Mike McCarthy introduced the new additions to his coaching staff Thursday morning, followed by an informal meet-and-greet between the media and those assistants.
Most of my time was spent talking with new running backs coach Ben Sirmans. He has a big job in front of him. No matter who else is in his room this fall, nothing will be more important than Sirmans getting Packers running back Eddie Lacy back on track.
Here are some quick news bits from Sirmans. We’ll have more later on this afternoon.
- Sirmans said he has already spoken with Lacy since arriving in Green Bay a couple weeks ago. Those conversations have been less about football, Sirmans said, and more about establishing a relationship with his new star tailback. As for Sirmans initial impressions? “He seems like a great person. You can tell and get the sense that he’s very hungry this year to really get ready to get after it. I spent a lot of time talking about myself because he has to feel comfortable with me as his head coach, and then from that giving him a chance to talk and telling him a little bit about his background and those things. So it was a pretty good conversation.”
- Sirmans said he has not yet spoken with James Starks. Nor has he spoken with John Crockett, though he’s reached out to Crockett. As for Starks, who becomes a free agent next month, Sirmans is operating as if Starks will be in Green Bay next season. I think as a coach, you just have to go about your business as though the person is going to be (here), and in this case James Starks. Because you don’t control those things.”
- Sirmans was asked quite a bit about his role in helping Lacy return to tip-top conditioning. One thing he plans to do is study Lacy’s film from this past season and compare it to film from earlier in his career, giving him an idea of how the extra weight specifically limited Lacy last season. As for his role in getting Lacy back in shape? “It’s very important,” Sirmans said, “because it leads to performance. So the better shape he’s in, obviously the better he’s going to perform.”
- Sirmans gushed about his past experience working with former St. Louis Rams tailback Steven Jackson, a 12-year veteran in the league. He said being around Jackson showed him the keys to prolonged success in the league, and Sirmans has relayed those lessons to younger running backs. That experience might benefit Lacy, who enters the final year of his rookie deal in 2016.
- Sirmans has always thought highly of Lacy’s talent, he said. He rated Lacy as the top running back in the 2013 draft class when he left Alabama. Near the end of his time with the media, he was asked whether Lacy could have a similarly successful and prolonged career like Jackson. He didn’t hesitate. “I think the things that he can do for a guy that’s a big guy with incredible feet, I think he’s a guy who definitely has some staying power in this league for sure.”