As expected, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy will replace Ben McAdoo with Alex Van Pelt as quarterbacks coach.
McAdoo, the Giants’ new offensive coordinator, held the position for the past two seasons. Van Pelt, who spent the past two seasons as the team’s running backs coach, was the logical replacement.
Van Pelt played quarterback at the University of Pittsburgh when McCarthy was an assistant there. Van Pelt was drafted in the eighth round by the Steelers in 1993 and joined Buffalo in 1995. He spent nine seasons as a quarterback with the Bills, starting 11 games.
He spent 2006 and 2007 as an offensive quality control coach with the Bills before being promoted to quarterbacks coach for the next two seasons. He spent most of 2009 as the Bills’ offensive coordinator. In 2010 and 2011, he was Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks coach. Josh Freeman, who was the Buccaneers’ first-round pick in 2009, had his best NFL season in 2010. He threw 25 touchdown passes against six interceptions with a passer rating of 95.9. In 2011, Freeman completed a career-best 62.8 percent of his passes, although his interception total ballooned to 22 and his rating fell to 74.6.
“Ben is an excellent football coach. Obviously, he’s going to have room for growth wherever it is,” Van Pelt said at the end of the season. “I’m the running back coach right now. Not to speculate on anything. I’m very happy with my guys. I love my room. I really enjoy the experience the last two years of coaching running backs but I work for Coach Mike and whatever Coach Mike asks me to do I’m going to do with everything I got. Not to speculate, but he asks obviously if he wants me to clean the bathrooms, I’ll do that.”
Rodgers was a bit apprehensive when McAdoo took over as quarterbacks coach in 2012 after McAdoo had spent the past six seasons with the tight ends. Ultimately, McAdoo’s work ethic won over Rodgers.
What Van Pelt would provide, obviously, is more of a quarterback’s perspective on the position, both schematically and fundamentally.
“I think I’m getting to the point of my career where I need someone who can continue to give me the things I need during the week as far as preparation,” Rodgers said on his radio show at the end of the season. “Make sure they stay on me as far as fundamentals. I think it’s more of a tandem cooperation between the quarterbacks coach and myself helping out the young guys. That’s kind of my legacy as a teammate is helping out the young players. I know Tom (Clements) was instrumental in my development. Ben helped me out a lot, as well, and wanted to help the young players out. He did a great job with Scott (Tolzien) this year. As a quarterback coach, I think you really want to develop young talent, and if you have a talented guy like myself now being my 10th season next year, I think it’s more about getting that guy ready to play and getting him all the necessary looks and preparation and conversation that I need before game day.”
The news was reported by CBS and NFL Network. The team has not announced any decisions and probably will not until the entire staff is complete. If Van Pelt indeed becomes the quarterbacks coach, that would create a void at running backs coach. Plus, the team must replace outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene, who resigned last week.
The internal candidates for any opening on offense would be Joel Hilgenberg, the assistant offensive line coach the past two seasons, Chad Morton, the assistant special teams coach who played running back in college and the NFL, and John Rushing, who has spent the past five seasons in a variety of capacities on offense and special teams. On defense, there is Scott McCurley, the defensive quality control coach the past five seasons and a former linebacker at the University of Pittsburgh.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.