow'
The two positions meet in the same room after each practice. Together, quarterbacks and receivers review film for at least an hour, sometimes longer.
So the logistics, at least, shouldn't give Alex Van Pelt a headache. That doesn't make his new role with the Green Bay Packers' offense any easier.
After coaching running backs in his first two seasons as a Packers assistant before moving to quarterbacks last year, Van Pelt will add a third position to his repertoire in 2015. He'll be the only coach on Mike McCarthy's staff in charge of two positions, directing quarterbacks and receivers.
Van Pelt assumes control of receivers to fill the void left from Edgar Bennett's promotion to offensive coordinator. McCarthy expects a "seamless" transition.
"We'll be a little more creative in how we practice," McCarthy said. "We actually spend a ton of time together with the quarterbacks and receivers. Our players won't see a huge change in their daily operation."
It's a significant change, and an unusual role for Van Pelt. Instead of multi-tasking, assistant coaches generally assume control of one position. It's rare for a coach to juggle two jobs at once.
Perhaps the closest similarity is the role former Packers offensive coordinator Tom Rossley had for three seasons under Mike Sherman. From 2000 to 2002, Rossley was Green Bay's offensive coordinator while also running quarterbacks meetings. He had the benefit of an assistant quarterbacks coach in Darrell Bevell, who was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2003.
Van Pelt said he expects to run meetings with quarterbacks and receivers, though he'll likely have associate head coach Tom Clements sit in the quarterbacks meetings. As part of his new responsibilities with play calling, Clements will continue to work closely with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
During practice, quarterbacks and receivers often work together. The lone exception is during individual drills. Van Pelt said the practice schedule will allow him to coach both positions during their respective individual reps. One possibility, he said, would be quarterbacks doing individual drills during special teams reps.
"We'll find a way to make it work," Van Pelt said.
There's no question Van Pelt's expertise lies with quarterbacks.
He played nine seasons as a backup quarterback in Buffalo, ending his career in 2003. But Van Pelt said he's comfortable coaching receivers. He worked "side by side" with Bennett last season, making sure quarterbacks and receivers were always communicating correctly.
It won't be easy coaching two positions simultaneously, Van Pelt said. He's excited for the challenge.
"Coach let us know awhile back that that was his vision," Van Pelt said. "I'm excited. For me to have an opportunity once again to step into another room outside of my area of knowledge and coach the receivers, it gives me a chance to grow as a coach. Edgar's done a great job with the group, and once again like when I came here with the running backs, I have great resources to rely on with those guys and Edgar will be a big part of that.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity. I think with the staff that we have here and the players, I don't think there's any limits to our success."
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